When you first start a business, the last thing on your mind is packaging. After all, you just want to get your products out and into the hands of your customers as quickly as possible.
But packaging matters, especially when it comes to small businesses. In fact, business owners can use packaging as another way to connect with their customers.
Your product packaging is a reflection of your brand, so it needs to be memorable, unique and functional if you want to stand out on the shelves. Whether you are looking for small business packaging ideas or are hoping to improve your existing packaging,
Packaging is another opportunity to sell your brand and improve customer loyalty. Plus, packaging can help generate referrals, and it’s a great way to promote your business through social media channels.
Here are five tips for small business packaging ideas:
- 1. Make sure the products will not be damaged in shipment
- 2. Keep the weight down
- 3. Make it easy for customers to open your packages
- 4. Use colorful images on your packages
- 5. Utilize inexpensive packaging
1. Make sure the products will not be damaged in shipment
Your most important consideration is packaging and shipping the products, so they arrive at your customer’s door in mint condition. Once you’ve determined that the product will not be damaged in shipment, you can move on to the less vital, but still important, small business packaging ideas.
A product arriving damaged is a quick way to lose a customer. Although the buyer may receive a replacement product or refund their money, they are unlikely to order from you again.
Most shipping companies offer insurance for your shipments that can compensate you, as well as the buyer, if the package arrives damaged. Once your company reaches a certain size, having this insurance is essential. In addition to insurance, there are many small business packaging ideas that will help prevent damage in transit, such as using bubble wrap or peanuts to fill in empty spaces in boxes and using stronger tape than standard masking tape when securing a box.
If you’re shipping only one item at a time and don’t have much room for error, consider buying pre-built boxes with internal dividers and cushions for fragile items like glassware or ceramic mugs. If you have several items going into one box or have multiple products of the same type being shipped together, you might want to consider building wooden crates or custom shipping containers out of
2. Keep the weight down
For most small businesses, packaging items for shipping is a fact of life. You can choose to go with plain old “brown box” packaging, but depending on what you’re shipping and the method you choose, it could be an expensive choice.
Consider your options before you commit to one kind of packaging. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Brown boxes are cheap and readily available. However, they’re heavy and not very flexible. Sometimes it’s difficult to fit items into them securely, especially if they’re odd-shaped or delicate. If you’re shipping through the USPS or another carrier that charges by weight, brown boxes can drive up your costs considerably
- Poly mailers are extremely light and well-suited for non-fragile items like clothing or other soft goods. They can also be printed with your company logo for branding purposes
- Mailing tubes are good for posters, artwork or other paper products that need protection from bending or creasing during transit. They can also be used with mailing labels instead of boxes if you want to save space when storing inventory.
Be smart with the size of your packaging. A large box, while it may seem more impressive, will cost you more to ship and could discourage customers from purchasing again. It’s not only about shipping costs, either. Larger packages can be hard to handle on the manufacturing line and at the warehouse, too.
3. Make it easy for customers to open your packages
A customer’s first impression of your business is often the product packaging. You want it to speak of the quality of your product, but also of your customer service. In a competitive marketplace, you need to make sure that you stand out from the crowd.
You want customers to have the best experience possible when they order from you, so make sure their interaction with your product begins on a positive note. Cutting out the struggle to open your package is one of the best small business packaging ideas you can use.
- Use easy-open plastic bags or boxes: If you’re shipping heavy or awkward items that don’t fit well into a box, consider plastic bags with simple tie closures. These are typically made of a clear polyethylene and offer a great way to protect your products during transit.
- They are also extremely easy to open by simply cutting along the top edge, which makes it easier for customers to get what they want without hassle.
- If the item is too large or needs more protection than this method offers, you may be able to find plastic boxes with peel-and-seal features that will accomplish the same thing without additional need for scissors or knives.
- Use tape with easy-pull tab for boxes: For most box shipments, however, it’s best to use packing tape that has a tab feature. This provides a little pull tab on each end of the tape strip so that customers can easily remove it from the box.
Remember to have fun with your packaging design. This is a chance for you to show a little personality and creativity. It’s also an opportunity for branding and marketing.
Even if you have a simple product, there are plenty of small business packaging ideas that can help your products stand out from the rest.
4. Use colorful images on your packages
People are naturally drawn to color. Using colorful images on your packages can help your product stand out from the competition, and it’s often one of the first things consumers notice about a package.
- Bright colors get noticed. Using bright, contrasting colors on your packaging can help make your product stand out from the competition and attract more attention from potential customers.
- Color helps brand recognition. One of the most important factors in branding is consistency, and this applies to color too. Color is a powerful way to help solidify your brand identity, helping consumers recognize and remember you and your products. Color can be used to create a mood as well, so consider what you want customers to feel when they see your product packaging — and then choose colors that will create that mood!
- People respond to color differently. While not all consumers are moved by each shade in the same way, there are some general associations people tend to have with certain colors based on psychology studies done over the years — and it’s worth considering those associations when choosing colors for your small business packaging ideas.
Keep in mind that these associations may change from culture to culture, but here are some common ones:
- Red: Passion, love, excitement
- Orange: Energy, enthusiasm
- Yellow: Happiness, optimism
On the other hand, if you do have a set of brand colors, it’s easy to use them in your packaging design. You can also work with brightly colored background images or patterns, which will make your products stand out.
5. Utilize inexpensive packaging
When you’re starting out, you probably won’t need fancy packaging to get the job done. You can find affordable options by shopping around and comparing prices.
- Focus on function. Ask yourself what your product requires in terms of protection and size, then work from there. Some products may need a protective material such as a foam insert or bubble wrap. Other products may just need a simple box that is a specific size.
- Consider climate-controlled packaging for food and beverage products. If you’re selling food or beverages, especially those that require refrigeration, you’ll want to look into climate-controlled boxes and packaging. These types of boxes help to keep the temperature within certain limits so that the product doesn’t spoil during shipment.
To find inexpensive shipping supplies for your ecommerce business, start by looking at local stores with lots of inventory (e.g., Dollar Stores). You can also look into buying supplies in bulk from wholesale suppliers.
As a new business owner, you probably don’t have connections in the packaging industry. You may not even know where to look for advice on the best ways to package your products.
Fortunately, there are a number of resources out there that can help you develop your own packaging ideas and avoid some common pitfalls along the way. Here are just a few suggestions for how to find assistance with small business packaging ideas when starting a business from scratch.