Custom Packaging: Is It Right for Your Business?

💡 6 Important Considerations Before Choosing Custom Packaging

What is custom packaging?
What is the difference between stock packaging and custom packaging?
Why are custom packaging boxes important?
How does custom packaging benefit your product?
How does custom packaging benefit your customers?
How to get custom packaging

We all know products come in boxes of all shapes and sizes. Almost everything we buy comes packaged and ready to be opened.

But how do you find a box that fits your product so perfectly?

Custom packaging is more likely than not the answer!

Looking into custom packaging for your business, but don’t really know where to start?

Let’s first and foremost explore whether custom packaging is a good fit for your business by discussing the basics!

pink rigid boxes with retail bags
Source: Behance

What is Custom Packaging?

As the name suggests, custom packaging allows you to design boxes around your product from scratch rather than simply settling for a generic box that the product only might fit into.

Custom packaging means taking full control of the protection, presentation and quality of your products.

It allows you to make sure your packaging fits your product perfectly, while also allowing you to add personal touches to create a strong brand narrative and ultimately boost your sales!

example of brand narrative message included in custom packaging
Source: My Domaine

What Is the Difference Between Stock Packaging and Custom Packaging?

Well, stock packaging refers to ready-made packaging or generic packaging. It is inexpensively mass produced and sold on a wholesale basis for product labels to be adhered to after purchase.

Many companies choose to stick with stock packaging because it is the most cost-effective option and in many cases does not harm their brand visibility.

While this may seem simple enough and appealing for its cost-effectiveness, stock packaging offers a very small range of opportunities when it comes to packaging design and brand visibility.

Stock packaging typically comes in limited, standardized sizes and styles. We see this a lot in stores with;

  • Sauce bottles
  • Vitamin jars
  • Beverage bottles
  • Canned foods
generic sauce bottle packaging
Source: Leafly

If you are contemplating stock packaging for your packaging needs, keep in mind that it could well be that your competitors have already had this idea.

This means it is much more difficult to stand out from your competitors if your packaging is the same or a similar style. Customers will classify your products and your competitor’s products as ‘the same thing.’

Products sold in generic packaging are more likely to be budget-friendly and are often associated with the ‘cheaper option’ in consumers’ eyes.

Read more on how important packaging is for marketing

According to a study by Globe News Wire, 76% of consumers agree that when selecting which products to buy, they’re often influenced by the material they’re packaged in, and it’s pretty easy to spot generic packaging in grocery stores.

Customers tend to think of products in generic packaging as the ‘cheaper option’ and that’s why brand differentiation is much more difficult to achieve. If your competitors are using stock packaging too, your products will be classified on the same level even if you are at a competitive advantage price-wise.

But, what are the advantages of stock packaging?

Stock packaging, as mentioned previously, is the most cost-effective way to package your items. Because they are mass-produced, you’re able to order stock packaging in large amounts that are time and cost-efficient.

While generic packaging tends to hold a narrative of its own as the ‘cheaper option, many products have done very well using generic packaging, especially in the food industry.

According to Good, generic packaging has seen a recent success for Loblaw in Toronto, Canada. Through reconstructing their generic brand identity, their rebrand showed impressive customer feedback.

Pampers used to hold 85% of the market share of diapers in Loblaws. However, with the introduction of ‘No Name’, this number shrunk to 18%!

lowblaw's no name brand
Source: Chatelaine

Loblaw’s ‘No Name’ brand success is a great example of how your branding is an important aspect of packaging. Despite this brand being the ‘cheap option’ and is packaged in generic packaging, it still managed to stand out to customers on the shelves through clear and concise typography and copy as well as a pop of color!

While it can be quite a challenge to stand out with the use of generic packaging, brands that are already established with a loyal customer base are less likely to be negatively affected by their choice of generic packaging solutions.

What Is Stock Packaging Compared to Custom Packaging?

Custom packaging means maintaining full control over your product design and using packaging to dress it up.

Your product design no longer needs to be tailored to stock packaging limitations. The packaging will be tailored to your product design.

Custom packaging ensures your packaging fits your product like a glove. Minimizing the risks of damage and maximizing opportunities for brand exposure. 

