Why Packaging and Design?
“Think sustainable, thoughtful, unique and, of course, ‘outside of the box’!”— Daniella Shapiro on packaging trends for 2019
Product Packaging Basics
Product packaging design refers to the creation of the exterior of a product. This includes The material (box, bottle, can, wrapper or any form of container)The font, graphics, colour, and other important information.
A good design tells a story about the product. It visually engages us and the materials used can enhance the user experience by touching and feeling the product. It is a practical tool which engages the consumer and gives that first impression that helps the consumer decider if they should buy the product and what to expect.
Before you start your packaging design. Take a quick look at how the competitors are packaging their product to give you a good idea on
- Where it is sold
- How it is sold
- Who buys the products.
Questions to ask before you design your packaging.
What is the product?
How big is it? Is it delicate? What is it made of? Does it need to be airtight?
These questions will determine if there are any logistical musts for the product packaging.
Who’s buying the product?
Is it mainly bought by men or women? Is it a bespoke product?
These questions will determine the design type and whether product needs to give the feeling of luxury
How are people buying the product?
Is this bought in retail? Is this bought online? Are there many other products in the same category in the store?
These questions will help determine how it is going to be packed and form factor.
Do you have a brand requirement?
What fonts does your brand use? What colour is required? (CMYK or Pantone) Do you have a brand Logo? (Vector file, AI?)
Contents that go on the brand package
Do you have the photos / graphics / instructions / drawings to go on the package? Do you have the text / descriptions / copy to go on the packaging? Do you have required marks? (Barcode / nutritional information / certification) Do you know if you have additional prints (temporary content) Things you want to print separately like expiry dates and batch number.
One time cost (on design set up) Per item cost (for materials and labor)
Know your quantities and whether you are going to need to reprint again later and price breaks for higher quantities.
Designs you like
Collect a few designs that you like and file them to show the designer the direction he should take. If there are any designs you dislike, communicate this as well.
Is this a new product or a product/packaging revamp?
Is this packaging an update of your old packaging, a different product in a similar range of products that you offer, or a completely new design? If they are products in a similar range, will your current design requirements need to be aligned with those.
If you produce several product lines in different categories, will your current requirements need to factor in any similarities
Do you already have a packaging factory or contract product design house?
Does your factory have the necessary machines to complete all processes?
Packaging design will involve many processes which may require services from different factories as some may require quite specialized equipment. Many factories may not even provide all the services under one roof. Special processes from third party are required like – metalic foil, clasps, magnets, and for complex specialization die cut.
Do you have sustainability guidelines to observe?
Recycled paper only? No plastics? Reusable Containers?
Will you need impact or drop test to be conducted?
Merchandise / products may contain fragile items and drop tests are necessary to ensure the product arrives safely during transportation. Sometimes, when the products stored are stacked on top of one another, several types of other tests are required to determine structural integrity of the contents after it is being stacked. Many MNCs have guidelines that need the packaging to conform to impact / drop test parameters
Will there be secondary packaging that this product will be placed within during sales process?
If there are other items, how much clearance do you need and are there other requirements for the other items?
Why Packaging and Design?
In a retail environment, packaging design is the most crucial factor to differentiate your products from your competitors’.
“Think sustainable, thoughtful, unique and, of course, ‘outside of the box’!”Daniella Shapiro on packaging trends for 2019
Product Packaging Basics II
Packaging design process
After answering all these questions, you can start to put together ideas for product packaging.
- Understand the inner packaging and outer packaging.
For products with more than 1 part, to transport and store the product neatly, you may need to use layers.
To give you a good idea, the packaging of a laptop and how it comes will have the laptop mounted on a layer and the other wiring, charger and accessories in slot away around it. Knowing the right form factor of the item is important and stuff the various materials which can be used for the inner layers.
For other items that are stored in jars, there may be inner layers required to cushion the jars inside the box so it does not get damaged during transportation. Packing peanuts, styrofoam, cardboard or tissue all take up space but they do have weight as well.
The outer packaging is what the product comes in, which is usually a box with printing, a label and a description of the contents and some pictures.
Understanding each layer well can help you develop a story for the product and adds to the experience.
- Understand your material options.
There may be different types of packaging used by your competitors on their products. Study their packaging and try to understand their reasons for why the packaging type is used and whether you should use the same type.
Understand that you have a budget, so the materials and design should all fit into your budget first.
It is sometimes no brainer that you use a jar or a bottle, but there can also be options of size and materials to consider. You may want to consider how someone would clean the container to reuse it. The circular economy is gaining traction and consumer may be interested to buy refills or return the container to be reused. It may also save you money if you can manage the logistics.
For containers to be reused, then the container needs to be a lot more durable than single-use containers and decisions need to be made to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the container if it were to contain food.
For internal packaging, different materials will obviously have different weight and if you are selling online, you may want to consider lighter internal packing materials. With the strong focus of sustainability today, many consumers will want to see sustainable packaging to styrofoam use would not be good. Luckily, there are more options now on compostable packaging materials which are also lightweight.
For food containers, there are many options and with tetra packs, you can think out of the box to design packages which can fit well for shipping, however, do take note that ergonomics does matter to the customer as well. If you are selling something liquid, think of designs where the consumer can use with maximum ease, go all creative as a good design can attract a lot of attention.
For luxury packaging, custom materials used may not be easily available at the product design house — satin lamination, colored metallic ink, pearlescent paper — may also require specialized equipment, and if this is part of your design, make sure your product design house can handle your needs.
