Is custom packaging worth it for startup brands? Startups always have cost in mind when making decisions. They also have value in mind. That’s why custom packaging is such an interesting topic for startups. These are the four questions every startup needs to ask about packaging:
- What message do we want our packaging to send?
- What are our customers expecting when they hold our product for the first time?
- What are our category competitors doing right with packaging?
- What opportunities are our category competitors missing with their packaging choices?
Custom packaging is a big value-adding asset. It increases brand recognition, customer loyalty, and perceptions of quality. Many startups ultimately find that having custom packaging created isn’t the cost investment they assumed it needed to be. In some cases, getting precise packaging that serves the product, handles the needs of customers, and boosts brand awareness actually ends up being a more cost-effective choice than generic packaging. Take a look at nine value points that demonstrate the relationship between custom packaging and successful startup companies.
Value Point #1: Many Brands Save Money on Shipping
The unexpected financial boost of custom shipping is that it often saves brands money on shipping. When startups select generic boxes, they are often choosing boxes with oversized dimensions. That means that paying to “ship air” is the default. Startups that decide to go “too tight” with box sizes to save money often have to compensate by using two boxes to complete shipping. Many startups are also spending small fortunes on padding and filler for boxes that are too big. This results in extreme cost waste.
When custom packaging is created, it ensures that startups are only paying for what’s necessary for shipping. Right-sized packaging doesn’t just save on shipping costs because it prevents the need to ship partially empty boxes. It also allows startups to choose lighter packaging materials that cost less to ship per unit.
Value Point #2: Boosting Sales Through Better Brand Appeal
Packaging is an introduction. This is especially true for startups because the public hasn’t been introduced to your brand story just yet. Your packaging presents the perfect opportunity to make an important introduction. Packaging can also make the wrong introduction. When new brands use generic, unpolished packaging, they risk reducing product appeal. In situations where startups are shipping items to customers, the wrong packaging impression can dash hopes for repeat sales.
Value Point #3: Stronger Brand Awareness
All startups want is a little attention. Good packaging is one of the best ways to get some. Packaging is an important aspect of brand awareness for both on-the-shelf products and online products. In the case of a product that’s being shipped to stores, packaging creates strong messaging that conveys a brand’s values and commitment to quality. According to market research, a brand has about 20 seconds to create an impression with customers. Good packaging is the ultimate point-of-sale marketing tool for catching the eyes of customers.
In the case of a product that is sold online, packaging is still extremely important. Online shoppers are increasingly seeking satisfying unboxing experiences that make them feel valued. Attractive, thoughtful packaging with strong brand identification is a big booster for brand loyalty. Making your customers feel loved when a package arrives will make them love your product!
Value Point #4: Adding to Perceived Product Quality
Customers judge your product based on how it’s packaged. That means that a mediocre product can move into the five-star category with some good packaging. It also means that a five-star product can give off the impression of a four-star product if the packaging leaves something to be desired. Creating custom high-end packaging elevates product status.
Value Point #5: Loyalty Through Repetition
Smartly branding your product packaging using custom packaging design creates exponential brand exposure. It’s not just your customers seeing your packaging. It’s everyone who comes into contact with the branded packaging during shipping. Yes, that means everyone from neighbors watching the box get dropped on the front porch to the worker in the cubicle seeing a colleague getting a delivery. It also includes anyone who sees a product on the shelf. Market research shows that customers will choose familiarity above just about anything else when making purchasing decisions. In fact, customers will actually choose familiarity over value. Make sure your product is one they’ve seen before even if they’ve never actually interacted with your brand.
Value Point #6: Product Education
Customers need the facts fast when they’re making purchasing decisions. That’s why custom packaging is so important for informing customers. When startups select generic packaging, they are forced to try to find ways to share need-to-know, experience-enhancing information with customers. Custom packaging allows startups to build the messaging right into the design. Some features that can only be included when startups select custom packaging include:
- Brand website.
- Brand email/phone number.
- Brand social media handles.
- Reordering information.
- Safety information.
- Information on how to recycle packaging.
- Upcoming promotions and discounts.
This isn’t just information. These are connection points. Providing important information on packaging isn’t just important for creating a deeper connection between brand and customer. It can also enhance the customer experience by providing know-before-you-open information that will allow the customer to handle the packaging appropriately.
Value Point #7: Reduced Waste
Generic packaging doesn’t allow startups to control their environmental footprints like custom packaging can. When startups buy packaging in bulk, they are often buying inferior packaging that isn’t created with sustainability as a priority. What’s more, packaging may be needlessly bulky. Custom packaging allows startups to streamline their packaging decisions to use materials that are environmentally friendly. When startups go custom, they are able to have full control over the materials and techniques used to create packaging. They can also be informed about how to make better choices by choosing “green” options like reusable totes over plastic-based materials.
Value Point #8: Delivering the Unexpected
Designing custom packaging for your startup means taking full control of the unboxing experience. As a result, startups are able to add unexpected touches that simply can’t be pulled off when purchasing generic packaging. Adding “statements” to packaging is more important than ever because consumers are eager to share gems that they find. If your packaging comes with some “flair” that sets it apart from other products in the same category, you can expect a decent amount of chatter about expecting the unexpected with your brand all over social media.
Value Point #9: The Ability to Deliver the Right Packaging for the Right Product
Generic packaging forces startups to force a good fit. The truth is that some products simply need custom packaging. This is often true with specialty products like perfumes, jewelry, beauty products, food products, and luxury products. In many cases, custom packaging inserts are necessary to properly house and protect a product. Custom inserts also provide what many branding experts consider to be the best way to display a product to convey its full value. Using inappropriate packaging doesn’t just create a sloppy aesthetic. It also increases the likelihood of a product becoming damaged, compromised, or stolen during shipping.
Customers don’t have a lot of confidence in brands that ship out products that look like they were simply tossed into the first box that could be found. The prevalence of counterfeits in the online marketplace makes the need for custom packaging even stronger among startups. Packaging that doesn’t appear branded and intentional could cause some red flags to go up regarding your brand. By contrast, good packaging reduces the chasm between startup brands and established brands because even “little brands” can create the same experiences being offered by major brands with the right packaging.
You Need the Right Packaging Team: Get Your Custom Packaging Questions Answered by Experienced Packaging Engineers and Manufacturers
Startups have a world of opportunity when it comes to using custom packaging as a building block for a commercial empire. There are many cost-effective, sustainable options for personalizing your startup’s packaging. At Mid-Atlantic Packaging, we’ve helped countless startups start from scratch with genius packaging ideas. Contact Mid-Atlantic Packaging today for your custom packaging quote.