You also have full control over;

  • Materials
  • Artwork
  • Design
  • Printing quality
  • Finishes
  • Manufacturing

This gives your brand the opportunity to make your product shine bright on the shelves. 

What Are the Advantages of Custom Packaging?

While stock packaging is the most cost-effective way to package your products, it may not be the most constructive for your product’s safety.

Custom packaging allows you to prioritize your product’s needs every step of the way! Keeping your products happy and safe means keeping your customers happy and safe too!

Custom packaging opens many windows of opportunity for your business. Being able to customize your packaging means adding personal touches to your products while appealing to new customers as well.

personal messages to elevate customer experience
Source: Behance

According to Sprout Social 64% of consumers want brands to form a connection with them. Custom packaging offers a vessel to speak directly to your target market, which is what leaves your customers with a lasting impression and in turn a loyal customer base. 

Having a unique packaging design allows you to stand out from the hundreds of products that more or less offer the same things.

A great example of this is the Bear-shaped honey bottles that we have now come to know and love!

The founders of Dutch Gold Honey Inc., Ralph and Luella Gamber came up with this packaging design in 1957 and released it to the shelves of their national grocery stores. 

This design stood out to customers so heavily that Dutch Gold Honey set their design as a packaging trend and built a loyal customer base that lives on generations later!

Today, most honey manufacturers will opt for the iconic bear shaped honey bottle. 

While this packaging design is now seen as outdated and generic, it was revolutionary to the honey packaging industry for its time. 

We are seeing more and more custom packaging designs changing the norms of the packaging industry today!

Who knows, maybe your packaging design could change the world!

Why Are Custom Packaging Boxes Important?

Protection

Having packaging that fits your product perfectly first and foremost decreases the risk of damage to your products, as previously mentioned. Stock packaging will always be slightly too large for your product, leaving a lot of space for it to move around.

Let’s face it finding stock packaging that fits your product perfectly is like trying to find a ring at the flea market that fits your finger just right.  

It will always be slightly too small or slightly too large, but never perfect. 

Custom packaging offers you the opportunity to treat your products with extra care, which in turn means you are treating your customers with more care too! 

Through precisely measuring your box dimensions based on your product size and structural engineering, your product will remain protected and intact. 

precise measurement for custom packaging products
Source: Aime

The fit of your packaging is only the beginning of how custom packaging protects your products. Your packaging material choices play a huge role in protecting your products too!

The great thing about custom packaging is that you have full control over your material choices.

Your options range from;

While this may seem like a limited list now, these materials have different customization options of their own, enabling you to have packaging that is unique only to your brand.

The protection of your products is always a priority when looking into packaging solutions.

The last thing your company wants is for your customer satisfaction to drop because of damaged products.

protective bubble poly mailers
Source: BP&O

Custom packaging offers your products maximum protection throughout all the processes it may go through.

Standing Out From the Crowd

As briefly discussed, brand differentiation is an important factor in such a competitive world. Chances are there are products just like yours already on the market. 

From a customer’s point of view, there is no difference between your product and your competitor’s product if they are in the same type of packaging. 

Think of it this way; When you’re shopping for a window cleaner, you’ll pick up whichever one catches your eye first because they all do the same thing anyway, right? 

Customers are more likely to feel drawn to products that are packaged in a unique way. According to Packaging of the World 52% of consumers say that they will happily pay extra money for products if they like the packaging.

Making your packaging unique not only speaks for your product but for your brand too. Consumers are much more conscious and look to make an authentic connection with the brands they purchase from.

70% of consumers accepted that they form their impression of a brand based solely on the packaging, so make it count!

Speaking directly to your customers through your packaging means giving them the opportunity to align themselves with your brand and product.

However, this is much more difficult to do if all your packaging is deemed as ‘the same’ as your competitors on the shelves. 

Custom packaging allows you to stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression on your customers through your packaging design, allowing you to build a loyal customer base and boost revenue.

Branding

Branding is a very important aspect of business, and your packaging is no exception. 

Your packaging acts as a spokesperson for not only your products but your brand too. 