Talk to product design house to understand options
Because there is always a budget involved, know the standard sizes first before you go all out and design your graphics. For boxes, bottles and many other packagings, there may exist common sizes where printing would be cheapest because there is already a die cut available.
Your packaging design house would be able to inform you of 4 important things.
a) minimum order quantity b) standard dielines c) file formats they accept. (Tiff, Illustrator, Photoshop, PDF, EPS) d) color options (2 color or single color printing may save quite a bit of money)
If you have a sample size and shape, show your printer and they would be able to tell you the standard dielines for the package. Following the dieline could save on the cost of making a custom die.
- Determine look and feel by understanding customer profile
What would motivate your customers from buying your product? Does it need to feel and look like a luxury product?
Do you want to have a sustainable brand and not use plastics in the printing?
Do you want to look fresh and young to attract younger customers?
There are many ways of designing the packaging for your product and you need to know who you are selling to and what that customer demographic prefers.
- Critical information on the outer box
Hierarchy of information – presentation of important information in the front (Brand + logo) Having the selling proposition larger and more prominent. For barcodes, consult with supermarket s or retail outlets as the machines they use to capture information may have measurement requirements.
For food and other specific industries, what is needed to be displayed may need to be sent to relevant authorities for vetting and approval. E.g. Halal food certification – MUIS / HSA, etc.
- Transparent cut out to show content
It may be important to allow the shopper to peek into contents for them to understand what is inside for products where the photos do not do a good description. For example, some coffee packaging have a small window to allow the shopper to see the granule sizes, whether it is full bean, coarse or finely grounded. The window can also allow the shopper to view the options like color and design without opening the package.
How to pick a design firm that will suit your needs.
Many entrepreneurs may have products which they think are good and after having a few customers, reiterating the products, making them better, they may think they have a good product which they could sell. There are always questions that come to mind;
Should I design my own packaging, website and social media engagement or hire someone else?
Do you know how to use image editing software to create your own graphics or have access to good graphic designers?
– Do I have contacts that are printers?
– Do I know the printers who have done work in my industry to the quality that I require?
– Do I know anything about packaging design?
– How much do you know about creating a webpage to drive traffic?
– What do you want your webpage to be? E-commerce site to sell your products?
– Can I write my own copy editing for my website?
For Social Media:
– Do you know how to engage customer on social media?
– Do you have time to follow up on conversations?
– Do I know how to use the various social media platforms and pick the ones that suits my needs best?
For most of the cases, the entrepreneur may have some experience in doing a little, but may not have the whole picture, it is important to also know that time is also a cost. If the entrepreneur spends too much time on engagement and designing, the most important part of business development and product development may be ignored affecting operations.
So, if there are parts that the entrepreneur needs help on, and there is potential more sales that it makes economic sense, then engaging vendors to get it done may be required. So how do you choose the right designer?
There are a few choices:
- Free lance designer.
This may be a relatively lowest cost way of going ahead. As they have low cost and low overheads, the cost in the end is also relatively low. Pros:
Freelance designers can be low cost – 1 man team – do it all
No overheads or monthly costs. Cons:
Quality of work varies – you get what you pay for.
Some freelance that are good can be expensive
Reliability – May be hard to contact and hard to be accountable.
Can do limited work – Design only – find your own printers, etc.
- In-house Design team.
This is useful as having your own design team allows more control if you consistently have design work. Pros:
Consistent work, consistent quality.
Quick turnaround time.e
Can double up as manpower for social media Cons:
Will have recurring payment (Salary)
Still need to have access to other vendors when it comes to printing or building up trade-show booths
- Design house.
Picking the right design house for your needs is still not straight forward. There are also various choices depending on budgets. Not all MNC design houses are expensive and not all local design houses are cheap. The sizes of these design houses varies, and the work they can do vary as well. So, how do you pick one right for you?
a) Get recommendations of design companies by peers in your industry.
A good design company in your industry will have the necessary experience and credentials to do the job right.
Some industries like food and healthcare may need various forms of compliance for the product packaging and not all design companies can handle it.
b) Diversity in their portfolio
You want to see if the design company has done work for other industries as well.
Having other industry experience will allow them to experience different materials which allow you to have more options on designs.
c) How do they achieve objectives that fit the needs of the brand managers?
Looking at some of the design portfolio, ask how some of these designs fit the needs of their clients to get a better insight of their thought process and creative ability
d) MNC design houses vs local design houses.
MNC design houses may have done projects of MNC companies and have a lot of experience behind the team
MNC design houses can create designs with global appeal for international markets.
MNC design houses usually have integrated teams which can apply the same designs for web, packaging, display booths, etc.
Local design houses know more about local culture / context
Local design houses know local market likes / dislikes
Local design houses understand buyer behaviour Pros:
Design houses usually can get the job done. They have a wealth of experience and a big team to get things done
They can help you navigate away from potential problems. If you need to stack products for storage, they can design boxes to be stackable, etc.
They can help advice you on regulatory requirements, which may save time and money.
They can provide more options with designs, materials, etc.
Whole integrated marketing can potentially be outsourced.
Accountability – They can give a more definite estimate of how long it is going to take and how much it is going to cost.
They have a structured approach which can help you organise and get things done. Cons:
They usually cost more than a freelance, but you get what you pay for.
Approval and processes may cause projects to take longer than it should.
