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This week on the podcast my focus is packaging, and how you present the products that you are going to sell. It’s an episode packed full of practical advice, that takes you through all the different things to consider when putting together the packaging for your product.
Firstly I share why good packaging matters, and how you can use it to elevate and market your brand.
Then we dig into the practical side, legislation to be aware of, Amazon marketplace requirements to consider if you want to sell via Amazon, and where to get your packaging made.
Finally I share my top tip for how to ensure you have the best packaging for your products.
Listen in to hear me share:
- Why packaging is important (00:38)
- Elevating your brand via your packaging (02:42)
- The importance of robust packaging that protects your products (04:58)
- Choosing and designing your product packaging (08:57)
- What to put on your packaging (12:54)
- Packaging legislation to be aware of (15:10)
- Amazon marketplace packaging requirements to be aware of (16:33)
- Where to get your packaging made (17:54)
- Do you need a packaging designer? (19:46)
- My final tip (21:28)
GS1 Website – for Amazon barcodes
Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here's your host Vicky Weinberg. Hello. I hope that whenever you're listening to this, you are having a wonderful day. So this is another episode where it's just me and today we're going to be talking about packaging and presenting your products because when you're creating your own product to sell, it's really important to think of the whole package. Excuse the pun. So I'm going to start by talking about why is your packaging important. And I'm sure that, you know, you possibly noticed, but perhaps we're gonna touch on some things that you haven't yet considered. Um, and the first thing is that it adds to the overall customer experience. So the packaging is actually a part of what you're offering. It's an integral part of your product, and it can also help add value to your product. For example, let's take the example of a baby towel. Which is a product that I used to sell. So what do you think would look more premium? A baby towel that's packaged in a really lovely box, or if it comes shrink, wrapped, or just wrapped in clear plastic. It's exactly the same product and the difference in cost for the packaging might not be that much, although as I'm saying this out loud, I'm thinking actually probably there probably will be a difference in, in cost, but it makes a huge difference in terms of perceived value and what you potentially charge. So yes, a box might be more expensive. However, let's say the box costs an extra pound pulling figures out of the air here. Um, but you could charge another five pound because it is beautifully boxed, obviously that makes it worth an ex investment. Um, I'll give you a real example of something that happened to me. I bought a headband online and it came unbranded, you know, just a clear like plastic bag. Um, and it was sufficient because the product was clean. It was in good condition, but it didn't tell me anything about who made it. I couldn't recommend that seller to you now. Um, I I'll be, I'll be honest. I bought this. I can't remember if it was on Etsy or Amazon, but I couldn't tell you who I brought from because I have no clue who it is. However, had they added a simple sticker or put an insert card in inside that would've been a really good and still quite cheap edition, but just told me a little bit about who I brought from, and then perhaps I'd remember them and then, you know, I'd be able to recommend them to you now. But unfortunately, because there hadn't been that consideration put into the packaging, um, I wasn't able to do that. So another thing that great packaging can do is give your brand a bit of character. So I am definitely not a branding expert. I should say that here I did have a branding expert, um, consultant Cara Sayer on a previous episode. And she also wrote a really great blog post for me as well. I'm gonna link both of those in the show notes, because if you are at all interested in your branding, um, these are really good resources. Um, and as part of that, Cara gives some really great advice on packaging, your products and the whole unboxing experience. Um, and I'm just gonna touch now on a few ways that your, how you package your products can really elevate your brand. So if the unboxing experience is an experience, so when customers open your product, you know, it's nice, you know, it's a pleasant experience it's much more likely that they'll, that they'll share that on social media and give you a bit of free marketing. You can add your own messaging to your packaging. So whether that's a little, note, whether you want to share information about your brand values, what difference buying your product makes, um, who you are, what you are about, this is your space to do that. For example, I brought some earrings recently and there was a little card in with them that explained that because I'd placed that order. A tree had been planted on my behalf, and that was really sweet. And do you know what I did? I shared that on my Instagram