That’s why utilizing custom packaging for your products is key to establishing a strong brand narrative, identity and credibility that runs through all platforms of your company including;

  • Products
  • Packaging
  • Social Media platforms
  • E-commerce sites

While setting yourself apart from your competitors through custom packaging is important, doing so effectively is crucial.

According to Johns Byrne 81% of consumers tried something new because the product packaging caught their eye and 63% of consumers have purchased a product again because of the appearance of its packaging.

If all your product packaging shows a clear brand identity that runs through all lines of products you release, it will be more likely that customers will recognize your brand beyond just your product.

With custom packaging this is much more achievable as a brand. 

Custom packaging allows you to explore different packaging types while still adhering to your brand identity, no matter the product. 

According to Packaging of the World 63% of consumers agree that the product packaging is as important as the brand itself.

But, why is this?

As briefly discussed, consumers seek to form a connection with the brands they purchase from. With custom packaging, you are able to create a brand story that engages with your customers on a deeper level. 

Because custom packaging offers almost endless opportunities in printing capabilities, you’re able to really strengthen your brand story on your packaging through things like;

  • Typography
  • Artwork
  • QR Codes
  • Informative copy
typographic brand message on custom packaging
Source: The Dieline

Think of your packaging as a communication tool rather than ‘just a box’.

Strengthening your brand story allows you to build more credibility and authenticity as a company which ultimately boosts sales and brand authoritativeness.

How Does Custom Packaging Benefit Your Product?

Protecting Your Products

While protection has been previously discussed, it can not be stressed enough how it is the prime example of how packaging benefits the product itself. 

Packaging’s main function is to hold and protect the product inside, ensuring it remains intact from the manufacturer’s logistics chain before finally reaching the customer.

While there are countless premade packaging options on the market, they will rarely, if ever, perfectly fit your product. 

A premade box that does not share the same dimensions as your product can lead to a lot of damage during shipping.

Ultimately, leading to unhappy customers who will likely not want to purchase from your company again.

Custom packaging is both beneficial to your product as well as building a customer base!

Brand Awareness

The most prominent example of how packaging benefits your product – brand awareness.

The package that holds your product is the easiest and most efficient way to show off your brand, use it as a form of advertising, and build brand credibility.

Not only can you display relevant information regarding your product, but you can also share information about your brand, your message, and other products you offer.

Custom packaging that shows off your brand with your brand’s distinct message and style is one of the most effective ways to stand out from your competitors and ensure that you stay in consumers’ minds.

There are hundreds of competitors, so you need a custom package specifically designed to encapsulate your brand. Customized packaging allows you to fully control your brand’s reputation in line with your target customer.

With social media gaining more and more significance in building your brand identity, having unique and eye-catching packaging has the potential to gain exposure for your brand through platforms such as Instagram.

Especially for new customers, the packaging is the first impression they will get of your brand.

The more unique your packaging is, the more likely new customers will post an unboxing of your products; which starts with your packaging.

Making an Impression

From a marketing perspective, custom packaging is one of the fundamentals of capturing customers’ attention. 

Tailoring your packaging to fit, represent and elevate your product automatically gives your brand and product a higher degree of credibility.

The packaging is often the first thing potential customers are exposed to. Therefore, using your packaging to make a good first impression is vital to gaining new customers.

Think of it this way; When it comes to making a purchase decision, consumers will often make their choice based solely on the packaging.  

A national study carried out by the Paper and Packaging Board and IPSOS in 2018 shows that 7 in 10 consumers agreed that packaging design influences their purchasing decision.

Although having a great and effective product is crucial to a brand’s success, the packaging is the next step to elevating your brand and gaining credibility as a company.

With so many different products and brands to customers’ disposal, especially now with COVID-19 and the e-commerce world growing exponentially, options are nearly endless. 

When potential customers are looking for their boring brown package in the shared mailroom of their building, your package will stand out and make an instantly memorable impression on them.

Not only are you making the order/pick up experience convenient and user friendly, but you are also building a loyal customer base without the hustle and bustle of brick and mortar.

How Does Custom Packaging Benefit Your Customers?