During the whole process of picking the right design team, the budget can be one of the most important consideration.
Picking the right design team and design direction will get the tone of the corporate image, which affects your product delivery and packaging. This may also be the first impression on where customers engage your brand.
With a budget set aside for packaging, you can give a clearer picture to your printers / design house on how much you are willing to spend. The budget will be a good guideline on how the packaging ends up to be but again, this is just a guideline.
The actual cost sometimes differ from the budget. The price will also vary greatly if your design house or printer is not familiar with the work. What seemed to be a bargain may end up costing a lot more than expected. If it is just a box, things may be quite straightforward, but when there is a window and division, along with other materials. As designs get innovative, packaging may get more complex.
For more complex design work which involves branding, packaging and product design, the whole process may take months. It is easier to segment the project into smaller parts, monitor progress and project manage it to reach the final objective. Sometimes, there are no shortcuts, and it would be better with a seasoned art director who have deep knowledge in the field to work on the project.
Another tip is to engage a design house in the beginning to plot out the direction and work with them for the direction and have an internal team handle the design. This might save costs and still achieve a reasonable amount of good design in the right direction, without falling Ito pitfalls along the way.
From time to time, it is important to re-look at design at different phases of the company.
- Evolving trends can shape public perception
- Cultural norms and sensitivities have changed
- Reflect the company’s commitments towards sustainability. (Sustainable packaging, logistics, processes)
- New launches, to refresh new designs
Importance of Packaging Form Factor
Smart design in reducing size can lead to a lot of savings.
Packaging design can be used to make your products stand out. A desirable design is important, but one of the most important factors is still functionality. Packaging designs need to serve a purpose — to protect the contents and display them in a pleasing manner.
We have done a few gift with purchase projects with Milo and one of the reasons why we get many of these repeating projects is because we understand that aesthetics are important, but we can make sure that we can create a small package to hold the contents safely as well.
The Milo project was to include Milo sachets and a ceramic mug in a box. The mug needed to be displayed for people to know how it looks and how big it is, and a cut out was requested. This presented a challenge. If the mug was attached to the side, it would be visible but the mug was fragile and may break during transport.
It was natural to think about putting it inside the box, but there were several tests to conduct to ensure the safety of the mug and the contents do not get easily removed.
Using the Milo sachets to cushion the mug was a good solution as it reduces the form factor as the empty space were filled with Milo Sachets. We created several prototypes and found that the mug handle would move about and may shift to cover the brand or worse, expose the handle, leading to damage. After a few rounds of iterations, a cutout for the handle was made to secure the handle so the mug would not shift.
This allowed the brand to be visible and protect the mug and the handle at the same time.
The final design included a mug sleeve which was just a cardboard and relatively light weight. The mug was cushioned by the sachets and no additional packaging material was needed, and the whole box was easy to produce as the design was rather straightforward.
We just needed a printer and the box was done.
In short, a good design can look good and have a small form factor. The good part about it is that this smaller box size that survives drop tests saves on storage, shelf space and transport costs.
Being smaller, more of these could be shipped in one trip, reducing transport footprint as well.
Form factor of the product packaging should be one of the key areas to focus on in terms of sustainability as this little saving can save a lot.
Good packaging design helps products to stand out in retail
If you have a product and you are getting distributors to sell it for you, chances are, it will end up in various retail stores or hypermarkets. With stiff competition from competitors and many different choices, what would make your products stand out from the competition?
I have experienced this the hard way. As the owner of a few brands, after a few hard lessons on “why did my products not move?”, I quickly realized that most consumers do not read your benefits and do not have the time to compare the advantages of the products when they shop. They only thing that they care about is the price and how the packaging looks.
I created the most advanced socks in 2004, 200-needle count, 3-D stitching, using the most superior fibers – Eco-fabric and Lycra. These socks are comfortable, durable, and only better than anything out in the market. Working with several chain stores, and after the managers tried out the samples, they agreed to carry the product. To those who can afford it, it was an easy sell once you get to explain to them, and I thought since I have the best product, why should I spend money on design and marketing?
I was dead wrong. The initial launch was met with lukewarm success, and sales did not pick up. After a few months, the packaging was gathering dust, and we had to pull them off the shelves to try to understand what happened. After getting a few consultants in, we quickly realized that the plain 2 color packaging did not fit the product itself. People immediately reacted to the price and felt that the product was expensive because the packaging looks plain; not many people read the benefits or even pick up the product.
It was an expensive lesson as it impacts the brand’s reputation, and we lost several distribution channels because of the poor sales performance. We had to destroy all the packaging and print new ones that were attractive and fit the product. When that was done, our sales were expected, when customers bought one, they came back for more, word of mouth spread and sales grew fast.
So, if you have a new product that is about to launch, I have one piece of advice: Get a fantastic design for your box that allows it to stand out in the retail stores.
How can your products stand out in retail?
Let us start with a few questions;
Have you been in a Hypermarket where you see hundreds of products in the same category for sale down a long isle?
Do you notice some of the products that catch your attention, and you are curious to pick them out to learn more about it or purchase it to keep the container?
Do you find some of the products create an excellent design when they are stacked together?
Have you encountered attractive display areas where products and information are displayed to highlight features and benefits?
Visual merchandising is an art practice in the retail industry of developing floor plans and three-dimensional displays to maximize sales. Visual merchandising contributes to a brand’s personality and the characteristics associated with the brand.
