You can have an excellent product, a firm marketing plan, and the knowledge of your market to know that it’s going to be a success. But once it’s on the shelves, it’s going to be in direct competition with other similar products and the decision between two brands is often on impulse. When you don’t have brand recognition, you need packaging to pick up the slack. Here’s how you make sure that happens.
Will it make itself visible?
This is the first and most important part of designing any product packaging. It needs to be able to increase brand awareness but, at the same time, it has to be able to stand out amongst the other goods on the shelves. Of course, there are brands and products of every colour of the rainbow. Make sure you research your competing products. Take a trip out to the kind of shop you want your product to appear in and take a good look at what it’s going to be competing against. You don’t want to lose the visual identifiers of what the product actually is but find the ways you can help differentiate it.
Is it fit for the job?
Practicality is the next concern, and it’s a huge one. Customers can recognise when a product’s packaging is going to make it much more a hassle. For instance, think about ketchup. If they see one in a squeezy bottle and one in a hard glass bottle, it’s obvious that they will go for the one that makes it easier to use the product. A guarantee of quality can be built into the packaging too. For kitchen and bathroom products, flimsy paper labels make the product look low-quality. Waterproof labels make it look like its fit for the job. Think of the practicalities of the product and how the packaging can enhance its usability or, at the very least, not get in the way.
Does it work well on the shelves?
You don’t have to base your design decisions entirely on gut feeling, either. Just like the product itself, you should prototype and test your packaging. The best way to do that is to use in-store shelf testing. This recreates a shop environment with test consumers and can show you just how effective your product is at catching their eye. If it’s not working and other products are drawing their attention, you can learn from those products. Borrow what works while ensuring you have your own brand identity.
Is it adjustable?
The product you’re currently packaging may not be your only product. You might already have others in development or on shelves. Building a long-lasting visual identity is the key here. When designing product packaging, try to think of how you can adjust or adapt it as you expand the line and release more products.
You can and should keep building brand visibility and customer loyalty outside of the shops, but strong packaging will be your product’s saving grace when customers are face to face with it. Does your product have that immediately, impulsive appeal?