Keep Customers Safe

Although the main purpose of packaging is to keep your product safe, it is equally important to keep your customers safe.

When shipping or transporting food products. It is common practice to display important information about your product such as;

  • Best before dates
  • Ingredients
  • Allergens 
  • Nutritional values

Furthermore, for non-food products, it is just as important to list product ingredients and any toxic or harmful substances that your product may contain to ensure the package is handled with care.

If your product does contain any toxic or harmful substances, listing these ingredients may seem like it would negatively impact your brand reputation.

However, maintaining safety and full transparency about your product builds a loyal customer base that whole heartedly trusts your brand with their safety.

Mentioning any potential dangers linked to your product also helps your brand avoid harming any first time customers and gaining a negative brand reputation.

Image from Behance to show take out coffee cups
Source: Behance

A good example of this is McDonalds to-go coffee cups ‘Caution: Hot Contents’ label. Having this displayed on your packaging seems somewhat pointless since it is pretty self-explanatory, you are holding coffee after all.  

However, having even the most self explanatory things described on your packaging will make it as user friendly as possible, leading to happy and safe customers who trust your brand. 

Creating a Memorable Experience

Digital marketing has quickly become the most effective and prominent marketing strategy. Social media has become a significant platform for brands to promote their products and services. The secret tool for using this platform effectively is actually through the customer.

What does this mean? 

Unboxing videos have gained a lot of popularity through Instagram stories. Customers, especially those deemed as Instagram influencers, will post videos of them showing off new products that they may have purchased.

Smaller Instagram based influencers tend to post more genuine content, which is where the customer experience comes into play with regards to packaging.

If the packaging holds unique, luxurious and/or quirky design traits, customers will feel more inclined to document their real-time reaction through an unboxing.

This not only captures and promotes the real-time customer experience but also allows you to take note of any improvements to the packaging or product design you want to make in the future.

tissue packing paper customization
Source: Noissue

Customer experience has quickly become a priority through platforms like Instagram, and soon Tik Tok. Because it is virtually impossible to display the way a product smells or feels, custom packaging has become the main form of communication for brands.

Creating memorable and unique packaging that provides a valuable customer experience will ensure that your brand makes an impression on not only the customer, but any potential customers that are closely following these unboxing experiences. 

This is how custom packaging benefits your products and brand most effectively.

The bottom line is: better packaging creates a better customer experience.

A More Sustainable Product

Consumers have notoriously become much more environmentally conscious with regards to their carbon footprint and the way they choose to live their lives. Therefore, eco-friendly solutions to packaging are vital to the success of your business.

A recent study by the EPA shows an almost 100% increase in packages being recycled in the past 20 years – because of this, eco-friendly oriented packaging has gained a lot of popularity.

With the rise of ethical shoppers, more sustainable packaging has shown to be more profitable for brands.

According to Survey Monkey; 1 in 3 consumers opt for more eco-friendly options, and 35% of respondents would choose to purchase a more expensive product if it is environmentally friendlier than the cheaper options available. 

With more research and funding going into eco-friendly packaging options, fewer materials are being used to design and manufacture these products. 

Not only is it beneficial to the environment, but to the customer as well as the company.

With fewer materials being used, it is predicted that eco-friendly packaging will become the most cost-effective way to package your items.

Although we still have a while to go before it is completely affordable, we are well on our way.

Brands appealing to a large variety of consumers should consider taking the eco-friendly path for their packaging solutions.

Let’s put it simply; the more eco-friendly your product and packaging are, the more attention-grabbing, desired,and respected it will be in the eyes of loyal customers as well as potential customers.

Read more about sustainable packaging.

Customer Experience

While many companies spend a lot of time on the design and conceptualization of their product, packaging often comes as an afterthought rather than a priority.

The fact is, packaging is an important part of the customer experience today. Especially with e-commerce taking the throne in the retail world, customers are more likely to turn to online reviews by other customers who have already purchased your product.

When a customer unboxes your product, it should evoke a positive emotional response or sentiment. 

evoking emotional message on packaging
Source: Design Milk

This is highlighted through unboxing videos on YouTube that showcase people’s obsession with experiencing and interacting with not only the product but mostly the packaging.

