How to Make Product Packaging: Top Tips

Nov 20, 2019

111 Paulina Z.

How to Make Product Packaging: Top Tips

Can’t decide what packaging fits with your product and brand best? In this article, you will find out why proper packaging is a must and how to make the best of it. Besides keeping the product safe, packaging, if it has an eye-catching design, serves as a business card introducing your company.

Are you wondering why you even need to waste your time on such a minor detail as a box or wrapping paper? Think about it in a different way – what strikes the eye of a person receiving a parcel at first? The clear answer is – packaging. It is the reason why choosing the right wrapping for your product is the first critical step in making customers fall in love with the brand at first sight.

Why is Packaging Important?
What are the Levels of Packaging?
How do Top Brands Approach Packaging?
Top 10 Packaging Tips for Your Company

Why is Packaging Important?

Why should you invest in proper product packaging? When customers pick the necessary item and click on the delivery button, they usually just close the browser and call it a day. However, later, when they come home after a hectic day at work and notice at the doorstep not just a boring carton box with layers of black tape around it, but something unpredictably appealing – the magic happens.

The nice package can bring back good memories from childhood about tearing apart the colorful boxes on Christmas morning, and if it happens, the client is likely to enjoy the purchase more and order from your company again. While designing the product covering, treat your product as it is a person dressing up for an important interview. People often judge by the cover, and the first impression counts.

A properly designed package will not necessarily find its way directly to the trash bin after the box is opened. If a logo icon or a brand picture tickles customer’s curiosity, they are likely to bring it home. This customer may discover that a nice box or vivid brand bag is a perfect item to smarten up a cosy interior spot or use it as a perfect-fit place for storing an acquired product. In this case, staying at sight, the packaging will also work as a reminder of your brand and trigger to surf your website once again and maybe make another purchase. On top of that, being showcased at home, the package will surely attract the attention of the family members and guests and it is it likely to expand your client base.

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What are the Levels of Packaging?

The marketers and merchants single out three levels of packaging that have different purposes. There is no doubt that the first level – the primary packaging is critical for your company as besides the product itself it is what makes the items you sell special.

Then comes the second level, it is called tertiary packaging. Usually, the customers barely notice it and throw away directly, but the truth is that it is one of the most important steps in creating a proper product packaging. If you ship a few items at the same time, tertiary packaging ensures that nothing will break inside of the box.

Last but not least – the third level, protection packaging. You need to ensure the safety of the whole product before your customer receives the long-awaited box. When you put time, money and effort in making the prime packaging look nice and eye-catching, it is always a good idea to ensure that your customers will receive it in good condition. On the stock shelves, during the shipping and delivery, there is a high chance that the package will be dropped at least once. The protection should be firm and durable, especially if the products you sell are fragile like home-crafted items or lamps.

You may think that packaging is a minor detail that does not deserve your time and money but a mistake here can lead to a dramatic decrease in sales, regardless of high product quality and proper advertising campaign. Some plain cardboard box will not raise up a nice feeling about your product in the minds of people receiving it. As well as a bright but weak wrapping paper will not make any better the negative impression of getting a damaged product.

Ecommerce packaging -infografics

How do Top Brands Approach Packaging?

When you deliver for the local market, the customers may be okay with receiving a simple box, even though they would be much happier to get something more unique. But when someone makes an order with international delivery, the expectations raise up much higher. Placing the product in a common paper box or plain black wrapping can hardly help you become competitive on the global market. When you ship your product worldwide, you need to keep up with the hottest trends and analyze the customers’ tastes to make the best of it.

There are two prime factors that matter:

1. Colors. Packaging color can subconsciously influence a customer’s purchase decisions. Your company becomes more recognizable and stands out from the others that create similar products. Nivea. Nike. Tiffany & Co – do you see the pattern? When you think about these brands, you immediately imagine a specific color.

2. Materials. Package materials can also impact the choice. Almost everyone today is aware of the global environmental problem so many people try to step aside from the consumer mindset. Wasteful products are no longer trending, and it’s time to go green and use natural materials. When it comes to packaging, remember that there is no need to put hundreds of layers of plastic wrapping around your product.

Tiffany - Packaging Tips and Tricks

What is Frustration Free Packaging?

Since one of the main ideas around the product packaging is to deliver a message to your customers, you need to share your company’s values. The message should be clear and understandable. Let’s take Amazon as an example. They have been struggling with the problem of negative unpacking experience until they launched a Frustration Free Packaging (FFP) program back in 2008.

