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Do you know the options you have when it comes to packaging? Like e-commerce, the packaging industry has grown rapidly to meet consumer demand for safe, sustainable, informative, durable, artistic product packaging. In an era when computers and non-human apps are taking over much of our daily lives, consumers seem to be seeking out products and services that are delivered with unique flair and personal attention.

The astounding growth of the specialty foods and gourmet coffee segments are just two of hundreds of examples. The other big trend in commerce is the explosion of shipping volumes. After the COVID virus hit, millions of consumers all over the world turned to home delivery as a viable alternative to in-person shopping.

As a merchant, how can you harness these trends to make your products look better, ship safely, and deliver value to your customers? The answer is in two words: custom packaging.

The first step is to acquire an understanding of the basics, like materials, transport method, consumer preferences, and your budget. Next up, think about ink. Color, texture, and artistic design with various kinds of ink are also a part of your unique, custom package. Want proof? Close your eyes and think of your favorite soft drink, car company, and coffee brand.

You can literally see, in your mind’s eye, the colors of the logos and packages for all those items. It’s packaging that created that memorable magic. Your product’s packaging can do the same if you take the time to plan not just the physical container’s shape, size, and design, but the ink that works best as a part of the overall effect.

First, what about those basics?

What are the Basics?

There’s much more to packaging than meets the eye. Ask anyone in the industry and they’ll tell you it’s half science and half art, with hundreds of variables within each part of the process. For instance, as a seller, your first four decision points encompass core concepts like what material to use, how you’ll be sending the item to buyers, whether it will fulfill their varied needs, and finally, what you can afford. Here’s more about each decision merchants should consider before anything else:

  • The Physical Material: First things first. Whether you opt for plastic, paper, or something else has a huge effect on the look, feel, and ultimate success of your item. Note that survey after survey reveals that consumers have a fondness for paper packages.
  • Transport and Shipping: There’s no point in creating a beautiful, artistic package only to have it sustain damage during shipping. The physical material on the outside of your package is what protects it from dings, dents, and nicks while it travels to your customer.
  • Consumer Appeal: Think about factors like shape, color, material, weight, durability, sustainability, and more when you design your package. Always have the customer’s perception in the back of your mind. Imagine how you might feel upon seeing the package you design as it arrives in the mail and you open it up.
  • Your Budget: Here’s a tip from packaging pros: When you make your product budget and allot a specific amount for “packaging,” remember that the amount under that heading should include the cost for the physical package as well as the design and other creative work that goes into making it.

There are so many considerations involved in the concept of packaging. Some consumers want a box they can use multiple times for re-gifting, storage, or for art projects. Others are laser-focused on sustainability, and some are collectors of unique packages, wrappers, and retail containers. For example, people have collected classic candy wrappers and artsy beer bottles for decades.

What About Ink?

When merchants discuss packaging, they often overlook the idea of ink. It’s one of those subtle elements that sometimes falls through the cracks. However, the kind of ink you choose, as well as the colors, can have as deep an impact on your potential customers as the other, more obvious elements of custom packaging.

People in the printing industry like to say, “Think about ink,” and the phrase is more than just a clever rhyme. Ink is a vital part of your package. Without it, you’d be left with bare panels and confused customers. Ink adds personality and goes the extra mile in delivering your coherent, unified marketing message.

Custom ink, beyond the standard hues, is a cost-efficient way to make the words on your package resound in the customer’s mind. Die-cutting can add texture to the print and bring out a special part of the writing, logo, or image on your package. The sharp edges of a quality die-cut can add uniqueness to even the most common retail products. Look around your own home and notice some of the die-cut package designs that have made their way into your memory and brand awareness for dozens of household goods, foods, and other items you see every day.

Speak with your packaging pro about other ink options like spot UV printing, foil-stamping, and a wide variety of embossing selections. All can add that certain element of timelessness, artistry, and emotional warmth to whatever you sell.

Custom Package Styles That Make a Difference

Between now and 2023, the e-commerce industry is expected to grow to an astounding total value of more than $6.5 trillion, about 50 percent higher than it is now. Of course, the COVID pandemic had a lot to do with the speedy growth of the segment, but e-commerce and at-home shopping were already trends that were taking off long before 2020 began.

What are your options, as a merchant, when it comes to custom packaging? Here are some of the top choices among today’s retailers, all of which can be combined, tweaked, and further customized based on your needs as a seller.

  • Display Box: The key feature here is about display and appearance, but display boxes are also built to protect your items from damage once they are in use. They can be totally customized to fit your space requirements for display as well as the size of the products.
  • Straight Tuck End (STE): If you want classic, streamlined solutions for your product packaging, the STE works well. On both sides, they feature fold-tuck enclosures.
  • Sleeve: This traditional type of box is both durable and solid. It tray inserts that are double-walled and can be opened from any end.
  • Four-Corner Beer: For display, storage, or carrying, this style of package features a standard tray along with a lidded box.
  • Literature Shipping: Very light but also quite strong, the literature shipping box is ideal for books and written materials. Plus, its shape and size can be conformed to varying unique demands.
  • Pillow Box: Pillow boxes have their own look, are innovative, and not necessarily perfect for stacking, but when you want a simple, one-piece package unit that is simple to put together, the pillow box meets the need.
  • Foot Lock: For larger, heavy items, this design is a popular one for sellers who want extra shipping and storage stability.

The above are a very small sample of your options when choosing the kind of custom package style that suits your product and marketing goals best. Speak with your professional packaging agent to discover dozens more choices.

Know Your Product, Inside and Out

If you want the ideal custom package for your product, it’s important to follow the old adage, “Know thyself,” but in this case you need to know your package like the back of your hand. Before sitting down with a professional packaging team, make note of your product’s exact weight, dimensions, and other unique characteristics.

At Mid-Atlantic Packaging, our experts have worked with every conceivable type of package in the world, for businesses of all sizes, and products of all sizes, shapes, and weights. When you want to get started with your custom package, give us a call with any questions you have. Our direct number is 800-284-1332, and you don’t need to be a current customer to get the information you need.

And if you want to know more about all the custom packaging services we offer, visit our website and have a look around. You’ll be surprised at how many ways there are to enhance the look, feel, and impression that your customers get when they see your product’s package.