According to The Packaging Company 40% of online shoppers say they are more likely to share a product image or video on social media if the packaging is branded and interesting.

60% are more likely to share a photo of a product on social media if it has gift-like packaging rather than your traditional brown box. 

This means tailoring your packaging designs to your online customers can further drive sales of your product.

Premium packaging communicates the quality of your product to your customer. While it can get damaged quite easily, it offers a luxurious look and feel to your products that will make your customers feel spoiled.

However, this can also be achieved by using folding carton due to its versatility in options for prints and finishes.

Furthermore, using foam inserts also adds to the luxurious feel of your packaging and adds another level to the customer experience as well as protection to your products.

Indirectly communicating with your customers through your packaging materials tells them more about the quality of your product, brand and narrative.

This heavily plays into the overall experience – and the experience begins with your packaging.

If your packaging creates a memorable experience for users, your customers may even want to hold onto the packaging and start a collection!

Melding Functionality and Practicality

A custom package that is both practical and functional is the ultimate one-two punch to help your product stand out from your competition.

A perfect example of packaging that is both functional and practical is resealable packaging. This is true for the food and fashion industries. 

The food industry has seen a huge trend when it comes to resealable packaging to maintain shelf life, freshness and flavour. With features like this, customers are far more likely to repurchase items with this kind of packaging for its functionality and practicality. 

resealable packaging for food
Source: Behance

Resealable packaging has also eliminated the commitment to having to finish all the food in the packaging.

Customers like not having to commit to a certain product. Therefore, resealable packaging has provided a sense of freedom and convenience for customers.

Furthermore, resealable packaging has also highly benefited the fast fashion industry, especially now where customers’ only option is online shopping, with no sense of fit or style.

Resealable packaging has allowed online clothing stores to accept returns and has also given customers the opportunity to order a variety of sizes and styles to try on in the comfort of their own home. 

Innovative packaging that solves issues of your competitors, allows for your product to stand out and gain well deserved attention.

How to Get Custom Packaging

Getting custom packaging is much simpler than it seems. You just need to be prepared for the process before it even takes place!

Let’s briefly look at an overview of the process and discuss how to make the process as simple as possible. 

First you’ll need to evaluate what exactly you need for your custom packaging to ensure you are sourcing the correct type of service. 

Not all companies offer the same services. For example, typical manufacturers and online packaging stores only provide production services.

They usually don’t involve structural engineering, artwork, etc. This means that you’re on your own to source the other services they lack. 

unique wine carrier packaging
Source: Behance

Meanwhile, solution providers offer production services and partial or full project cycle management. 

Meaning that they may have the ability to plan your box, help to source packaging machine manufacturers, and manage logistics. 

Of course, they have limitations such as quotation management and price optimization. 

However, the best way to save time is to find a company that can potentially cover all the services you require.

Your business should have some knowledge of how your product launch plan will look like: 

  • What is your timeline? 
  • What is this project for? 
  • How many units do you need? 

If you don’t have an idea, it’s best to find a packaging specialist to help you determine these aspects in your project and guide you through other processes such as;

  • Requesting a quote
  • Sourcing
  • Logistics management

Sourcing

Sourcing is all about price and quality comparisons. While it may take some time to compare and contrast vendors and designers, it’ll actually save you time. 

How? Well if you think about it, selecting a vendor that has the quality materials you need, monitors quality control, and creates efficient production processes will reduce the potential of errors and concerns.

Picking those with expertise in their craft is always a good way to save time.

Design

Similar to sourcing, finding skillful structural engineers and artwork designers can save you time. 

While you may think that it will be costly to work with an experienced designer, give it some more thought.

If you were to work with a designer who is unfamiliar with certain aspects of packaging design, you may end up spending more time and money to have them revise or redo something that an expert packaging designer would have already have done the first time.

The importance of custom packaging encapsulates a wide range of aspects to consider for your business. 

While this may seem overwhelming at first, investing some time into developing custom packaging for your products will make your brand worth while!

Considering the foundations of custom packaging is crucial to evaluating if it is a good fit for your business and products. Ready to get started with Custom Packaging?

0 Shares: