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MaryBethApplePieThis is the second post in this 3 part series on why packaging designs fail.  Don’t forget to sign-up to have each post sent directly to your inbox.  You can subscribe at http://www.brianpankratz.com.

Let’s Review
In the last post we talked about three areas to consider when packaging designs fail; design, structure, and marketing.  Last week we focused on design, this week we are reviewing structure.  To read the first weeks post on design, click here.

Define Structure
We all need to be on the same page when talking about “Structure”.  Structure is defined as the materials, construction, and shape of the packaging used to package the product.

So, how can the structure contribute to packaging that fails?  The list below are some examples…

1. Damaged Packaging:  Nothing says, “Don’t buy me,” more than a damaged package.  I am not talking about the consumer inflicted damage by ripping open a package after purchasing it and then returning it to the store.  I’m talking about the packaging not being able to withstand the shipping and handling process involved with getting the product to the retailer.  Choosing the right materials when packaging a product is critical.  Whether it’s deciding the type or thickness of either plastic or paper board, the wrong materials can affect the sale of a product.    Choosing the wrong materials can result in damaged packaging or in some cases, damaged product.  Everyone wants to save on costs, but when packaging doesn’t maintain integrity, the sales of the product suffer.

2. Over Packaged Product: Not only is not protecting a product bad, but over packaging products are also costly.  I remember walking down the aisle in my local big box retailer, and seeing a product the size of my fist packaged in a sealed clamshell that was about twelves inches square in size.  The product was grossly over-packaged and not sustainable in the least bit.

Note:  How can the first two be resolved without issue?  Packaging testing!  Know the specifications needed for your packaging and do testing to ensure the product and packaging will arrive without issue.

3. Poor Security of the Packaging:  One of the main responsibilities of packaging is to protect the product from theft.  Failure to do this can result in huge losses for the retailer and result in higher theft rates of the product and may jeopardize the products ability to be sold at the retail level.  On the other hand, food containers that have tamper-resistant features provide added security.  I was working with a new client, and they informed me that before working with us, nine out of 10 of the products they sent to the retailer were stolen.  The retailer had a clear message for their product that sold for $25 ea., “Get new packaging, or I’ll get new product!”

4. Shelf Presence:  When designing packaging, one of the questions we ask is, “Does this package need to hang, stand, or both?”  It is amazing how many out there seem to skip that question.  Once we understand this question, we now need to find a way for the packaging that we design to POP.  Gaining the attention of the consumer can be done several ways; shapes, colors, graphics, etc.  Determine what would gain command on the shelf and then create something unique.

5. Poor Usability:  Usability refers to packaging that facilitates the use of the product.  Whether it is the perforations of a chip board carton to allow easy dispensing of the product or locking features on a clamshell, it all provides either a positive or negative experience for the consumer.  The key is to create functional packaging that properly assist the consumer with the use of the product.  Creating a positive experience for the consumer shouldn’t end after the purchase is made.

When packaging is designed with the proper structure, it can attract consumers, properly protect, and even prolong the shelf life of the product.  The idea is to create packaging designs that do all of the above.  Create an experience for the consumer that makes them appreciate you for how you have decided to package your product.

To get more information on creating packaging that sells without failing, contact Brian Pankratz at Mercury Plastics, Inc., bpankratz@mercuryplasticsinc.com.