5 People To Consider When Packaging Your Product

When you create a product and bring it to market, how you package it is a big consideration–you want to showcase your product, protect your product and sell your product.
 
But have you thought about the people who will be affected by your product packaging? Through my packaging experiences with Swaddleaze, I’ve learned that there are 5 people you should consider when packaging your product.
 

Me, Swaddleaze & DWTS Carrie Ann Inaba


 
1. Your manufacturer: How easy, difficult or time consuming is it for your manufacturer to put your product in the package? If it takes them extra time to fold your product like origami, guess who’ll be charged? YOU. My first packaging (shown in the photo at left) made everyone at Rice Mills want to kill me, slowly & painfully–it was super sticky, too small and very hard to work with.
 

Swaddleaze cylindrical packaging


 
 
2. Your shipper:  When your sales grow and you can no longer ship products from your basement (don’t we all start out that way?), you’ll inevitably hire a shipper (also known as a fulfillment center). Is it easy for your shipper to pack your product for shipment? Do they have to use a special box or envelope for it? Does the packaging add excess weight to the package? What about when they’re packing a wholesale order and have to ship dozens of your product? Is your packaging fragile? Is your product compromised if the package is crushed? My second packaging (at left) was absolute heaven to work with for my manufacturer, but absolute hell to work with for my shipper–it was a cylindrical shape, very tall and easily crushed. It required a special size box for both single & multiple orders that my shipper had to assemble–hello, added cost for me.
 
 
3. Your retailer:  Retailers are really picky about your packaging and how it fits into their merchandising schematic. They want maximum product in a minimum of space. Especially “big box” retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Babies-R-Us. Does your product hang on a hook or go on a shelf? Does it protect your product or allow it to get dirty? Does it look and feel attractive? Does it sell itself? Have proper labeling of sizes, colors, laundering instructions? UPC codes?
 
 
4. Your customer: Does your packaging grab a buyer’s attention or fade among your competitors? Does your packaging make it easy for a customer to choose the proper size? Are the washing instructions and fabric content clearly labeled? Is there a “touch” window so the customer can feel the product? Is your company contact information prominent? Can this package be gift wrapped easily or is already gift-able? Customers loved the cylindrical Swaddleaze packaging–it was unique, eye-catching, gift-able, visible and fun.
 
 
5. Mother Earth: What is your packaging made from? Plastic? Paper? Bamboo? Glass? Is it recyclable? Biodegradable? Printed with “green” ink on recycled cardboard? Is it wasteful or can it be reused or repurposed? These are important considerations these days–and your packaging’s “green-ness” can become a big selling point.

I know I’ve given you a lot to think about–but trust me, you’ll be happy that you considered these 5 people before you chose your packaging.  Next time you go to a store, look at all the different packaging options out there–which ones do you gravitate to? Which ones would work for your product? It’s always helpful to have an example to show your manufacturer. 😉

 
P.S. For more product packaging inspiration, I love US Box. They offer every kind of packaging imaginable–and you can purchase single boxes, bags or containers to see if it works for your product. They also do custom packaging and even offer POP displays.
 

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Heather Allard

Heather Allard is a mom of three kids + one big rescue dog. She's a wellness buff, an essential oil educator with dōTERRA, and a self-professed “entrepreneur to the core”.
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14 Comments

  1. Dena at York Saw and Knife

    Thanks for the useful suggestions. I’m in the process of developing packaging for a line of gift baskets and this post has given me some food for thought.

    One of my biggest challenges is to find eco-friendly alternatives that won’t break the bank. It’s challenging but little by little I’m making some headway.

    Reply
  2. Alice Choo-Shee-Nam

    Packaging is very critical to a company’s product Heather so true. Because I operate my gourmet cookie business online I have packaging for both shipping to customers, and just recently cookie trays customized for supermakets or grocery stores. In my industry packaging can be extremely expensive especially for the supermarket/grocery market. Once I get some traction in the industry then certainly I could see my packaging improving in a big way. Here is company I would love to work with http://www.designbyvani.com

    Reply
  3. Heather Allard

    Jennifer,
    There might be times when you have two separate packages depending on who it’s going to–a package for shipping from your website and a package for a specific retailer. When it came time for me to package Blankeaze, I did a plain old bag because I knew that One Step Ahead had the exclusive on it and it was a mail-order item. I don’t know if Summer Infant (the company I sold my company to) has since changed the Blankeaze packaging.

    Thanks for your comment.
    Heather

    Reply
  4. Jennifer @ Kiddie Blanket

    This is such a useful post! Thank you so much for just detailing out all the angles in which this packaging needs to be viewed. I have noticed that packaging geared towards mailing may be at odds with best packaging for retail. Also, if your packaging allows an item both to be hung and to be placed on the shelf, it will give your retailer more options as to how to display your product.

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth Wong

    GREAT post! I have been considering changing my packaging and this helps immensely. Thank you for such wonderful tips. So much to think about!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Hi Elizabeth–I’m so glad it helped you. Thanks for taking the time to comment! 🙂 Heather

      Reply
  6. LeNesha

    Right on TIME!!! I am so in the process of developing my product packaging. What are the typical costs that you’ve experienced for developing product packaging designs? I’m using 99designs.com and am hosting a design contest in order to get lots of product packaging ideas submitted in order to choose the best design for my package. This article definitely gives me more to consider…at just the right time. Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Ann Blanchard

    Heather, you write the BEST blog entries of anyone I know! I just wanted to let you know how much I, as a small entrepreneur wanting to get bigger, appreciate the valuable information you provide to us each and every day!

    This article is another example of how much you teach us! Thank you , thank you, thank you!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Thanks, Ann…very kind of you to say. I TRY! 🙂

      Heather

      Reply
  8. Catherine Choi

    This is so helpful! I totally missed this step the first time I did a production order, and each time I had to fill an order (out of my basement), I had to unpackage and repackage my bag to be exactly how I wanted it to be. Fine for 1 bag, not so fine for 40 bags.
    I didn’t realize that the factory would package it exactly the way I wanted it so when it got here I could just send them right out! Live and learn!

    Reply
  9. Kris

    Thanks for this great advice. It definitely gives you plenty of things to consider!

    Reply
  10. John Lindberg - EFULFILLMENT SERVICE INC

    One other consideration about packaging is the shipping carton ship weight and size. In the case of weight, even one half extra ounce over an even pound pushes the ship weight to the next full pound on your rate chart. For every 1,000 orders this could add thousands of dollars of wasted expense that could be avoided by use of a slightly smaller box. Likewise, an extra half inch of L, W or H could trip a DIM weight minimum. When creating a shipping solution for a volume project, it is a good idea to consider the UPS, FedEx and UPS shipping rules. You will find an informative article on this topic posted at http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/1163-Shipping-Rates-Comparison-Shopping-Saves-Money.

    Reply
  11. dayna

    hi heather!

    I have a quick question.. I manufacturer beautiful baby blankets, clutches, bibs and stroller pads….I normally just use double satin ribbon to make it look home-made and boutiquey….what do you think? plastic would definately take away from the feel… I read the related posts and didnt find info relative to my products.. whatcha think? Also, I already have hangtags.. however, they do not make much of a statement, they are very nice and classy just nothing realy original.. I found a company that can create an amazing hangtag, but the $ is waaaayyyy over anything I can afford.. should i start saving now for the investment, or just be happy with what i have? I would love any suggestions from you:).. thanks in advance Heather!

    Reply

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