Packaging is, by definition, the material used to wrap or protect goods. However, it really does serve more purpose than just protecting its contents.
The first impression we get from a product is the packaging surrounding it, which can be the deciding factor for a brand's customer loyalty and sales success. Whether you’re an online store or there are multiple options surrounding your product on a shop shelf, you’ll want to make sure your packaging makes an impact on your consumers and is really delivering that instant wow factor so your product is the first one that's selected.
What makes for show-stopping packaging?
Quite simply, product packaging should hit 3 main functions: protection, containment and communication.
Firstly, packaging needs to provide sufficient protection to prevent content damage during transit, during its shelf life and until it has been opened by its purchaser. Have you ever opened a package and found the product inside damaged? First impressions count for new and existing customers, so make sure you get off on the right foot by ensuring your packaging meets all the necessary requirements for a safe journey.
To ensure your products are packaged well you will want to invest in sturdy packaging that can withstand a little rough and tumble. If your product doesn't fit the package snugly and may run the risk of moving around you will want to include either shredded paper or an additional box to minimise the risk of the product being damaged during transit.
This can provide a great opportunity for you to get really creative with your packaging content and you can add in extras to make your consumer's experience with your product a one-of-a-kind memorable one. You could add branded wrapping paper or shredding paper in your company colours and little gifts like sweet packets.
Additionally, you can add a seal-like sticker onto your packaging so that if the product is at all tampered with during its delivery journey this will be instantly noticeable, providing security for the product and peace of mind for you until it reaches its destination.
As important as it is for your products to be well-contained and protected in their packaging, another primary purpose for this is communication. Your packaging will want to convey a clear message to interested consumers about what they can expect when they open the box and unveil what's inside.
Your packaging should at the very least feature the name of your product and your brand name or logo. This information should be relevant to what’s in the packaging and communicate to the consumer what product they are looking at. The information you provide must be accurate to prevent mis-selling your product.
You can manage customers' expectations well by including a description of the contents on the packaging. A small description of what the product is will suffice and if relevant your label should consist of necessary legal information that meets standard government requirements.
More than just a box
As important as it is to have functional packaging, the design of your product's packaging should not be overlooked. Your packaging’s first job before anything is to attract consumers and encourage them to purchase.
We all know just how much first impressions count. And this is why you need a stellar design in order for your product to succeed. Your design should contain a style that will tempt consumers to pick up your product, and once the product is in a customer's hands is when they will make that decision on whether to purchase or not, which is when the fine details come in. To find out what’s attractive to your consumers you will need to conduct research into their demographic to figure out their wants and needs, and from this, you can create design ideas that compel them. The end goal is to have packaging so irresistible that your customers will buy the product just off the package, alone.
You should include a section of your packaging that sets it aside from other products in the market to make your brand stand out and increase the likelihood of a sale. Whether that be a detail in the artwork or an addition that adds value like free merchandise or your logo stickers, including even a small unique addition will contribute miles to your brand's success.
Print and packaging are probably one of the most essential parts of your product and will encourage customers to return to your brand, promoting consumer loyalty. You’ll want to listen to any feedback that customers may give you regarding packaging and if there’s any room for improvement, action it. You can conduct research alongside this to gather customer opinions and feedback so you can constantly provide the best product possible that you know your consumers will love.
Great packaging design
Here are some top tips on what basics to include in the design of your packaging to ensure you’re hitting that aesthetic sweet spot with your customers
- Make it eye-catching - keep it simple and use engaging on-brand colours
- Make sure your packaging reflects your product (an expensive item will want a luxury package). Think about stocks and textures for the message you want to convey
- Try to create an element of your design that stands out. You can look at foiling parts of your design, creating a funky logo or adhering to the minimalist trend
- Try and create an experience with your packaging if you can
- Only have relevant text on your packaging (but make sure you include necessary information)
- Make sure you’re staying consistent across your product ranges. You can assign different colours to collections
- Ensure your packaging is accessible - best quality stickers for seals and well-designed structure that allows for easy opening and close
- If your product is promoting sustainability, you may want to ensure your packaging is also sustainable
- If you need to include a lot of necessary information, it may be worth including this in a note inside the packaging to keep your outside design crisp and clean
As well as the design of the outside of the packaging, the inside of the box can be just as important to your customer's experience. We recommend that you include additional packaging on the inside of your box, such as product wrapping paper or shredded paper, stickers to hold the product together and keep-sakes such as thank you cards. You could even add an extra layer of engagement and run competitions for customers to win freebies or do a ‘find the golden ticket’ type activity in the boxes. These extra items will add a personal touch to the package and your customers will love it!
Importance of unboxing
If your packaging has served its purpose well, then your customers should reach this stage every time they purchase one of your products. Arguably one of the best stages of purchasing an item is unboxing it. A wave of emotion runs through your customer as they can't contain their excitement to find out exactly what's inside. They revel in the experience of unwrapping every layer as this memorable experience provides a rush of serotonin.
The aesthetically pleasing design and emotions felt with their packaging experience will encourage your customers to take pictures of your product, share it on their social media channels and send the image to friends. All of these actions contribute to the increase of your brand awareness and encourage more people to purchase your products.
Ultimate influencer boost
Influencers around the world are taking part in the unboxing trend, as they scour shop shelves and online stores for pretty packaging for video content, unveiling the products inside to report their findings to their huge audience. The unboxing experience is something that has recently become a huge trend for youtube and TikTok videos, as 1 in 5 consumers watch unboxing videos and in 2017 ‘unboxing’ had 60 million searches and 3 billion views on YouTube!
Being featured in an unboxing video would be a fantastic opportunity for your brand, so you’ll want to ensure your packaging design is doing its job and attracting as many consumers as possible to pick your product up. And you never know, one day you might see your own brand on your TikTok feed!
Designing product packaging can be a super fun and exciting time for your business - so enjoy it!
But now you have some ideas on how to improve your product packaging, you can go away and try revamping. Once you've got it all down to a T, make sure you share your results with us on social media!