How to start the process of incorporating visual merchandising?
- Visit potential retailers to check out the competition.
- Visualize your product on their shelves and imagine how it looks like in the space.
- Which of your competitors stand out, and why?
- Are there excellent design features that catch your eye that you can incorporate in your design?
- Do you have enough budget or products to feature in an Endcap or a Gondola?
- What are the design features which catch your attention, and how can you incorporate them into your product packaging?
- For your products to fit in the retail outlets, are there colors that would complement the product mix to make the products “fit” space or are there colors which you should use to make your products stand out.
- Know your demographic, does the product packaging fit the segment you are selling to?
- How would you make your simple packaging look chic and attractive?
- Consider Eco-friendly options.
Today technologies allow you to quickly create a prototype and bring it back to the supermarket to see how it compares. Once you have the sample designs, you can easily print it in full color and paste onto a box of the exact size and bring it to the supermarket to check how it compares on the shelves. See if the prototype stands out. Stack a few sides by the side and see how the design line flows as the prototypes stack together.
You still have time to change if you spot design features that you don’t like before mass production. Sometimes, if you orientate your product box a certain way, you may not see anything at all, and there can be design elements on the side of the box to try to draw more attention to the product.
The packaging is compelling because it tells consumers why your product and brand are different. New products fail because consumers do not have time to read and learn about it. Great packaging is especially significant for growing startups because it can have a direct impact on sales and a company’s overall appeal.
Want more proof?
Do you want to know how poor packaging can fail?
Look at cigarette packaging today. The countries with standardized cigarette packaging reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products, increase the noticeability and effectiveness of mandated health warnings, and reduce the ability of retail packaging to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking.
“Compared with branded pack smokers, those smoking from plain packs perceived their cigarettes to be lower in quality, tended to perceive their cigarettes as less satisfying than a year ago, were more likely to have thought about quitting at least once a day in the past week and to rate quitting as a higher priority in their lives. Plain pack smokers were more likely to support the policy than branded pack smokers,” the researchers said in their paper.
Not only can Marlboro not use its logo, but it also can’t use its typeface. The packages, covered with health warnings and graphic images that deter smoking, resulted in the most significant smoking decline Australia has seen in 20 years.
Remember, your product packaging is part of your communications as well. Make the packaging part of your brand experience. It is fun to unbox, and with stylish typography, cards in muted colors, a relatively inexpensive solution can feel high-end.
Visual Merchandising Basics in Modern Trade
If you have products to be displayed in retail, there are some basics which you need to know in the trade. Some basic terminology that can make you sound like an expert.
A good display stand has direct impact on product sales. Usually made with corrugated fiberboard, fluted polypropylene and acrylic, they can be full color printed and supplied as flat-packs, ready to assemble in seconds.
The display stand has elements to interior design, and used to display goods and focus on the customer’s wish to purchase the goods.
When a display stand is placed at the end of an isle, it gives the brand a competitive advantage.
End caps are often built into the shelving or racks of the retail aisle system. In some cases, if there is an open space, the end cap is placed in that space, on a pallet.
A Gondola is a freestanding fixture used by retailers to display merchandise. Gondolas typically consist of a flat base (Palette) and a vertical component featuring notches or pegboards. The vertical piece can be fitted with shelves, hooks, or other displays. Gondolas placed end-to-end can form rows of shelving while stand-alone gondolas tend to be used for special themed displays. (See Kitkat display above) A gondola placed perpendicular to the end of a row of other gondolas can be used as an endcap.
When visual merchandising is leveraged well, your products can stand out from your competitors. There are a few key basic tips to have an effective visual merchandising.
You need to know where your products are going to be placed and how your competitors look in the isle. Having an understand of the location and competition allows you to plan on how to stand out.
Contrasting colors work to draw attention to your products. “Wherever the eyes go, the feet will follow. So use color to catch the eyes of your customers and draw them to your displays.”
Your displays need to “pop” out and grab attention of the shopper.
Using identical elements and repeating them over and over again creates a very powerful display. This simple idea can have a lot of punch.
When your products are placed close together, do the lines flow and the series of different colors create a frame of similar style? This is powerful way in your packaging design to get attention.
3) Focal Point
Examine your display from the customer’s point of view: the top, the floor, both sides. Often the focal point is positioned too high for the customer to see. Check your displays to ensure customers can easily view the merchandise.
You may use props on your display to create an effect or tell a story. But make sure the focal point is on the products and not the props, and that props are not too distracting.
4) Tell a story
Effective merchandising tells a story. With proper signage, props and design, the customer can be attracted to your display and with 3 bullet points, tell the customers why they need your products.
Create a message with the display to help the customer better understand the product and enable the buying decision.
5) Place the maximum amount of products without creating clutter.
Customers would like to see a lot of products on display. With proper design on the packaging, the products placed together create an attraction to bring customers to it. However, too many products stacked in a sloppy mess can be a turn off.
A well-designed, impactful display exposes the customer to as much merchandise as possible. Putting more products out allows customers to buy more without having the retail staff to restock.
There are a lot more to learn for visual merchandising for a retail stand point which I will share again, but in the meantime, I this is informative for you.
Let me know if you have any questions and we will be glad to respond to you.
Understanding the purpose of packaging.
Many products come in packaging, bottles, boxes and other containers. With the increasing interest in sustainability, perhaps we need to understand the purpose of packaging.
1) Bulk Items.
