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Choosing packaging for business

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Choosing packaging for business

You’re almost ready to take your product to market, now you just need to choose the packaging it will be contained inside. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It just needs accurately reflects what it is, what it does, suits your budget, keeps the product safe from damage, provides a positive experience for the user…. and so much more.

The truth is, choosing packaging isn’t simple at all. We’ve compiled 6 factors you might want to take into account when deciding on the packaging you’ll provide with your product:

Your needs

Every company is a little different – so there are no hard and fast rules relating to what your packaging needs are going to be. Instead, asking some questions is going to be important:

  • Will I be posting my product and packaging? If you want to keep an eye on cost this is going to play a big part in the design and material you opt for.
  • What is the most important job for my packaging? Are you looking for something that’s going to enhance your brand image? Or is your packaging simply something to ensure your product makes it to a customer’s house in one piece?
  • Generic or branded? For some people, a simple brown cardboard box is going to suffice – for others, laser cut logos and custom colours are exactly what’s needed.
  • Who do you want to deal with? Are you keen to keep your business local? Do you want to focus on companies that compete entirely on price? Is a personal service important to you? Would you like to work with a company who can provide design?

Finances

While it might be a nice idea to provide a velvet-lined mahogany box for your product, you’re really going to want to keep an eye on the cost of the packaging compared to the cost of the product if the numbers are going to work out.

A good supplier will be able to talk to you about breaking costs down into price per unit. Packaging cost is often weighted toward the beginning of your relationship with a supplier – this is because creating a new item means inputting new designs into their specialist programs and machinery.

If initial costs look a bit scary, it might help to look at what those design and implementation costs are across the full year – providing your packaging doesn’t change, you’ll only be paying these once, so unit price will drop dramatically in the months to come.

Brand image

What do you want your packaging to say about your company? Don’t be fooled into thinking that only expensive luxurious packaging speaks volumes. Although it depends somewhat on your product, there are many customers who are going to be more impressed by easily-recycled, minimal or basic but well-thought-through packaging.

It’s also worth considering how you’re going to market your product when you’re talking packaging. If your company plans to sit your product on supermarket shelves – then it’s time to do some significant research into what’s working for the companies whose products will be alongside yours. In some instances, packaging communicates more about what’s inside than the product itself – if you think this is going to be the case, packaging design is going to decide whether your product sinks or swims.

Asking who your customers are going to be is another area that is important to think about. In trying to appeal to too many people, you run the risk of missing the target with everyone. Statistics show that packaging design is one of the biggest considerations for a person when deciding whether or not they will purchase an item again. Think about defining your target audience and start with those people at the forefront of your design plans.

Environment

There are a couple of environmental concerns you might want to keep in mind when you’re choosing packaging. The first is the packaging itself – are you looking at using a material that is easily and widely recycled?

Secondly, is the company you’re going to be using to provide this packaging operating in a manner that is in keeping with the environmentally sound product they’re producing? Curtis Packaging are a UK based packaging supplier who boast a number of awards – not only for their outstanding design, but for their environmental practices too. Using a company like Curtis means you’re sourcing products that are 100% green – from the sourcing of their raw materials, to the point your end-users puts your packaging into their recycling bin.

Product Price

Packaging is often an after-thought that is factored-in beyond the point a company sits down to talk about their product pricing structure. It’s important that you’re thinking about the financial implications of packing from the get-go – it’s not uncommon for a company to factor 10% of their retail price to reflect the cost of their packaging and shipping solutions.

Postage

In the past, the only thing that affected postage costs was the weight of a product. More recently postage companies have moved to ‘volumetric pricing’ – meaning the size and the weight of the product are taken into consideration when calculating cost. Royal Mail size and weight formats can be found here.

Look at the size guidelines for major postage suppliers and keep them in mind when you’re deciding on your packaging design. The difference in a few millimetres can be the difference between one size category and the next – a step up that will often see a hike in a few pounds in cost. It might seem a bit of a leg-work now – but if you’re selling a couple of thousand units a month, that small amount is going to add up quickly!

Dedicate time to your packaging!

If there is one take-away message here – it’s to dedicate a good amount of time to the consideration of your packaging requirements! Finding a good company to support with this can make a big difference – instead of taking your dimensions and quoting a price, you might want to work with someone who understands your business and your product – in doing so, you’re effectively replacing guess work with years of packaging experience.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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