stories because I thought, oh, this is so lovely. And then of course that gave that brand a bit of marketing at the same time. So I definitely think this is something worth thinking. And also just from a practical point of view, if you want to ask people to leave reviews. If you want to offer discounts off future purchases, or maybe for signing up to a subscription to receive your product regularly, whether you want to share tips on how your product can be used, maybe how your packaging could be reused, um, give any kind of useful information. This is your space to do so. So not only does your packaging serve a practical function, um, in terms of keeping products, you know, contained within something, but you've got all of that space. However, you decide to package your product. You know, whether this is a box and you've got loads of space to work with, or whether you are thinking of just adding a little card inside something that's nicely gift wrapped. Um, however you do that, you've got some space to kind of get your brand messaging across. And then finally, um, I'm gonna talk about the fact that packaging also protects your product and this might seem silly because you might think, well, actually my product doesn't need a lot of packaging. Maybe doesn't need any packaging, but you do need to think about how you'll protect it during shipping and storage, if that's applicable to you. And I'm gonna give a real example here. So my products all packaged in recyclable craft, cardboard boxes. Um, so they were intended for gifting. So the boxes had to be really sturdy because they had to make a trip. So I knew up front that they had to make the trip from the manufacturer to my warehouse, then some went to Amazon and then finally they go to the customer who might have actually bought it for someone else. Then, you know, they'd be going on another trip. So they were getting, basically, they were getting a lot of handling, knowing that they were intended to get a lot of handling. I needed the boxes to be really, really sturdy to withhold that. Um, and I'm gonna be honest as well. I actually learned this the hard way because the first lot of boxes that I got, they looked really good. So they were like very similar gift boxes. They had exactly the same design and branding. They looked really professional, but they just weren't quite strong enough. Um, and lots of those boxes got crushed either from the trip from the manufacturer over to the UK, because they were made abroad or when they were being sent into Amazon. Um, and actually sometimes on the trip from Amazon to the customer. So as you can see your packaging needs to be sufficient. Um, and that really leads me on to my next point, which is, I know from experience that products get thrown around, they get thrown around in vans in warehouses, they get thrown over people's gates. They get rammed through letter boxes. They get left outside in the rain. And if you're sending in products for Amazon to sell via FBA, they can get thrown around a bit there as well. Um, this maybe isn't the best example, but not long ago, Amazon delivered me a book and it came in a cardboard envelope and they left it set outside in the rain. No, no card came through the door. So I had absolutely no idea there was something sat out there and it ended up soaking wet. Um, now that isn't the seller's fault as they trusted Amazon to take care of their product and that this is definitely, you know, something for another episode. But I only share this to highlight that if you were selling a product that it might deteriorate. If you got wet, for example, um, a cardboard envelope might be not be enough to protect it for the element. So if you were posting it yourself, you might have to add another layer of protection, or if you were sending it into Amazon, you might have to think, you know, you might also have to think about that. So that's just a, a, a practical thing to think about. And while of course you can't prevent any of the above from happening, you know, anything I've just talked about, if you package your products in a way that protects it, the best you can then I think that gives the customer the best experience that you, that you can as well. And, um, you know, this, this is all gonna help in the long run. And I should also say that this is not a rant to delivery drivers, and it's not intended as that either. I just wanna be really honest about, how you've probably seen yourself, packages can get damaged. And I guess the bottom line is this, what you cannot count on at any stage of the process, is anyone else caring about your product and the condition it arrives in as much as you do. Um, other than the customer, because the customer is obviously gonna be pretty upset if they receive your products and it's not in the condition it was intended. So therefore you do need to think about the packaging and ensure it's packaging a way that will keep it protected as best you can to give the customer a better experience. And as I said earlier, this is really important, especially important if you sell a product, which is frequently gifted, because not only is it gonna be handled more, um, people tend to get more upset if they're buying something with someone