In the past, many items are sold as bulk items, which means they don’t come with any packaging. You will have rice, nuts and other dried goods packed in jars, and you buy what you need, bringing your own containers.
With modern trade, we see many of these items wrapped in plastic and sold in packages of various size.
The main reason why people choose to buy products in plastic is because of convenience. Consumer can just pick up a pack of dried goods and place in the shopping cart. This saves time as they do not need to weigh the item in order to buy it.
For the vendor, packing it in plastic offers several benefits. Product packaging is a marketing tool and can help you differentiate with the competitors. It offers brand recognition and packaging can also contain a lot more information and colors to sway the buying decision of the consumers. One of the biggest importance of packaging, especially for bulk foods is that packaging has an expiry date and proper packaging can preserve the freshness of the items for longer. It also gives the perception of hygiene.
2) FMCG products
For FMCG products, packaging is used to contain the item. Different material are used for different products, potato chips and similar products are packaged in foil packaging pouch with air to prevent the contents from getting crushed during shipping.
Various other liquids such as detergents, milks and sodas are often packaged in plastic bottles. The type of plastic will also vary to have different properties. Some bottles need to be sterile and not react with the contents, other bottles need to be lightweight and strong as the contents can be heavy, and they need to be stackable as well. Frozen food like fish sticks, are also often packaged in box, and the contents are kept within a plastic bag within the box to prevent the plastic to be damaged while it is getting shipped.
Many products we see in the supermarkets today is in the packaging now because of countless research and adjustments. Of course, there will be many cases where the designers just copy existing packaging without understanding the requirements and guidelines behind it, but most packaging have various iterations before they reach the shelves.
To come out with better packaging for FMCG products would also mean that the costs will be higher. Different materials (or sustainable materials) will cost more than the common materials seen. Even when some materials can do the job better, or they can be composted, because it is not common enough, there may not be economy of scale, and hence not widely adopted.
3) Other goods and items.
The primary purpose of packaging of many other goods is to prevent products from getting damaged. There is internal packaging which may consist of a smaller box and packaging “stuffing” materials. Then, there is an external packaging which is usually an external stackable box that contains printed information on the products within.
Like FMCG products, the other purpose of packaging is to differentiate from competitors. When the product stacked, the packaging along with other products together need to be attractive enough for consumers to pick it up and it will help in buyer decision.
Lastly, when your products have an inner packaging, the whole product “unboxing” can be an experience that can be developed. There are a lot of good examples of the “unboxing” of Apple products. A small form factor can contain information and give a “luxury feel” without spending too much on expensive materials.
This has even been applied to many luxury items like watches, and even whiskey!
A sustainable packaging concept can be a very powerful tool to convey this message as well, and the whole packaging of the final product is one thing that many companies miss, but it can be one of the most important step to get the consumer to buy the product.
Art of Gifts With Purchase
For marketing products, Gifts with Purchase is one of the more cost effective way to promote the product. Who does not love gifts? This is also a good way to make customer buy more of the product to get the “free gift”.
The key idea of this is to promote your product, and improve your business. The big question for you now is how to execute it properly?
As a business, you should have an idea of what your customers want, what entities them to buy more and how it relates to your brand.
It makes sense for Milo to give a mug with their brand name, and if the design is attractive, and gift makes sense, customers would not mind buying more to get it.
What considerations should you have?
Seasons play a big role for Gifts with Purchase. Timing is key. When school is starting, if your products are used by kids, parents may be enticed to buy more with the appropriate gifts. During the holidays, a holiday gift could be the way to go.
Timing is essential for some gifts, and understanding the current trends can also attract more customers.
One of the main reasons why companies do Gifts with Purchase is because there are sales cycles in their products. If your company is already doing well during the holidays, there is no reason for you to do gifts with purchase. During the off-peak seasons, gift with purchase can give the extra boost for customers to buy more because of the attractive gift.
Marketing and Promotion
Usually, having just a Gift with Purchase is not enough. You need to properly market it to let people know about the promotion. You will also need to ensure that you have enough inventory. There is nothing worse than a dissatisfied customer, and even though the item might be free, this might have been the sole cause of the initial purchase.
You need to market your Gift with Purchase accurately. The directions need to be very clear, and that it’s stated “while products last”. If you are giving vouchers and return coupons, make sure you have the expiry dates properly displayed. If there are terms and conditions with the Gift with Purchase, make sure the campaign is clear and sales staff trained. This could make a big difference between a failed campaign and a successful one.
When giving away a free gift, ensure your company logo is prominently displayed. Do include your branding on the gift as this reminds your customers on where they got the FREE gifts from.
For added challenge and fun, you could have a series of Gift with Purchase that tells a story. Each gift come in a bundle and you can collect them all after a few purchases and it may form a set, or the gifts can be combined together to build something different altogether.
Feel free to contact us if you want to chat on how you can take your Gifts with Purchase to the next level.
Here is a Nasi-le-mug that contain your favorite drink for your Nasi Lemak.
Creative and Inspiring designs do not need to be expensive.
Many of us want to have attractive packaging that sells itself, but the cost of production of some of the packaging can be costly. Many high end products comes in expensive packaging that makes it stand out from the crowd, but it does not need to be that way.
The following are some of the creative designs out there that are simply inspiring and they actually do not cost so much more to produce.
This gum packaging simply works, cutting a small window in your regular gum packaging to reveal the “teeth” both conveys the message that chewing gum can be good for your teeth.
