However superb your product may be, its success to a large extent depends on your choice of packaging.
There’s no doubt that a product’s performance is more important than its packaging.
Nevertheless, the fact that prospective customers can only make an assessment of a product via its packaging means that you have no choice but to get inspired about this aspect of your product.
Effective product packaging should play the following roles:
- Function – The packaging should be able to protect your product during transit and as it is displayed on store shelves
- Attraction – The packaging should be able to entice potential buyers to choose, pick and buy your product from amongst all the options available on the shelves
- Promotion and facilitating the decision to purchase – The packaging should effectively provide relevant information about your product and which may include source, ingredients used, directions for use, etc. This information is vital in helping potential customers to decide whether or not to buy.
- Differentiation – Your product’s packaging should be adequately unique to enable customers to identify it easily
Adhering to the pointers below will give you success with product packaging:
1. Keeping it simple
Effective product packaging is all about making a potential buyer’s decision-making process as simple as possible.
Immediately customers reach the section where your product is displayed they should be able to easily identify it from amongst the rest.
Simplicity is also vital in case it is a new product or you are launching in a new market.
Your product’s name, brand name, package and description should be easy for the eyes thus facilitating and encouraging potential customers to pick and buy.
2. Describing the product for what it is
In an attempt to boost sales you may be tempted to exaggerate the abilities of your product.
Simply state the facts and promise potential users attainable expectations based on your product testing results. If you have a good product you can be sure that sales volumes will gradually increase thanks to the positive feedback and reviews that satisfied users will offer.
Exaggeration, on the other hand, will ultimately hurt your product’s sales potential as you’ll have to deal with disappointed, dissatisfied and skeptical customers.
3. Being audience-specific
If your product is designed for a specific market audience you must ensure that its packaging plays the part. Just like the product, packaging cannot be universal.
This also applies for products that target the same core audience.
For example, different men prefer different cologne fragrances. As such, the packaging for the different colognes cannot be the same.
Audience-specific packaging helps to facilitate easy decision-making.
4. Standing out from the competition
Prior to launching your product you should scour the market in a bid to, among other reasons, find out what the competition has to offer.
Based on what you see you should be able to come up with a packaging design that will enable your product to stand out.
Your aim should be to create product packaging that is unique, a huge improvement on the competition’s effort, and relevant.
5. Using high quality materials
Product packaging is indeed a substantial aspect of product development; it does require a considerable chunk of money.
This notwithstanding, the need to use high quality packaging cannot be overemphasized.
Your product’s packaging needs to be good enough to make a strong first impression in the mind of a prospective buyer.
As such, you cannot afford to compromise on quality.
Get the best of what is available as per your budget.
6. Enhancing user convenience
This particularly applies for products whose packaging affects the manner in which they are used.
In this case the packaging design needs to be handy.
For example, Harpic’s toilet cleaner is packaged in a suitably designed squeezable plastic bottle with a bent neck and a nozzle, two features that help to get the cleaner under the toilet bowl’s rim.
7. Factoring in future product varieties
After successfully launching the flagship product for your brand you might think of following up on this success by introducing several other product varieties. In most cases your marketing task will be easier if the new varieties will be similarly packaged.
8. Ensuring the text’s legibility
All the text on your product’s packaging should be clearly legible.
A prospective buyer should rapidly be able to scan through your product’s descriptions provided on its front and back. This is crucial for decision-making especially if the product is new or use-specific.
Proper text legibility is enhanced by several factors including font type, size and color, and overall packaging color scheme.
Additionally, only the most important information should be printed on the front. Reserve the back for ancillary information.
9. Vetting multiple packaging designs
Before you settle on a particular design it is advisable to seek other people’s opinions.
The idea is to present different packaging design options to several objective persons for evaluation and letting them pinpoint the design they think will be most appropriate for your product.
You, of course need to brief them about what need the product aims to address and the section of the market you are targeting.
Chances are that their feedback will provide you with some insights that you had overlooked; perhaps the design you had in mind may after all not be as suitable as you may have thought.
10. Keeping up with the times – packaging redesign
What makes for a great packaging design now may not work when the next generation of your target market emerges. For this reason you need to spruce up your product’s packaging every once in a while.
This is real; top brands do it all the time. Just think of how many times Coca-Cola has changed the shape of its bottles.
The trick is to retain your product’s original charm but to package it for the present.
11. Targeting everyone instead of the target market
Borrowing from the old adage “You can’t be all things to all people”, you should realize that your product just cannot work for every other consumer.
This is true, even for universal products like table salt and drinking water.
So, forget about universal packaging; go for what will work for your core audience.
In the same way that you have developed a product for this target market, come up with a fitting packaging design.
12. Using hard-to-open-and-use sort of packaging
As such, don’t go for a packaging design that will require users to learn specialist skills in order to use the product.
There are plenty of design options that you can employ to enhance convenience and prevent wrap rage e.g. perforated openings, flip caps, shrink-wrapping, ribbed bottles, etc.
13. Failing to freshen up your packaging
Very few products can retain their original packaging designs for eons and still sell well e.g. nails, sewing needles, etc.
Even so, manufacturers may regularly have to renew their logos, and so on.
Generally, updating your product’s packaging regularly will contribute to its success moving forward. A snazzy look is a selling look.
14. Assuming that words and terms mean the same thing everywhere
While your product’s name may sound amazing where you come from, the word/s may have a totally different meaning elsewhere.
This is a crucial consideration if you intend to sell your product to a target market that is spread across different tribes, nationalities, cultures and/or religions.
It is for this reason that certain products are sold under different brand names in different markets.
15. Failing to communicate your product’s unique attributes
It is foolhardy to assume that your product will do well even though its packaging bears only a scanty description of the contents.
What information will prospective customers use to make a buying decision?
This is a no-brainer.
16. Failing to provide different package sizes
For some products you just have to provide different package sizes.
Even for regularly used products like cooking oil and detergents, selling a single package size won’t do.
Customers make their purchasing decisions based on various factors including price, use frequency, shelf life, sell by date, personal lifestyle, and so on.
Ignoring such concerns won’t augur well for your product’s commercial success.
17. Omitting crucial product label details
All consumers, you included, have a habit of trying to find out all about the various products that they use regularly.
This will naturally start with a scrutiny of these products labels. The scrutiny is typically more intense after a product has been bought, say after the customer is back home after shopping.
Consumers will be more reassured if your product bears all the typical label information they are used to e.g. environmental concerns, product security, sell-by dates, etc.
If your product lacks any of these details it is likely to be treated with suspicion.
The influence of product packaging on consumers’ buying decisions
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