Archive for the ‘Packaging’ Category

“Do-It-Yourself” Package Testing

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

There are plenty of sophisticated tests you can have done in a lab to make sure all is well with the quality of your packaging, but here are some you can do yourself for free!

Does Your “Case Pack” Protect Your Product?

Take a case of your product to a loading dock and throw it up in the air to land on the concrete driveway below! If you think this is an unrealistic level of protection, it’s not. I’ve seen guys unloading a trade show or warehouse shipment by doing exactly that – throwing cases on to the loading dock from inside their trucks.

It’s OK if the case pack corners get smashed, what’s important is that the individual packages inside are not. Most of the case packs coming from China are low grade corrugated and will not pass this test. I had to specify a better grade of corrugate to pass this test for some of my imported products.

How’s Your Ink Adhesion?

On your individual packages, if your printing does not have a protective coating and fails this test, that means individual packages can get abraded during shipment and end up looking bad in the store.

To do the test, take some scotch tape and put it on your package and then rub it with your fingernail to make sure it’s stuck on the package as firmly as possible.

Then, holding the other end of the tape sharply pull off the tape. If any ink shows up on the tape your ink adhesion or protective coating is not good enough.

Scuff Resistance?

Another test for your individual product packaging is to simulate abrasion in shipping and handling. All you have to do is take a pencil with an eraser on the end and try to “erase” your printing. If you can erase the ink, not good.

Blister Pack?

If your product is packaged in a blister pack, is the blister attached properly? All you have to do is hold it at one end and then slam it against a table top sideways. This will create a lot of shear and if the blister was not adhered properly, it will pop right off.

Does Your UPC Code Scan?

There are a lot of specifications about how to print UPC codes, the size & type of film master depending on the print method and so on, but all you have to do is take some printed packages to a grocery store and ask them to scan them and see if it works.

These simple tests are all free and easy and I’ve had products of my own fail every one of these tests at one time or another, so do these yourself to make sure your products are properly packaged!

The 7 Jobs Your Packaging Must Do

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

If you are selling a product to major retailers, one of the most critical things you must do is make sure your packaging meets all 7 of these criteria. The first one is the most important because. .

1. Your packaging must make the sale!

Unless you are a large company with a huge budget and brand recognition, you probably cannot afford to do national advertising to bring people into the store, so your packaging is going to have to make the sale.

Don’t make the mistake of copying the big companies. Proctor & Gamble can package Tide with just the name as big as will fit on the box. Nobody knows your company or brand, so making that the dominant feature of the packaging will not work for you. P & G spends billion on TV, newspaper and other advertising to get shoppers to look for their product.

You do need to make sure your product “jumps off the shelf” when a shopper walks down the aisle and is seeing thousands of products all at once. It had better be very clear what your product is and why they should buy it.

2. Next, your packaging has to protect the product

Both your master cases and individual packaging need to protect the product and look good by the time they are on the shelf. Scuffed or damaged packaging will lead to returns and reduced sales.

3. Make sure to meet all the legal requirements

Depending on your product category, the requirements will vary. We’re all familiar with food labeling requirements, but there are also labeling and consumer safety requirements for children’s products, apparel and other categories. Make sure you know what applies to you.

4. Meet retailer requirements

This includes the UPC code, but it also includes making sure that it will fit the merchandising displays or the shelves in the store and meets any anti-pilfer requirements. If you have a really small product, retailers may want it shrink wrapped on a large backer card or put in a larger box so that it is harder to steal.

Retailers will also require case packs to hold individual product and for the proper labeling on the case packs as well as on individual items.

Generally speaking, the buyer will make sure this is done before you even get an order, but make sure you have this all done properly before you show your product and packaging to any buyers.

5. “On-Pack” or “In-Pack” Promotions Done Right

If you are going to use either of these, make sure the retailer does not view your promotion as a way to sell to consumers direct and bypass them. Best is if your promotion is structured to create additional sales for the retailer.

