How a Custom Wrap Affects Customers

SoftTouch


The heart (or maybe the skin) of luxury packaging is the custom wrap material. From plain paper adorned with digital print to exotic textures and patterns meant to replicate snakeskin or cheetah spots, the appearance of a box is first and foremost the eye-catcher. I like to think of the custom box material as the first line of advertising. If you can’t stand out on the shelf, how are you going to compete at the brick and mortars?

Tactile and Tactical

If the look is the first line, the feel of custom packaging is the second. But this tactile phase in the retail battle is arguably the most important. There’s something about actually holding a product that really turns things up to 11.

I used to work at a big-chain retail store. We’d often had “contests” which were more like daily sales goals for a specific product. If it was some sort of plush or pillow, I knew it was game over. All I had to do was hand the product to somebody, let them walk around the store with it, and by checkout time, they just had to buy it. Why? Because you just can’t help grow attached to something you’re holding onto. But if you don’t have a sales floor extraordinaire like myself hoisting your product into the empty arms of consumers, then you have to go for the next best thing: the two-punch combo of attractive and tactilely-pleasing packaging. The custom box that you just have to pick up, and that you just can’t put down.

Sure, it all boils down to the product within, but you can’t deny the power of a first impression. It’s just as true for luxury packaging, if not moreso.

Packaging manufacturers are always looking for the next big trend in materials, textures, wraps, and designs. And we love a good challenge. The old “form follows function” has given us some very distinct/cool/practical/innovative box designs. But inventing a texture is even trickier. A recent story from Packaging Europe tells the tale of a how a company’s request for a very specific paper lead one of the oldest paper mills to create one of the newest trends in packaging.

Are You Swayed by Suede?

James Cropper, a “luxury paper” company, was asked by Spain-based LOEWE to create a paper with a feel of suede for their new product packaging. Carvetian Suede–so named for James Cropper’s historical stomping ground–is a textured paper that mimics the feel of suede. Not only does it feel like the classy material, but it improves upon it by being biodegradable. James Cropper uses at least 40% recycled materials to create this exotic custom wrap.

Carvetian Suede custom wrap material by James Cropper

Maybe you don’t have to wrap your box in suede, but the lesson here is to always be mindful of your product packaging. The luxury in “luxury packaging” shouldn’t be mistaken for frivolous or exorbitant. What it’s really about is showing your customers you believe in your product, that you value it. And, perhaps more importantly, that they will too.

Image: jamescropper.com

The Most Famous Piece of Corrugated Cardboard Ever

A portion of the star wars early bird certificate, maybe the most famous piece of corrugated cardboard in the history of retail


The year is 1977. Fleetwood Mac is blasting through the speakers of Trans Ams everywhere, Star Wars takes the box office by storm, and the Kenner toy company is sitting on the golden egg of a lifetime–and they almost crushed it. Here’s the true story of how a piece of corrugated cardboard changed the face of marketing history.


 

May the Corrugated Cardboard Be With You

 

Months earlier in 1976, The Kenner toy company caught a seemingly lucky break. A small subsidiary of General Mills, Kenner’s usual fare was squirt guns and bubbles. But a major toy company, Mego, had passed on the Star Wars license to produce toys. Kenner, the Little Toy Company That Could, managed to acquire it.

 

Huge mistake for Mego. Potential mistake for Kenner.

 

Why? Just because Kenner picked up the license didn’t mean they believed in Star Wars. It seems impossible now, but the original Star Wars movie could barely get off the runway back in the day.

 

But once it did, it exploded.

 

The late May blockbuster left Kenner scrambling to produce Star Wars toys in time for the holiday season. Even by today’s standards, that’s a tough deadline. At some point, the small company realized they couldn’t meet the demand by Christmas. But did they give up? Not a chance. Instead they turned to a piece of customized corrugated cardboard into a legend.

 

The Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Was Born.

custom corrugated cardboard packaging used in the marketing of popular star wars toys

A member of the Kenner team had an idea. Instead of letting the ball drop, they created a corrugated cardboard box. Most likely an E-Flute wall structure–the standard in luxury display packaging–Kenner’s Early Bird Certificate doubled as a display stand. The idea was that kids could mail in the certificate and, when the toys were ready, Kenner would send out the first wave of toys, packaged in a thermoformed plastic tray. Then, when the package came, kids would have a spot ready to display them.

 

And they sold it.

 

Hero Complex’s Jay West calls it the “the most coveted empty box in the history of retail.” To think that anything could replace an action figure under the tree in a child’s eyes seems unlikely, let alone a hunk of corrugated cardboard. But it did. In fact, the anticipation of staring at the placeholder while waiting for the figurines to arrive made the prize even sweeter. Exclusive mail-away action figures would be the cornerstone of the Star Wars toys for the next 30 years.

 

Maybe Kenner’s whole plan wouldn’t fly today. But there’s a lot of takeaways from this story. Not giving up? Of course. Taking chances? Sure. But, above all, it shows the creativity stored in that “coveted empty box.” That’s the power of corrugated cardboard. It’s durable, environmental, economical, and endlessly engineerable. Just a simple piece of cardboard changed the face of product licensing forever. Think what it could change next.

 

You might be wondering what parents paid for that precious corrugated cardboard back in the day. $7.99. But what are folks willing to spend on it today?

the infamous customized corrugated cardboard on ebay, glossy laminate

 


 

Custom Corrugated Box for Branding

 

What’s your favorite logo? Think of your t-shirt collection. Or your favorite hat. What’s on it? Is it the Fox Racing fox? The Budweiser crown? Maybe the slashed M of the Monster logo?

 

 

fox racing logo, branding for custom corrugated box21689-monster-energy-logo

Company logos are big. Not size-wise necessarily, but there’s a reason businesses drop major dollars on logo design. If you land on the right one, it transcends the brand and becomes a piece of pop culture. Those companies listed above—consumers actually purchase clothing with their brands blazing on them. They are paying to advertise for that company. Now how’s that for a turnaround on investment?

 

Granted some folks might have seen them sported by a celebrity, or on the door of a race car. But most people just like to show their support for a company they like. I bet nobody at Apple foresaw how fashionable that little piece of fruit would become today.

 

Or maybe they did?

 

A Custom Corrugated Box is Your Canvas

 

Now your average John Q. Startup doesn’t have the funds to furnish a Nascar driver with their logo, but you can start with personalized packaging. A custom corrugated box offers durability, but also a proper canvas for your company’s brand. The fluted walls of a custom corrugated box allow for full color digital printing, so your exact logo can come through in high definition. It might not be in the hands of a pro athlete yet, but imagine how many E-Flute press kits go out a trade show. Your company logo is bound to get into the right hands eventually.

 

Which leads back to having a proper canvas. The nice thing about a custom corrugated box is that it’s affordable enough to give away, but can be made luxurious enough that it will be kept by its recipient. That’s the real goal, isn’t it? That’s how your logo sticks. Your name sticks. By providing your potential client with high-end custom packaging, you are giving them a reason to remember you. And if history has taught us anything, there’s nothing more useful than a custom corrugated box.

Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) and the Five Easies

plastic retail packaging, retail ready packaging, shelf ready packaging, customized thermoformed product packaging

 

It almost sounds like a rock band, doesn’t it? “RRP and the Five Easies.” In actuality, RRP stands for Retail Ready Packaging and it’s only about the biggest growing development in custom packaging marketing–and it’s still growing. Projections put RRP demand to increase by 70% in 2016. But RRP isn’t the new kid on the block: Smithers Pira Research reported a total market volume of 27 million tons–$54 billion worth–back in 2011 alone.

 

So what is Retail Ready Packaging?

 

Retail Ready Packaging (or Shelf Ready Packaging, SRP) is difficult to define. The ECR generalizes it as a “term used for mechanisms to merchandise product on shelf, on display, on retail store floor on its own base, or at aisle end.”

 

RRP and SRP might be more clearly defined by their guidelines, their motivating factors. Which is where the 5 Easies come in.

 

retail ready packaging, five easies, rrp guidelines

Image: Retail Ready Packaging Toolkit

 

Easy to Identify

 

Clear-cut, straightforward packaging is good for both consumer and staff alike. If your staff can tell what it is right from the box, they’ll be able to get it on the shelf faster while stocking. On the flip side, your customer will be able to get it off the shelf that much faster too.

 

Easy to Open

 

Ever struggle with a package or envelope? Seems like the more you want it, the harder it is to open. A corrugated box with perforations is one of the simplest solutions, able to tear open with ease. Even better if the overall packaging for the product can tear open into the display itself. Again, easy for the stocker as well as the consumer.

 

Easy to Shelf

 

Shelf Ready Packaging means the product is ready to be put on the shelf. Thus, your package design needs to ride the line between marketable and eye-catching, but also sturdy and secure. The right custom packaging can solve both of those issues and get your product to your buyer much quicker.

