The Three Keys of Packaging

Packaging plays an important role in how consumers view products and brands. As you can imagine, a lot of resources go into making sure the package properly conveys the brand messaging. Time, effort, market research and testing are needed to correctly identify the right materials and color schemes to make today’s packaging an extension of the overall consumer experience.

From eye catching packaging that places a product on a pedestal for the world to admire, to companies who go the extra mile during the unboxing process by including a personalized trinket in each package (or even the still-exciting unboxing of a new smart phone), packaging is simply too important to the sales performance of a product to have it be an afterthought.

With e-commerce reshaping the retail game, packaging continues to evolve. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when establishing packaging operations across your supply chain:

Durability

While packaging has come a long way from its roots, durability still remains a core factor in packaging design. Packaging World notes that the cost of replacing a destroyed item can be up to 17 times the cost of shipping, not to mention the negative impact it has on brand perception. Durability’s importance will only continue to grow (a recent study found that the demand for protective packaging in the United States will grow 4.9% per year to $6.8 billion by 2019,) as eCommerce takes more business away from brick and mortar stores and more merchandise must survive shipment and delivery.

Many creative retailers use durability as another opportunity for personalization. For example, we’re seeing more and more use custom brand colors on bubble wrap, dividers and other materials that keep merchandise in tact through the entire chain. They’re also opting to complete the final packaging step at the last possible link of the supply chain so that they don’t risk product damage by choosing between well-branded packaging and efficiency.

Simplicity

In an era of instant gratification, shoppers want to be able to enjoy their product as soon as humanly possible. Of course they want overnight delivery, but they also want to be able to open the package quickly. This may seem like common sense; however, fancy, elaborate packaging – while it may certainly look nice to the consumer – can take too much effort to open and leave consumers frustrated before they can even interact with the product. The brand experience is already diminished.

Likewise, overly-complicated packaging also becomes cost prohibitive in the supply chain. If assembly requires too many complicated steps, precious time and money is lost while workers struggle to kit the merchandise. It’s also worth noting that elaborate packaging is much more likely to be damaged during shipping, which can lead to a negative brand perception.

When it comes to packaging, remember that simplicity is a virtue.

Sustainability

Consumers are more concerned with the environment than ever before and organizations know that they too need to align with their customers and prioritize sustainability throughout their supply chains.

This includes package design.

When it comes to sustainability, remember to focus on striking the appropriate balance between cost, efficiency and environmental impact. After all, what good comes from sourcing recycled packaging materials if they result in either an over-priced final product, or one lacking the durability to stand up to the rigors of shipping to a customer?

It’s also important to get as much use out of your materials as possible. For example, we at ModusLink work with our clients to maximize the amount of units that can fit on each pallet without compromising the integrity of the product, or the look and unboxing experience of the packaging. Anything that is not product or packaging is, in fact, just dead space that a customer pays to ship from one point to another.

This is wasteful, not just environmentally, but financially.

Brands will always be looking for ways to make their packaging design stand out amongst the competition to gain customer attention and build loyalty. However, they should not lose sight of what makes the packaging work in the first place. By focusing on these core competencies, your packaging will be able to stand tough against the evolving demands of the retail industry and prop up your brand’s value in the process.

For more information on how ModusLink can help your company’s packaging and operations, get in touch today!

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