Options That Make For High End Retail Packages

High end retail packages speak to customers. 

Not literally, of course (but who knows what might happen in the future?). But all it might take is a swift glance over a familiar box to evoke a memory. Positive, negative, those parts of are out of control for manufacturers and companies, but the point is clear: when you have a strong brand that speaks to luxury, quality and comfort, your packaging should reflect that. 

Why Packaging Matters

Some might be quick to dismiss packaging as most important for mass produced consumer brands. It’s necessary for boxes to stand out on a crowded shelf, helping customers identify the one they want quickly. Or to catch their eye long enough to consider trying something new. 

But it’s the seed of brand loyalty that transcends economic status. Whether it’s a loyalty to Captain Crunch cereal or to Cartier watches, customers who exhibit appreciation for a specific product still want to feel like they’re part of the club. Cultivating that seed is partly done through packaging. 

Features of High End Retail Packages

high end retail packages

custom luxury packaging

It’s easy to assume what features a cheaper package might feature to cultivate brand awareness. Color is the main one, with graphics coming in second. But when it comes to high end luxury packaging, customers want a little more. 

  • Make it a tactile experience
    If you turned the lights off and ran your fingers over the packaging, what sense would customers get? Utilizing features like embossing, hot stamps, soft touch lamination, and more can stimulate the senses to entice customers in a different way. 
  • Turn the mundane into the extraordinary
    Opening and closing boxes isn’t something that registers with most people. Unless there’s something that stands out in people’s minds about it. Using a unique closure, like magnets or a custom molded snap enclosure, can do just that. 
  • Create contrast
    Light reflects differently on different materials and colors. Using a matte finish with glossy embellishments will draw attention to the various contrasting elements. Or simply mix up the colors, pairing black with white or other opposites that work well together. 
  • Design a pause
    An unveiling is a spectacular affair, and the first time your customers see your product–as their own product–should be as well.  One way in which package designers do this is to add a moment before the *big reveal.* It’s like going through the wrapping paper to get to a birthday present. Your excitement is heightened because you know this is something you want, and the paper is the only thing in the way. Badly designed processes can lead to buyer’s remorse and increased product return rates. All things luxury producers want to avoid. 

Contact Sunrise Packaging

We love talking high end retail packages. Different features work for different industries, and we’ve a bit of experience in the field to help guide you.  Get in touch today!

Wedding Planning Binders

Ah, wedding planning binders. They’ve been a standby in an industry that’s incredibly trendy. Where brides (and grooms) spend an ungodly amount of time trying to be more creative, more innovative, more stylish, and so on. All for a ceremony that’s about as traditional as tradition can get. 

However, while brides go Bride Wars and work to out-do each other, wedding planning binders is the source for all the initiatives. It might seem that technology would have replaced the hard custom binder, and in some ways, it has. Websites like Pinterest are must-haves (spawning the term ‘pinspo’ for pin + inspiration) for getting ideas and learning how to DIY. Instagram is another source, as can be evidenced by the uptick in giant walls made of flowers after Kimye’s union. Instagram also allows instant photo sharing via hashtags, so wedding guests can upload and share their favorite informal pics at the event. 

But weddings are more than just pictures and ideas saved to a Pinterest board. There are more elements and sources of inspiration, beyond what can be pinned and posted.  As someone who works in the wedding planning world, custom binders can be a great giveaway to new clients. 

Uses for Wedding Planning Binderswedding planning binders

Getting Organized

The most obvious use is, of course, getting organized.  Include your own templates for the wedding planning, or allow the recipient to customize with their own. Many couples use color coding, custom fonts, and more to stay organized. For added adabtability, include envelopes for loose articles and receipts. 

