Advertising, or spreading awareness of a product and its desirability, is a major aspect of selling any product or service, big or small. Television and print ads, billboards, and even radio ads can get the job done, but there is another step that vendors must take: creating appealing, eye-catching, unique packaging for an item in the store. Packaging design can either make a product a hot commodity that grab’s one attention, or if it is designed badly, the product may go untouched on the shelves or racks. Anything can have good packaging design, from pet treat packaging to printed coffee bags to custom cannabis packaging. How can a vendor make packaging design a winner? And how much of a financial impact does all this have?

What to Buy

Many different products are sold on American shelves today, and some popular items that come in appealing packages are coffee bags, dog food and dog treat bags, and packaged cannabis, just to name a few. Pets, usually dogs and cats, are very popular; tens of millions of pet dogs and cats are kept in the United States, and the owners need to buy their products regularly. In the year 2017, for example, right around $69.51 billion was spent on people’s pets in the United States alone, and this may include pet food packaging. Different brands of dog and cat food are out there, and each wants to end up in a buyer’s pet’s feeding bowl.

Coffee is another big business that needs good packaging. There are plenty of customers in the United States alone; among Americans over the age 18, some 54% of them drink coffee. Plenty of them need coffee for work, with 46% of American office workers saying that coffee helps them stay productive. Finally, legalization of cannabis and marijuana in general is gaining ground, with a 2017 Pew Research Center survey showing that 61% of Americans support its legalization. In states where cannabis is legal, packaging is a concern. In fact, California has packaging regulations for all cannabis starting on January 1, 2018.

The Power of the Package

Businesses can make or lose a lot of money based on how well their products sell, and a big avenue to success is packaging design and studying its effects. For example, for businesses that pay close attention to packaging design, a 30% increase in customer interest is typical, and that could translate to a lot of extra sales. Customers, whether they realize it or not, have similar attitudes about packaging quality. Some 85% of surveyed customers said that their shopping decisions were based on what they read on packaging before making a purchase, and the West Rock Consumer Insights Study, in 2016, found that 66% of customers will try a new product because the packaging caught their attention. The same study showed that for 26% of customers, product packaging was extremely important for their shopping experience and satisfaction.

What makes for a winning packaging design? There is no single simple answer, but general trends may point to large photographs of happy and attractive people, curvy lines and patterns, vivid colors such as red, green, and yellow, and possibly even exclamation points to suggest excitement about a product. On a package’s back is where product information is often found, and delivering relevant, appealing information in as few words as possible can quickly convince a customer that this product is the right one for them. Even those not looking for a profit can take advantage of some packaging tricks, such as homeowners making party favors. All sorts of creative and fun packaging designs are possible, from colorful paper and ribbons to novelties like model lunch boxes, Chinese food take out boxes, or holiday themed packages like jack o lanterns or Christmas presents. The one making these favors isn’t trying to turn a profit, but instead, add charm and fun to the party favor, and packaging is an avenue to that.