else, you know, something's tended to be gifted and it doesn't look perfect because if you're buying something for yourself and you know, it doesn't look great. Um, perhaps, you know, you're gonna throw the package away. It doesn't matter so much, but if you're buying for someone else, it's super, super important. So if you're selling any kind of gifted product it's especially important. So let's talk now about how do you start with choosing and designing your product packaging? So, first of all, I just want you to remember that your package doesn't need to be fancy. It doesn't need to be expensive, but it just needs a little bit of thinking about. So there were four main things I think you need to consider. So one is functionality, which we just talks about. So your packaging needs to do its job. So IE keeps the product in a really good condition. Um, the second thing is aesthetics because ideally it'll look nice too. And then I guess, um, think about the purpose of it. So is your product purely functional? Is it just something to keep your product safe as we've just been talking about? Or do you want to use it to share more information about your brand? Do you want to use it to get people to your website? Do you want to educate them about your product and how to use it? Um, you don't have to do any or all of it, but it's just things think about. And then, then the last thing to think about is legislation, which I'm gonna talk about a bit more in a few minutes. So in terms of how to actually package your product, there are lots and lots of options, and it really depends on what you're selling and what your budget is. So just a few things that you can think about. Um, I've just made some notes of things I thought about on the top of my head are boxes. So bespoke boxes, you might get someone to make for you, maybe a plain box or maybe a box with a window. Then there are letter boxes. So these are the kind of boxes that you can, you can, you can buy these and add, apply your own branding, or you can have them especially made. So these are the ones that fit in everyone's letter boxes. There are gift bags, so you could have like little bags made up. Padded envelopes, which you can get all kinds of different ones. Now you can get eco-friendly ones, you can get all kinds of different colors. Um, so that's an option. You can also get standard envelopes. Um, I used to sell my bamboo swaddles in envelopes that were made of bamboo starch. So ecofriendly but they looked sort of, they looked like plastic but they were actually not. Um, you might want to use tissue paper or wrapping paper, maybe even want to get some branded wrapping paper printed to wrap your product in. You might want to use stickers or stamps to seal or personalize your packaging. Maybe you want to invest in some branded belly bands or some ribbon. So lots and lots of options, depending what your product is, what your budget is and what you want to achieve. And as I mentioned earlier, you might also want to decide to include an insert with an offer at discount or a request for feedback or request for reviews in your packaging as well. And that doesn't necessarily have to be on your packaging. You might just want to include sort of a little card or something, but these are all just ideas to get you started. Speaking of getting you started one of my best practical tips, and this is what I did way back when I was launching my first product, is look at how other similar products are packaged. So you can either go into a shop or you can order some products online. Um, hopefully you have the intention of returning them, you know, not trying to suggest you spend lots of money here. To see how similar products are packaged and maybe get some inspiration. So you might look at what kind of packaging they use, how it's constructed, what kind of things are written on it. Um, is there an insert card or a flyer that you get with it and just make some notes and I should say, and I probably don't need to say this, but please don't copy anyone else's packaging. This isn't what I'm suggesting. I'm just suggesting that you do this as a starting point to get some inspiration and perhaps you don't even look at products that are similar to yours. Perhaps if you are selling a gift, you just look at other more general gifting items. It's just really to get some ideas. And when you are, you know, if you're shopping online or shopping anywhere and you get something and you think, oh, I really like how this is packaged. Make a note of what it was you liked or take a photo because when it comes to actually doing this for yourself, it's really easy to forget all of this. Like all of these things that really inspired you. So I do take some notes, um, because it is thinking about, as I say, really is a big part of the customer experience. So in terms of what do you need actually on your packaging. So I would suggest as a minimum, you would have your logo on your packaging. So, whatever you, you know, whatever kind of product you are selling and whatever kind of packaging you're using. So wherever you have, um, whether you have a special box or wherever you are using a branded sticker, I would have your logo and the name of your company so