Saving Samples

A big part of any wedding is the tactile piece. From invitations to centerpieces to colors, it’s important to both feel and see the materials prior to committing. Wedding parties want to see the colors, feel the materials, the embossing on invitations, everything.  Keeping it all one place makes it easier to compare, and also to do the following…

Showing & Telling

It’s ten times easier to show people something than it is to simply tell them about it. Hence the popularity of visual mediums.  Using wedding planning binders gives your clients the ability to show people the exact color swatches, the exact style of program, maybe even photos of arrangements and other tips. Be sure to include something eye-catching from your own business and industry to draw attention as well – this is a marketing tool, after all!

Standing Out In the Wedding Business

Working with weddings is a time consuming, emotionally-taxing role. You’re dealing with many people making big-budget decisions about what may be the most important day of their lives.  Bringing them on board means showing that you care. Whether you are a wedding planner, a caterer, photographer, or some other role, gifting wedding planning binders is literally the gift that keeps giving.  Plus, by incorporating your own subtle branding, website and more, you’re sure to add to your own business as well. 

Contact Sunrise today to start designing your custom binders for weddings! 

Custom Magnet Boxes Make Perfect Sales Kits

Custom magnet boxes are perennially popular. People love them because, well, if I had to make a wholly-unscientific guess, because magnets are cool. Everyone has memories of being a kid, maybe at home or at school, and being fascinated by how such a simple material could have such a strong pull. The attraction (pun slightly intended) carries through to adulthood. We might sit and play with magnets on the fridge now (although the popularity of magnetic words might indicate otherwise), but we have new outlets for our magnet-fancy. 

Sales kits can come in many forms. We’ve written about them before, but there’s a strong argument to be made for using custom magnet boxes for your sales kits. 

Custom Magnet Boxes & Sales Kits

By definition, a sales kit is a case or folder containing information about your firm or product. It usually contains promotional materials, like brochures, books, samples, maybe a demo on a CD or USB drive. We might argue that all of this sales support material is only as good as the container that holds it. Delivering your marketing collateral in a flimsy folder or a cheap, easily-dented box doesn’t quite send the message you want, does it? 

So the first step would be to increase the quality of your materials. You wouldn’t skimp on your product; don’t skimp on your sales kit. This is a piece that needs to project your values and the quality of your product. It also needs to capture the imagination of your prospective client or customer. What better way to do that than to tap into a rather specific childhood fascination?

Our flagship Netboxes are custom magnet boxes with the layout of a hinged cigar style box with turned edges and a magnetic flap closure. The outside can be customized to the nth degree with digital print, embossing, custom foil stamping, and other options. Add protection and surface space for more content with a sleeve over the box. 

The inside creates a veritable stage for sales support materials. Level up by adding custom inserts, like thermoformed trays or foam inserts. We can create an insert that ensures that your marketing pieces are held in place perfectly. What’s more pleasing than a well-curated and organized sales kit? 

Start Planning

Custom magnet boxes are great not only for sales and marketing kits, but any customer-facing collection. Influencer marketing kits are quickly growing in popularity, and utilizing a magnetic box could be a great way to ensure a highly regarded unboxing on Instagram. Whatever business you’re working to grow, we can help you help you get there with well-crafted sales kits. Especially when it comes to custom magnetic boxes!

Human Factors in Healthcare Packaging

Human factors is the study of how humans behave and interact with objects or services within an environment. It’s existed under many different names over time, but human factors seems to be the one that has stuck. While the field has expanded widely in the digital age–understanding how humans interact with parts of a system essentially defines a great web user experience–it has chiefly been the domain of medical devices.  For obvious reasons, it’s necessary to know how a device that regulates a heart rhythm or helps someone hear needs to work well with the human body. But just as the study has taken on new life in other formats, so can human factors inform another key medical area: healthcare packaging. 

Healthcare Packaging Defined by Human Factors

The ultimate goal of human factors applied to a product is to ensure that it’s safe and easy to use in the real world. It’s a good guideline for any product, but especially when we’re talking about medical device packaging or healthcare packaging in general. In fact, it was made a regulatory requirement by the FDA in 1990 for healthcare. healthcare packaging

Human factors sets out to study and answer three distinct questions at the outset: 

  • Who is the user?
  • What are they trying to do?
  • What is the environment of use?

