Retail Packaging: Essential Packaging Guide of General Merchandise Importers
“Packaging of product is as important as the product itself!”
Every year, 95% of new products FAIL. The reason is simple: Most customers don’t have the time or energy to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the products in their shopping carts, so they use a shortcut to make their decision. That shortcut is your product’s packaging.
Let’s go find out what is retail packaging and how to choose the right retail packaging for your product?
What is Retail Packaging?
Retail packaging makes references to the way products are packaged in order to look presentable on store shelves while also providing adequate protection to the products found on the inside. It is retail packaging what we see when we enter a store, regardless of its type, and see products displayed on its various aisles. But, this kind of packaging is more than just a mere protection for the provided goods, as retail packaging also plays an important role in the marketing strategy of a brand and company.
Why is retail packaging so important for brand identity and success of a company? Let us think about the fact that many of the products released on the market don’t make it. Why is this happening? There are so many products available on the market and most of us are so busy that we don’t have time to check the differences between brands. Very few people just stop and compare the advantages and disadvantages of buying a particular brand or another. So, coming up with a retail package that can be easily recognized by customers is a great plus, as they will always tend to opt for what is familiar to them, instead of wasting time to check out all the products that offer similar features. Thus, we can say that a product’s packaging is as important as the product itself, being the non-verbal advertiser that helps a company sell its product. Having all these in mind, every company that wishes to be successful in today’s market must come up with retails packaging that looks chic and interesting, addresses the targeted customer niche, and turns the package a part of the experienced connected to enjoying a new product. Also, do have in mind that eco-friendly packages are quite popular these days, so that may also be considered an advantage.
Different Types of Retail Packaging
Just walking through the aisles of a store is enough to make you see that there are several types of retail packaging used by the companies that activate on the market. Of course, the main idea behind a product’s package is to offer protection to the product found inside and allow the customer to transport it in safety from the store to his house, although this is not the only purpose of the package. Thus, there are several types of retail packaging used by manufacturing companies, chosen according to the products they provide and their set marketing goals. Let us take a closer look at these packaging types.
There is the flexible packaging, which makes reference to plastic bags, air-tight sacks, and other similar types of packages that lose their shape once you open them. Some of these flexible packages can be re-sealed while most of them can hardly be closed once they are opened.
Then there is the rigid packaging, which means cardboard boxes, plastic gallons and containers, bottles, and other packages that keep their shape after opening them. Everything from cereal boxes to sodas, milk, household cleaners, and other products, have rigid packaging. In almost all cases, this kind of packaging can be closed after it was opened.
Custom retail packaging is another type that is used for products that have irregular shapes and don’t fit inside standard packages. But, even if the product fits a regular type of package, there are many companies out there that prefer custom packaging because it pops out and helps people recognize a particular brand much easier.
Finally, there is recycled packaging, which is made out of recycled materials instead of using brand new materials for their manufacturing. This particular method is enjoying an increase in its popularity, due to the fact that it reduces waste, it is sustainable and eco-friendly.
Counter displays are special units that are designed especially for being placed on the counters of shops, so that they are closer to the visual range of customers, stirring the impulse to buy the product. These displays are the small branded islands you see close to the cashier’s point. The counter displays have the colors, logo, and details of the brand, displaying the products that have retail packages with the same details so that they can be easily observed by customers. Such displays can be placed on the counter of the cashier, if they have reduced sizes, or they can be placed on the edges of an aisle since they don’t need shelves as they have their own display, where they can be noticed easier.
Are counter displays important for a brand? Well, considering that they are strong visual displays, which can barely pass unnoticed, they are very important to the marketing strategy of any brand that wishes to increase its sales. But do they provide the desired results? Statistics say that they do, as more than 80% of the customers that enter the store decide what to buy while they’re in the store. So, seeing a display that is set up nicely will definitely attract their attention and stir in them the desire to buy and try the particular product that is displayed.
The counter display is ideal for the Point of Sale, as it is cost-effective, easy to manufacture, and easy to replace. Thus, according to the needs of your brand, you can change the counter display whenever you need to. Due to the fact that it is a temporary form of advertising, you can adjust it according to your brand’s marketing goals. If you are considering whether you should try it, the answer is yes, you should have counter displays in shops, as a large percentage of buyers are subjected to impulse shopping when waiting in the queue at the point of sale.
The retail box is one of the most common retail packaging types we see in stores and we receive when ordering products online. It is the box that contains the product you purchased while also displaying the specific design the brand and manufacturing company chose for marketing the product, the brand’s logo, specific colors, and the specifications and details concerning the product found inside. The retail box usually has a rectangular shape and it is made out of cardboard, which can be thinner or thicker, having the ability to store and protect a wide range of products. It can be reinforced or not, usually on the inside with additional materials meant to protect the final product. But, what is most important is that the retail box will present the specific elements that will make a brand stand out so that customers know right from the start what they are purchasing. Retail boxes are used to pack and present anything starting with breakfast cereals to personal hygiene devices, microwaves, TVs, household appliances, electronics, and various gadgets.
