Imagine that you’re walking down an aisle at a store when you see two practically identical products. They do the same thing, and they have the same price. The only difference between them is the packaging. One item is wrapped up in a dull, plain box. The other is in wrapped up beautifully. The box it is in is a shiny, smooth paperboard. There’s a logo embossed on the top, and a ribbon wrapped around its center.
Which product do you buy? If you’re like many people, you’re going to choose the product that’s wrapped up in the attractive package, even if every other detail about the items is the same.
Packaging doesn’t just make your company’s products stand out in a crowd. It can also shape how people think and feel about what you’re selling, which can make them more likely to purchase from you. When a particular brand of beer reverted to a “vintage” package design dating from the 1970s, more people bought the beer over 30 days. People who hadn’t purchased it said that they were more likely to consider it the next time they were going to buy beer.
Even if your company isn’t large and only produces small runs of the products it sells, it can still benefit from using custom product packaging. Combining eye-catching packaging with other visual elements, such as point-of-purchase displays and environmental graphics, will help you grab people’s attention and make them want to check out what’s inside your packages.
What Is Custom Retail Packaging?
When you’re deciding how to package a product, you usually have two options. You can pick out “stock packaging,” which is unlabeled, unbranded packaging, such as plain paperboard boxes or solid-color paper or plastic bags. You can jazz up stock packaging by affixing custom labels to it. Usually, stock packaging comes in a limited range of shapes and sizes.
Custom packaging is made specifically for your brand and its products. You can choose the size and shape of the package as well as the graphics and design that get printed on it. Because they are made just for your brand and products, custom boxes and packaging do tend to cost more than standard stock options. For many brands that decide to use a custom packaging design, the increased attention and sales are worth the extra cost.
Why Use Custom Product Packaging
Since plain, stock packaging is often the less expensive option, you might be tempted to package your products in it. That might be particularly true if you’re only producing a short run of a product or will have limited stock. But small run custom packaging does more than provide a safe and secure holder for an item until a customer can get it home and open it. In many instances, the packaging becomes part of the product itself and a critical part of the customer experience.
If you’re on the fence about using custom retail boxes or other custom packages for your products, here are a few reasons why doing so can be worth your while.
1. Set Your Products Apart
One reason to use custom packaging when selling your products in a retail setting is that your packaging will help to distinguish your brand’s items. If your products are wrapped up in exciting and unique packages, they are likely to attract attention from shoppers, even if those shoppers originally went into a store thinking they knew exactly what they wanted.
In many cases, the package your products come wrapped in serve as the first introduction to your company for a customer. If they see a product in a non-descript box or packaged in a bottle, bag or other container that’s a poor fit for what’s inside, they might think twice about buying something. On the other hand, an item in an attractive box or bag or in a package that seems to have been made just for it is likely to grab their interest.
Although conventional wisdom says to do otherwise, when people are out shopping, they are very much judging books by their covers. Those with the most visually appealing covers are going to get a second glance and are more likely to end up in a shopper’s basket or cart while products with unattractive covers or packaging usually end up left on the store shelves.
2. Create an Experience for Your Customer
The packaging of a product helps to create and define the customer’s experience whether they are buying a pair of shoes, a new gadget or candy. In some cases, the packaging gives people a chance to share their experience of a product with others.
For example, take a look at the popularity of unboxing videos on YouTube. As of 2017, the amount of time people spent watching unboxing videos was the equivalent of watching the film “Love Actually” 20 million times.
What is an unboxing video? It’s a video in which someone opens a product or package for the first time. The popularity of unboxing videos has drawn further attention to the importance of product packaging. The people who make the videos don’t only comment on the items inside of the boxes. They also often comment on the packaging itself. Packages that are beautiful or unique in some way hold more appeal than bland packages.
Your customers don’t have to film themselves unboxing your products for the packaging to become part of their experience. When you sell your products in boxes or packages that are visually attractive, you’re defining what they can expect as soon as they open the box and take out what’s inside.
3. Define Your Brand
In some cases, custom packaging ends up becoming iconic, as much as part of a brand’s identity and definition as the products themselves. Apple provides an excellent example of packaging defining the brand. What would you think if an iPhone or MacBook came in something other than a sleek, white, rectangular box? The same is true of the jewelry store, Tiffany. Did you really buy a ring or necklace from Tiffany if it’s not in a robin’s egg blue box?
Using custom packaging can be particularly beneficial to your company if you are just getting started. Choosing a distinct logo or unique color for your boxes and other packaging materials will help you build up a brand identity. Over time, your packaging might become as much a part of your brand as your products.