HealthcarePackaging.com frames some of the scenarios for how these questions might be answered. This line of questioning is known as contextual inquiry. It reveals the key points needed to determine packaging requirements. For example, a hearing aid will need different medical packaging than a set of surgical instruments. Human factors studies, and contextual inquiries, are best conducted with actual users and customers…AKA outside of your boardroom and employee pool. It’s impossible for those close to a product to have an actual consumer mindset. And chances are that the intended use of a product will vary from how it’s actually used.

Integrating the Findings

The study detailed in the article linked above focused on finding ways to make sure the packaging reduces stress for users and simplifies things. In their study, they timed things like how long it took users to open the custom package. They also created graphics based on their findings, like the actual environment where the product is used, and how it fits in, as well as storyboards detailing how the task completion played out for various test subjects. 

Armed with this research, organizations can start to refine their healthcare packaging model. Find ways to reduce complexity and increase understanding for how users should actually be using the product.  

The bottom line? You might think you know how customers engage with healthcare packaging, but you have no idea.

Luxury Gift Packaging for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a day originally meant to honor Saint Valentine. But since the days of Chaucer, it’s been associated with love. Or, to call a spade a spade, it’s associated with the giving of gifts. Flowers, chocolates, anything heart-shaped and/or expensive. It’s a holiday made for luxury gift packaging.

(Yes, we know it’s not *made* for giving gifts. Gifts are just the byproduct, the natural progression from courtly love).

Fine Chocolates Deserve the Finest Custom Cigar Style  or Two Piece Setup Box Luxury chocolate packaging

It’s easy to pile chocolates into a bag, tie it shut and call it a gift. Or to pick up some mass-produced box of waxy chocolates. But if you’re going to give them as a gift, take it from us: invest in good quality chocolate and good quality dessert boxes. The classic chocolate box? A cigar style box, with turned edges and imprinting. It’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to chocolates, the box can be an indicator of quality. Two piece setup boxes are the other traditional style, as you can see to the right. Trust us, it’s worth the extra effort.

Luxury Gift Packaging for Engagement Rings

It probably doesn’t surprise you that Valentine’s Day is the most popular day to get engaged. It’s estimated that 6 million people agree to take the plunge (and not in a second-bottle-of-wine kind of way). The focus in any engagement is on the ring, naturally, but don’t overlook the significance of the box, either. The box holds sentimental value as well, and makes for a great keepsake. The standard style, a hinged magnetic box, can be further customized with names, a quote, or some other bit of content you share with your (hopefully) new fiancee.

 

Other Types of Luxury Items Require Luxury Packagingluxury gift packaging

Of course, Valentine’s gifts run the gamut outside of rings and chocolates. The item below is a luxury-brand lotion in a custom two piece setup box. Ideal not only for spa-day indulgences, but the box for the lotion itself only adds to the gift. Not to mention the experience of opening it. Lotion in and of itself isn’t the most exciting gift…until it arrives in a fancy box, right? Think of other items in which luxury gift packaging becomes an arena for differentiation. Watch boxes. Perfume or cologne gift boxes. Even electronics have jumped on board. Samsung and Apple are just two tech companies that have adopted an iconic, customized packaging style.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in the Modern Era

All of this isn’t to say that enjoying Valentine’s Day means spending money. But purchasing things of a certain quality entails spending a little money. If your valentine isn’t worth it, who is?

2017 Fragrance & Cosmetic Packaging Trends

Trends come and go, and this is especially true of the ephemeral world of fragrance and cosmetic packaging. Certain features and styles--cigar style boxes, magnetic closures, custom setup boxes, etc.--tend to be more prominent in some years than others. Cosmetics and fragrances are a dynamic division of packaging; they're subject to the whims of the fashion world, but loyal customers tend to be drawn to both respectful tradition for the past while enjoying modern innovation. What would Chanel No. 5 be without its stark, elegant style? It's a tall order for any designer to incorporate all these elements. 

