6 Packaging Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid

6 Packaging Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid

The packaging you choose for your business can impact your brand in various ways — including your reputation, sales and brand loyalty. Selecting a more cost-effective and less attractive option may be tempting, but this could reflect poorly on your image and products.

Furthermore, customers aren’t willing to tolerate packaging that results in damaged goods. The consequences of poor packaging design can have severe impacts. Although you could potentially save money upfront, this strategy generally turns out to be short-lived.

Here are the top packaging mistakes your small business can avoid.

1. Waste Packaging


Have you ever bought a product in-store or online, only to realize the excessiveness of the packaging surrounding it? This mistake is a common occurrence.

You have to communicate your message effectively for marketing purposes, and this is easier to do with more space. However, this packaging mistake harms the environment by wasting materials. Furthermore, customers will be disappointed to find your brand isn’t taking sustainable initiatives seriously.

Today’s consumers are more aware of environmental impacts than before. You can also bet they’re willing to spend more money on brands that help instead of hurt the planet.

According to a survey by McKinsey, 43% of consumers say the environmental impact is extremely important for packaging. Additionally, 60%-70% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging.

It’s best to avoid wasteful packaging, especially since it will turn customers away. Product packaging has everything to do with your business’s brand identity. If consumers don’t like yours, they may not love your brand.

Choose eco-friendly packaging to avoid this mistake. This will benefit your company and reduce its carbon footprint. Furthermore, choose boxes that are the appropriate size. If you can’t find packaging that works, consider investing in a custom design. This is ideal for differentiating your product on the shelves.

2. Mislead Consumers

Sometimes packaging creates the wrong impression. It can look like your product provides more than it does in certain instances. While some companies mislead consumers to make a quick sale, this business practice is an unprofitable strategy in the long run.

Misleading consumers is a surefire way to lose their trust and prompt them to shop elsewhere. Additionally, they can even sue you if the packaging misleads the product.

One of the ways packaging can be misleading is if it makes the product look larger or overemphasizes its ability to deliver results.

Ensure you’re being honest with customers. Research shows that 49% of consumers share their unboxing experience on social media — all eyes are on your product. Misleading people can hit your brand more than you might think.

The best approach is to set realistic expectations and exceed them if you can. Your goal should be to build trust through honesty and authenticity with packaging design.

3. Packaging Typos

Potential customers may not take your brand seriously if there are misspelled words on your packaging. Unfortunately, once your products ship with this error, it can be tough to make a comeback. First, you’d have to recall the product, then pay for the costly damage to your brand’s image if it circulates online.

Consumers that see any packaging mistakes like this likely won’t risk paying for it. People are becoming more design-savvy each day, so avoid this mistake by taking time in the proofing process.

Once you receive proofs to look over, ensure you carefully review the copy, design and overall look. This is your opportunity to double-check everything and carefully verify grammar and spelling. Ensure you read it aloud so you can see if it makes sense.

Furthermore, have a second pair of eyes review the proofs before the final approval. A proofreader will bring a fresh perspective and find mistakes you may have overlooked.

4. Difficulty Unboxing

Most of the time, simple is best. Customers will get frustrated if you get too intricate with the product’s packaging or make it impossible to open.

Consumers that have this type of experience will surely not enjoy opening the product. As a result, they might complain and leave a bad review online. Therefore, you should make it seamless for customers to remove the packaging. That way, they can access the product easily. It only takes a few seconds for a customer to form an opinion, and first impressions are everything. If they can’t easily access the product, you may not receive repeat business.

Avoid this packaging mistake by having the customer experience in mind at the beginning of the decision-making process. You want to give consumers a way to memorize your brand when you give them that first impression.

The best method to achieve a great product packaging design is to test it out first. You always have plenty of options to determine a package that protects the product — while simultaneously making it easy for consumers to open.

5. Lacks Differentiation

One way of attracting customers is catching their eyes with well-designed packaging. However, if your boxes look exactly like your competitors’, it’s more likely to be overlooked. People might also mistake your product for someone else’s.

For example, it can be almost impossible to tell the difference between two logo designs with similar colors and aspects. You might want to reconsider your design if it doesn’t stand out.

Some consumers will only pay close attention to your brand because it is noticeable on store shelves. Additionally, they’re more likely to return for the product because of a positive user experience.

On the other hand, some shoppers aren’t as conscious about the brand. They may pick whichever product they think they bought before. This is why you need to be distinctive with your brand’s packaging.

Avoid this packaging mistake by making design choices based on your brand’s unique identity. Branding is the key to making your product memorable, so if you want to stand out, consider capturing the essence of your brand in the design process.

6. Constant Change to Packaging


The best time for changing the packaging design is when your company undergoes a rebrand. In some instances, a company will change certain aspects of the packaging because of bad press or customer complaints. However, consistent alterations can have negative impacts and ultimately cause customer confusion.

This happened when Coty, a global beauty company, redesigned its Covergirl makeup packaging. The company used black as the primary color on the package instead of white. In addition to this, they swapped the iconic tagline, “Easy Breezy Beautiful” for “I am what I make up.”

As a result, retail sales declined by 5% and $1.2 billion in 2018. Since the rebrand was a flop, Coty reintroduced the old look with a modern touch and has shown some improvement in the past year.

Although packaging alone may not cause a quick sales increase, it certainly helps. Ensure you’re sticking with the same design so your product doesn’t become unrecognizable. Changes can potentially hurt your brand image and cost money, too.

Advantages of Custom Packaging

One point mentioned consistently here is custom packaging. This can have numerous benefits for your business.

1. Increases Brand Value

Custom packaging can increase your brand’s value. It acts as a safeguard against product damage and is also effective for branding awareness. You can offer personalization to refine the user experience.

Essentially, you can think of custom packaging as a way to wow your customers. This moment plays a large role in retention and word-of-mouth. Moreover, branding is more cost-effective than advertising and has far more reach with your target audience.

2. Provides the Perfect Fit

Another advantage of custom packaging is that it fits your product perfectly. Size, material and weight are all properties considered in the decision-making process.

Tailored packaging allows for quality material that cuts costs and decreases waste. Furthermore, you can nestle your products perfectly. This benefit ensures padding sustenance and prevents damage during shipment.

3. Improves the Customer Experience

Custom packaging creates a unique experience for consumers. A well-designed box makes the customer feel special and is an excellent way to form a long-lasting impression. Consider implementing your brand’s values when creating a unique design.

How to Create High-Quality Custom Packaging


Now that you’re clear about the benefits of custom packaging, here are a few tips to ensure you drive more sales:

  • Ensure the packaging is sturdy yet functional to protect the product.
  • Design custom packaging by including components of your brand. For example, the materials’ textures, packaging shape, colors and logo play an important role.
  • Align it with modern aesthetics and keep working on intricate details to improve the experience.
  • Ensure you select colors that fit your brand’s aesthetics. Consistency across all product packaging designs is key to making them memorable.

Avoid Product Packaging Mistakes to Ensure Sales

Packaging is vital to adding value to your business and ensuring more sales. Mistakes in this area can truly hurt your business. It damages your brand image, adds costs, decreases repeat business and eliminates trust with customers.

Avoid these errors by keeping the customer’s needs a top priority. Your goal should be to create the right impression and generate repeat sales as customers fall in love with the packaging and spread awareness through word-of-mouth.




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