I’ve seen these headphones in stores and the simplicity of the design simply works and conveys the message of the product as well.
Found this design online and it is simply hilarious, and with high protein that helps you build muscle, this definitely works.
This product actually has several purpose. It tells you it is chicken egg without reading the packaging and it is very attractive as well. and when the packaging is sealed, it also prevents people from opening the boxes to check on the eggs.
This is such an attractive visual display and if you see this on the shelves, won’t you want to buy it because of the packaging? I’d sold!
I’ve bought these from Japan before, and the teabags are simply beautiful when they are submerged in hot water. This brings the whole tea experience to the next level.
Overall, you can see from the examples that creative product packaging designs can actually drive sales, and the production costs of the products do not need to be high. Just put in more effort or get a little extra help in getting the right design and messaging for the story of your product. And remember, you are after customer experience, and the unboxing of your product is part of the experience as well.
Sustainability in Packaging Design
Companies across the value chain are looking to sustainability to differentiate from their competitors and win new business. Companies face growing consumer and regulatory pressure to find sustainable packaging options that ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’
In Singapore, the “Circuit Breaker” has made a lot of people look at the amounts of waste generated when they cook at home for every meal.
In my experience, I already grow my own vegetables, bring my own shopping bag when I go to the supermarket. But why do I still end up with so many containers to recycle every week?
Looking at my trash and recyclables, I find the following recyclable after a week.
2 Jars – Pasta Sauce
2 Cartons – heavy Cream
3 Cartons – fruit juice
1 Can – Coconut cream
4 Boxes – frozen food
2 Cartons – Milk
For my trashbag, I find a lot of plastic wrappers and styrofoam meat trays which were mainly food containers.
I also fill up a large container of compostable trash.
This is just cooking 2 meals a day for a family of 2, and the amount of trash generated is huge, and to extrapolate this for 5.7 million people, the amount would be mind blowing.
I often question why are not all the packaging materials used to package food sustainable, and after staring my work at Visibility Design, my engagement with clients quickly realize that they do have a lot of other considerations when it comes to packaging materials.
The big challenge faced is that plastic is great for single use packaging. It is cheap and can be hygienic. So alternatives cost more and may even not do the job as well. Plastics can last a long time, but they hinder sustainability.
So let us understand the different terms used when we discuss these issues.
Recyclable vs. biodegradable vs. compostable
Singaporeans threw out about 7.7 million tonnes of waste in 2018, enough to fill about 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. On a daily basis, that works out to about 21,083 tonnes, which is the weight of more than 1,400 double-decker buses. In the last year, Semakau received about 2,088 tonnes of incineration ash and non-incinerable waste daily.
For a city-state like Singapore, waste is a big problem to be solved.
Singaporeans still have problems understanding various terms as many of the new terms can be confusing.
When you have a meal on the plane, your sauce box and your plastic fork say, “Biodegradable.” Your food comes in a “Compostable” box and your water comes in a recyclable container.
The airline talks about sustainability and their commitment to reduce waste, but what does all of it mean?
What happens when you put your recyclables in the blue bin?
Long story short, there may be contamination as some people still do not bother cleaning their containers, and most of the waste ends up getting incinerated.
What gets to be recycled depends on the value of the item (cost of tin, cost of plastic pellets, cost of glass, etc) The lower the value, the lower the tolerance for contamination.
With the low cost of oil, it is highly suspect that any plastic gets made into pellets to be reused.
For the cans, the old aunties that rummage through our trash to find our empty drink cans actually account for the high percentage of these cans getting recycled.
Glass and Aluminum can be recycled indefinitely. The average piece of virgin printer paper can now be recycled five to seven times before the fibers get too degraded to be useful as new paper. After that, they can still be made into lower-grade paper-based materials like egg cartons or packaging inserts.
It takes energy to recycle materials, but that energy required is usually only 5 – 50% of the total energy used compared to virgin materials.
Biodegradable means that a product can break down without oxygen and turn into carbon dioxide, water and biomass within a reasonable amount of time. However, everything you put in the soil will eventually break down. It may just take 1000 years.
Because the definition of biodegradable does not have a time limit placed on it, consumers can get easily confused, and companies can hide behind a vague transparency.
Compostable, on the other hand, means that a product can break down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass in small pieces in about 90 days.
This rate is similar to items you might see in a backyard compost, such as leaves and paper. Compost has many beneficial uses including fertilizing and improving soil health, and it doesn’t leave toxic residue behind.
However, a design is not just about materials, the materials may still require adhesives or other finishing which will affect its ability to be recycled or composted.
Sustainable packaging design is not just using sustainable packaging materials. And a truly sustainable design looks into the whole logistic supply chain to ensure that no waste is created during the whole process as well.
In these challenging time, it is importable that we consider sustainable designs in our product as I would see technology and change accelerating from the result of the pandemic. Global trade will change permanently and I believe that there will also be accelerated focus on sustainability.
Why not take this opportunity to redesign and relook at your product packaging and consider sustainable design and sustainable practices. It would be easier to ease into it now, rather than wait until legislation occurs and it becomes mandatory.
Visual merchandising for your online store
Visual merchandising is normally associated with retail. However, with the new normal pushing more consumers online, it is important to have a good presence online with beautiful graphics and information on your products.
For online, consumers visit the eCommerce site via mobile and web browsers. It is important to have an aesthetically pleasing online store with beautiful images.