6. Product use instructions or manuals must be clear

If people cannot understand how to use your product, the retailer may get returns and you may get kicked out of their stores. If you have gotten this far and have your product in major retailers, it would be a real shame to have poor instructions be your downfall.

Instruction manuals are uniformly horrible and hard to read, so if your product needs them, have them written by someone who is not an expert on your product and have them pass the “grandma” test (she needs to be able to read and follow them).

7. Special packaging for the distribution channel

For example, the warehouse stores like Sam’s and Costco require individual packs of multiple products to raise the average unit sale. Direct marketing channels like TV or mail order catalogs do not need consumer packaging, so the cost can be much less.

How To Make Your Packaging Sell Your Product

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Our clients do not typically have the funds to mount major national advertising campaigns to cause consumers to come into stores looking for their product by name.

So, how do you compete with the big companies who do have millions – or even billions to spend?

You need to catch the shopper’s attention as she walks down the aisle of whatever stores your product is in, get her to pick up your product, and then put in her cart. Easy to say, but how do you do that? Here are a few tips:

Don’t copy the major consumer product marketers

We see many products whose manufacturers think the most important element of their packaging is their company or product’s name. Big mistake! If you are Procter & Gamble and spend a billion or two promoting Tide detergent, you can put the Tide name as large as will fit on the box.

But if you don’t have the funds to get people coming into the store looking for your brand, then don’t copy the big consumer product marketers, it won’t work.

Make sure it’s obvious what your product is and what it does

The largest copy on your package serves the same purpose as a headline in an ad – to grab the readers’ attention and get them to read the next sentence.

In the case of your packaging, the goal is to get the shopper to notice your product, pick it up and look at it closer. She will not give your product a second look if she can’t instantly tell what it is or what it does.

After the headline on your package gets her to pick it up, the rest of the package copy should explain or visually show what your product does and why she should buy it.

Hide your product or show it?

If your product is visually attractive, unique or obvious as to what it is and what it does, then you might consider packaging that allows the shopper to see the product itself through the packaging.

On the other hand, if your product if ugly, or not obvious – think detergent – make the packaging do the work
One of my product lines was holographic/prismatic stickers and school supplies and since my products itself were the attraction, I used clear packaging to showcase it – or no packaging at all and just put a UPC code sticker on the back of the product.

For another product, a skatebike, it was not obvious by looking at it what it was or how it worked, so our package showed photos of it in use so it would be immediately obvious.

How to get your product noticed

Although almost any package design will look nice in a presentation against a white background made by the designer or agency, that’s not what matters.

In a store the shopper can see literally thousands of products all at once. Take that design that looked so good by itself, make an actual size mock up, take it into a store and place it on the shelf where it might be merchandised.

Now, step back 20’ or so and see if it stands out in any way against all the other products. If everything else in your category has full color packaging, you may want to consider a monochrome or even black and white or another high contrast look to stand out.

If you have an entire product line, give all the packaging a family appearance so the entire group of products jumps out at the shopper and gets noticed.

Follow these simple suggestions and you’ll see that it makes a big difference in your sales.

Start A New Business For Free If Your Product Is Sold In Stores

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

One of the best things I ever did was to do a consumer mail in offer on my consumer product packaging. Most companies either do nothing or have people mail in a “guarantee registration” that never gets used for anything.

I put a “mail in offer” for a different assortment of my products than was being sold in stores on my packaging and had people send enough for postage & handling to pay for both me sending them whatever they requested as well as a catalog of my other products.

Because my offer was not something stores could sell, and because I used the UPC codes on the retail package as worth $1 off the “mail in” offer, (my product only sold for $1 retail), buyers loved it. In fact, the WalMart buyer asked me to note my offer right on the front of my package – instead of only the backside where I had it. . .

Back when I did this, $1.00 was enough to pay for the product I sent people along with a catalog of my other products. As a result, we created a direct mail catalog company selling to consumers at a cost of NOTHING!