What Is Retail-Ready Packaging?

💡 Top considerations for creating successful retail ready packaging

When we think about retail shopping, it’s vital to consider the consumer experience.

What compels someone to purchase something and continue to stay loyal to a brand?

Retail ready packaging might be the answer.

How does Retail work?

Before exploring what retail-ready packaging is, it’s essential to provide some background.

Retail stores are all about shelf displays and making products more accessible for customers to find and purchase.

Packaging plays an indispensable role in this context for both retailers themselves and shoppers.

Retail success is all about attracting customers to your products and making it easy for retailers to stock and restock on shelves.

With the right packaging, you can accomplish both and have your product flying off the shelves, but what is retail packaging all about?

What is Retail Packaging?

In the broadest sense, retail-ready packaging (RRP) is designed with the purpose to display in-store.

It will likely follow specific retail requirements around shape and size, so you must execute this kind of packaging thoughtfully and carefully.

Across the industry, there are some fundamental characteristics of Retail Ready Packaging (RRP), such as:

  • Being easily identifiable makes it easier for store employees to see products from afar and stock them correctly.
  • Easy to open, with minimal equipment needed to open the package.
  • Replenished easily, so packages don’t need lots of handling or fuss and can be easily stocked on shelves.
  • Shop-ready so that customers can easily spot products and take them off the shelf without causing disturbance.
  • Disposable and recyclable, so that dismantling and recycling the packaging is as simple as possible.
Example of retail ready packaging
Source: General Store

But why are these fundamentals so important to consider for RRP?

Retailers have certain requirements for your packaging, so it’s important to differentiate between your retail packaging and e-commerce packaging, if you are doing both.

Retail packaging has different functions that need to be fulfilled. Your customer’s initial interaction with your brand is through your packaging on the shelves.

Your packaging should be eye catching, functional and serve both your customers as well as the retailer who stocks your products.

Importance of Retail Packaging

For your packaging to be as successful as possible in a retail context, it needs to be held to a certain standard.

Otherwise, you run the risk of your products not being stocked often or customers foregoing your products for competitors. Retail packaging is essential for a variety of reasons.

The way you craft your packaging sends a clear first impression to consumers.

It’s part of what convinces them to try your product and what keeps them coming back. Research has shown that 81% of consumers tried something new because the shelf-ready retail product packaging caught their eye.

With the right packaging, you can not only attract new customers but also keep them interested. 63% of consumers have purchased a product again because of packaging appearance, so there is a clear indication that packaging can make a difference.

Especially as statistics further show that 52% of consumers have changed brands because of new packaging.

Shelf-ready and retail-ready packaging are also crucial for establishing brand credibility and visibility.

Distinctive packaging can help make your product stand out from the rest on shelves and keep you front of mind for customers.

Example of retail shelves
Source: Dezeen

Chances are that there are hundreds of brands trying to sell a similar product to yours. So, brand differentiation plays a crucial role in ensuring your brand success in retail stores.

Moreover, by using retail-ready corrugated packaging and other eco-friendly options, you can participate in more significant sustainable initiatives.

This is great for the planet, of course, but it also adds an extra element to your branding that can help attract and retain more customers.

With the undeniable rise in eco-conscious shoppers, customers look to make an authentic connection with brands that align with their morals. Making sure you have a good idea of your target market based on where you’ll be stocking your products will be a leading foundation for your packaging design.

When looking at both primary retail-ready package design and secondary packaging, you can augment your product presentation while ensuring that your product stays safe and sound.

From the minute it leaves the warehouse to when it arrives on the self, you have a clear chance to create a strong impression.

Retail-ready packaging helps you get the right product exposure while still keeping your product safe.

So, what are some of the considerations for packaging your products for retail?

How Do I Package My Products

Creating shelf-ready retail packaging is about taking multiple elements and putting them together to make the right option for your product.

Packaging comes in all shapes and sizes, and it’s vital to optimize design that reduces costs but still offers protection and aesthetics that fall in line with your brand narrative.

