Small Business Research: How to Identify Your Ideal Packaging Solution
According to the Centre for Entrepreneurs, an astounding 608,110 businesses were formed in the UK in 2015, up from the 581,000 startup businesses Britain reported in 2014. A high proportion of these new businesses are in the tech industry, with food and drink — especially craft beer, homemade and healthy goods — also being prominent.
This increase in new startups has also seen the rise of the YouTube trend of consumers filming themselves opening up the packaging of new products. This is something all new businesses should be aware of, especially so with technology companies. The reason being is that tech products, such as those made by Apple and also products from the makeup and cosmetics industry, rely on this kind of consumer-generated content: these YouTube bloggers are essentially free marketing tools that can create excitement for the product. And of course, the packaging is first thing that they and the public will see when they open these products. So, how do you identify the ideal packaging solution?
The importance of cost-effective and sustainable packaging
Effective packaging is clear to spot as it serves two main purposes:
- To protect the product it contains and maintain hygienic conditions, where applicable
- To look good and display a company’s branding.
These are essentially your broadest goals for packaging when starting a business. Yet these goals open up a raft of different packaging pathways you can go down, such as whether you want your packaging to be recycled or whether you want to adoptrigid or flexible packaging processes. Regardless, for startups today, packaging must be sustainable and cost-effective in order for them to succeed.
Sustainability, for instance, is a feature that is increasingly in demand by consumers and many new brands pride themselves on their sustainable outlook. Cost-effectiveness is another obvious priority as the ideal packaging solution for any business is one that can be maintained in the long-term without compromising profits.
Choosing the right packaging supplier
The right supplier is also essential for startups considering their packaging options. Some businesses may choose a supplier that focuses on their particular industry (e.g. chilled food packaging), while others could prioritise building relationships with local packaging suppliers or those that have a shared ethos (e.g. environmental friendliness or innovative design). You have to decide what works best for you, but keep in mind what could work for you in terms of cost.
Value for money
Getting the best value for money from your packaging supplier depends on several factors, such as good communication with packaging solutions providers, comparing different products, suppliers and looking at long-term sustainability. The packaging design a startup wants may be overly ambitious, so branding and style must sometimes be compared with cost and compromises may have to be made.
Small production runs can be more expensive to start with, so until a large customer base has been established, price is certainly an issue that brand new businesses need to consider.
Supply chain efficiency can also be an important factor when startups choose a product packaging supplier. An efficient supply chain leads to cost savings and environmental benefits, and modern consumers often react well to minimising waste.
As well as being affordable, packaging must be effective at its primary role – protecting a product. Poor-quality packaging may be insufficient at keeping a product safe and damaged items will result in extra costs for a business. This is especially relevant for products that are consumable (and must therefore be kept hygienic and safe to eat) and items such as new technology, that would be expensive to replace if broken by poor packaging.
Online packaging personalisation
There is a growing trend in many industries for offering online personalisation options in packaging. Nutella, for example, recently led a marketing campaign in which people who bought their products could order another pack that was personalised with their name on it. Fashion brand Burberry has also offered customers the opportunity to have their initials printed on a perfume bottle.
This degree of personalisation is highly attractive to many consumers who enjoy having the ability to personalise the products associated with their favourite brands. It can be an especially appealing option for gift buyers, so offering personalisation options close to holidays when people tend to buy presents can lead to a boost in sales.
However, online personalisation in packaging is a more expensive option for businesses. It can also require more work than may be expected: will brands ban certain words from their packaging? Who will monitor this and how will it work?
For startups on a budget, online personalisation may be out of reach for the time being, but it can remain a goal for the future. Focusing instead on effective, attractive packaging from a reliable supplier that is both cost-effective and high quality is an approach that combines economics with effectiveness in a way that suits new brands that are establishing themselves in the market.
Ideal packaging solutions
There is no single ideal packaging solution that would suit every startup in the country, as individual priorities and commercial concerns come into play. Budgets, designs, and the products that are being packaged will all have an impact on the best option for each company as well.
Perhaps the best thing you can do is to speak to a range of providers and compare their work before deciding on the solution that will suit your business most effectively. For more information on choosing the right packaging for your business, head on over to our Small Business Centre.