Product packaging is a critical component in the buying process, with 64 percent of consumers stating they will sometimes buy a product, even if they had no prior knowledge of it, due to the packaging. Furthermore, a Pro Carton study found that one of the most essential elements in a marketing campaign to consumers is the packaging of the product. According to Dotcom Distribution’s eCommerce Packaging Study 2016, 40 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase the brand again if it features gift-like packaging, 68 percent feel it makes the brand look more upscale and 61 percent are more excited about getting the package. So, clearly, getting your product’s packaging to stand out and look good is critical. Here are 10 ways in which you too can set your packaging apart.
1. Understand Your Target Market
The first step to setting your product’s packaging apart from the crowd is to really get to know your target market. Putting together an awesome design that will draw eyeballs isn’t as hard as you might think. There are plenty of very creative and imaginative designers who can create wonders. But if the packaging is drawing the wrong eyeballs, what’s the point? For example, if your product is aimed at children but your packaging is sleek and sexy, looking more like something designed for a corporate executive, you can be sure it’s not going to be attracting the right people. So, the first step to getting your packaging right is to understand who your audience is and design with them in mind.
2. Apply the KISS Principle
Keep it simple, stupid. The U.S. Navy coined the phrase in the 1960s in an effort to remind that simple systems worked better than complicated ones. Well, this design principle also applies to packaging. If you overload your design with too many elements and colors, you could end up with something that is a little too strange for your customers. Instead of overdoing it, stick to a simple design that’s attractive and is in line with what’s expected of your industry. Remember, you want to draw eyeballs, but you don’t want people pointing out your packaging as the weird kid on the block everyone avoids.
3. Go for Professional over Easy
Printing a label at home or using a stamp on a box might be easy and cheap, but it won’t attract customers, no matter how great your product is. It might be an extra investment, but getting your packaging professionally designed and manufactured will pay off in the long run as it will attract many more buyers.
4. Use Imagery Effectively
Keeping it simple is essential but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use imagery effectively. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and when you’re dealing with only a few seconds that consumers take to look at a shelf, you definitely need to come up with something that draws them in quickly. A wall of text won’t attract them, but a relevant image that sends the right message definitely will.
5. Establish an Emotional Connection
A person will make a purchase when the brand elicits some form of emotional response. If your packaging makes someone smile, or creates a warm and happy feeling, people are going to buy your brand. Another good approach is to have someone making eye contact on your packaging, because people can’t help but investigate further.
6. Make Sure Your Packaging and Product Match
You can have the most amazing packaging in the world, but if it’s not relevant to your product, you’re wasting your time. For example, a humorous label on a high-end perfume won’t cut it, just as a stylish, sleek label isn’t exactly appropriate for a bag of potato chips. It establishes the wrong expectations and customers can’t help but be disappointed. So, always make sure that your packaging meshes with your product.
7. Make Your Packaging Reusable
If you really want to set your product apart, then make the packaging useful. Not only will it attract consumers because they can reuse the packaging, but it will also keep your brand front and center, even after they’ve used the product. For example, if you sell cosmetics, you could use branded makeup totes to package sets of products, which customers can then reuse. Or, if you sell homemade kibble, you could package it in tins or stiff ziplock bags that people can keep storing dog food in.
8. Make It Memorable and Easy to Identify
You want people to associate your packaging with your product. Just like whenever you see a shiny red can with a white stripe, you know it’s a can of Coca-Cola, you want your customers to have the same reaction with your product. So, it needs to be memorable. Also, Forbes states that packaging needs to pass the five-year-old test. Essentially, this means that you should be able to describe the package to a five-year-old and the child will be able to pick up precisely what you want. For example, tell a five-year-old to get the blue package with a cookie and milk on it and you can be sure she’ll come back with a pack of Oreos. This also ties in with being memorable but also simple.
9. Use Top Quality Materials
Packaging has a massive impact on how people perceive your brand, and if you’re using poor quality materials, it will send the wrong message, no matter how stunning the design is. People will eventually handle the packaging, whether it’s to take a closer look or to put it in their cart, and if you’ve used cheap cardboard, for example, you can be sure they’ll put it back. Cheap materials send the message that the product is cheap, which is precisely what you don’t want.
10. Choose the Right Colors
The impact of color on people’s buying decisions has been studied for a long time and it has been repeatedly proven that different colors attract different people and affect people differently, as well. So, take your time to pick colors that are relevant to your target market and will elicit the right emotions. Packaging can make or break your product. Poorly designed packaging using low quality materials will keep your product on the shelf, no matter how great it is. Packaging that looks just like everything else on the shelf will lead to your product going unnoticed. So, follow the above advice and don’t be afraid to be a little adventurous too. Sometimes being different pays. But make sure that you’re not so different that people have no idea what your product is.