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Packaging Retail

Packaging Retail

Packaging design strategy is critical for retail packaging.  Think of Product packaging as a sales demonstration presented on your custom packaging

 Packaging design

The first time you went out to buy soap detergent you probably bought tide. Why? Because you saw it on your mother’s shelf your whole life and how could you miss it on the merchant’s shelf! This is the power of branding, packaging and identity which are one continuous stream of marketing events leading to a purchase. Your mother’s shelf created the branding impressions, the bold orange box was a no brainer “can’t miss it” completing the identity! By the way Tide was the first to use orange in packaging. Some of the other great packaging boxes to review conceptually are Coca-Cola and Apple.

BANG! WOW! ……. Get their Attention!

Headline! ……………Tell them what it is!

Read all about it!.. Now that you have their attention and hopefully the package is in their hands! Start to sell!

Attention – So if you’re new, what do you do? Get the attention of your audience via brand advertising (creating company and product identity), connecting them with a highly recognizable and easy to spot, standout brand package so they connect, recognize and purchase.

  • First Impression, all or nothing!!!! You have a fraction of a second to catch a consumers GLANCE strolling through the aisle. The whole emphasis of your packaging is to get their attention! This is about emotion not information! The best attention attractions for retail packaging are emotion, focus (uncluttered), bright colors and white space or in Tides case orange space.

Headline- Your headline tells them at a glance what to expect. Keep it brief, bold and exciting. Remember this is a glance with only a fraction of a second to catch their attention and get them to pick up your retail box

Premise –When you hear the name or see the image of Chris Rock or Letterman the first thing that comes to mind is a comedian and you’re expecting to hear something funny! Whether a play, TV show or news headline the premise is key. The Retail packaging premise must tell in a glance what this is about! If you mislead the reader they quickly discard your package, and maintain a negative impression for your product and company forever!

Messaging – This is a selling event, not about information, it is about selling your product and accomplishing a purchase! Make sure your copy and message are consistent with your advertising, branding, signage, literature, website, letterhead and business cards. This is extremely important for your corporate image and product identity.

Custom packaging

Packaging is your sales person –Your package is usually on a shelf with a group of competitive products priced higher and lower with no salesperson explaining what the differences are. It is the only sales person you have to deliver your message.

Product name– Keep it simple, hopefully with company and product name the same. For a small one product company to have a different company name, product name, brand name, etc. is too confusing to your consumer, merchant, distributor and salespeople. Out of the box keep it sample.

Graphic designer– Excellent design and graphics are paramount. Review at least two or three designers requesting samples of similar product packaging they have done in your industry. Viewing the actual retail box is a completely different experience than looking at a web page. I highly recommend using a graphic designer. They are aware of color and industry trends; competitive packaging styles and Competitor’s strengths and weaknesses in their packaging. Additionally they bring an artistic and photographic perspective that is well worth the investment.

Retail packaging

RETAIL BOX- The following format is the traditional retail packaging layout. Although it is traditional feel free to modify it because of product design dictates. However following this format maintains a consistency which the consumer is accustomed to, assumes and is comfortable with. Additionally it keeps their attention on your message and builds confidence in your product and company. Change for the sake of change is not good, it’s just confusing.

Box elements:

Box Front…..You’re FrontPage

Yes! Think of this as the front page of a newspaper! The headline, your big story and the landscape for your product presentation. Tell the story at a glance nothing else matters if the consumer goes by! IT’S OVER!

The mast/ header and border should follow your corporate template, logo, colors, design and identity; remember we’re building brand. The front copy consists of a tag line; stand out product picture with 1 to 3 bullets describing features and the benefits to the consumer for buying your product. Do not pack and clutter the front of the box with a lot of information; white space is key here. Be careful of adding too many violators, these like distractions on web sites are irritating and confusing to what’s going on with a negative affect. Think of this as a product demonstration.

Some copy thoughts are new, fresh, young, value, easy navigation, friendly, appealing, and pleasant. The three S’s of advertising are sex, satisfaction and sophistication. Think bullets not paragraphs, they go on the back of the box.


