At its most basic level, product packaging offers a way to protect products and accessories so that they are safe from the moment they leave factories or warehouses until they get to the hands of shoppers. Packaging ensures that these products will reach their destination without damage or loss. From design to engineering, packaging design can play a significant role in the overall success of a company and its branding strategy.
When shoppers look for products on retail store shelves, about a third of their decision-making process will hinge upon how the perceive packaging. There is no question that packaging has a big impact on your product; it will determine how your products are sold and initially viewed by your potential customers. This is a great opportunity to make your product stand out. The most common areas that packaging is placed include: on shelves, on the front of the product, on the back, in the hand, or even stuck on the walls of a brick-and-mortar store. With regard to e-commerce, packaging is first seen on a digital screen, but it eventually gets to the hands of shoppers when products are delivered, thus giving you a chance to make another great impression.
Product Packaging as a Business Philosophy
Of the many stories about how packaging plays a major role in retail success, one of the most often mentioned is Apple, a company that has become synonymous with innovation. We pretty much know what to expect when we purchase a new iPhone these days: Whether we get it from a physical store or order it online, the packaging materials and presentation are going to be just as iconic as the mobile device itself. This branding philosophy, which was conceived by Steve Jobs and Jony Ive, gave way to the original boxes for the iPhone, iPod and iPad. They were white boxes with the stark white Apple logo, and they were instantly recognizable, but look a bit closer at the details and you’ll see that the packaging is designed to be as beautiful as the product it contains. Not just eye-catching but innovative and clever.
Ive and Jobs looked at the shape of the box to determine how the product could be packed to be minimal. So instead of round boxes you see square boxes, so there is no wasted space. This minimizes the amount of material needed to produce the box. When it comes to packaging, Apple’s way of thinking should be the way all brands treat their products.
Choosing a Packaging Partner Instead of Just Another Supplier
There are many choices to choose from when it comes to packaging suppliers, it can be overwhelming. The company you choose as your primary packaging supplier should fit your business model as if it was a partner, and it should be able to meet the following expectations:
- It offers close to everything you need in terms of packaging materials as well as supplies.
- It is able to work with your lead times throughout the year.
- The minimum order quantities (MOQs) are reasonable and suitable for your operations.
- Package customization and design are offered on an in-house basis.
Companies that operate in an industry that is saturated with manufacturers must pay closer attention to their product packaging because it can make a substantial bottom-line difference. This is why the importance of choosing the right packaging partner cannot be downplayed, and the same goes for whenever you feel that the time has come for a change.
The Right Time to Make the Switch
Naturally, if you feel that your current supplier is holding you back with low-quality materials that fail to keep products safe even before they are received at retail locations, or if they’re constantly low on the packaging packaging you need, the best course of action is to start looking for replacement partners right away; this goes without saying, but there are other reasons that should steer you towards the idea of a switch.
If you have been selling products for a while, you know that the dynamics of supply and demand can be quite nuanced. You may have experienced initial sales success when launching a new product, but then you notice that sales remain flat despite implementing a couple of discount strategies. Most business owners and brand managers will dive into sales analytics and gather business intelligence in order to figure out why sales are stagnant, but only some of them will consider the potential of packaging being the problem. Product development consultants tend to be better at spotting these issues.
Can packaging improve your product sales potential? Absolutely. The packaging you use to display your products can actually affect sales performance: It can either increase your sales or decrease them. According to a study by the National Display Association, 60% of consumers routinely choose products because of their packaging. We tend to purchase a particular product because of how it looks or because it matches with our lifestyles, and we do not need deep introspection to figure this out.
In the retail world, the most effective way to sell a product is not by giving it away for free, or by making it cheaply. It’s by selling it with great packaging and a good display. If you suspect that your packaging supplier is not helping you get better sales, this could be a good argument in favor of looking at other options. Here are four more reasons for you to think about when evaluating your current supplier and comparing it to competitors:
- What do other suppliers offer? This is pretty straightforward. Let’s say a fashion boutique owner wants to include small gift baskets or at least gift bags filled with potpourri or even confectionery items to select shoppers during the holiday season. This is a clever way to earn customer loyalty, but not all packaging suppliers offer items such as cello bags, Mylar, and embossed seals required to wrap things up in a classy manner.
- Which suppliers are known for their clients? When evaluating prospective packaging partners, try to engage them in shop talk. Ask them about major accounts they manage; they will be able to tell you as long as there aren’t any non-disclosure agreements in the way. If for some reason they are not able to provide this information, ask them to show you their best work even if it is not branded.
- What can you do for me? The answer you are looking for should be related to the range of capabilities of your prospective packaging partner. For example, not all providers of packaging supplies offer custom design. As for printing, you will want to ensure that your special coating and embossing orders can be fulfilled without having to get a third party involved.
- What kind of process do you follow? This question can be asked right after the prospect presents you with a high-quality sample. In essence, you want to know how your packaging is made, how the raw materials are obtained, and what the company does in order to deliver the best solutions.
After you get answers for the questions above, you can go into specifics such as prices, lead times, and details about the design process. Good suppliers who trust in the quality of their materials will let you “test-drive” some of their products; for example, the manager of a Chinese take-out restaurant may want to obtain a few carry-out containers and take them to her kitchen to see how they hold up when filled with piping-hot food.
If your current provider of packaging supplies is falling behind on quality control, you have every right to point this out and seek resolution; this isn’t necessarily a red flag unless the issue keeps happening over and over. Proper communications and basic customer service are deal breakers because suppliers know that clients are looking for business partners these days. In general, you do not want to put up with more than one red flag.
Consider Mid-Atlantic Premier Packaging as Your Business Partner
You and your brand need more than just attractive packaging. When you are to search for a packaging partner you can rely on, please feel free to contact our office. Let us know what you have in mind so that we can offer the right solutions.
With over four decades of experience in the packaging supplies industry, Mid-Atlantic is a company that started off as a home-based operation; in other words, we know what it takes to go from a small business to a large enterprise. These days, our clients include businesses located in North America, the Caribbean, and Europe.