April 11, 2017

Guest Post – Is Your Product’s Packaging Ready for Retail?

cold shipping in hot weatherYou shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or a product by its packaging, but unfortunately, everyone does anyways! Your packaging can play a major role in your product’s success, so it’s imperative that you get it right. What exactly are grocery store distributors, retailers, and customers looking for when it comes to packaging? Follow these tips to ensure your product is ready:

Can you create multiple variations?

When designing your packaging, it’s important to think long-term. If you decide to add other products to your line, can the packaging you have designed be adjusted to fit the new products? For example, if you have a low-calorie Italian salad dressing, can the packaging be adjusted if you also want to introduce a low-calorie ranch salad dressing? Keep this in mind as you finalize your packaging.


Are you being transparent?

Customers do not like to feel as if they are being misled by manufacturers, so they are drawn to brands that appear authentic. If you want to win over these customers, be transparent with your packaging choice. Don’t hide your ingredients in fine print that customers will need a magnifying glass to see. Clearly state the benefits of your product on the front of the packaging, and consider using slightly see-through materials so customers can actually see what you’re selling.


Will your product stand out on store shelves?

Do a little bit of research before you put the finishing touches on your product’s packaging to see what your competitors are doing. If you do get onto retailers’ shelves, how will your current package design look next to theirs? If you quickly walked through the aisle, would your product stand out? For example, if all of your competitors are using reds and yellows, would it hurt to use a contrasting color?


Is it functional?

Appearance isn’t everything in product packaging—it has to be functional, too. Think about how products in your industry are currently packaged and try to improve upon it. How do you use these products? Is there any part of the packaging that’s unnecessary or difficult to use? Heinz took a major risk when they began to flip their ketchup products upside down, but customers responded well to the squeeze design that made consuming ketchup much easier.


Is it consistent with your branding?

Of course, retailers and customers won’t really care about whether your branding is prominent on the packaging, but you should. Your logo should be displayed front and center so you can begin to build brand awareness with customers. But, the packaging should also speak to who you are as a company. For example, if you pride yourself on being a fun and playful brand, the packaging should not be traditional by any means. Remember, this packaging could be the first part of your brand that a customer is exposed to, so it needs to clearly represent who you are.

Joel Goldstein is the President of Mr. Checkout Distributors, a network of 1,000 distributors around the country seeking new and innovative products for their convenience stores, grocery stores and truck stops. Since 1989 Mr. Checkout has helped grow national brands like 5 Hour Energy and Pepperidge Farm using their DSD (Direct Store Delivery) network. If you have a product that they should see, you can submit your product for review here.

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