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A Guide to Contract Packaging: How to Make Your Business Retail Ready

Bob Wheeler 2016-04-19

Have you started to notice the massive amount of customized packaging in supermarkets?

Contractor packagers say that a growing number of brands are demanding customized packaging. This helps brands stand out, while encouraging shoppers to glance at their product.

What does this mean exactly? Well, let's take a look at Coca-Cola for a moment. The soda maker is now selling pop bottles with customers' names printed on the label. This is customized merchandising, something that is quickly becoming big business for co-packagers.

If you're a small business looking to adopt this strategy then you'll have to be prepared for a wide variety of factors. Some of them include the infrastructure that's involved in such feat as well as considering retailers' positions – shelf space is an exorbitant commodity in the retail sector.

Here are five ways to get your contract packaging retail-ready today:

Talk With Your Suppliers Early

When you're ready to package, ship and distribute your products, you have to speak with your suppliers of contract packaging immediately. You will need to discuss all of the various elements that come with the packaging process. As a business collaborating with co-packers, you'll need to outline distances, graphic design, automated warehouse systems and shelf dimensions. An experienced co-packer will have the experience and expertise to manage your packaging solutions efficiently.

Consider Design Investments

As you start to design the packaging, you should consider some of the investments you can make that will attract consumers but also what will satisfy retailers and their parameters. This is where you should rely on packaging designers as opposed to doing it yourself or with a committee.

Think About Consumers

Whether it's with a product or the packaging, you're not doing it for yourself or for your brand. Everything your company is doing is for the consumers. What this means is that you should concentrate on your target audience and therefore consider them at all times. Remember, more than two-thirds of all purchase decisions are completed at the shelf, and 100 percent of customers see the package. Simply put: exciting, original and outstanding are aspects to think about.

Make the Packaging Shareable

Let's face it: we love to share every element of our lives with the rest of the world. What does this have to do with your packaging? Well, you can produce packaging that is shareable, which means consumers will want to share the unique packaging online or connect with your brand on social media. Everything from social media icons to suggesting hashtags are all ways to optimize your packaging that will get buyers to serve as your brand advocate and increase your brand's reach. And all of this won't cost you a single penny.

Don't Forget About the Package's 'Afterlife'

It's true that most customers simply discard their boxes of cereal, digital cameras and bookshelves. But if you begin to mull over the package's "afterlife" then you witness a tremendous opportunity at hand. By making the packaging a relevant aspect of your brand then you can get consumers to spend more time with your brand.

For instance, McDonald's Happy Meals are sometimes collectibles, which encourage young customers to hold onto the box. Or, with the latest Star Wars films, some cereal boxes have morphed into collector's editions because of a photo of Kylo Ren or any other character.

The package's "afterlife" is crucial and can be centred around your marketing strategy.

Whenever you've walked inside a Wal-Mart, a No Frills or a Home Depot, you've likely seen cardboard displays, a laundry detergent with a free satchel hanging from the neck or boxes of cereal with coupons for free t-shirts or milk. These are all features of the customized packaging industry, brands that have decided to utilize packaging as a marketing tool and gimmick.

With Amazon recently announcing that it'll start to advertise on its shipping packages, companies have followed suit. According to The Globe and Mail, this is part of the reason why co-packaging has become a $25 billion industry in North America. Don't let that empty packaging go to waste. Use it!

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