The goal is to create shelf-ready packaging that requires less labor to stock and dispose of so that the chances of products being displayed remains intact.

The first thing to think about is structural engineering.

During this part of the process, you’ll look at the packaging style, how the product fits, what the display box might look like, and whether any inserts are needed.

Identifying the elements first will help establish a baseline cost and what requirements need to be incorporated.

You’ll next need to look at retail requirements and how that fits into the structural engineering elements you’ve just identified.

You’ll need to think about the size of the packaging and product, the weight, where it will be displayed, and whether you need to adhere to any artwork design.

At this point, you’re trying to marry what you would like the packaging to look like and the retail requirements to create the right structure.

Once that’s done, you can think about what will make this packaging impactful.

Example of retail ready packaging
Source: Oikonomos

How can you create a strong brand narrative based on what you’ve identified, and is there an opportunity for exciting artwork designs?

This will help the packaging become more memorable overall.

Throughout the entire process, sustainability also plays an important role.

How can you create packaging that is good for the environment too?

Part of that is based on the materials you choose, such as opting for Kraft and retail-ready corrugated packaging options.

You can also go for water-based inks to reduce some of the environmental impacts of the packaging.

For coatings and laminations, try to opt for aqueous coating and water-based laminations to make your overall retail packaging as sustainable as possible.

There are also indirect ways of creating sustainable packaging, such as making it as lightweight as possible to reduce overall shipping emissions and cut down on shipping costs.

Now that you know what is needed for the design process, it’s time to start creating retail-ready packaging!

Retail Packaging Design

Retail packaging design, especially when creating shelf-ready retail packaging, is all about creating interest in a convenient manner.

As we’ve discussed earlier, how your consumer feels about the packaging, especially compared to other competing products on the shelf, will make a huge difference in their decision to purchase.

This is why testing is essential, as is tailoring. Who is your target market, and what would they like to see?

Do they prefer simple and straightforward packaging, with no frills or fuss? Or are they more into luxury and experience and want a complete unboxing experience?

You’ll also need to think about durability. What kind of journey will it make before it arrives on the shelf in front of customers?

Example of successful retail packaging
Source: Danka Designs 

Consider how functional the packaging needs to be, the type of structural engineering required to package your product safely, and the integrated artwork design.

It seems like a lot to fit in, but this helps you create a more impactful design since you’ll identify the elements needed early on.

Your other consideration for retail packaging design is pricing. What is the budget for your packaging design versus your customer’s budget?

Are you an affordable product with a competitive advantage? Make that clear in the artwork and design of the packaging!

You can work with a packaging expert to better identify opportunities to optimize and save on packaging costs without sacrificing design quality.

So what makes for a successful (and memorable) packaging design? Here are some examples for inspiration:

Beauty Bakerie: Known for using beauty trends to enhance the brand narrative, their baking-themed packaging and aesthetic is a great way to distinguish themselves in a competitive cosmetics environment.

Excerpt Example of Beauty Bakerie Packaging
Source: Feel Unique 

Benefit Cosmetics: Another cosmetics brand that has always been at the forefront of package design, their vintage-inspired artwork and design have helped them stand out in retail environments, such as beauty oriented brick and mortar stores.

Boxed Water: Changing the way we perceive packaging, Boxed Water is experimenting with unique designs and shapes for water, signaling a change in the future of beverage packaging

Pringles: A household staple, Pringles has remained an important player in the snack world thanks to its distinctive packaging shape and design.

While e-commerce is currently taking first place with the rising reliance on online shopping during the pandemic, there is no doubt that brick and mortar stores will soon be playing an important role in today’s retail world.

Being restricted from shopping in-store for quite a while will bring in more business, if we see things go back to normal.

Retail stores will become a somewhat nostalgic experience for consumers as we move towards a pandemic free world.

As retail continues to stay in a competitive market, working with packaging experts can help you create shelf-ready retail packaging that both retailers and consumers will come back for.

Thinking about the package journey and what customers are looking for from your brand will be a significant factor in the types of design and functionality you choose to opt for in your finalized packaging design. 

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