A product’s packaging is what captures the attention of the consumer in a retail environment, but the actual product inside the packaging is of primary importance to the consumer. A first-time customer or a person who walks into a store without a preset purchasing agenda might gravitate toward the most unique and eye-catching packaging, but if the product inside does not meet or exceed expectations then that individual is not going to become a repeat customer. This is the tricky balancing act brands face when designing packaging. Without a quality product, the attractiveness of the packaging is rendered obsolete. On the other hand, an unbiased consumer might not consider purchasing a product at all because the packaging does not appeal to them.
In a perfect world, every brand would possess the financial strength to produce both a high-quality product and design the most unique and eye-catching packaging. We all know that’s not the case for most brands, so finding a happy medium between the cost of packaging and the retail value of the product is crucial in order to drive healthy profit margins. The process of designing and selecting the specific packaging that will present the product in the most attractive way, protect the product throughout production, transportation, and sale, and not cut into profit margin too much is an extremely difficult undertaking.
One way to attack this issue is standardized packaging. Standardized packaging isn’t the right solution for some brands, but it certainly can be for others. The benefits of standardized packaging are many. The first positive effect of turning to a standardized packaging model can be found during the procurement process. Brands that employ this model are able to source packaging in much larger quantities and, therefore, receive major price reductions from suppliers due to the volume increase. Large volume orders allow the supplier to produce the packaging in fewer production runs, which increases their efficiency and minimizes setup costs.
Sourcing packaging in large quantities also reduces transportation costs. As we mentioned in one of our previous blogs, U.S. freight prices are skyrocketing right now and aren’t showing any signs of leveling out anytime soon. Instead of paying peak freight prices every month for a new shipment of a packaging, brands that source in large quantities should only have to pay for transportation a few times a year.
Standardized packaging can also have a massive effect on production. When it comes to production, the key elements that factor into pricing are volume, efficiency, and throughput. If the brand is able to provide their kitting partner with enough product and packaging for large volume production runs, the price per unit is likely to be dramatically decreased. Kitting companies are forced to charge for line setup and line changeover each time a new production run is scheduled. With standardized packaging and large volume runs, the kitting company only has to set the line up once and there shouldn’t be any type of changeover because the same machinery can be used over the course of the entire run. This results in increased efficiency and throughput for the kitting company, and reduced costs for the brand.
While there are many benefits to standardized packaging, there are some issues to overcome as well. The one main issue is that some products, like lotion or toothpaste, are sold in a variety of different sizes and standardized packaging limits that variety. If this is a concern for a brand, they could consider intermediate packaging that provides flexibility in terms of fitting different sizes of the particular product. Aside from that, inventory storage is another potential issue to overcome. With large production runs comes the need for a larger inventory storage footprint. Depending on the brand’s distribution timeline, a large inventory footprint could become costly over time. These potential issues can be worked around and certainly aren’t deal breakers, but they must be taken into account when considering standardized packaging.
There are a lot of factors to weigh when it comes time for brands to decide on packaging. The solution for one brand won’t necessarily be the right fit for other similar brands. The key to it all is carefully examining the options and figuring out which solution works best for their product.