Your packaging plays an important role in your marketing, and the purchasing decisions of your customers, so it is a decision you cannot make lightly. There are many elements you need to consider, including the trustworthiness of the suppliers, the quality of the packaging, how well it can reflect your brand, its capabilities to protect your product, the pricing, functionality, and much more. Today, we’ll focus on choosing the right packaging for your product as well as using packaging as a marketing tool for your brand.
So, prop up your feet and read on to learn how to choose the right packaging.
Choosing the right packaging
As you struggle to bring a new product to market, the role of the right packaging in success often gets short shrift. However, packaging has a huge role when it comes to making your product more appealing to consumers and, thus, supporting your success.
Throughout the entire decision, you should conduct market research. This enables you to learn about your target market, what they value, what they need, what they expect, and their attitudes toward elements of packaging. For instance, certain colors and images have unique meaning for different target markets. Green is associated with the environment while gold is associated with luxury.
You should also review what works well for your competitors, and what gaps they miss. You want to differentiate your product from the competition, in most cases, although there is value in piggybacking on a dominant brand by mimicking their packaging. Certain products use a common package design and consumers learn to expect certain types of products to look a certain way. For instance, flour and sugar commonly come in 1 and 5-pound bags, while sweeteners come in individual packages inside a box. If you package your product in an unexpected way, your market might overlook your offering on the store shelves.
You should also conduct market research after you developed your packaging, so you can see how consumers respond to find ways to improve your packaging. For instance, Starbucks is eliminating their classic cups after decades of use as a way to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable business practices.
The packaging on any product should reflect who you are as a business, but also evoke a feeling of happiness, excitement and pleasure for your customers. If the packaging can improve the presentation of your product, you’ll get a better reaction from your target market, which in turn, leads to more positive purchasing decisions, repeat customers, and recommendations. Here are the things the right package offers your brand:
- Brand identity
- Provides ease of use
- Shows your brand values
- Provides information
- Encourages increased consumption
- Offers usage suggestions
Given the importance of the right packaging, let’s delve more deeply into each of the roles played by packaging.
The packaging needs to protect your product during the transportation process, as it’s stocked on shelves, and even stand up to sloppy baggers at the store (or consumers who don’t treat their purchases gently. You can have an amazing design, but if it is not practicable, or functional in protecting your product, you waste products that arrive damaged or don’t meet customer needs. This is especially important if your product has a long shelf life, is a unique shape, is delicate, or is heavy. It is extremely costly to replace products and deal with a problem later on, so it is best to spend time and invest in good packaging suitable for your product.
For instance, the packaging of eggs ensures they remain upright, which is much stronger than allowing eggs to rest on their sides. Try this at home and you’ll discover how easy it is to break an egg by pressing on its side. Potato chips are shipped with inert gas in the bag to keep from crushing the chips before the consumer can enjoy them at home. The gas, which replaces oxygen in the bag, also increases the shelf life of the chips.
If your business sells food, then you will need to consider packaging that meets health and safety standards, as well as reducing contaminants. This packaging ensures the product remains fresh over a longer period of time. There are plenty of options to choose from that don’t involve plain plastic wrapping, such as customizable pouches. The stand up pouch manufacturing process makes the packaging air and watertight, which is an ideal feature for packaging food.
Also, consider protecting your product from tampering or intentional damage. For instance, drug packaging often includes some means to determine if someone tampered with the product, such as plastic overwraps that are damaged if someone attempts to tamper with the drugs.
The design of your packaging should reflect your business and your branding. The right packaging instills your brand with certain personality traits and builds positive associations for consumers. The materials that you use, and the design of the packaging need to align with your values and reflective of your business identity. You can incorporate your branding into your design and packaging with the shape, the colors, and much more. For instance, the gold packaging used by Godiva suggests the richness of the products within the package and helps justify the high price charged for the brand. Your packaging should also make it easy for consumers to find your product when faced with a shelf full of competitors. Some companies use family branding across their packages by employing the same color scheme and image across product packages to make it easier for consumers who like one product in the family to buy others.
You will also need to consider the weight of the packaging, as this impacts shipping costs, which, in turn, impacts your customer’s pricing.
Support ease of use
Consumers shouldn’t struggle with packaging to use your product. The right packaging is easy to open, helps consumers use the product properly, and is safe. We’re all familiar with the struggle to open CDs and DVDs shrouded in plastic shrinkwrap. Adding a simple pull tab would make opening these products much easier and it always amazed me that none of the media companies added them.
There are many other examples of packaging that provide for ease of use. For instance, using a pour spout is a great benefit for liquid and powdered products. Resealable packaging, such as ziplock bags, helps consumers ensure freshness once they open the packaging.
Another aspect of ease of use is allowing consumers to decide how much product they want to use. As manufacturers become more aware that family size varies widely, they improved the portion control options for their products. For instance, a single person now has the ability to purchase cans of vegetables perfect for one meal while big families can purchase larger cans more appropriate for their needs.
Shows your brand values
The type of packaging, the materials used, and images on the packaging are a great way to show consumers your commitment to the values they hold dear. Since consumers, especially younger ones, shop for brands that support their values, adding elements like this to your packaging shows your commitment at the point of purchase where it likely has the greatest impact.
Ever notice the number of shoppers who look at the labels before making a purchase? That’s because consumers want to know more about the products they consume. Their need for product information is so great that legislators passed laws requiring brands to share certain types of information on their packaging, such as calories, ingredients, and source.
Encourages increased consumption
Packaging in larger quantities, something called bundling, is a tactic designed to encourage consumers to buy a larger quantity than they would without the packaging. When I was growing up, you bought fruit and vegetables by the piece. Now, a common consumer complaint is that these products come packaged in larger quantities. For some, this makes shopping more convenient but it also encourages shoppers to buy a larger volume than they might purchase if products were individually packaged.
And, it’s not just fruit and vegetables that come in bulk packages. In fact, some of these bundles actually have a negative impact on the environment not just on consumer wallets. I recently heard that some companies are eliminating the plastic rings that bundle beer cans and soda bottles together because they represent a serious environmental threat to sea life and other animals.
Offers usage suggestions
In addition to other roles of consumer packaging, the marketing role involves offering tools for consumers to get more from their purchases. By including recipes, demonstrating installation, or offering other ways to use the product, the brand encourages more consumers to buy their product and to buy more of the product, given its many uses.
The packaging that your product comes in should not only be practicable but should impress your customers. Packaging can significantly impact buying decisions and should be created and designed carefully.