However, there are some constants in this ever-changing industry as identified by Cosmetics Design. These guidelines aren't specific only to fragrance and cosmetic packaging, but could be incorporated into the style of any industry that desires their packaging to be creative yet artful and address commercial interests. 

Fragrance & cosmetic packaging

Fragrance & Cosmetic Packaging as Art

According to the Pratt Institute 2016 recipient for fragrance packaging design, FangYi Chu, the most important aspect of design is storytelling: 

Through the creative direction, including logo, fonts, and color, the story can be displayed to everyone.

In this sense, custom packaging should endeavor to embody a narrative that speaks to customers. 

Resourceful Innovation & Packaging

Concerns have arose across customer bases when it comes to sustainability. Buyers are becoming hypersensitive to sustainable sourcing and eliminating waste, yet desire usable and functional packaging that is also aesthetically pleasing. At Sunrise Packaging, we can utilize recycled materials for boxes as well as employ other eco-friendly techniques in finishing as well as other stages. 

Cost-Effective Packaging

"Cost-effective" encompasses many things. Obviously, cost is one part of it. It can reflect size, meaning that customers are finding value in smaller cosmetic packages which makes them easier to carry for travelling. All in all, as Cosmetics Design points out, it means a smaller commitment from the customer. The increased ability of customers to peruse the world via the Internet means that they don't only have to buy from big name retailers who carry big name cosmetics and fragrances. They can purchase from anywhere, and the selection means that customer loyalty can easily shift. It's an opportunity and a detriment to the market. In this sphere, creative fragrance and custom cosmetic packaging could make or break whether a customer returns or not. 

Fragrance & Cosmetic Packaging

Trends are usually cyclical, but when it comes to hyper-stylized industries, those trends take to take on new twists. With some foresight, designers can find inspiration while retaining classic elements. 

For more information on the topic, refer to:

2016 fragrance packaging trends that will still matter in the New Year

By Deanna Utroske, 21-Dec-2016

Novelty beauty packaging comes and goes, but a few trends Cosmetics Design covered this year will carry over into 2017—for fine fragrance and perhaps some other categories as well.

Luxury Packaging Market

It's a good time to be in the luxury packaging business. 

According to a report from Market Intel Reports (read more at Whatech), the luxury packaging market is set to increase by 5% in the next five years. That means by 2021, the market should reach a value of over $20 billion. Large as the number is, this isn't a total surprise. Sunrise Packaging has had a front-row seat in watching these trends grow over recent years. The demand for great packaging has never been higher, and if this report is correct, it's only going to increase in the coming years.  

The full report includes information on opportunities and restraints on the market, but here are our main takeaways. 

 

Luxury packaging for cigars

Luxury Packaging Trends

So what's driving the increase in demand? There are three main factors--

  • personalized packaging
  • increasing awareness to sustainability issues
  • demographic and economic drivers

--combined with the need for premium brands to find more ways to differentiate themselves. The rapidly-changing marketplace means that brands can't coast on their name anymore. Consumers have access to literal world of products available via the Internet, and if a brand isn't holding up, consumers aren't shy about broadcasting their displeasure. 

The report includes more information on the state of every continent in terms of the luxury packaging market. The United States is the largest luxury market ( 21.5% revenue share). China holds the distinction of taking second in two categories: consumer of luxury goods and luxury packaging manufacturer. However, with a 36% consumption share of the world’s luxury good market (in terms of revenues), Europe leads the way. It helps that the majority of luxury brand houses call the continent home. Take a second and write down the top five luxury brands that come into your head. What's on the list? Gucci? Chanel? Rolex? Mercedes Benz?  Italian, French, Swiss, German.  From that list, you can also get a sense for the products that tend to drive the market. 

