We’ve all been there: you’re browsing up and down the grocery store aisles, searching for the right package of snack mix for your family. On the shelves in front of you, there are dozens of different options, produced by dozens of different companies. However, despite the vast assortment of choices in front of you from which you can make a selection, there’s little difference from one to the next. So, how do you choose? Brand loyalty? Lowest in calories? Most interesting combination of ingredients? Or, like most people, the appearance of the package?
Whether good or bad, appearances mean a lot, in every area from personal relationships to sales and marketing. Studies indicate that people who take pride in their appearance are more likely to be hired and that more attractive or interesting packaging is more likely to fly off the shelves than its boring, bland counterparts. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no way to avoid what appearance means in our society.
Your product may be the best of the best, but there’s no true way to communicate that without putting significant effort into your packaging. With these 16 tips, you can be sure your products will fly off the shelves!
1. Keep your design simple
An eye-catching design isn’t the same thing as an overdone design. Packaging is a big part of a customer’s decision, but a package that is too weird or wild may work against you. Too many different colors, graphics, and designs can be very overwhelming for consumers, leaving your product alone on the shelves as your competitors sell out.
Instead of going overboard, consider designs that are interesting and attractive without going too far past the boundaries of your industry. Make sure your fonts are legible and that your packaging focuses on the highlighting your product’s best attributes without dominating your design.
2. Keep your design professional
When consumers are shopping for products, they want to choose a product that has both impressive form and impressive function. Some companies feel that a quality product will speak for itself, but this is not entirely the case.
No matter how great a product may be, customers need a reason to be motivated to purchase it in order to discover its merits. Keep your package design professional, neat, and clean in order to attract as many buyers as possible. While Clip Art and a label printed in Comic Sans might be easy, if won’t impress your potential customers. Even if your budget for design is limited, creating professional packaging can be accomplished without a significant investment.
3. Ensure your design is relevant
Packaging is a very unique asset for a product, and one that means a lot when it comes to your sales potential. Branding that succeeds is simple, straightforward, and professional, but must be designed with a specific product in mind.
The best packaging idea in the world won’t work if it’s not appropriate for your product. A charming label featuring imagery appropriate for a high-end bottle of wine will do nothing on a package of beef jerky, and cartoonish snack logo may prove to be highly ineffective on a bag of high-end coffee. When choosing a packaging design for your product, focus on ensuring your designs are relevant to your product.
4. Target your market through your packaging
Is your product aimed at children? Young adults doing grocery shopping on a budget? High income adults? No matter what your market is, you need to make sure your packaging is targeting the right demographic. No matter who you designed your product for, it’s important to realize that what you have to offer is one of many on the shelf.
Marketing to children is an important tactic that child-oriented brands should not ignore. Although children are not primary purchasers, they are very influential in the selection process, especially during the course of a long shopping trip. Packaging for children should be brightly colored, creative, and featuring athletes, cartoon characters, or other child-friendly themes.
5. Choose colors carefully
The psychology of colors has been extensively examined for hundreds of years, and all studies come to the same conclusion: different colors have different impacts on human emotions. When you design a package, the colors you choose can make a big difference on how your customers perceive your products.
In designing packaging for your products, think carefully about what the colors you’re using say to convey a message to your customers. Whether your food is bold and vibrant or reserved and refreshing, it is important to select hues that convey this to the customer.
6. Re-examine the size of your packaging
When companies don’t plan their packaging properly, from size to style to sealing method, losing shelf space is a natural occurrence.
The size of a package makes a big difference in the success of your product. For example, if your products have a short shelf life and are perishable, a large package may be costing you more than you realize. Instead of wasting money on unnecessarily large bags or packs, consider scaling down your selection for your customers’ convenience.
7. Create a connection between flavor and packaging
How many times have you been walking through a grocery, only to stop in front of a display with an amazing looking product that you don’t actually need? With a color and a style that implies great taste and experience, it’s a challenge to think of a good reason to not to impulsively make a purchase. This is the sensation every company wants to elicit from a customer.
When designing your packaging, consider what your design says about your product and spend time detailing the ways in which you can satisfy consumers’ cravings. If your product doesn’t carry a message, there’s no reason for a customer to make a purchase.
