Consumer Packaging No-No's
Consumer packaging is an integral part of marketing. Companies should devote appropriate time and think into packaging materials and designs. The packaging is often the first impression made upon a customer. There are multiple packaging options available for companies to consider when choosing a packaging option. We want to be sure when considering a packaging option common customer complaints are avoided.
We are going to highlight a list of consumer packaging complaints found through a variety of articles and studies. Many of the same complaints are seen over and over. Other complaints are not as common but are still issues to be considered. One of the most publicized studies on common packaging complaints or "Gotchas" is a consumer reports study published in Dec. 2012. In this study, they highlight almost every consumer frustration imaginable. Many of these frustrations are common frustrations found in a variety of industry studies. Let's begin by addressing the number one consumer complaint found in all studies.
#1 Consumer Packaging Complaint - Can Not Open
Customers can spend months saving for a special, meaningful product they want to purchase. The last thing they want is to wait longer trying to figure out how to open the package. This commonly found problem has even adopted a new term, "wrap rage". Clamshell packaging is one of the most commonly hard-to-open packaging materials. Customers often need scissors to open the packaging. Some consumers complain about being injured from rigid clamshell packaging.
As a business owner it is important to focus on a packaging material that is affordable, tamper resistant, yet easy for consumers to open. Keeping products secure during transport while reducing tampering will help to decrease product loss. A few packaging options to consider are:
Corrugated and Paper Packaging - Corrugated packaging composes a large part of retail packaging. Boxes are an excellent option for containing and securing products. Boxes also offer that ability to brand packaging and add extra pop on the shelves. Boxes are also easy to open and a great option to consider when considering a packaging material.
Container Packaging - Containers are another great easy-to-open, yet appealing option to consider. Common containers include glass and plastic jars, bottles, Aluminum Cans, and containers. Most bottles and jars contain a tamper-evident seal and a twist cap or easily removable lid.
Flexible Plastic Packaging - Flexible plastic packaging encompasses a variety of materials. We recommend considering these consumer-friendly flexible plastic packaging materials: polyethylene tubing, polyethylene bags, shrink film, shrink bags, shrink tubing, polypropylene bags, and cellophane. All materials listed can be easily opened, protect products from damage, and display products contents within the packaging.
#2 Consumer Packaging Complaint - Undersized Product Contents
Undersized products are always mentioned when consumers are asked about packaging complaints. This is an issue commonly found in packaged food products. Potato chips and other edible food products are often filled and packaged with nitrogen or another inert gas. Consumers often feel the size of the package is misleading. This issue is not limited to food products, there are all sorts of packaged products that can be misleading to consumers.
Companies often use air and void fill to protect packaged products from damage. The extra space used can be misleading but serves a purpose. Business owners considering packaging options can use clear packaging to display packaging contents and avoid misleading consumers.
#3 Consumer Packaging Complaint - Packaging Excess
Consumers do not like excessive packaging when purchasing products. Excessive packaging can attribute to the first two complaints listed. Too much packaging can make products difficult to open and mislead consumers as to the size of the product(s) within the package.
Consumers can also perceive excessive packaging as wasteful or harmful to the environment. Many times the decision to use additional packaging is to protect the product from damage. One tip we would recommend is using enough packaging to protect products, but make the inner packaging solid or one piece. A good example is switching from packaging peanuts to preformed foam.
Other Consumer Packaging Complaints
Based on our research the three packaging complaints listed above are common across the board in most articles and surveys. After those three there are a variety of other complaints that vary from source to source. Below is a list of a few that we found from different sources, but not common in all sources.
Flimsy Packaging - Packaging that does not protect the product. One or all of the packages on the shelf are crushed, torn, or opened. Fortunately, business owners know that proper product protection reduces product loss and saves money. Flimsy packaging can be found in stores everywhere, but business owners are quick to adjust packaging after enough product loss has occurred.
Excessive Packaging Design - Companies are always striving to stand out with packaging designs. Some packaging designs help distinguish companies from competitors. Other packaging designs can drive customers away. Designs that do not appeal to customers can drive them from the product instead of to the product. A great way to avoid packaging design problems is the use of a focus group. Focus groups are a great way to hear what consumers think about packaging design. Companies should listen to consumers before introducing the packaging to the market.
Lack of Environmentally Friendly Materials - This issue varies from consumer to consumer. People who are concerned with the environment feel more strongly about this issue than others. In general, most everyone likes the idea of recycled packaging materials or materials that can be recycled. When choosing a packaging material, business owners can weigh the benefits of using recycled materials. If non-recycled materials are chosen to be used, placing recycling info on the packaging can be a great addition to the product packaging and consumer friendliness.
We do not offer every type of packaging suggestion mentioned in this post, but we can normally assist with questions. Call us at 1-800-441-5090 or visit us online at uspackagingandwrapping.com with questions and we will try our best to assist you.