When manufacturers first consider a product, they often discount the issue of packaging. They seem to think such decisions can wait until the product is ready for production. In many cases, this may be true. However, some thought must go into packaging very early in the design process; because if a product requires custom packaging or shrink wrappings this could play a vital role in the budgeting and marketing of that product.

Let us face it, as consumers, we love custom packaging. Something unique and individual that helps pull us into the world of that product. And there is something strangely wonderful about shrink wrappings. It conveys that valuable message: This product was made for you and no one else. And ripping that shrink wrapping makes us truly take ownership of the product.

However, as much as we as consumers may like these things, we as business people understand that custom packaging and even shrink wrappings bring with them unique costs that must be evaluated. Custom packaging may require the use of industrial designers, it may require extra rounds of testing, and shrinking wrappings involve an extra layer of costs that may not be required on all products.

Custom packaging may also present storage and shipping problems. A custom package may not be as easy stacked on a warehouse floor or as easily prepared for shipping. And although custom packaging often attracts consumers, it may do the opposite. For this reason, your product may need to go through focus group testing on the custom packaging alone. Another cost.

But, on the other hand, we all know a square box can be dull; and we all know that products without shrink wrappings look “cheaper” to many consumers. So where does that leave us?

It leaves us where we often find ourselves when faced with any business decision. It leaves us forced to weigh our options. However, we think there are a series of questions you might consider which can help you weigh your options in a smart and efficient manner.

In regard to custom packaging, ask yourself these questions: Is your product unique? Does your product require some special understanding or explanation? Does your product appeal to an upscale market? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then we feel that custom packaging should be considered. Unique products, products that require special explanation, or upscale products can benefit from custom packaging.

In regard to shrink wrappings, ask yourself these questions: Is the product perishable or viewed as perishable? Could handle the product by others easily damage it? And does cleanness or sterility play a role in the use of your product? Again, a “yes” answer to any of these questions means you should at least consider the use of shrink wrappings.

We hope this brief article has helped you get a handle on some issues you need to confront when making packaging decisions. Custom packing and shrink wrappings can add value and appeal to your product, but they come with a unique set of costs. Only by properly examining your product and its customer base will you be able to determine if your product is worth this additional expense.

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