Packaging is more important than some people initially realize. Besides protecting a product, it can help display the item and strengthen branding. Taking the right steps to source material will help decision-makers select the best types and feel happy with the results.
Here are some vital things to consider before or during conversations with packaging providers.
Set a Budget
Begin by creating a realistic budget for packaging materials. The amount a business can afford to spend can narrow down which companies to approach and how to negotiate the pricing specifics.
It’s ideal if the budget has some degree of flexibility in it. That’s because providers can frequently offer much better rates if a client buys in bulk. Doing that may mean the upfront cost is more than expected, but it should balance out with an overall more affordable per-piece rate.
However, people should be careful about buying in bulk before confirming that a certain packaging type or style will work for them. One possibility is to place a first order that does not take advantage of bulk pricing. Then, the company can size up for its next order, provided the business leaders are happy with how the packages performed.
Inquire About Recycled or Reusable Packaging
More people are concerned about the environment, and many are eager to purchase products from companies that use recycled packaging. A Technavio report forecasts that this market will grow by $65.1 billion between 2021 and 2026. The analysis also mentioned that the increasing demand for recycled plastics in packaging was a key driver of the rise.
A company that aims to use recycled materials shows the public that it’s prioritizing sustainability. However, another option is to make the packaging easy for people to use for other purposes rather than discarding it. If it looks appealing, has a cool design or offers functional features, individuals will be more likely to reuse it.
One possibility is to incorporate magnets into the packaging. That approach is commonly used for gift sets because it adds novelty and functionality without the bulk of extra material. When working with a provider that integrates magnets into packaging, professionals should determine if they will be hidden or visible in the design and how many to use to achieve the necessary closure force.
Ask About Branding Opportunities
The product packaging is a fantastic way to nurture brand recognition in consumers. Having an instantly recognizable look or even just including the company’s logo and contact details helps solidify the brand in a recipient’s mind. Think about how things like colors, fonts and graphics could add to the aesthetic appeal of the packaging.
It’s best if a company representative approaches a packaging provider with a list of must-have or highly desirable branding aspects. It’ll then be easier to determine whether that particular business is well-positioned to meet those needs. If possible, clients should ask to see samples of other branded packages the provider has done previously.
Amazon engages in numerous product management strategies to pursue continuous improvement. It has made its packages easier to open and allows people to print pre-made shipping labels when returning items. It also features consistent branding, including the simple but memorable smile design. That example shows that companies don’t need to be elaborate with their branding decisions, but representatives should at least try to go with things that resonate with audiences.
Source Packaging Materials With Transportation in Mind
No matter what a company sells, the products will almost certainly move throughout the supply chain in the chosen packaging. That might mean the items only take a short trip from a factory to a local distributor. The journey might be substantially longer in other cases, such as if someone in another country orders the product online.
Decision-makers should examine ways to optimize packaging for logistics. Ensuring it’s stackable is one straightforward option. Making it collapsible could save space on return trips. People can also use simulators that suggest the best packaging size for the items inside. Boxes that are carefully sized to the products they hold mean a lower likelihood of movement and things getting broken.
It’s also necessary to think about the best ways to protect products in transit. Factors like the stiffness of a cardboard box can determine how well the item inside remains safe from damage or shock. The size and shape of the packaging will also guide decisions about whether to use filler material inside for additional padding. Clients should consider their current packaging and logistical needs when talking to packaging experts, as well as how those might change as the company grows.
Don’t Overlook Retail Packaging Requirements
Conversations with packaging providers should also include what a client needs for its product in a retail setting. For example, what’s the best way to display the packaged item in a shop? Will it hang on a hook, sit on a shelf or be part of an in-store display?
What aspects would help the packaging stand out against the dozens of other items surrounding it? Are there any anti-theft requirements associated with the container? It’s also worthwhile to think about any marketing messaging the box might feature. Does the item now come in a new color, a larger size for the same price or a limited-edition scent? That information should be highlighted on retail packaging.
People thinking about working with a certain provider should verify that the same company can handle both the retail and shipping-related packaging. It’s not a major issue if it can’t. Many businesses work with various companies to get all their needs met. That’s often the better solution rather than potentially choosing a supplier that lacks the necessary experience or quality.
Take Care Not to Rush the Process
It takes time, effort and patience to source packaging materials that match business needs. People should realize from the start that they may not find the ideal providers right away, and that’s not a cause for concern. It’s better to be thorough about looking through the options and not settling for a company that may not be the most appropriate choice. That way, companies have the best chance of getting satisfying results.
Emily Newton is the editor-in-chief of Revolutionized, a magazine exploring how innovations change our world.