It is important to apply similar design thinking process for retail on your eCommerce site.
1) The web page is your storefront. You need to have proper display and ensure navigation helps with decision making process. Also keep in mind that many consumers may be on mobile phones as well, so having an easy to use mobile site is important.
2) Simple, uncluttered and easy to navigate. The user experience is very important. I’ve been to many sites, and felt that Bliss has a very good interface.
The site layout is your shop layout. Make the most popular or new products which you want to highlight most accessible.
3) Site Navigation is like the section of isles of your store. Make navigation easy to help your customers get to what they want fast. You may lose customers if process is too complex.
4) Images and Videos are like your marketing display. It is important to have good quality photos and videos. Additional information that is needed to help with the purchase decision must be easily accessible as well.
5) Online Promotions is like sales event at the physical store. You can use similar tactic like bundling items together or gifts with purchase to drive sales for various items. It can be a good way to drive traffic to the store and entice customers to buy more.
6) Checkout is one of the most important part of the eCommerce site. This is the final piece before your customer finalize the sale, and most crucial part. If the checkout is hard to use, the customer may simply leave and buy from another site.
Product packaging is important and the pictures you use along with the navigation of the page and checkout creates the shopping experience for the customer. You can even think of your social media promotions as a sales event that tries to engage past and potential customers to return to the shop to buy more.
Visual merchandising principles for a physical store can be applied to an online store and your tested and proven tactics just need to be adapted to create an immersive shopping experience for your customers.
Designed to Sell — How Visual Merchandising benefits your business.
Visual merchandising draws on concepts of consumer psychology and works to enhance your customers’ enjoyment. Making layout and product placement more visually pleasing could encourage consumers to buy more, return frequently, and spread the word about what you offer.
Despite many potential benefits, there are many retailers who do not appreciate the importance of visual merchandising and that a properly executed visual merchandising requires time, effort, and investment.
If you understand the customer journey, you would realize that it takes several impressions to get consumers to buy the product. This involves an audience member coming in contact with a brand in various ways.
Visual merchandising in retail stores allows the customers to interact with your brand another moment before the purchase. Bringing their attention to your product’s benefits, values and unique proposition can encourage them to buy, and you can do so by applying the visual merchandising strategies to get attention.
How do you start?
1) Know your customers
Every store has its own unique demographic of customers with different needs. Even the same store chain in different areas will have different types of customers. It is important to know what sells well and how are people engaging the product displays.
Visual merchandising can enhance sales of even the most popular items, and creating gifts with purchase, bundles and other offers, can increase convenience of the customers and “upsell” to them and make them buy more. Food and grocery shops, for example, can use the same ideas to place groups of ingredients on stands around their store – with recipe cards bringing all the featured foods together into an easy and delicious dinner plan.
2) Attractive Visual Displays
To get attention of customers, getting great visuals is very important. The aim is to make things more convenient and easy for customers to make purchases, thus increasing sales.
Well-executed promotions can be used as a starting point to drive traffic to the store. Having a promotion on the best selling items can bring in customers who will buy complementary products.
3) Customer Experience
Customer Experience is very important. Even for physical retail stores. The whole shopping experience is very important. Displays, offers, and layout of the store is just part of the experience.
It is also equally important to focus on the ease of payment. Today, we have many digital and cashless solutions, and it can be a deal-breaker if your retail store only accepts cash. It is essential that even make physical changes to make the payment area more inviting. These days, state-of-the-art contactless enabled card machines are no longer prohibitively expensive, and you can easily provide customers with a comfortable and secure way of making payments.
Another way to enhance customer experience is to build an effective eCommerce site. Consumers looking for the best site to spend their money with are even more inclined to choose a business that has made a clear and conscious effort to create an attractive online space.
The whole payment process must also be easy, especially for repeat customers. For hybrid businesses that have both physical premises and a website, an online payment solution could keep your shop up and running 24/7.
Visual Merchandising is an essential activity. Visual Merchandising can enhance the customer experience and it is an integrated effort along with ease of payment / checkout.
Today, more consumers are also expecting an online presence and an ecommerce site. This allows sales to continue 24/7 and for consumer who need the products immediately, they can find out if the business carries the product, and visit the physical store to make the purchase.
What is POSM – Point of Sales Marketing?
POSM (also called POPM or POP) stands for “Point of Sale Materials”. These are advertising materials that are used to communicate product information to the consumers at the point of sale.
POSM is part of visual merchandising or advertising campaign tool. There are many kinds of POSM’s used by brands for their promotions campaigns. These materials are used for promotions campaigns, exhibitions, and presentations and they attract consumer attention and promote the brand. Because of POSM appealing and informative nature, these materials are capable of encouraging purchases directly at the point of sale.
Types of POSM
There are no fix types, shapes & sizes of POSMs in the market however can be categorized basis their application in retail.
Posters: Posters are signage that is pasted on a flat vertical surface such as a wall. They generally come in the following sizes: Large (24” X 36”), Medium (18” X 24”), Small (11” X 17”), & A4. Depending upon the quality/brand/theme & other classifications printing quality can be decided by companies.
Danglers: Danglers are hanging signage that is “dangled” from the ceiling of a retail store. At its simplest, a Dangler can just be rectangular piece of thick paper with SALE written on it. On the other end, it can be a 3-dimensional model of the product.
Shelf Fins: Shelf Fins are signage protruding out from the shelf, perpendicular to the shelf. It is simply a board dividing a shelves and highlighting products in the area as you walk down the isle.
