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Packaging Design Tips for Your New Product

New consumer products are entering the market at an increasingly rapid rate. Thanks to crowdfunding platforms and the accessibility and affordability of prototyping, it’s never been easier to launch a product.

What most entrepreneurs don’t realize is that after the PR and sales high of crowdfunding or initial run of success wears off, sales typically slow. If you find yourself at this point, it’s time to start planning for “what’s next.”

Packaging Design

At The Grommet, we’ve been building a turnkey retail channel since 2008; allowing you to launch and scale your business from production sample to nationwide in-store distribution through our numerous retail partners. In virtually every instance, a key issue our Makers encounter with scaling quickly for retail presence is strong product packaging.

Packaging design is crucial to your product’s brand identity; it’s not something you want to try to do yourself in Microsoft Paint. Your shelf presence plays an important role and there are several major mistakes that first-time entrepreneurs make when designing their product packaging.

KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid)

It’s harder than it seems to achieve simple. Think about the last time you went shopping. How quickly did you glance over all the products in the store? What caught your eye?

At a quick glance, a customer should be able to see the product name, the features or benefits, and know exactly what the product is for.

Also, keep your packaging in line with your price point. If you have a low price point, it’s perfectly acceptable to have fairly basic packaging—little more than a cardboard backer card and a plastic bubble in the front.

If you have a luxury product, spend a little extra so a customer really feels like they got what they paid for. Opening a gift from Tiffany’s just isn’t the same without the trademark blue box. Make sure your customer feels the same way opening your product. You can increase your wholesale price to cover it if you can’t support it with existing margins. That way you’ll make it up in increased sales.

Big, Beautiful Imagery

A picture says a thousand words—especially on product packaging. You can’t grab a customer’s attention with a paragraph explanation, but you can with a powerful, compelling image. If possible, have a window so the customer can see the product through the packaging, then support it with lifestyle imagery as well.

If your product is a problem solver, a before-and-after image will serve you well. Sports/wellness product? Showing someone using the product can increase sales. Food product? Texture, texture, texture. You want the customer’s mouth to water just looking at it. Real estate is limited, so make sure your pictures work as hard as possible for you.

Appropriate Color Scheme

Inevitably, you’ll have a wish list of stores you think will be your best sales channels. Look at your category in those stores and see how the rest of the market is designing their packaging. What colors are they using? You won’t find neon colors in an Apple store, so be mindful of the environment you want the product to be shown in.

Versatility

Unfortunately, there isn’t one consistent retail environment that every product gets displayed in. (That would be pretty boring for a shopper if every store were virtually identical.)

Next time you’re in a retail store, look at all of the ways they display product—in a bulk bin, on a power aisle table or checkout registers, hanging on a wall, or resting on a shelf. Can your packaging work in every environment? Can it rest flat and also hang on the wall? If it’s in a bulk bin, can it withstand other products being dropped on it without being significantly damaged? Which brings me to . . .

Durability

Retail is a harsh environment for products. A rogue shopping cart will crash into a wall and items will fall off the shelf, hangtags break, packaging gets dinged and dented.

Unfortunately, when this happens, the store isn’t able to sell it so they’ll deduct the unit from what they owe you. No matter what you do, beat up your packaging prototype as much as you think you need to. Then beat it up some more. Pull on the product, see if the hangtag stays intact, drop it from above your head, drop it on the corner, how does it hold up?

We've given you a lot to consider when planning your packaging design. Let us know if you have any questions in a comment below.

Are you retail ready? Do you want to take your product to the next level? Submit your product to The Grommet here and let’s talk.

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