5 ways you can add value to your packaging
Packaging has multiple purposes; it must protect its contents, be convenient to transport, convey essential product information to the consumer and act as a promotional tool. Many companies have realised the power that packaging can have and have used simple design features to add value to their product.
With more products available now than ever, it’s no longer enough to rely solely on having a great quality product. Much of the time, packaging can play an important role in a customer’s decision-making process, meaning that adding value to packaging is essential for businesses to respond to consumer and retailer needs. But what are customers desires, and how are businesses responding to them?
Thinking about convenience
Today’s fast-paced lifestyle means that consumers and buyers are increasingly looking for convenience and packaging that is simple and easy to use. Buyers are looking for packaging which will make their lives easier such as packaging made from lightweight materials, easy to open designs, resealable or reusable packaging, and compact enough to easily carry around.
In postal packaging, it’s becoming commonplace that tear strips are built into a variety of different packaging, including postal boxes, book wraps, envelopes and to a lesser extent larger cartons. This simple yet effective feature takes any hassle out of opening your packages for your customers, improving the overall experience for them and leaving them with a more positive memory for the future. Convenience can also add value to your packaging on the businesses end by making it easy to construct, pack and seal. Self-sealing packaging and boxes with fold and lock constructions are a great example of packaging that increases convenience on the business side. By making it easier to construct and seal their packaging, businesses can reduce the amount of time required for each shipment that they send out making their packing room more efficient and saving money.
In food packaging, it’s now more common to find certain food items in resealable pouches, making it easy for consumers to consume the contents at their own pace whilst still keeping the food fresh in their original packaging and reducing food waste.
Having health and safety high on the agenda
Whilst responding to customer needs for convenience is important, health and safety considerations are still of paramount importance. Packaging should not only keep the product in optimum condition but should also be designed with the consumer’s wellbeing in mind. Health and safety has been responsible for many packaging design features over the years and continues to introduce new and innovative solutions to improve the experience for customers. Take medicine containers for example; the simple concept of child-resistant containers invented in 1967 to protect children from the harmful effects of ingesting the contents are still in widespread use today. In the food industry; safety-buttons on lids, which show if jars have been opened, or have been on supermarket shelves for decades. A functional feature which helps retailers and buyers identify freshness. Items like cleaning products and cosmetics often have important information such as hazard warning symbols that warn the user of any potential harm that could come from these products as well as how to avoid the risk and mitigate any problems from them. Not only does this add value to your packaging through useful information but it is also a legal obligation. Manufacturers are also making the most of new technologies, to innovate and further protect their goods. In the food industry, antimicrobial technology is increasingly being used to reduce bacterial contamination. For example, films and trays incorporating antimicrobial agents for packaging meat to keep it fresher for longer.
When shipping hazardous goods that are flammable, toxic or corrosive, it’s required that they be contained in specialised UN approved packaging that has been built, tested and certified to ensure that both liquid and solid dangerous materials are transported safely. Using official UN packaging with the correct documentation will ensure that you are meeting your legal requirements and will reassure your customers and business partners when they receive their shipments that all the appropriate action has been taken to ensure that they have been handled safely and correctly.
You can add value to your packaging by keeping costs low and making each product and/or order more profitable. Cutting the costs of the packaging itself and making sure that savings are made throughout the supply chain, is often on the minds of many businesses. An expensive product doesn’t necessarily have to have expensive packaging, and expensive packaging doesn’t always mean better quality packaging. Consider less expensive alternatives to your standard packaging and try out unbranded items as they can often prove as effective as their branded counterparts at a fraction of the price. As mentioned before, packaging made from recycled material such as boxes made from recycled pulp can often be less expensive and are also more sustainable. You should also analyse your packaging and consider if you’re using any packaging excessively or unnecessarily, consider whether you need to use all the protective material that you use and see if you can reduce the amount of dead space inside your boxes.
Many businesses decide to buy their packaging in bulk to make use of quantity discounts and better prices. If you’re an established business and have regular orders coming in, you might want to consider ordering more of your packaging in one go to get a lower price per unit and increase the profitability on each product and order that you make.
Being environmentally friendly
With consumers becoming increasingly aware of issues such as climate change and plastic pollution in the ocean its important to react and listen to their concerns. As well as helping the environment, switching to more environmentally friendly packaging products can be used by your business as a unique selling point and could be a major reason that customers choose to purchase from your company instead of a competitor. This area of packaging is seeing major developments and gaining a large amount of attention in the media, with products that are easier and more efficient to recycle and bioplastics that break down over time into organic material. As well as new innovations, many businesses are opting to use more traditional types of packaging such as Amazon who started to use gummed paper tape to seal their parcels, making them easier and simpler to recycle as the tape can be recycled alongside the cardboard. Supermarket retailer Sainsbury’s calculated that by taking 11mm off the diameter of their toilet roll tubes that they would cut the amount lorry trips required to transport them each year by 500, reducing 140 tonnes of carbon emissions and saving transport costs at the same time.
Another way that being environmentally friendly can add value to your packaging is by lowering your costs. Packaging that has been made from recycled material such as recycled cardboard or recycled Kraft paper is usually cheaper than packaging items made completely from virgin materials and are still often good quality.
Packaging’s most basic function is to protect products from damage. This is obviously important to retailers who need to be able to easily store and display items, as well as consumers who want to buy a product that is in optimum condition. In the electronics industry, packaging must not only protect delicate components from impacts and being crushed but also needs to protect against electrostatic energy which can damage delicate components and render them useless. In response to this, developments have taken place to provide packaging such as anti-static bubble wrap and bags that protect against this potential damage making it easier for electronic components to be shipped across the globe without them being compromised.
Cardboard boxes have also benefited from developments in paper technology, becoming sturdier and more dynamic as a result. With simple structural and material changes, the strength of cardboard boxes has been improved over time. Semi-chemical board is cardboard that has fluting that has been made with a high percentage of virgin fibres from hardwood with the semi-chemical pulping process. The result of this is board that is stronger and more resistant to damp conditions which allow businesses to better tailor their packaging needs to the environment that it will be exposed to.
Adding value to packaging will not only benefit the end consumer but will also result in an increase in profits for manufacturers, make the process of importing and exporting easier and help the planet at the same time, making packaging a key area to evaluate in order to contribute to the success of your business.