 

Easy to Shop

 

This relates back to “Easy to Identify”–the easier it is for a customer to know what they’re getting, the more likely they are to choose your product. Transparency in product via the packaging print. Making sure there are no roadblocks between the product and the hands of you potential customer.

 

Easy to Dispose

 

It’s the cold hard facts–eventually your Retail Ready Packaging will have served its purpose. At which point, it needs to “go on to a better place.” This plays a factor in deciding what material to use. Something easily recyclable is the best case scenario. However, this guideline isn’t just preaching an eco-friendly song, it also relates to easily identifying the recycling information. Is it recyclable? Is it made from recycled paper? What type of plastic is it? All of this should be taken into consideration in today’s market.

 

Bottom Line

 

When choosing your custom packaging, RRP needs to be at the forefront. There are a lot of hands on your product between you and your customers. The more confusing–or crushable–your Retail Ready Packaging, the longer the time is before they actually purchase it. And that lost time can mean lost dollars.
So remember: Easier for your stockers. Easier for your buyers. Easier for your wallet.

Upgraded Packaging Drives New “Game of Thrones” Box Set

New game of thrones upgraded packaging, photo hbo home entertainment

Photo: HBO Home Entertainment

Winter is coming. Again.

 

The popular HBO series Game of Thrones is getting a home video do-over thanks to a hefty packaging upgrade.

 

USA Today reports that medieval masterpiece is getting the steelbook treatment, popular with some of the more hardcore home entertainment collectors. The packaging upgrade will also include magnetic sigils for the fictional houses, as well as new box art design by Elastic, the design studio that created the show opening.

 

Maybe you don’t own a megahit DVD franchise, but a lesson can still be learned from this for any business owner. Upgraded packaging means repackaging, or even rebranding. It can give an old product a new lease on life. In fact, in an article from the New York Times, Paco Underhill, Author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, points to upgraded packaging as a way to catch consumers that may have previously passed on a product.

 

So is your product due for some upgraded packaging?

 

If so, you may not need a clunky steelbook to do the job. Custom media kits can impress the same visual impact, complete with all the bells and whistles. Velcro and magnet latches can be applied to your customized packaging, adding that extra wow factor. Who doesn’t love magnets, right? Your upgraded packaging can now include handles for easy carrying–try that Game of Thrones! Digital offset printing will give your box or package that sharper appearance.

 

In any case, upgraded packaging might just be that breath of fresh air your product needs.

 

Luxury Packaging Convention 2015 is Coming

Luxury Packaging Enthusiasts Unite!

 

Looking for a convention to call your own? Then pack your bags for London.

 

High-end custom packaging is a big deal. Not just in Minnesota, but around the world. It’s so big, in fact, it takes one of the world’s largest cities to do it justice.

 

This September, the Luxury Packaging Convention 2015 is coming to Olympia. This is one of London’s most famous venues. The convention will be comprising both the West and Central Halls. Boasting 4000 industry heavy hitters, the LPC promises to be one of the biggest expos of custom printed package vendors of all time. It’s basically the San Diego Comic Con of custom packaging.

Make a Splash

 

Personalized packaging is not just for gift card boxes. It has grown to be a staple of branding and marketing. From small startups to the big dogs of business, quality printed graphics adorning your materials is as important to having a phone number. So whether you’re a customized packaging aficionado or just a marketing guru trying to stay ahead of trends, the 2-day convention might be the  perfect place to bask in the glory of high-quality box art. Plus, drumming up some professional connections never hurts. So get those passports up to date, custom print those Credit Card Drives for maximum exposure, and get ready for the big show!

What’s Trending in High-End Custom Packaging

Custom mag box with softtouch lamination for presentation packaging and sales kits

We’re reaching the back nine of 2015. It’s time to paint the shed, so to speak. If you haven’t had your finger on the pulse of custom packaging, now’s the time to catch up.

Earlier this year, Andrew Gibbs, well-known CEO of The Dieline, highlighted some of the trends in custom packaging. In an article written for the Creative Bloq, Gibbs points to 4 emerging hot spots in the world of package design:

 

  • Visual authenticity a revival of raw, freeform, or handdrawn graphics
  • Luxury of lesssubtle, texture-based iconography and design
  • Ultra-purea simple, clean look, perhaps most notably used by Apple
  • Bio-basedpackaging that’s sustainable, or “environmentally responsible”

 

 

Rigid-set-up-box-11.02.14

Are these trends mutually exclusive though? While Gibbs tends to point to these as separate entities, perhaps business owners can glean a singular lesson from this list. It would appear that clients and consumers alike are looking towards a clean and simple look. They are looking for transparency, integrity, and a product they can feel good about dispersing. Luckily these elements go hand in hand.

