From misleading labels to shipping costs to unnecessary waste, here are ten common packaging mistakes and some ways to avoid them.
10. Creating Unnecessary Waste
Disposing of waste leads to pollution and other environmental problems. And, the more waste we dispose of, the bigger those problems grow. Therefore, it’s important to reduce waste. And, the most effective way to do that is to not create waste in the first place, the EPA says on its website. This is especially important when it comes to companies, who are big culprits when it comes to unnecessary waste. Case in point: Bleeker and Röwe. This personal care and beauty products company sells individually wrapped cotton swabs. They come in a pack of 180 swabs. That’s 180 wrappers that will get thrown away the second you remove the cotton swab from inside. The company claims that they’re individually wrapped for maximum hygiene, which may be true, but what about the impact all those wrappers will have on the environment?
9. Packaging That’s Hard to Open
We’re sure your customers appreciate you making sure their product is protected, but don’t make your packaging so secure that they need the Jaws of Life to open it. Being too protective of your products can be an inconvenience to your customers, who will spend way too much time trying to get them open. But, according to Industrial Packaging, there’s a simple solution to this problem: use additional perforations or tabs instead. “Flexible packaging offers product manufacturers several solutions to common packaging issues such as reduced shipping costs, extended product life with resealability, and improved ease of use,” the Massachusetts-based company said on its website.
8. Packaging That’s Too Busy
The number one rule in logo design is “keep it simple.” After all, a logo that’s too busy becomes difficult to recognize and hard to remember. The “keep it simple” rule also applies to packaging design. We know you may be tempted to load your packaging with every single detail there is to know about your product, but this will make your product will look tacky, and potential customers will be turned off. Instead, be as concise as possible. Be informative, but don’t get carried away.
7. Overlooking Shipping Costs
When it comes to packaging, don’t forget to consider your shipping costs. “Switching from a corrugate package to a shrink-wrapped package can drastically reduce your product’s overall dimensions, which, in turn, increases the amount of product that can be shipped on each truck,” EDL Packaging, Massman Automation Company, said in an article posted on its website. “Customers using shrink wrap for secondary packaging have been able to ship up to 25% more product per truck load, effectively reducing their shipping costs.”
6. Too Much or Too Little Packaging
Over-packing is a common mistake — especially when a product is first introduced to the market. To prevent this, EDL Packaging recommends doing various packaging tests to determine the right amount of packaging your product needs. As a result, you’ll eliminate unnecessary waste.
On the other hand, insufficient packing materials can be just as much a problem. Instead of leaving behind excess space, fill that space with packing peanuts, paper, or other packing materials. This will keep your product from being damaged during transport. Also, make sure you use enough tape, and make sure it’s of good quality so that the box doesn’t become unattached.
Your packaging needs to show what your product is. After all, “the packaging is the visible face of the product and communicates much of the product information to the end user,” according to Packaging Distributors of America. And, mislabeling your products can lead to some serious issues. For one thing, it can damage your reputation by making you look unprofessional. Another issue is that the buyer may be allergic to a product not labeled correctly. Also, misleading labels cause confusion, which can cost you money in the long run. That’s because consumers have a short attention span, and the more time they spend trying to decipher your product’s purpose, the less inclined they’ll be to make a purchase.
4. Packaging Size and Durability
Make sure you choose a box that is the right size and one that is durable. If not, you will end up paying more money in the long run when it comes to dim weight restrictions and other transportation costs. Not only that but you could also end up with damaged goods or packaging imperfections. If you are unsure how to go about choosing the right size and durability, you can always consult a packaging professional. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Packaging That’s Not Eco-Friendly
Making a product requires a lot of materials — this includes raw materials that are extracted from the earth. Therefore, packaging that’s eco-friendly conserves natural resources. It also reduces material costs. If you are considering making the switch to sustainable packaging, one type of material you could invest in is low density polyethylene (LDPE). It’s 100 percent recyclable and requires less energy to recycle than corrugate boxes.
By the way, LDPE is also used in toys, squeeze bottles, carrier bags, high frequency insulation, chemical tank linings, heavy duty sacks, and gas and water pipes.
2. Packaging That Lacks Emotion
When we think of emotional appeals, we often think of advertisements. And, in a way, your product’s packaging is a form of advertising. That’s why it is important to use emotion in your packaging. Emotion is key when it comes to selling any product. It helps you connect with your buyers. And, if you make that connection with them, they are more likely to trust your brand, more likely to make a purchase, and more likely to become repeat customers.
1. Updating (or Not Updating) Your Packaging Design
Not updating your packaging design for long periods of time is a no-no. In fact, EDL Packaging says you should evaluate your packaging design every few years to ensure it attracts customers and aligns with your brand’s messaging. And, if, after you evaluate it, you find it needs to be redesigned, do it. Packaging redesigns are known to boost sales.
On the other hand, doing a package redesign all wrong can be harmful to your brand’s image. This is particularly true when it comes to established brands with well-known brand assets. Remember when Tropicana decided to ditch its iconic orange and striped straw for a sleeker, more modern look? The redesign drew a negative response from the public. As a result, the company had to discontinue the new packaging and revert back to the original labels.
Your turn! What packaging mistakes have you noticed? Leave a comment below.