4. The Packaging “Fits” Your Products
As anyone who has ever discovered the joys of working with a tailor will tell you, getting the packaging right often all about making the packaging fit the item, rather than trying to get the item to fit the package. When you use custom retail packaging, you choose boxes that are meant to fit whatever you put inside of them. Getting a custom fit cuts down on the amount of packaging extras, such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts, you need. It also helps to protect and cushion whatever is inside the box.
Plus, having a package that fits the item can improve its visual appeal. Imagine if you went to the store to buy shampoo and could only find half-filled bottles on the shelf. The explanation given to you might be that the manufacturer ran out of smaller containers, so it decided to fill the bigger ones half-full. While you’re getting as much shampoo as you would when purchasing a smaller bottle, something about buying a half-full bigger bottle seems off. You’re likely to buy a shampoo that’s in a more appropriately sized package.
5. Encourage Repeat Purchases
Using a custom package to create an excellent first impression and define your brand can also lead to repeat purchases from your customers. Shoppers are often more likely to buy from a brand again if the items they purchase come wrapped in gift-like packaging. Premium, custom packaging also makes people more likely to recommend the company to their friends if they are impressed with the packaging.
Custom Printed Packaging Ideas
What you package your brand’s products in depends in large part on what you’re selling and the type of brand identity you want to create. For instance, if you focus on selling eco-friendly bath products, you might decide to use recyclable or reusable materials, such as cardboard boxes or glass bottles, as your packaging. If you sell toys, you might want to focus on packaging that is kid-friendly and easy-to-open as well as unbreakable.
While you have many choices when it comes to your brand’s small run packaging, here are a few ideas to inspire you:
- Printed boxes: Printing your brand’s logo, color scheme and essential information about the product inside are all ways to customize what’s otherwise a boring old box. You can order short run custom boxes in a variety of sizes to hold different items. If you ship your products as well as sell them in brick and mortar stores, you can use printed boxes as your mailers, as well.
- Package sleeves: Some types of packaging are more challenging to customize than others. Metal tins might look lovely, but can be tough to print on. One solution to that issue is to use custom-printed package sleeves on tins. The sleeves can be designed to fit a variety of different size tins, including rectangular and square tins or rounds ones. One advantage of using custom-printed sleeves is that you can easily change them out with the seasons without having to take the products out of their boxes.
- Printed bags: Depending on the shape or size of the item you’re selling or what it is, it might make more sense to package it in a bag rather than a box. If you’re selling individual, fresh baked goods, such as cookies, using small, custom printed bags can be ideal.
- Stickers: One cost-effective way to get custom packaging for your products is to order custom printed labels. You can attach the stickers to plain boxes or bags to instantly add personality and define the product as belonging to your brand. Stickers are an excellent idea for short run custom packaging.
How to Make the Most of Custom Packaging
Now that you’ve got a sense of the importance of custom packaging, even for short runs of products or products with limited availability, you might be wondering what you can do to make the most of using custom retail boxes and packages. The following tips will help you create custom packaging that delivers the best possible return on investment.
- Know who your company is. As the philosopher Socrates once said, “Know thyself.” It’s essential to have a good grasp of what your brand is and what type of identity you have when creating packaging for your products. Even if your products sell out in a heartbeat, the packaging you wrap them in will come to be associated with who your company is. If you want to be known as cool and sophisticated, but wrap your products in boxes that are printed with cartoons or comics, you’ll find yourself at cross purposes.
- Know what your customers want. Take a look at your buyer personas and your customer demographics to figure out what types of packaging is going to appeal to them the most. Some people are going to be drawn in by beauty, others by simplicity and others by packaging that looks rugged and durable.
- Don’t forget about practical concerns. Custom packaging should combine form and function. It should look good, but also protect whatever is inside. If you’re selling perishable items, the packaging should somehow keep them from spoiling before they reach a customer. If your packages need to travel long distances before landing on retail shelves or ending up in the arms of consumers, they should be durable enough to make the journey.
- Find ways to dress up your packaging. While you do want to focus on function, don’t forget about form entirely when designing your custom packaging. You can add decorative details to your packages, such as tags or ribbons around the neck of a bottle, sleeves over top of boxes or string wrapped around bags.
- Remember what’s inside matters, too. Although the exterior of the package is what’s going to grab people’s attention in the first place, what’s inside the box or bag also gives you another opportunity to “wow” your customer. You might slip in an insert, such as a loyalty card or coupon to encourage repeat purchases or fill the box or bag with tissue paper to make opening it more like unwrapping a present.
Work With SpeedPro to Create a Better Retail Experience for Your Customers
Whether you’re looking to print custom boxes for retail products or are interested in small run custom packaging to sell items at a craft fair, trade show or expo, the team at your local SpeedPro studio can help you put together packaging that reflects your brand’s identity and that makes people excited to buy your products.
To learn more about how we can help you create the optimal retail experience for your customers, contact the SpeedPro studio nearest you today.