This program has allowed companies to get a special certification which proves that their own package meets all the requirements, including the right size, eco friendly materials and easy to open. When the companies get FFP certificate, their products no longer require additional Amazon box.

Frustration Free Packaging is known to be easy to open and made of 100% recyclable materials. It was designed to meet the needs of a modern customer making unpacking easy, fast and reduce waste at the same time. But isn’t it what all multinationals try to do now? What’s special about FFP? If Amazon just changed the package, simply put a note about it on the website and that’s it – no one would probably even notice. But one of the reasons behind Amazon’s success is that they do anything simply. They have created a huge marketing campaign explaining why this packaging change is significant, Amazon gave it a special name and even published a set of YouTube competition videos about how smooth and fast unpacking goes now compared to their old boxes. Amazon told a story – and people listened to them.

Amazon Frustration Free Packaging Programs

Top 10 Packaging Tips for Your Company

#1. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Customer’s needs vary greatly, so do the products that they buy. You cannot just steal the packaging idea from some industry leaders and see how it goes. Every brand has its own special features, and when you find out what your company’s unique part is, make sure that your packaging underlines it. It is all about the right message coupled with convenience and outstanding design.

#2. Keep in mind who your customer is.

When it comes to design, you need to predict and understand the expectations of a person who is going to receive this package. What is your target audience? Your customers are the ones who meet your product seeing the packaging first. And it is one of the significant aspects in making a decision to either purchase more of your products or check out what your competitors have to offer.

Whether it is a feature-packed product or a simple garment bag, you can always find a way to surprise a customer. You can make packaging examples and ask your most loyal customers either in social media or in-person in your brick and mortar what they prefer. Interaction is always appreciated, and crowdsourcing is one of the best ways to make your customers feel that your brand is about them. When they invest time in helping you to select the right packaging, they are likely to start feeling the commitment to your brand and products.

#3 Don’t be afraid to keep it too simple.

Simplicity is trending. People are overwhelmed with a great variety of bright elements and colors, and the absence of those makes them feel comfortable. Targeted with hundreds of ads, people just want to rest. For example, think of Apple and its minimalistic design. This top brand has become one of the reasons why people today associate simplicity with luxury.

Using fewer detailer has multiple advantages to your business. It is easier to make such a package look stylish and you use fewer materials which usually means that packaging will not cause that much pain in your wallet. Even though designing a proper minimalistic packaging can be quite costly, in the long run, it can still save you a lot of money.

Particularly, minimalism works well for startups. When launching a new product, you strive to make everything perfect, however good packaging doesn’t have to be all-embracing and expensive. In some cases, all you need is to combine your logo, motto and a few elegant details in a right way – that’s it.

However, do not blame on this tip if you have decided to just wrap the white box with black tape and it didn’t work out. It has to be clear that you kept packaging simple on purpose, not because you were running out of creative ideas or materials.

packaging marketing tips (1)

#4 Think green – use eco friendly materials.

Plastic packaging is one of the biggest contributors to trashing the planet, as it accounts for more than 40 percent of non-recyclable plastic [1]. You don’t have to be good with numbers to understand that sustainable packaging should be given a priority. Without plastic wrappings and bags, our world would become much cleaner than it is today. Simply putting an item into a colorful plastic bag with a brand logo is no longer an acceptable solution.

Over 66% of consumers worldwide are ready to pay more for environmentally-friendly products [2]. It matters for them whether a brand makes a positive social and environmental impact or not. Millennials tend to be the most concerned about sustainability.

Less is more – it is a good idea to remove the unnecessary packaging layers and overloaded designs. When a retailer puts a pair of socks in a carton and then wraps with three layers of plastic, it looks hilarious and wasteful.

More and more people around the world try to follow sustainability trends, they will be thankful if you help them make the right choice. Use green packaging right and you will be surprised how it positively affects your business.

However, let’s not be hypocritical – eco-friendly packaging for the top planet trashers looks just weird. Trying to make your company more environmentally friendly, it is always better, to begin with the main product itself.

#5 Make your packaging serve another purpose.

The zero-waste concept is on top of go green idea. It means that the package’s life can be efficiently extended if a customer can find a way to use it elsewhere. You should just make the package applicable and the customer will choose what to do next. If many people discover how your packaging may be used for other purposes, they are likely to share this idea with friends or in their social media. It will contribute to your brand awareness, and there is even a chance that someone will purchase your product just to get that nice talked-about package.