It used to be that these products were hard to get. They were limited to those who either lived in areas affluent enough to shop the storefront, or those able to order via catalogs or other methods. E-commerce has leveled the access level (not to mention discount sites and others). Luxury packaging helps to set products apart in the egalitarian marketplace. Packaging has an important role in maintaining a brand's image. This is even more important in the age of social media, as brands are finding opportunities to tie custom packaging to marketing strategy.

Custom Boxes & Luxury Packaging

Luxury packaging is about a few factors: design, materials, and experience. Does the package design reflect your product and your consumers expectations? Did you use materials and finishing options that look and feel a little indulgent for the consumer? And consider how both of those designs contribute to the experience of opening the package. Custom options make the difference between luxury and mundane. Contact Sunrise Packaging today to help create your luxury packaging.

Premium Packaging Drives Demand

The importance of packaging has always resided in its connotations. A plain brown paper wrapping might appear innocuous. But in previous decades, it might have hid a salacious purchase (at least, that's what David Hyde Pierce's 'Down With Love' character has led me to believe).  In 2016, people might be a little less inhibited, but packaging is still just as important. Especially premium packaging. In this era of internet shopping, subscription boxes, and a rapidly-growing marketplace, retailers need to find ways to hook customers and, ideally, turn them into repeat shoppers. Products need to find ways to stand out. According to a recent survey, investing in premium packaging is a one of the best ways for companies to do this. 

Premium packaging

Premium Packaging as a Hook

Dotcom Distribution recently released a survey on driving customer loyalty.  They surveyed nearly 600 shoppers to find out what makes them tick. Or more accurately, what makes them return to certain retailers, and what makes them take their business elsewhere. One of the top ways in which retailers can retain customer is by investing in premium packaging, or custom retail boxes. 

Tips to Retain Customers

According to Dotcom Distribution, consumers look for and reward: 

  • Same day shipping options--in fact, fast shipping was even more important than product quality.
  • Premium packaging. Boxes that make products feel like opening a present, or turn a mundane process into an event (check out Sunrise's custom box section for ideas). 
  • Error-free and transparent fulfillment process. Understandably, customers want to receive the correct order, and like to know when something is processing, then shipping, and when it's going to arrive. 

However, customer loyalty can be fickle. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed chose not to return to a business with whom they felt the shipping and fulfillment process wasn't clear enough. However, that negative experience might be redeemed with premium packaging. If a company offers premium packaging, 40% of respondents would give the organization a second chance, and 50% would be more likely to refer them as well. 

The key takeaways are two investments. The first lies in designing a process that keeps the customer in the loop.  Automation through a CRM can handle this. The second investment should be in product packaging. Specialized packaging demands specialized solutions, which is what Minnesota-based Sunrise Packaging does best. Bring elements of innovation to both your fulfillment and your packaging, and it's all but certain that you'll grow a repeat customer base. At least, that's what Dotcom Distribution has found to be true!

Cosmetic Review: Urban Decay NAKED Ultimate Basics

It's here. Urban Decay's first ever all-matte palette, NAKED Ultimate Basics Eyeshadow palette. 

We wrote about this after it was announced a few weeks ago. The buzz around the palette was at a high, and it's the star of the 2016 holiday line up for the brand.  Well, it's been a week after it's release, we're ready to release the verdict: 

Is the Ultimate Basics worth dropping $50? YES.

Cosmetic box review for Urban Decay Ultimate Basics

NAKED Ultimate Basics Palette Review

Let's start with the fundamentals: 

  • Packaging
    Moving away from the more capricious and fanciful design of the recent palette, but still not quite as stoic as the other Naked palettes, Ultimate Basics features a golden burst. It's shiny and eye-catching, a delicious compliment to the matte shades inside, and an interesting companion to the other more, well, *naked* shades on other palettes. It's luxury packaging on another level.
  • Features
    One complaint from other palettes is the mirror of questionable functionality. That is remedied in Ultimate Basics, with a full size mirror inside. The applicator is double edged: one for layering, the other for eyeliner or blending. 

