Unique packaging and inserts create higher perceived value, which can lead to increased sales, repeat buyers, and more. Think about how many times you have gone into a store and were attracted to or really impressed by the packaging of a product, regardless of the product itself.
You want to create something that is not easy to replicate. But again, as with so many aspects of this business, your packaging will evolve as you grow. So don’t worry too much about customization right away. Keep it simple to start.
Over time, your packaging will change as you gain experience in selling and understanding your product and receive customer feedback.
The easiest way to source packaging is typically through your supplier, especially when you’re just getting started. Most have an in-house option or a working relationship with an existing packaging supplier or preferred vendor. This is a good way to start because they will understand your product requirements and may even be producing similar packaging for other private labelers.
This can also make the evolution of your packaging easier because you’ll have an established relationship with someone who fully understands your product requirements.
As you modify your product, that vendor will understand what you’re trying to do and all the changes that are necessary. It’s also a relatively simple process compared to using a third-party packaging supplier, who might need to have samples sent to them. Plus, going through your supplier is often the most cost-effective route.
If you’d rather use a solution outside your supplier’s packaging options, you can find many packages simply by doing a Google search for packaging companies or custom packaging. If you’re sourcing your product overseas, Alibaba.com has tons of packaging suppliers. You can search for them just as you would for any other product on Alibaba.
Get a professional designer. Unless you are a designer, are exceptionally talented, or have the necessary software, do yourself a favor and hire a professional designer. Printing companies need the correct formats and source files, and this will simplify your life down the road.
Consider your audience. Make sure your packaging appeals to your target audience. Think about style, color, and other ways to stand out from your competitors. Simple things like having a green label (e.g., earth-friendly, recyclable) on your packaging can be very appealing.
Make sure your label is readable. Be aware of the font colors, the background, the font sizes. Make sure everything is easy to read.
Make sure it protects your package contents. Different products need different levels of protection. But assume the worst when you’re shipping products, because they are likely to get banged up and thrown around the back of a truck. So make sure your packaging doesn’t squish and will protect your product. Constant customer returns due to damaged products is no fun, regardless of how beautiful or creative your product design and packaging is.
Here are some specific things to incorporate in your packaging:
■ Website URL and/or email address
■ US address if you’re selling in the US
■ Customer service phone number
■ Social media icons
■ UPC/EAN barcode
■ Country of origin (this might be a legal requirement, depending on your product)
■ Use or care instructions (including FDA requirements* where necessary – see link below)
■ Net weight and appropriate measurement
■ Storage instructions (e.g., temperature, shelf life)
*To learn more about FDA requirements, go here: http://www.fda.gov/forindustry
Basic packaging types:
Flexible/Poly Bags are inexpensive and lightweight. They are often heat sealed with a cardboard top. They are not very professional in appearance, and there’s not much room for an insert or brochure (you might be able to fit a business card), but the cardboard topper does give you some branding exposure. When selling on Amazon, if the opening of your Poly Bag is more than five inches, it must have a suffocation warning label printed legibly in an area that is easily seen. The bag must also be transparent, and at least 1 1/2 millimeters thick. It must be completely sealed, and it cannot extend more than three inches beyond the dimensions of the product. You can reference all of this information on Amazon by searching for “packaging requirements.”
Rigid packaging is the term used for a closed cardboard box. This is the most common type of packaging you will see on Amazon, because it meets all of Amazon’s packaging requirements. It also gives you the opportunity to be creative and really display your branding. Plus, it allows you to include different kinds of inserts. Rigid packaging comes in as many sizes as you can imagine, and it provides the greatest level of product protection, including the use of dunnage inside.
Custom packaging. You can get very creative with custom packaging, but be sure to follow the practicalities of shipping and protection above all. Custom packaging often comes in the form of blister packs or clam-shell style packages. It is usually more expensive, but it can make your brand stand out. Keep it in mind as your packaging evolves.
Inserts are a powerful tool for impressing customers. Use them to build your mailing list, get more reviews, and deliver extra value to your customer. An insert is usually a standalone promotional item, such as a slip of paper or card stock. It can also be something like a simple printed message on the underside of a lid.
Some important things to remember when using inserts:
Keep content short and to the point. Use a bold and attention grabbing font to make sure your message is the first thing the consumer sees. If you can’t capture your buyer’s attention immediately, you aren’t going to capture it at all.
Make it the first thing they see when they open the package. Make sure they can’t get to your product without reading your bonus offer or information first. Inserts can be used to achieve many different objectives. You can use things like VIP and membership signups, warranty registration, review club registration, instructions on how to claim a bonus gift, and more. You can also put brochures and other instructions in your package as well.
Take advantage of cross selling and promotional opportunities. You can offer discounts on similar or related products you might be selling. This is an excellent way to let your creativity shine, and it can make up for what your initial packaging may lack. You might even consider using two inserts; one to encourage some kind of action and the other for warranty or user information.
Typical styles of inserts:
The buck slip is about the size of a US dollar bill and was originally adapted from magazine advertisements. Most printing companies and designers will have a template to work with.
The business card has very little room for information, but it is inexpensive. And it might be the only way to add an insert to your Poly Bags or other small packages. When used creatively, it can definitely enhance your product packaging.
Postcards are slightly bigger than business cards. If your product packaging allows for a larger image, these can give you much more artistic license.
You can also print under the lid, so your insert appears right on the bottom of a box, bottle, or jar lid. Only do this if there is enough space to maintain readability.