How to Win Over the Consumer

You’ve developed your product. It tastes amazing, looks fantastic, and is ready to go. So what next, how are you going to showcase your product? After all consumers buy food and drink products in one of four ways; taste, price, recommendation or packaging. If you’re product is being sold in a retail environment where the consumer cannot taste the product, such as a supermarket, then taste isn’t an option. Consumers are often prepared to pay a premium to try a new product, so the price may not be an issue. If it’s a new product, then they are very unlikely to have a recommendation to go on. So that leaves the jewel in the crown – the packaging. If none of the above apply the consumer has to go on the packaging – the look, the feel, the information, the branding, the colour schemes, the list is endless.

But we’ve all seen poorly packaged products and been put off buy them – the packaging looks cheap and so the implication is that it’s a less than premium product. But where to start – cartons, sleeves, labels, boxes, bottles, cans, glass, plastic, metal, paper – the list is goes on. But little by little you chip away, you refine the brief and you select the packaging.

But now you need to select a supplier. A quick UK Google check for the search term ‘label printers UK’, not only returns over 3 million results, and I assure you that there are not 3 million label manufacturers in the UK, but the results also list label printer machines and machinery suppliers. Regardless, you soldier on, and find a label printer near you. You give them a call and explain that you’ve got this wonderful new product that you’re very excited about and that you want to launch a product using their labels. It’s early days you say, and budgets are tight, and I think I might need 500 labels for my first order. The phone goes silent at the other end. “I’m sorry”, the voice says, “our minimum run is 10,000 labels. And there are charges running into hundreds of pounds for printing plates too. You realise your first order is going to be a very heavy investment indeed. Not to be outwitted, you try another supplier and another supplier, and yet another. It’s the same story everywhere you try – some even have a minimum run of 25,000 or more.

So how do new, vibrant, young brands starting out in the commercial jungle get over this problem? Funds are never abundant when starting out and, even if they were, do you really want to be 10,000 labels, to find that after a few ales, you realise you need to change the wording, layout or colour of the labels and the remaining 9,500 are consigned to the bin and simply thrown away – what a waste!

However, the reality is that there is a way through the minefield. A way that avoid the initial outlays, and produces short run low volume cartons. For non-bespoke items – i.e. standard material, size, shape and no printing there are packaging merchants who will supply ‘off the shelf items’ such as boxes, bottles, cans, caps etc. – the suppliers are known as packaging merchants. They will generally deliver on a next day basis, in quantities as little as 25 units, right up to a full pallet or more. Being standard items, no tooling costs are incurred. Buy what you need, when you need.

And that may well suffice, but what about a specially printed label or carton? Well for those items, the perfect solution is digital printing. Digital printing is very similar to a home inkjet printer but on a commercial scale and quality. Using similar technology negates the need for printing plates. Every label can be different if required so personalisation, by consumer, or customer, or by store or region, can come into play “specially produced for ….” springs to mind. If it is a standard size and shape for the printer, such as a square rectangle or oval, they may have an existing cutting tool that can be utilised, and this negate outlay further. But the commercial appeal is significant – would you rather buy 10,000 labels at a 10p each, and have to throw away thousands of labels, or buy 500 labels at 50p each, thus spending less money and throwing none away? Go on search on Google now for Digital Label Printer UK – I dare you.

With a technically commercially astute solution like that, with little or no waste whatsoever, what’s not to like?

What more? Visit Pro2Pac March 20-20, London Excel.

By Robert Herridge, Packology

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