Box Back …… Page two, the rest of the story. At this point the consumer has the package in their hands and still has not decided to purchase and is looking for more information or really a reason to buy! Give it to them!! Information in paragraph form is fine but be sure to include bullets with features and benefits and a call to action to buy this product now.

Box Top, Bottom & Sides- This completely depends on the dimensions of your retail package. Usually the corporate colors and template of the front flow across the top of the box and spill over to the back of the box creating a similar template on the reverse side less pronounced. The same lines should be included on both sides to give it the appearance of a box top. Include specific information, warranty information a set of instructions etc.

Don’t forget your final call to action to buy now!

Product, Company Name and Models/ part numbers place on all six sides if possible.

UPC –Place in the lower area of the back of the box, the two sides, front and bottom if possible.

Competitive evaluation….The moment of truth.

Don’t think anyone is different than you, take your mock-up package and place it alongside all of your competitors packages. At a glance, how does it look? Does it scream!? Is it similar to your competitors or just another box? Retail packaging in most cases is the only sales presentation that will be made to your perspective customers. Put a lot of effort into this because your company’s prosperity rides on this task. Do not copy a competitor’s package or photo shop with a quick pic shot, it is sure to slow down sales or fail.

Shipping containers –Master cartons must be UPS and trucker (common carrier) certified. This is a complex world and I suggest you have your box manufacture do this part of the project.

MCQ–Master carton quantities is the amount of retail packages you put in each shippable master carton and depends on the price and size of your product. Customarily master cartons are in packs of 10 or 12. The reason for the small amount is, assume you’re selling and account with 50 stores, they will probably buy 10 per store, but not 100 per store. Price and size is the big determining factor here.

Although this article is about retail packaging, these concepts extend way beyond this space and into your branding, advertising, signage, web site design etc. Keep the identity and the message consistent all the way through because it all adds up over time. It’s known as brand equity.

Wishing you Luck and Success in your new business venture,


For more info, coaching, project management or consulting email now>Richard@bizbuzznyc.com

INTRO Currently we are blogging our way through the startup phase which is our second step in the Steps to Success series for starting a successful and sustainable new business. The startup phase assumes you have completed the feasibility analysis (step one), know how much money is required for this venture, have funding in place and have decided to take the leap forward! You might want to review the Feasibility blogs that are linked at the bottom of this article; also there is a complete list of referral links for this series as well.

STEPS TO SUCCESS SERIES Greetings and welcome to the BizBuzzNYC Steps to Success Series! A must read for startup entrepreneurs and new businesses, consisting of thinking points (steps) in a check list format for a quick read and later review in a logical sequence of events. Most of us reading this article have entrepreneurial skills and a keen eye for product, but what about the rest? This series is about basics, all of the basics which are the necessary foundation for your new successful and sustainable business. In essence, we are attempting to review the elements that most entrepreneurial startups and new businesses frequently miss, are unaware of, avoid or skip over. For a great overview read > FULL ARTICLE

FEASIBILITY, how to start a business!>FULL ARTICLE

DISTRIBUTION, which Big Wave to Catch? This blog covers the three types of new product entries; competitive (variation on a thing), disruptive and innovative. Plus an excellent conversation on distribution. > FULL ARTICLE

Business Startup >FULL ARTICLE



  • Attention….. BANG! WOW!
  • Headline! ….Tell them what it is!
  • Read all about it!…Start to sell!
  • First Impression
  • Headline..get them to pick up your retail box!
  • Premise
  • Messaging
  • Packaging…. is the only sales person to deliver your message!
  • Product name
  • Graphic designer
  • Box Front… if the consumer walks by! IT’S OVER!
  • Box Back… a call to action to buy this product now.
  • Box Top, Bottom & Sides…. don’t forget your final call to action to buy now!
  • Product, Company Name and Models
  • UPC
  • Competitive evaluation…. Does it scream!?
  • Shipping containers
  • MCQ–Master carton quantities




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