8. Make an impact with imagery
As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to packaging, this is incredibly true. Most consumers only spend several seconds scanning the shelves, looking at all of their available options. How many of them are going to spend time reading a novella on your package?
The answer is very, very few. Instead, catch your shoppers’ eyes with an image of your food or your brand in order to draw attention to what you have to offer. When your target audience can see what’s in store, they’ll be much more likely to make a purchase.
9. Tell the consumer what they’re getting with your product
Have you ever made a purchase, only to be wildly disillusioned by what you found inside? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of customers purchase products at the grocery store that aren’t what they expect, putting you in excellent company indeed.
Some companies may hold a sale given under false pretenses, but unfortunately, customers generally only make one purchase and consequently refuse to buy any additional products. False advertising may work once, but it’s not a consistent way to drive revenue.
10. Tell your customers how to use your product
If you’re like most people, you’ve surely purchased a product and brought it home, only to realize that you have no idea what to do with it.
A product with no instructions isn’t completely worthless, but it’s not preferable to a product that does have guidance provided. If you sell coffee, provide instructions on preparing the perfect pot. Snack mix? Explain the ingredients and when it’s best consumed. With a little guidance, it’s much easier for consumers find a place for what you have to offer.
11. Consider the environment
In today’s eco-centered world, many customers value whether or not a product is environmentally friendly. With the popularity of stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s that focus on green products and natural ingredients, these traits may be crucially important to your customers.
Whether your products use natural ingredients or not, your packaging can be the change you need. Instead of traditional bags, consider switching to an eco-friendly product in order to show your environmentally conscious consumers that the planet is important to you, too.
12. Make your purpose clear
Your customer should never be confused about what they are purchasing. Whether you produce coffee, dog treats, or beef jerky, there should be no question in your consumers’ minds as to what your product is used for.
Some marketers think that being vague will entrance curious customers, but successful businesses know that providing clear, concise information is the best way to build a brand and, more importantly, build a customer base that values what you sell. A company with something great to offer does not need to rely on an enigma.
13. Give your merchandisers options
Think about the displays you pay the most attention while shopping at the grocery store. Is it the packages that sit silently on the shelves, camouflaged between dozens of other similar products? Or is it the end caps and special displays that draw every shopper’s attention?
When designing your packaging, think about the ways in which your product can best be highlighted. Whether it’s a holiday or a special event, designing packaging that can be used as part of a unique display or end cap is a perfect way to draw extra attention to your company’s brand.
14. Change your packaging with the seasons
Some marketers think that one package is good enough for the whole year, but successful brands know that this isn’t true. As seasons, special events, and holidays change, it’s important that your product packaging follows these same trends.
One size fitting all may be appropriate for hats and inexpensive bedroom slippers, but it doesn’t work for your product’s packaging. If it’s Easter, demonstrate why your product is the right choice through creative advertising. Super Bowl Sunday? Switch your design up to draw attention to your product.
15. Tell your customers your story
Every company has something unique to share about how they came to be. Whether it’s the tale of how you thought up your ingenious product or what you went through trying to launch your brand, every great product needs a story.
When you want to connect with consumers, prose is an amazing tool. If your customers can see what makes you who you are, they’re much more likely to associate you and your product with a message that means something. Give your customers a reason to trust you and they’ll keep coming back for more.
16. Dare to be different
While there are standards in any industry, it’s okay to take a step outside of the box, no matter what that might mean for you. From choosing colors that stand out to picking a font that catches a customer’s eye, making a name for yourself that is distinctly different from your competitors can be a positive if approached from the right direction.
Breaking too many rules can hurt you, but there’s no reason to stay inside the box when an unconventional strategy is working for your products. Just like the iconic “Got Milk?” ads, every brand can break the mold once in a while in order to turn heads. When you stumble upon a great idea or a brilliant way to separate yourself from what your industry has to offer in a traditional sense, it may just be the best thing you can do for your product.
Making marketing choices is never easy, no matter how much experience you and your company may have. When you’re trying to sell a product, regardless of what it is, your strategy can be the element that makes or breaks your success, the determining factor that makes a difference in whether your product makes it or breaks it.
The ways in which you can market your products are limitless, but with an approach that’s custom tailored to what you and your company has to offer, there’s nothing that can stand in your way. By taking the best possible steps for your industry, you can make sure your product always stands out on store shelves.