If your packaging must, at the same time, protect the product, inform the customer and complete the marketing proposal. Business makes or sells products, you cannot fail to pay attention to the different layers that make up the packaging or packaging that accompanies them. Bags, jars, labels, boxes, bottles, drawers, envelopes, cans, cases … the options are many and more and more varied. Some are exclusive decisions of factories or processing companies, but in others it is feasible to make adjustments at different stages of the retail chain, and even in retail, such as shopping bags or gift wrap.
In order to choose the elements that will accompany your products (and make an efficient investment), it is necessary to consider simultaneously the three essential functions that must be fulfilled by the different types of packaging and define an own model of packaging …
Function 1: Physical protection of the product
Containing and protecting products is the first and most elementary function of a container (for example, a soda bottle, a shoebox, a candy jar). From this point of view, the containers must be resistant and neutral, to maintain the quality of the contents until their consumption (color, flavor, texture, etc.), and to take care of it against shocks, falls, dirt, temperature changes and other factors of the environment.
Good design and choice of materials also facilitates movement, distribution, storage and exposure (for example, shoe boxes allow stacking and organizing shoes in a local area). As usual, it is the industrial engineers and designers who can help you select the packaging that best meets the protection functions you need.
In some cases, it can be made with standard elements, offered by several suppliers, while in others it may be necessary to make them to order (for example, special tool cases). In a retail trade, you can add to the packaging of the factory new elements of physical protection, such as protection for fragile products with plastic roll with bubbles, tissue paper to cover fabrics, or thermal bags for refrigerated products.
Function 2: Delivery of commercial or legal information
The packaging is usually the vehicle for providing information to the customer, often mandatory: name and type of product, net content, nutritional information, ingredients or composition, indications of use, bar code, expiration date, health warnings and security, etc. The mandatory information varies according to the type of product, so it is important that you know the regulations that impact you.
Consult with industry experts, chambers and control agencies to make sure you show everything you need and do not make mistakes (for example, to use certain words on the packaging, such as “natural”, “organic” or “diet”, is Necessary to meet particular requirements). To the data that the regulation imposes you can add on the packaging or label, images, logo, contact details of the company, suggested price, texts translated into other languages and other aspects that you consider relevant. In retail, you can add labels, manuals or explanations of use, or printed bags with the data of your business to better fulfill this information function.
Function 3: Commercial proposal
Packaging has now become a powerful marketing tool. As one of the 4 key variables of marketing, it is much more than the previous functions: the packaging communicates and allows to differentiate itself at times much more than the product that contains. Communication and design agencies usually have the specialty of packaging and can help you create packaging that is key to the good marketing of your products.
What are the characteristics that distinguish good packaging? There is no single recipe, but it is about achieving the optimal combination for a product, competing in a particular market.