Outer Appearance Projects Inner QualityTue May 14, 2019
By Hallie Forcinio
It doesn’t really matter if your product is the best on the market. If it lacks shelf impact or looks shopworn, sales are not likely to meet expectations. It’s essential the packaging’s outer appearance reflect and protect the quality of the product inside. The packaging also should help consumers use the product properly. Functional features such as reclosability, dispensing closures, spouts, droppers, sprayers, unit-dose formats and tamper evidence can make the difference between a purchase or a pass.
In short, packaging can help premiumize a product or position it as an “everyday luxury,” according to a report from Smithers Pira, The Future of Luxury Packaging to 2022, which projects a 1.3% annual average growth rate for the luxury packaging market and notes the growing importance of connecting with consumers via customized printing. Personalization is particularly important for online shoppers as is how the package looks online.
Shelf impact can be increased in many ways. For products in folding cartons, premiumization can be as simple as specifying a heavier gauge paperboard to impart a more luxurious feel. Embossing and coatings can enhance graphics and provide a three-dimensional, tactile surface. Coatings also can protect the surface of the package, discourage fingerprints and provide an eye-pleasing contrast between glossy and matte areas. Adding hot stamping, metallization or a foil laminate can deliver metallic highlights or backgrounds to enhance an upscale appearance. Holography imparts an attention-grabbing sparkle and can discourage counterfeiting. Whatever decorative features are chosen, registration with printing and of the printing itself must be precise.
For bottled products, glass may evoke a more premium image with its weightier feel, sparkling surface and recyclability. Glass also may offer better barrier properties to protect and extend product shelf life. Amber glass prevents product degradation due to light exposure. Plastic containers can block light too and present an upscale image via graphics, labeling and functional closures, which simplify product usage.
Paper labels can use the same image-enhancing tools as cartons and must be applied neatly and with an adhesive that ensures no post-application flagging. Care should be taken to ensure printing and decorative effects will not be damaged by exposure to the product or conditions encountered during use.
Film labels benefit from print-protecting reverse printing and can incorporate metallic effects and holograms. Shrink film labels add 360-degree graphics and can accommodate light-blocking structures as well as tamper-evident features.
Unit-dose formats such as blister packages, stick packs and sachets deliver just the right amount of product without the need to measure, reducing the chance of dosage errors while enhancing portability and consumer convenience. Single-dose formats also reduce waste and eliminate the chance of contamination posed by repeated opening and reclosing. For drug or nutraceutical products that should be taken according to a particular schedule, these formats can be designed to tell the consumer the timing of each dose, thereby improving adherence. Barcodes on each pack can simplify monitoring of patient compliance.
Packaging that reflects the quality of the product inside, not only catches the attention of shoppers and raises brand awareness, but also encourages impulse purchases as well as repeat sales.