Jul 8, 2019

How Packaging Design Can Make or Break a Product

When your private label skin care products share shelf space with other brands, or when they appear as one of many options on a search results page, your best chance to catch the attention of your customers is through packaging design. In the crowded skin care industry, the attention you give to your packaging can be the key to survival and growth.

Reaching Your Market

One of the most important functions of packaging is to create an emotional connection with your potential buyers. There are at least three significant times when this can happen:

The first impression. Design choices can help you attract your ideal customer to your brand and give them a sense of what kind of experience they can expect if they use your product.

Word-of-mouth sharing. When all different forms of marketing are compared, people trust recommendations from friends and family most of all. This trust in personal connections extends to influencer marketing, which 80% of marketers find “effective” or “very effective.” If someone likes your packaging enough that they want to show it to their friends or feature it on their channel, your brand will benefit.

Everyday use. Once your customer orders your product and uses it at home, the enjoyment they get from seeing and handling it will determine whether or not they become loyal customers.

Elements of Design

Make note of designs that engage you and save examples of the ones that would appeal to the market you are trying to reach. This collection can inspire your own efforts, or it can be shared with a designer. Some of the elements include:

  • Shape
  • Color
  • Font
  • Pattern
  • Use of empty space
  • Texture
  • Matte, semi-gloss or glossy finish
  • Metallics, iridescence or translucence
  • Interior packaging and inserts

To give two examples, out of the near-infinite possibilities: A luxury brand targeting young professionals might use a spare but distinctive font on a single color with a lot of empty space, and a brand trying to convey a natural, artisanal style can use earth tones, nubby textures, and a handwritten or manually-typewritten style of font.

Sometimes a logo or brand name develops enough of a following that it attracts positive associations on its own, so take the time to create something effective that tests well.

Practical Matters

First of all, aim for quality. It’s better to have a simple design made of higher-quality elements than a complex one that feels cheap and will be disappointing when unboxed. Choosing better quality materials also means working with production to make sure your items arrive in good condition to avoid returns, refunds and poor feedback.

Function is related to quality, and it refers to how easy it is to actually use your product. Pumps should dispense evenly without struggle, threaded lids should be easy to twist on and off, and containers that might be used in the shower should be easy to grip and non-breakable. Ask your supplier for sample containers and try them out yourself before committing.

Sustainability is also growing in importance among many people, with 52% of buyers saying their purchasing decisions are influenced by the packaging. If you have made an effort to reduce waste or use recycled materials, make note of it in your marketing and take advantage of the boost from socially-conscious consumers.

Taking the First Steps

When selecting a private label skin care manufacturer, see if they offer design and packaging services and ask to see samples of their work. Otherwise, coordinate your efforts with a designer and packaging consultant. Share with them information about what makes your brand stand out, what type of customer you want to attract, and any special packaging requirements your products might have.

When you have selected a design that you think will work, the next very important step is to have samples made up and present them to a group similar to your ideal customer. If your budget permits, this can be a formal focus group. If not, draw from a list of contacts and previous customers. Include people whose opinions you trust, who will also give you straight answers. Listen to their comments and see if there is a general consensus about what they like and don’t like about your design. Getting feedback at this stage will save you from needing to make a costly redesign later.

There are many ways good packaging design is important to the success of your brand. With thoughtful planning, you can make the most of this marketing tool.

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