There are also a lot of brands that have made zero-waste packaging their special feature. Selling groceries in bulk or organic free-package cleaning supplies, companies find their specific niche with their own customers, specifically Millennials. For example, Wild Minimalist – one of the top companies promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

Wildminimalist - eco friendly product packaging

#6 Make sure the package keeps the product save.

Okay, let’s put it straight, there is nothing worse than a damaged or completely broken product. In that case, even the most unique package design will not save you from a wave of negative reviews. That is why the packaging should not only be attractive but able to perform the main task – protect the product. High quality is a priority for packaging material. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, in every case, a retailer should analyze the product, the delivery mean and overall situation to decide what material will work best. Sometimes, especially if you ship internationally, ecommerce packaging may require heavier or more durable materials.

#7 Make customers smile.

You don’t have to use a script of the recent stand-up show as a product packaging cover, although, a cookie with a relevant joke inside or wordplay tagline can be a nice alternative. Sometimes, it can make even a picky customer smile and choose a product that they would not normally if the joke did not draw their attention. A funny slogan can make a proper birthday present out of almost any product.

However, do not overuse jokes and funny pictures – there is a measure in all things. Another important aspect here is to make sure that your humor is understandable to your target audience. When your product is selling best among Baby Boomers or Gen Xers, they are unlikely to appreciate some Tik Tok joke trending among the youngest teenagers on the package.

#8 Don’t forget about the unboxing experience.

For many people, unpacking is the best part of making a purchase. For example, when the item is delivered to become someone’s birthday gift or Christmas present, the surprise makes it twice more special. The person receiving this gift will probably enjoy unwrapping the colorful box layer by layer. However, it is important not only when it comes to celebrations, unpacking the item that a client has purchased online, makes them feel as they are getting a present even though it is not Christmas or any other holiday.

If you are still not convinced that unpacking experience is important, try to put #giftunwrapping hashtag on YouTube or Instagram search. If you have never heard about this tag, you probably will be surprised how popular such videos are among the Generation Alpha – small kids – and what a useful tool it can be to promote your business. Try to make unpacking unforgettable.

#9 Keep it easy to open.

Imagine, you receive a parcel that you have been waiting for days, snatch it from the courier’s hands and full of excitement to finally want to open it – the last thing you would enjoy is spending 10 minutes trying to get rid of all the tape. The same it works with your customers. They want to see that the package is firm and durable, but they do not want to struggle to fight with the carton box.

Certainly, the main thing is what you are selling – the product itself, but as with Amazon’s FFP, you’d better make sure to avoid losing potential customers when unpacking becomes a real torture. When the package is designed, it is a good idea to take some time and try to open up the box yourself. It won’t take much effort from your side, but here you may discover some inconveniences that you did not notice before.

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#10 Stay honest about the product.

Since great packaging’s aim is to emotionally engage with a customer, you may think of trying to impress the buyer with the hyped-up piece of marketing embodied in product packaging design. Telling lies about the product on the package will not bring your company any good. Sooner or later, some picky customer is going to find out the awards mentioned on the front side are fake or the recommendations all over the backside are written by your own employees.

Make the product say it all. For example, if your business is a bookshop, stick a bookmark with the company motto to the front side of the packaging. Producing the eco-friendly furniture, put the items into a twisted bamboo leaf. So, two in one.

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A bonus tip: Why Gift Packaging and Limited Edition Boxes are the Musts?

Not everybody is fond of unexpected gifts, and you can use it wisely. Many people give friends or family members what they have already chosen for themselves before, for example, like a favorite perfume or premium alcohol, but such a gift is unlikely to impress the receiver. That is where gift packaging takes the lead. On that stage, you can create a superior customer experience they won’t forget. Individual custom packaging and a birthday gift box turn out to become a strong reason for a buyer to continue using the services of the company.

Limited edition boxes can do even more profit for you because it makes anyone feel special. In a peaky season like Christmas or crazy shopping days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, everybody wants to find something unique. Crafting something special just for every client will amaze this person so much that they will be willing to help you in promoting your business sharing with everyone the experience delivered by your brand.

Conclusion

Regardless of what your brand and the target audience are, brainstorming the ideas of smarter and beneficial packaging will never be a waste of your time because you never know when the perfect idea strikes your mind. Just give it a try and find a perfect sustainable, effective and creative solution – approach business packaging smart. Great packaging inspires, informs, and breeds a warm fuzzy feeling, that makes life a bit better!

[1] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/05/plastics-facts-infographics-ocean-pollution/
[2] https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/73-percent-of-millennials-are-willing-to-spend-more-money-on-this-1-type-of-product.html

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