5 Points About Packaging Your Product
Nicole Cameron shares five tips on packaging your product for optimal effect.
Considering that the average consumer spends five seconds looking at a product before making a purchase decision, it’s essential that the packaging that you choose for your product stands out above the crowd. For this reason, it’s no surprise that packaging design is a complex discipline, with experts spending years researching the best ways to house and market products. Even if you’re on a small budget, it may be worth enlisting an expert to guide you through the process. In the meantime, familiarise yourself with some of the issues you’re going to have to think about...
Take a look at the market
The first step in any branding project is to do your homework and see what your competitors are doing. If they are all opting for a certain material for packaging then chances are it’s for a good reason; though this is not to say you shouldn’t investigate other options. You don’t want to just replicate what’s already been done, but at the same time you want to make a feasible, practical choice.
Materials on offer
Certain products lend themselves to certain materials; for example if customers need to see your product then plastic is a better option than brown cardboard. Packaging materials are classified by their primary raw material; and then broken down into numerous sub-categories. For example, within the paper category, the choice could be between a bag, a box, a tube or a drum etc, and that’s before paper weight and finish even come into the equation. Keep your costs down by opting for a simple material choice that you can then dress up with unique design. Volume will also be an issue as many custom packaging vendors will only take orders on large volumes. In this case, it’s better to start on a smaller scale with stock items that can be customised to a certain extent – rather that than end up with 10 000 unused packages in your garage!
Doing the maths
If you go to town with packaging your product, you can quite easily end up paying more for the outside than for what’s inside. On average, you should budget for your packaging to cost 8-15% of the total cost. There are also all sorts of hidden costs (for example, if you want to ship your product, they’ll need to be in a master carton) so that’s why your packaging decisions need to be made early on, not as an afterthought as your product is about to go to market.
Bear in mind that retail space is at a premium so it’s all about taking up as little shelf space as possible; a point to factor in when selecting your packaging. You can also think about unique ways to merchandise your product – instead of on a shelf it could hang from a stand, or be displayed from a separate stand.
Remember that the simpler and cleaner the design is, the more effective it generally is. Stick to the basic rules of design (an expert is invaluable) and make sure that the product name, branding and message is strong. Be careful of gimmicks that might look impressive initially but that won’t have a long “shelf-life” – you won’t have an opportunity to change your packaging all that often.
Even if you don’t change your packaging often, it’s important to keep abreast of trends and new technologies, and try to modify your offering to accommodate small tweaks. The trend for sustainable materials has revolutionised the packaging world and simply can’t be ignored.
On a last note, be sure to listen to feedback from your friends and family regarding your packaging. They are less involved in the product than you are and will give important, raw feedback based on what they see. If your packaging is the silent salesman that never sleeps, getting it right will help you build a loyal customer base. Now, take some time to “think out the box”...