Blister Pack: Clamshell Packaging and Blister Packaging
Blister pack is a generic term which describes packaging with thermoforming process. Thermoforming involves heating a sheet of plastic to a temperature where it can be easily formed and molded into any desired shape. The term “blister” refers to the pocket of thermoformed plastic that covers the product. Blister packs refer to a variety of packaging that have a pre-formed plastic “pocket” or “shell” (where a product sits securely in place) that is most often heat sealed to an adhesive coated paperboard card or foil backing (think single dose pills or lozenges).
Blister Packaging: Face Seal Blister, Trapped Blister, Sandwich Blister (Stretch Pak)
The blister packaging is an option usually used for small items, as it features small alveoli that contain goods packed individually, which are them sealed as a group by a single layer of protective material. The best example of a blister pack is the one we usually see in the case of pharmaceutical products, although this type of packing can be used for other types of goods as well. A blister pack is made out of plastic that is pre-formed so that the small cavities that will hold the goods will be formed. On its back, the blister pack will have a layer made out of paperboard, aluminum foil, or plastic, depending on the packed products. It is recommended to opt for this kind of packaging when you need to keep your goods safe against UV rays, humidity, or contamination triggered by various external factors. The blisters are usually packed as well in a small box container, which contains the brand, logo, product details, and other relevant information. Some details can also be printed on the back of the blister.
Clamshell packaging got its name from the fact that it looks like a clamshell, closing, and opening in the same way a clamshell does. In other words, this is a one-piece package, made out of two halves that are joint together by a hinge. This hinge allows the halves to come together, facilitating the closing and opening of the package. The clamshell packaging can be made out of various materials, depending on the products that will be stored inside. Most clamshell packages are made out of plastic, like PVC, polyester, polystyrene, foam sheets, and others. But they can also be made out of cellulose fibers, like wood pulp or wheat straws, and out of paperboard. When needed, these packages can be sealed, either with staples, snaps, friction fit, adhesives, labels, or even heat sealed. Thus, some of them can be rather tricky to open. When it comes to branding clamshell packages, you can either introduce them into a branded bag or you can apply a label to them that contains your brand and product details.
Insert trays are a great way to allow the customer to take a look at the product, without taking it out of the retail box. Made out of molded plastic, insert trays can be easily customized to the size and shape of your product. We often see insert trays in the case of cosmetic and personal care products, toys, but also electronics, lightning items, and others. Usually, the insert tray is made out of transparent plastic and it is inserted in a retail box that features a window made out of clear plastic as well, allowing the client to see how the product actually looks, without opening its box. Besides this, the product is tightly secured inside the box, due to the mold that is made to fit its size and shape, so insert trays are a great way to package goods that may be sensitive during transportation. Besides the classical paperboard boxes, the insert trays can also be placed inside clamshell packages, also made out of clear plastic, which allows the client to have a 360 view of the product inside its package.
How to Choose the Right Retail Packaging for Your Product?
So, by now, you must have understood just how important is to choose the right retails packaging for your product. It must be capable of providing adequate protection while the product is transported and placed on store shelves, acting as an attractive advertiser for your product and brand at the same time. What are the aspects you need to consider when choosing the ideal retail packaging for any of your products? Let us take a closer look at the things that can significantly influence the impact your retail package will have on the market.
First of all, you need to know your targeted customer niche well. To whom your product addresses? What are the interests, preferences, and needs of your customers? You need to come up with a retail package that is appealing to them so that they will want to try your product. Have in mind that customers don’t invest too much time in checking products out, so you need to use a design that is capable of speaking on the behalf of your brand fast and effective.
Then make sure that your product enjoys a great degree of protection inside its package. No one wishes to receive a product that was damaged during transportation. So, depending on the product you are selling, the retail package you will choose should be able to take it safely from one point to another. Thus, focus on the right materials for your packages. Speaking of materials, this is definitely an important choice. Paperboard is a light weighed material and provide outstanding printing quality, which is great for the design of your retail package, as long as it is a suitable option. Then there is the corrugated material, which is a combination of paperboard and laminated paper, the result being a flexible packaging option that is sturdier than paperboard. And, of course, do consider recycled materials as well, as they are very appealing especially to those that adopt a responsible approach toward the environment.
Also, even when it comes to retail packaging, size does matter. You need to find the right size depending on your product’s size and what appears attractive to your customers. Thus, a thorough market research before starting your work on the creation of the package model would be ideal. Last, but not least, think about ergonomics. This will influence the interaction of your customers with the newly purchased product. In other words, make sure that the packaging is not difficult to open, as it may increase the frustration of customers. Of course, try to do so without compromising the integrity of the product inside.