Guide to product packaging for small companies

product packaging

People should never judge a book by its cover, but in the business world buyers are doing it when they evaluate products.

They think that the package of the products is the extension of the brand, and they make a purchase if they like how it looks.

When running a business, you need to create a product packaging that stands out, attracts new clients, and share your values and story. You may think that a simple box cannot do all these things, but if you choose the right packaging provider, it will offer more than a strong and sturdy cover. What message do you want your products to transmit? Do you want to generate excitement or nostalgia? The packaging has the power to create emotional connections with your public, so you should ensure you are creating one that attracts buyers. Here’s how to do it:

Before creating the design of the box

You should ask yourself three questions before contacting the packaging provider:

  • What product do you want to sell?
  • Who is buying it?
  • How are they buying it?

What products do you want to sell? It’s a simple but important question because it helps you to identify if there are any logistical necessities it requires. If it has odd dimensions or a special form, you may need to customise the packaging.

Who is buying the product? Do you address to men, women or both? Do children or adults use it? Do you sell it to environmentally conscious clients? Are you an eco-friendly company? The ideal box appeals to your ideal public, so it’s crucial to identify your target audience before starting the design process.

How are they buying it? Are you selling the products online? In a small store? In a supermarket? If the products are shipped worldwide you need to choose a sturdy packaging. If you sell them in a supermarket, you need to choose one that stands out from your competitors.

During the packaging design process

Once you answered the above questions you can start the creative process. Keep in mind that you want your packaging to tell a story so all the choices you’ll make should support this decision.

Step 1

Every packaging has three layers: inner packaging, outer packaging and product packaging. Depending on the product you sell, you may need one, two or all of them.

Your clients see the outer packaging, the part that protects the content from outer elements. Most of the times is the same box the product is shipped in.

The inner packaging keeps the content safe and you can choose from tissue paper, packing peanuts and bubble wrap. If you want to keep the content fresh you should opt for a sealed bag.

Step 2

The packaging provider will present you a list with types of packages suitable for your product. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose between two different types, and you need to consider some factors.

Start with the product because it’s the determining factor. Liquid products limit your options, but you can use your creativity to come up with something unique.

Then you should identify the competition because they are already selling a similar product in a package. You want to pick something suitable for your product, but something that also stands out when listed together with other ones.

And you should not forget about the budget because it has the final word in your choice. Establish what the budget per piece is, and how much it will add to the price the customer will pay.

Step 3

During this step you will have to think back at the first three questions you had to answer. The answers will influence the information architecture of the packaging. When someone picks your products from the shelf, are checking all the architecture elements but they’ll remember a single one of them, so you should decide what message do you want to share.

You may have pictures with the products, testimonials from the clients, and a witty explanation on how it solves a problem, but you have to pick the thing you want people to remember once they put the product back on the shelf. If you collaborate with a provider like Atlantic, you should inform the buyer that they are holding an eco-friendly package in their hands, and if they purchase the product they reduce the waste that damages the planet.

Step 4

You need to evaluate the design of the product packaging, and make changes if some aspects don’t match your preferences and values. When the packaging provider sends you the samples, you should ask yourself some questions:

Is it clear what my product is?

When someone looks at the product, is it clear for them what it is? People buy only things they understand so you have to make sure it doesn’t confuse them. For example, one great mistake cleaning-product providers make is to choose bottles that look similar to soda ones. It’s a wrong way to attract attention towards your product because it can lead to accidents.

Does the packaging honestly represent the content?

The biggest mistake you can make is to misrepresent the product on the packaging. If you include photos, use real photos of the content. If you sell muffins with blueberries, and the photos show a muffin filled with blueberries, but it actually contains two or three, your clients will be disappointed, and will never buy from you again.

How will it look in stores?

When selling products in stores, self-impact is crucial. So you want to sell a product in a visible box, when lined next to others to attract attention. Place the important information on the front and centre of the package. Try to imagine how it’ll look next to the competition when placed together. Go into one of the stores where you want to sell it, and try to figure out where it will be placed. Are the competitors choosing to package in a similar colour?

The package is as important as the product because it determines its success on the market. Only a well-created design will attract the right audience.

Photo by Daily Nouri on Unsplash