A Beginners Guide to Purchasing Packaging

A Beginners Guide to Purchasing Packaging


Excellent packaging gives your product a significant edge. It elevates the buyer experience, enhances your brand image, and also preserves the integrity of the product. It’s no wonder packaging is a primary factor considered by one out of three online buyers. And businesses can retain 52% of first-time customers when they deliver products in awesome packaging

But what are the qualities of outstanding packaging? And how do you assemble one without over stretching your budget and imagination? Packaging strikes a good balance between aesthetics and functionality, appealing to different senses from sight to touch and sometimes even sound and smell. 

In this guide, we’ll outline the different stages involved in purchasing packaging

Step 1: Establishing your Packaging Needs

First of all, you need to establish your packaging plans in full detail. Ask questions like “what options do I have?” “What are the pros and cons?”, “What are the cost estimates for each one?” Here are the details you need to figure out:

Product Needs 

You need to figure out the dimension and qualities of your product – size, shape, weight, and unique properties like sensitivity to heat or light. This is important in determining the dimension of the packaging as well as the overall production cost.

Packaging Production Targets

How many units are you shipping out? This will affect the amount you can budget for the packaging. For instance, if you’re planning to produce a large quantity on a low budget, you might want to opt for cheaper packaging options, or you can spend more on the packaging at the expense of the quantity.  

Production Timeline: 

The projected time-to-market of the product can also impact the decision-making process. Shorter deadlines mean you have to make do with what’s readily available. 

Customer Details:

Your buyer’s tastes and preferences should be a primary reference when deciding on the details of your packaging. 

Buyer Journey:

You also want the packaging to match the different touchpoints of your buyers’ journey. You don’t want to let them down with the packaging after impressing your potential customers all along. 

Competitor Analysis

For more inspiration, check what others are doing in your space. Pay more attention to leading brands. Examine their colors, designs, sizes, labeling, etc, and ask yourself what you can improve on.

Brand message

You’d also want to consider the message you want to project. Choose colors, graphics, and other design elements that convey your brand’s core message.

Stage 2: Select a Type of Packaging

While you have many useful options here, your best bet is with paper packaging. This includes options like folding carton and corrugated packaging.

Folding carton: 

One of the most ideal options for most products, folding cartons are light and flexible yet sturdy and highly cost effective.

Corrugated packaging: 

For heftier products, you can opt for corrugated packaging. The thickness of the flute (the interior layers of the carton) can be adjusted based on your unique needs. 

Extra Inserts

Now, for extra protection and structuring, you can use protective inserts made from materials like foam, plastic trays, cardboards, and molded pulp. 

Stage 3: Design your Packaging

Now, this is where you need to flex your creative muscles. Graphic design software can come in handy here, enabling you to create custom graphics with or without any prior experience with graphic design. The visual elements you need to create here include the logo, labeling, etc.

If you don’t believe in your design skills, you can outsource this part to professional designers. Search for them in places like 99designs, DesignCrowd, DesignHill, Upwork, Fiverr, and other freelancing platforms.

Stage 4: Select your Printing Options

You also have many options here, each with their pros and cons, including:

Offset printing: Offers you the best quality print of any other printing method, but can be quite expensive with low-scale production. 

Digital printing: Offers quicker outputs and is very affordable for low-volume productions. However, the color production is below deck compared to other options.

Besides printing technique, other aspects of the printing you should consider include 

Paper coating: To further enhance the packaging protection and aesthetics, you can apply paper coatings like lamination, aqueous coating, UV coating, etc.

The Bottom Line

These are your best bets for a quick, high-quality packaging production process. If in doubt about any aspect, you can experiment with different prototypes to assess the most practical solutions. 

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