Standees: Standee is a self-standing display promoting a communication/campaign/scheme. It is generally placed outside of an outlet to grab attention of the passerby. Standees are of different types such as floor standee, rollup standee, cut out standee, canvas standee, MDF standee, LED Standee, 3D standee etc.
Bunting: Small stickers/flags/ribbons tagged together with thread in a sequence keeping uniform distance is known as bunting in POSM terminology. Bunting is usually a POSM used on doors or windows.
Gondolas, Endcaps, Display Stands : (Described -> here <-)
Other PoSMs: Other major types of POSMs are stickers, wobblers, LED window displays, levitating units, acrylic highlighter displays, etc. All these material are used in promoting the communications for brands.
POSM works. Have you ever noticed products lining up the queues at the checkout counters? This is an effective way to garner additional sales. The customer has made the decision to buy something, which makes it more likely that they’ll be open to buying an additional item — as long as it’s relatively inexpensive.
Simple signs with price stating “Promotion” or “Sales” are also good ways to promoting sales. Placing these promotions near checkout can allow customers to reach out and grab the item as they are paying for their purchases.
Other tips are also shared at the various displays at sales counter to encourage last minute purchases, like discounts for items with any purchase, where the signs can be visibly displayed and the discounted items are behind the counters, readily available for customers who want to purchase them.
POSM is a great strategy to increase sales. When done well, it encourages customers to buy more by making the experience more positive. If information is readily available and the shopping experience is not hampered, POSM is simply another last touchpoint for customer to find out more information before deciding to make that purchase.
It is an important part of marketing which should not be overlooked.
Cafe Redesign for COVID-19
As the seating capacity of restaurants, coffee shops, food courts are getting reduced, long queues become a common scene.
For some of these venues, there is a QR code check-in and temperature taking at the entrance. And yes, all these procedures take extra time. I do believe that customers do not like the new arrangement, and no one likes to wait in queues, however, when I finally decided to eat out, I realized that there is no choice. The restaurants are packed to their new seating capacity and they cannot take in more.
Restaurants need to follow social distancing guidelines, and a maximum of 5 guests per table. This new arrangement does create a situation where the reduced seating capacity causes the more popular restaurants and cafe to be very crowded.
Crowding outside restaurants and cafe can also get businesses into trouble as many of the crowds do not practice social distancing and potentially could spread the virus.
Many businesses will need to leverage on social media and other digital means to reach customers. There will also be customers who will not visit the business due to the crowds. And with the reduced capacity, the business needs to find other ways to generate more income, which means they need to do more deliveries, takeaway or sell other products like their sauces or dumplings, etc.
I have seen other offerings like special wine pairing events that are pre-sold to their customers, and they can have the food and wine delivered to them, and watch the wine pairing live from their home to have the same experience as what the chef does in the restaurant.
There are many other interesting solutions that think out of the box to find ways to get their food to their customers in innovative ways. This is very challenging, but it is not impossible.
New Ways to Manage Queues.
There are also other ways to manage queues. For customers not to crowd around outside the restaurant and view the menu, or queue to get a reservation, there are queue apps that are readily available.
A lot of them have different pricing structure, and as for Visibility Design, we decided that we can create one for all the restaurants and solve the queue solution for restaurants for a very low price.
This QR-Queue Management system does not need any systems integration or hardware. You simply just need to print a QR code and place it at your store.
The customer can scan the QR code to join the queue or browse the menu. They can even decide what to order, and choose their meals, and follow your normal ordering or takeaway process to complete the order.
Simple and intuitive.
Tough Times Ahead
Things may look bad now as the infections continue to be present in the community daily. But consumers are coming out to spend. We need to do our part and create solutions to make the experience better, so that the consumers can return and use our service.
In times like this, we need to innovate and move forward. There is a new normal and it will be here to stay, and things may not go back to the way it used to be. You have to embrace change.
With more businesses providing better service, and focus on technology to solve the problems, we will only emerge stronger when we weather through this crisis.
Up that take out Game.
With the current crisis, more people are working from home and more people are doing takeouts. Delivery services are getting popular at a time where the number of seats are getting limited due to social distancing restriction.
Some restaurants and cafes see this as bad news. Their costs are increased as delivery does take a big cut into their profits, and their business is having less sales despite the uptake in delivery. (For businesses in city area)
This has been more than 6 months since COVID-19 has spread throughout the world and with no vaccines in sight, along with the spreading of second wave in some countries, business need to adjust and not have the mindset of waiting for it to blow over.
Many companies who experienced less sales are now trying to get more attention by going online and partnering with other popular sites for services. Some have gone to social media and gave discounts and coupons to attract customers. These solutions do work, but they do cost money.
Recently, I’ve seen some takeaway solutions that simply have beautiful and functional packaging and it immediately caught my attention, so I’m here to share some of the nicer examples.
If your are paying so much for delivery fees, make sure the delivery attracts attention! When customers orders food for takeaway that comes in recycled cardboard which is simply beautiful, stackable and best of all, fully functional, they will come back. And looking absolutely stunning is a bonus to attract other customers.
Presentation is very important, and strangely, many top tier restaurants that spend so much in interior decorations, but when it comes to takeaway, they simply give a plain white box that you cannot differentiate with any other takeaways. (But they charge a premium)
Do you think it is time to look at improving your takeaway options to attract attention?
Give us a call to discuss.