The 7 Jobs Your Packaging Must Do

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.


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