Small Business Brief


How to Design Packaging That Sells Your Product Most Effectively

30,000 new products enter store shelves every year. Of these products, only 5% will succeed. A good portion of the blame can be placed on poor packaging design.

After all, the packaging is the first point of contact between a customer and your company. Maybe they heard about it on the news or saw an ad in the paper. More likely, they didn’t know anything about it until they saw the package on store shelves.

For any company and any product, great packaging can be the difference between success and failure. Want to know how to design packaging that sells? This guide will cover six important considerations for any packaging design.

1. Focus on Function

A package is more than a container. Its design will influence the way consumers interact with your product. Consider some problems you can solve with great product packaging ideas.

For example, let’s say you’re selling soft cookies. If each package contains two dozen cookies, there’s no way a customer will finish them all in one sitting. This can present a problem.

Can you reseal the cookie bag? If not, they’ll quickly turn stale. This might mean customers will only purchase your product when they’re sure there won’t be any leftovers.

Always prioritize function. Your packaging should be easy to carry, convenient, and complement the contents within.

2. Go Green

88% of consumers seek sustainable brands. That’s because they prefer them.

Your product sits on store shelves between dozens of competitors. If a competitor’s package is less wasteful, statistics suggest that consumers will spring for it, even if it’s more expensive.

And it’s not just about attracting consumers at a point-of-sale. You can take green packaging to the next level and incorporate it into your company brand. That’s free PR.

Best of all, efficient packaging requires fewer materials. And that means you’ll spend less to package your goods.

3. How to Design Packaging for Shelf Impact

Shelf impact refers to how your package design stands out when surrounded by other products. Naturally, the human eye will drift towards distinctive elements that stick out of the crowd. You can use this to your advantage.

What works and what doesn’t will depend on your market. For example, cleaning supplies have a different appearance than soft drinks. The same design will succeed on one set of shelves but fail on another.

It’s hard to account for shelf impact early on. But once your creative team has a few promising designs, put them to the test. Bring them to popular stores and set them on the shelves.

How do they hold up? Odds are, they’ll need some changes and several iterations of redesigns. It can be a hassle, but you’ll have something eye-catching at the end of the process.

Keep in mind that digital shelf impact is a thing, too. When you’re selling on a digital marketplace, some products will stand out and some won’t. You also want to remember that certain colors and images will look different on a computer monitor.

4. Future-Proof Your Package

You probably have one type of merchandise if your business is getting started. One day, you might want to extend your product line with a new flavor or variation. And then, lo and behold, you discover that your current design concept looks terrible with a different color or image.

Always consider the future of your brand. Otherwise, you’ll have to change your existing design so you can incorporate new variations. That can lead customers astray.

Even if you’re selling a single item, create a mock-up of a new addition on the product line. This can help you avoid bad packaging design when the time comes.

5. Build a Brand Image

Whatever you’re selling, someone else is selling it too. That’s why having a distinctive brand is an important way to market your product and set it above the rest. Packaging graphics, typography, and style all play an important role in communicating your company qualities to potential consumers.

You could choose a minimalist design for beef jerky packaging. Why minimalist? Because your target customer is a no-fuss working man.

Or, instead, you could use an elegant floral design to speak to a female demographic. Anything works, so long as the market data supports your brand image of choice.

Building a brand image is complex and beyond the scope of this article. But no matter who you are, you’ll need help. Find an agency with experience designing food packaging.

6. Adhere to Market Expectations

Every customer has a subconscious expectation for a certain type of product. For example, you can expect perfumes and colognes to have foreign names and peculiar shapes. If you try to sell your cologne with a cheap plastic bottle and a colorful label, it’s going to stand out…and not in a good way.

Yes, there’s a time and place to break market expectations. That can go a long way in making your product pop. However, it requires artful knowledge of the industry.

Otherwise, your product will confuse or intimidate consumers and they’ll shy away from it. Look at the way your competitors design and market their packages. Although you want to be different, don’t stray too far or people might confuse your merchandise for something else.

Wrapping Up Package Design

A great product doesn’t sell itself. But the entire package does. Now that you know how to design packaging that sells, you’ll have better odds of keeping your merchandise on store shelves.

Too many business owners overlook the importance of a great aesthetic. Look beyond the image and think about branding and functionality, too. This can put you miles ahead of your competitors.

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