But make no mistake: these elements, though subtle and simple and interconnected, are still design choices. Turned-edge packaging, soft touch laminated surfaces, foil stamping and embossing are more important now than ever in establishing that clean, clinical look. And, more importantly, the quality in which these processes are completed needs to be sharper than ever. Making something look handmade is an overlooked artform. Looking sloppy and being sloppy are two different things–and yet immediately recognized by today’s consumer.

 

Testing Packaging Concepts – Prototyping

retail packaging, importance of prototyping, custom prototypes for boxes

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to conduct qualitative research and preliminary tests on new packaging concepts before launching them in store. One guiding principle is to keep shoppers in a shopping mindset the following tips can make a big difference in your research and results. At sunrise we help a lot of companies with their market research by prototyping. Sometimes all it takes is to touch and feel your product before it is released in the market.

1. Present packaging concepts within competitive context- When concepts are shown next to competition, it is more realistic to the shopping experience and allows us to gauge competitive differentiation, which is critical to in-store success.

2.Minimize side-by-side design comparisons-Conversely, when shoppers see alternative design systems for the same brand simultaneously on a side-by-side basis, it immediately takes them out of a shopping mode and encourages a focus on aesthetics.

3.Show concepts in their totality– It is important to remember that shoppers encounter packages in their totality and that the “gestalt” of a design is often more than the sum of its parts. Therefore, you should consistently show shoppers full packages and then probing to understand which design elements are driving reactions.

4. Show concepts alone (without marketing support)– Finally, it’s important to remember that packaging typically has to work on its own, without the benefit of advertising or point of- sale support. In this day of fragmented media, it is simply unrealistic to assume that shoppers have recently seen your commercial.

Blog Source: Packaging News

The Impact of Packaging

Package design, how can package design help, perceived quality of high end packaged goods.

This article of The Impact of Packaging by MS Packaging (http://www.mspackaging.co.uk/) caught my attention. We have seen many of the same thoughts from manufacturers and consumers who know how important exceptional packaging is crucial for a product to evoke consumers attention. Here are a few of the results from their research:

Only 11% of global consumers are completely satisfied with their packaging today

When it comes to overall product satisfaction, packaging is almost as important as brand for consumers

64% tried a product because the packaging caught their eye

41% purchased a product because of the package design

36% switched brands because of a negative experience with new design

22% wrote an online review that mentions their package

Because of packaging, 29% researched more about a product and 20% became a fan of the branding company on social networks

These results certainly show the importance of quality design as it is undoubtedly a major factor which helps to build a wide customer base. With consumer’s now more willing to be influenced by packaging, it will take quality packagers that are up to the challenge of producing this distinction.

Beats Packaging; Boxes, Trays, and Blisters

The redesign of the most popular headphones has been released, and of course we can’t get past the packaging! We saw the speaker and headphone set on thedieline.com, showing how Solo2, the new Beats collection is packaged and sold in stores around the world. The product line is not restricted to headphones; they offer a wide variety of ear buds, speaker accessories, and more. Each product is different, and therefore so is the packaging it comes in. Each of the three pictures above show a different item in its own, unique custom package. Let’s look at them from left to right.

The far left picture is of the redesigned wireless earbuds, a smaller product that needs to be protected from tampering and stay in its place within the package. The interior of the slipcase box shows a thermoformed tray with unique cavities to hold the earbuds. This keeps the small items on display as well as untangled.

The middle picture shows the beats pill. A cordless speaker in a cylindrical “pill shape”. The blister pack shown here is encased in a rigid box, but we wanted to show how the makers of this product packaging and designed took a cue from pharmaceutical “pill” packaging. How creative to use a thermoformed blister pack to live up to the name of a product!

Finally, in the third picture, we see a high end, rigid box that holds the product that the brand is known for. An extremely popular product, the Beats line of speakers and headphones has been taking the music and electronic accessory market by storm. This turned edge box has multiple elements that protect the product, extend the brand, and add value in order to acquire repeat customers. When shoppers receive or pick up this product in store, they get the feeling that they are getting their money’s worth. And that is how quality packaging for retail products and marketing kits can improve sales and gain a following. Well done, Beats.