One study has shown that 36% of people will switch brands because of negative experiences with new packaging.

 

Packaging is currently a hot topic within new product development. Over the years it has become an integral part of the product experience, with high end brands earning just as much praise over how the product is packaged, versus the product itself. The consumer product market is becoming ever more demanding for a great out-of-box experience. When you combine this with new sustainable strategies, shipping requirements and branding, it can become quite a complex set of tasks to pinpoint, let alone execute on.
Naturally, a great deal of emphasis has gone into the product and considerations towards the packaging can emerge as an afterthought once the product is nearing completion. Sometimes this is ok, however for many products it can result in a real missed opportunity to explore how the packaging and product do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Leaving packaging considerations as an afterthought not only misses an opportunity, but can also damage your brand when a direct comparison is made to competitors who have capitalised on this opportunity. It’s important to remember that often the packaging will be the first and only pre-purchase touchpoint for a customer to evaluate your product, so it is important that this creates a positive and lasting impression.
Below is a list of five reasons why we believe you should consider packaging as an important part of your product development process.

01.

PROTECTION

First and foremost, packaging is created to protect your product while it is handled by the courier companies. With online shopping becoming increasingly popular, products are at greater risk of damage in transit. When designing your product it is crucial to understand how the product will be handled during the fulfillment stages and that the packaging compliments these:

  • Are there any vulnerable items that need to be removed temporarily or protected?
  • Can the product be split into sub assemblies to reduce the chance of breakages?

Once the product is optimised for shipping, it is a pretty tall order to find an existing die or design that fits your unique product perfectly. Having a package design that supports the product from impacts, scratching and marring, will minimise the likelihood of returns and any long term issues that could affect sensitive components.

The Huski Wine Cooler packaging is designed to be displayed in store with an inner “pedestal” style container that shows off the product, yet also designed to be rugged enough to safely protect the product for shipping.

02.

REVEAL

Studies have shown that 40% of consumers would share photos of packaging on social media if the packaging is interesting or gift-like.

 

A successful reveal experience needs to be built on top of the basics. After achieving that, we can look at how we can make the experience of opening the box memorable. The aim is to offer a brief moment of surprise or joy to enhance the excitement of seeing your new product for the first time. This can be achieved in many ways, not limited to:

  • Branded messaging, greeting or a colour splash placed in a position of reveal
  • Dynamic fold out style reveal of the product
  • Embedded information and/or instructions
  • Tactile sensations through contrasting textures and materials
  • Include an extra accessory or gift within the packaging

You may be surprised to find there is a large subculture of Youtube and Instagram influencers who share their unboxing experiences with new products to large groups of followers.

03.

SUSTAINABILITY & COST

Sustainability is now a priority in the consumer’s purchasing decisions. Packaging especially is not shy to criticism, typically being a one time use disposable item. By addressing this constraint positively, you can actually save cost and add value to your product – while doing better by the planet.

A good process to evaluate your products packaging approach is to use the Sustainable Business Networks plastic packaging guidelines. This process can be applied to any packaging and works through a deductive hierarchy, moving through each step to find the best solution.

  1. Can you eliminate the need for the packaging item altogether?
  2. Design for re-use or re-purposing in its current state.
  3. Use materials that are easily recycled on a mass scale and have strong economic markets (ie. clear PET and HDPE)
  4. Use materials which have a high level of recyclable content (ie. glass)
  5. Use bio based materials which can integrate with the current recycling system (ie. bioPET and bioHDPE)
  6. Design compostable packaging referencing the WasteMINZ guidelines for compostable packaging.

Now, more than ever, it is vitally important to consider upcoming legislation and potential requirements you will need to meet in the near future. This progression towards packaging mandates is not going away and at present the EU continues to tighten their Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, for all member states. Closer to home, we’ve recently seen the removal of single use plastic bags in supermarkets and the NZ government has also announced the new product stewardship scheme for key industries. Could your packaging design help facilitate the return of the product to its manufacturer at end of life?

The inner sleeve of the Micropod Starter Kit packaging serves to protect the seed mats and grow trays during shipping and can be repurposed with a secondary life, as a sandwich board style display for instructions and retail display. When it comes to being recycled, the use of minimal ink and uncoated card streamlines the recycling process.

04.

UNIQUE POINT OF DIFFERENCE

Consumers say packaging is almost as important as the brand, and is a direct reflection of the company values. It’s not enough to have an amazing product – in today’s market you need the packaging to at least match if not enhance your offering. You can create a unique first impression with your packaging in the following ways:

  • Design with retail display in mind, help retailers sell your product
  • Create a distinguishably different shape to stand out amongst the shelves
  • Consider the product, packaging and branding as one cohesive unit that should be designed by the same team to happily marry your product and brand. Include symbols, logos and shapes in the packaging that relate to your product and brand.

Including hexagonal shaped finger holds to match the features in the Micropod growing kit was a simple way to tie the product and packaging together.

05.

EFFICIENCY

Your products will need to get from your manufacturer to your warehouse. With large quantities of product, this is done in bulk rather than individual items. Ensuring that your products packaging efficiently works with standard shipping sizes and conventions results in more products per container and a lower unit cost, not to mention a reduced rate of fuel consumption per unit for transport. You may find that reducing the size, configuration, or assembly of your product will have drastic improvements to the efficiency of the packaging and shipping process.

Getting products from your warehouse to the customers’ hands is the next step. As common as this is, you don’t want to be unpacking a product from one container and repacking the product to the next. Planning ahead and developing your packaging to seamlessly work with local couriers for the last mile will ultimately help everyone in the long run and minimise waste.

  • Consider how the product is packed in bulk
  • Consider how the products assembly process or configuration effects the packaging design
  • Create packaging that is suitable for your markets and industry (B2C, B2B, B2G etc)

The Micropod Starter Kit and Seedmat Refill packages were designed to protect the contents to such a degree that the boxes could be shipped as is with a courier sticker – saving unnecessary and additional packaging costs.

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Haydn Jack

Haydn Jack

Industrial Designer at Blender Design. DINZ. 5x NZ Best Design Award Winner. Graduated Head of AUT Design School.

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