There are 12 shades included in the Ultimate Basics palette. While Urban Decay is touting these as never-before-seen, some of these are very similar to shades we've seen before. But, that aside, test out the shades (if you can) prior to purchasing to make sure that these shades work for you. Matte is a funny beast; these shades are denser and richer than your average drugstore brand, per Urban Decay standards, but they're far from universally flattering (without a little help).  Luxury brands should feel luxurious, and this packed powder packs a mink-gloved punch.

Matte Shades Included

  • Blow (Light Nude Demi-Matte)
  • Nude (Soft Pink Nude Matte)
  • Commando (Light Taupe Brown Matte)
  • Tempted (Pale Brown Matte)
  • Instinct (Medium Pink Taupe Matte)
  • Lethal (Reddish Brown Matte)
  • Pre-Game (Pale Yellow Matte)
  • Extra Bitter (Burnt Orange Matte)
  • Faith (Medium Warm Brown Matte)
  • Lockout (Rich Neutral Brown Matte)
  • Magnet (Smoky Gray Matte)
  • Blackjack (Warm Black Matte)

While the colors alone aren't universally flattering, that doesn't mean that a little blending won't remedy that. Bustle has put together a list of tutorials to assist in this.  Matte is everywhere this fall, and it's ideal to ramp up your look from work to night without a total redo. 

Luxury Brand Packaging Tips

Luxury brand packaging is one of those things that's better experienced than described. However, as one of Minnesota's premier producers of high end custom packaging, we're well-situated to take a stab at defining some of the features that make packaging feel luxurious. Custom packaging can make a sizable impression. And it's our job to make sure that it's a positive impression as a result of great design and fine craftsmanship.

The tips below, adapted from TheDieLine, discuss how to appeal to consumers and leave an impression of high-end luxury packaging. It involves appealing to the senses in unexpected--yet pleasing--ways.  It's turning the mundane into the extraordinary. And it's easier than you think.

Tips for High End Custom Packaging

Include micro-interactions
You can guide users through a delayed-gratification type of an experience through micro-interactions. Micro-interactions are unexpected surprises about a package or a box. Utilize materials in unexpected ways (especially materials that convey the luxurious quality you want to convey, like our soft touch lamination). Design points of interplay for the user and the product. Magnet closure, pull tabs, these extras surprise and delight consumers. 

luxury brand packaging

Reduce redundant hand positions
Haptic feedback helps inform luxury packaging. Believe it or not, but according to TheDieLine, redundant hand positions required to open packaging reduce perceived quality. Use one simple criterion: how easy is it to open the package? Could it be opened blindfolded, or would it require tools and complicated handiwork? It's a testament to the classic simplicity and elegance of the cigar box

luxury brand packaging

Contrast finishes
The way light interacts with colors and finishes affects how consumers perceive things. It can make the difference between a high-end box and a cheap one, or at least the perception either way. The finish should be smooth, crisp, consistent, and even. Incorporating foil stamping on a matte material is one of our favorite ways to create this kind of contrast. However, show restraint when it comes to contrasting.  Discretion and minimalism in design define understated luxury.

Gold foil stamp example on luxury brand packaging

Luxury Brand Packaging Value Perception

When all is said and done, creating luxury brand packaging is all about creating a perception of high value. By following the cues discussed, it's possible to trigger the sensory cues that say "high-end." While these are tips that help convey luxury, it's important to remember packaging basics, such as: 

  • Take measures to ensure packaging won't become warped or misshapen due to humidity, poor handling, etc.
  • Incorporate materials and finishes that are pleasing to touch. 
  • Design an opening experience worthy of an unveiling video. 

Consumers want to be thrilled. Discover ways to incorporate these types of interactions and sensations into your packaging to create something they'll love.