October 15, 2018 Last updated November 5th, 2018 6,143 Reads share

The Small Business Guide to Product Packaging

Woman from small business packaging a productImage Credit:

We’re always told ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. But, when it comes to your product packaging, that’s precisely what your customers will do.

Your product packaging is an extension of your brand. It doesn’t just have to stand out and attract new customers while highlighting your values and story. It also needs to be strong and sturdy, protecting your product within. No easy task, right?

Think about what you want your brand to convey. Is it a sense of nostalgia or innovation?  Excitement or comfort? The ability to create emotional connections with your audience is the key to increasing customer loyalty. There’s no better way to do that than utilising your packaging. Here’s how:


Keep your target market in mind

When designing packaging for your business, it’s crucial to identify where it is you’re hoping to sell your product before you begin the process. This will hugely impact your overall design. Whether you decided to sell online, in stores or both will differ your approach. Let’s focus on in-store packaging:

Products that are sold in physical shops will need to look good on a shelf while clearly communicating the benefits and standing out among competitors. Who will use your product? What do they generally look for in product packaging? Is it rigid or soft? Bold or understated?

By ensuring your design aligns directly with what you know about your target market and their purchasing habits, you can be sure that the right people are noticing your packaging.

Similarly, keeping your core values and ideals in line with your branding and packaging will help you to become recognisable, along with helping customers to know what you’re all about and if you’re the right brand for them.

Read more on how to identify your target audience.

Look to minimise waste at every opportunity

Once you’ve identified your audience, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of the packaging itself. We know that, when it comes to starting a business, there’s nothing more stressful than money woes. From premises to insurance, staffing to technology, it’s easy to get snowed in under the huge amount of costs leaving your account. But, have you ever considered the money that businesses waste on unnecessary product packaging?

With more and more customers becoming increasingly concerned with the environmental impacts of packaging, along with the number of materials wasted, any new business needs to address this within their operating strategy if they want to succeed. Both with their budgets and in terms of customer satisfaction. As customers grow increasingly dissatisfied with packaging, it’s crucial that businesses get it right.

While the overall design and material are important, trying to be overambitious at the start could significantly hinder your progress. Instead, business should limit design and packaging costs to retain a good margin. As space is often at a premium for start-ups and small businesses, investing in technology that can help to keep these costs down is a great way to keep budgets on track.

BCS box making machinery is a great choice for businesses who sell a range of different sized products and are looking for a quick and easy way to create packaging for their products. As box making machines produce packaging on demand, businesses don’t need to factor in storage or waste costs.


Material choice is crucial

While most businesses won’t stop to consider the specific materials they use for their product packaging, this could be harming sales. We’ve all been there, purchased from a company who prides itself on its sustainability, only for the product to arrive in a huge plastic bag.

Much like how people are becoming displeased with oversized packaging, the materials they are made from are under much scrutiny, too. Simply put, brands need to ensure they’re aligning their packaging with their core values. Now, consumers are considering brand ideals and eco-consciousness in their purchasing decisions.

This means it’s important for businesses to find recyclable, sustainable packaging solutions for their products. Materials such as corrugated cardboard and starch loose fill chips are the ideal choice. Both can be easily recycled and are biodegradable and compostable. Made from no hazardous materials, they are designed to create the minimum impact when disposed of.


Stand out from the crowd

It’s not rocket science – to encourage consumers to purchase your product, you have to offer something different and unique. After all, if not, they’ll simply stick to what they know and love. Researching your competition is the best way to get started. Take a look at what is common within your marketplace. Are there any popular colours or messages that seem to work more than others? By understanding what you’re up against, it makes it easier to create a design that helps you to stand out.

Similarly, businesses should consider the shape and function of the packaging itself. There’s a reason most product packaging conforms to a particular style. Companies have to maximise usability and functionality while also conforming to people’s existing expectations.

For example, sauces tend to come in squeezy bottles to minimise waste; tea is often found in bags to reduce mess, while water is bought in bottles for easy drinking on-the-go. However, just because there are specific ‘rules’, doesn’t mean these continue when it comes to branding.

With design, it’s all about conveying your brand message to your customer. Imagine you were explaining your business in just 3 words. How would you do it? What would you say? Businesses should use this approach when it comes to packaging.

With so many products, it’s easy for consumers to feel overwhelmed when making purchasing decisions. And, with so little time, we all want a direct answer, and quickly.


Consider the unboxing experience

From adapting your product packaging to offer more value to your customers – such as Birchbox’s re-usable drawers and boxes – to including additional freebies and discounts, today, there’s much more to packaging than simply protective or shipping purposes. And, customising your packaging can have a huge impact on how people view your brand.

From YouTube to Instagram, unboxing has become such a vast phenomenon that can boost your customer experience while helping to improve loyalty and satisfaction. And it’s not difficult.

Not only is it a relatively cost-effective form of marketing, but it’s common for customers to share examples of excellent packaging on social channels. This can help to spread the word about your business. Similarly, including little touches, such as branded paper or product tips, will help to cement your brand as a quality one. This simultaneously shows your customers you care, and is a powerful marketing tool. What have you got to lose?

Barry Tabor

Barry Tabor

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