that people would know who they've ordered from. You might also want to have something on your packaging, that explains what the product is, and you might want to include where it was designed and made if that's something that is going to be useful to customers. Other things you can include either on your packaging or inside it somewhere are maybe information about how to care for your product. So for example, if you're selling garments, it might be washing information. You might want to include a printed barcode or space for a barcode sticker to be applied. Um, you might want to include a call to action on your package. So leave feedback, join my mailing list, get a discount, et cetera, et cetera. And you might want to include social media links or your website address. You don't need to do any of this or all of this, by the way. Um, the point of this is just really to get you started thinking about what you might like to do. I mentioned barcodes earlier, so I'm just gonna sort of very quickly mention that if you need barcodes to sell your product, um, and I can't tell you, you know, whether you do or you don't, but if you do, and you'll know if you do, if you're selling on Amazon, you will. Um, if you need them, the only place you can buy them from in the UK is GS1. And I'm going to link to the GS1 website in the show notes for the episode. This is the only source of barcodes that are accepted by most retailers and marketplaces in the UK. Please don't try and buy them on eBay. A few years ago this was something that people did a lot. Um, and you can get into trouble that way. So please, please, please. I know it's an extra cost that you know, many of us don't need, but it really is worth it to have barcodes that you can feel confident are yours. They're registered to your business, your products, and you can use them anywhere you like. So if you need barcodes, please buy them from GS1. So I mentioned earlier about around legislation about that being important. So what I mean here, I'm just gonna touch on this briefly is that some products have rules around how they're packaged or what's included on the packaging. For example, in the UK, if you're selling prepackaged food products, there are certain things that are required to be on the label. Um, if your product is wrapped in plastic you require a suffocation warning. And of course there were many, many more examples I'm not gonna give here. So Google is probably a good place to start when researching this. If you Google packaging requirements for, and you type the country that you are in and the type of product you're selling, you should find some guidelines online. I would suggest trying to find the official government website on this. If you can. Um, if you have any doubts, do lots and lots of research. Try and make some calls to clarify. It's definitely better to get this right initially than making changes at a later date. And I'm not trying to scare you here by for, because there are lots and lots of products that you can package any way you like. Um, but it's just, it's just really worth doing a check. Just so you are clear. So anything sort of anything that's consumable generally has some rules on packaging and anything that goes anything that's topical as well. So that's used on your body will have certain rules and yeah, so it's, that's something definitely worth looking at. Something else worth thinking about is marketplace requirements. And what I mean by this is if you are looking to sell your products online, then some online marketplaces, and I'll be really honest. I'm thinking of Amazon right now, have requirements on how products need to be packaged, which Amazon call prepped when they arrive at the warehouse. Um, these are mainly for the reasons I spoke about earlier. So if they think your product isn't adequately packed to prevent damage, they might return them to you, or they actually might get damaged before they manage to return them to you. So, as an example, they state that textile items must be wrapped and shrink, wrapped, or put in a sealed poly bag. Now this doesn't need to be your main packaging, of course, but if you're looking to sell a textile item on Amazon, eventually this is at least something you can factor in now while you're planning what you need. Or another example is if you are selling a product, um, that comes in a glass bottle, then there needs to be some element of bubble wrap involved. Um, it's just worth thinking about if you're looking at a certain marketplace, like I say, an Amazon is a great example. If you're looking, you know, you know you want to sell your products on Amazon, I would just look upfront at what do I need to do in terms of packaging. If I'm going to be sending in products for them to dispatch. And as I say, this doesn't need to be your main packaging, but it might be something you can at least think about incorporating. In terms of where you would get your packaging made. So if you're looking, having so. Okay, let's start from the beginning. If you are making a product, you you're making your product yourself or your product is made in the UK, you might find the easiest thing is to find a packaging supplier either local to you or online. And there are some really good affordable eco-friendly options available. Um, or it might be that you want something bespoke designed. But I would always suggest if you can doing that local local to you where you can. If you're sourcing your product. So perhaps you're having your product made abroad, your supplier should be able to help you over themselves, or they should be able to put you in touch with a packaging supplier. Generally, if your product is being produced abroad, it is cheaper most of the time to get your packaging made abroad too. Um, and for your product to be placed in your packaging before it's shipped to you. Not always, but most of the time. Um, one thing to know is it's quite usual for packaging companies, whether based in the UK or abroad is to have a higher minimum order quantity than you would for your product. Um, this is something I've certainly found. If this is the case, I would suggest either asking for the leftover packaging to be stored by your supplier. If you're sourcing your product from someone else, or if it's a product you're making or having made a bit more locally, perhaps you can store the packaging yourself. Um, whatever suits really. But I guess what I'm trying to say is don't, if, if you can afford to, I, I wouldn't worry if the packaging orders, if the packaging quantity seemed quite high and I wouldn't necessarily suggest trying to bring them down, because it will be cheaper for you to have quite high quantities and it is fairly, and it is fairly standard. Um, so don't worry about that. Okay, so next one I wanna touch on briefly is do you need a packaging designer? Um, maybe it really depends what you want. If you, if you're going to have, you know, let's say a box designed specifically for your product, or even if you want just a, a backing card or an insert, then maybe you do want this done professionally and if you do there's a few things that your packaging designer will need to know. So first of all, is the dimensions. And if you're not sure what dimensions you want, so let's say you're having something made for you. And you're really not sure what size packaging will need to be, ask the person who's making it and they should be able to advise. You want to have an idea on the kind of materials that you want to use? Um, things like colours and fonts. If you have this, it's a really good idea to give an idea of the kind of thing you like. And this is why sharing photos of packaging that you've seen or liked can be really helpful. If you have any restrictions around it's colours, for example, it's worth your designer knowing this. So for example, when I was having my boxes for Tiny Chipmunk made, um, they were in two, they were printed in two colours but if I'd gone over the two colours, there would've been additional, I think they were called plate charges. And so to avoid those, I stuck to just having two colors on my packaging. Um, it was obviously really important. The design I was working with, knew this. And then of course, everything you actually want included on your packaging. So any text or images or washing instructions, or do you need space with the barcode or does the barcode actually need to be on there? Whatever it is. I mean, we've touched on all of this earlier, but everything that physically needs to be on your packaging, you just need to let them know. I know this has been a fairly quick overview, but I hope it's been really helpful. I have one final tip for you, which is to start thinking about your packaging early. So that way you can find out whether you can get what you want. Because it might be that actually you think, okay, I want some bespoke boxes made, and then you go down that route and find out that actually it's gonna be, you know, it's gonna put too much cost on or it's gonna take too long or whatever it might be. And also you will find out what the costs are likely to be. So, as I said, you can factor that in and you can also then make decisions. Um, Hopefully, you've heard my episode on pricing, which was, I think at least a month ago now, um, do go back and listen to step one if you haven't already, but as I say, packaging, how you package your product can make a difference to how you can price your product. Because if you have super premium packaging, perhaps you can charge slightly more. And so it's worth factoring all of this in when you're thinking about how to price your product as well. So, yeah, so I really hope that helps. Um, hopefully you found this fairly comprehensive, even though it was a quick overview. If there is anything that I haven't covered, that you'd like to know if you've got any outstanding questions, you can email me Vicki@vickiweinberg.com. Or you can go over to my website on vickiweinberg.com and contact me there. And that's V I C K I W E I N B E R G. So have a lovely rest of your day. Um, again, I do hope you found this helpful and I will see you back here with another episode and another fantastic guest next week. Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode, do remember that you can get the full back catalog and lots of free resources on my website vickyweinberg.com. Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful. Thank you again and see you next week.