The Importance of Packaging for Small Businesses

When you set up a small business, you probably have one thing on your mind: profit. By providing the consumer market with an innovative, appealing, and unique product, you can generate a whole lot of sales and take home a whole lot of money, allowing yourself to live a comfortable or even lavish lifestyle. So, of course, the majority of your attention should probably be focused on the product that you intend to provide the market with. However, once this product has been brought to life and you’re ready to put it on sale, you’re going to have to shift the main bulk of your focus to another area of business practice: packaging. Packaging is simply the materials that you choose to wrap or box your goods in. But it’s so much more important than simply covering your products up. It serves multiple purposes. Here are just a few to consider, as well as a couple of safety and ethical factors to consider before launching your product to the masses!

Product Protection

Perhaps the most logical use of packaging is to protect the products inside, getting them from manufacturer to customer with minimal damage and in as good shape as possible. Generally speaking, items will be handled carefully by all individuals transporting them from one place to another. But packaging can protect the products inside from scratches, marks, dust, or contamination. So, make sure that the packaging you choose is sturdy and well sealed.

Branding

Another important use of packaging is to serve branding purposes. If you have an unwrapped product on a shelf, it could have come from anywhere. Packaging allows consumers to see who has created and provided the product. There’s little use pushing your brand name forward if your products are going to appear unbranded on store shelves or when customers receive their purchase in the post. Use a company like CL Smith to create custom packaging that suits your products needs. Then customise the packaging and ensure that it sticks to your branded colours, and displays your brand name and logo.

Labelling

There are certain products that you really do need to take care to label correctly. Labelling is generally there to provide customers with information that can help to protect their health and safety. Here are just a few to keep in mind for different areas of commerce.

Potential Packaging Dangers

If your packaging poses a potential threat to anyone, you need to include instructions for its use and disposal. If your packaging has plastic bags, for example, you need to label that they can pose a threat to infants and animals, as they pose the risk of suffocation if a living being were to put it over their head, swallow it, or use it in any other way that could block their airways or inhibit their breathing. If your product contains packages of silica gel (these minimise spoilage of products and limit the growth of molds), you need to label them, noting that they should be thrown way once the item is unboxed and that they shouldn’t be eaten under any circumstances.

Food

The packaging of your products should also contain safety information regarding the products themselves. If you are selling foodstuff, you need to include a complete list of ingredients, with potential allergens highlighted in bold print. You also need to note if there is any likelihood of allergen cross contamination - for example, if your items are manufactured in a factory that also handles peanuts / sesame seeds / wheat. If the food needs to be cooked, you should include recommended cooking instructions, including timing, temperature, and means of cooking. Some countries also now require food products to contain nutritional information, such as fat content, sugar content, and salt content. Finally, your products should display sell by dates and use by dates.

Cosmetics

Cosmetics have to be safe for general use before you can sell them to the public. However, your packaging should still be well labelled, including information regarding how to use the product correctly, and what to do should the product come into contact with the eyes, or should you experience irritation from the product. Ingredients should be listed, as well as a recommended use by date.

Cleaning Products

Cleaning products can often contain hazardous materials. So, if your company specialises in producing cleaning products, you need to include warning symbols such as “irritant”, “flammable”, “hazardous to the environment”, or “corrosive” if necessary. You should also include instructions regarding what to do if the product comes into contact with skin or eyes, or if it is consumed.

Environmental Impact

A final ethical aspect you should keep in mind when choosing your packaging is the environmental impact that it will have. Remember that packaging is generally disposable. Once customers have purchased a product, the packaging generally goes in the bin. So, wherever possible, opt for recyclable materials. This will ensure that the materials used for your packaging can be used time and time again, rather than simply going to landfill. Avoid use of plastics wherever possible, as plastic is quite literally destroying the planet. Where plastic must be used, try to use options that can be easily recycled and include labelling detailing how and where the plastic can be recycled.

There really is a whole lot to bear in mind when it comes to understanding packaging and ensuring that it works well for you, your brand, your customers and the planet. The above information, of course, covers the basics. But you can learn a whole lot more about packaging options by conducting further research into the field. Hopefully, this has helped to kickstart you in the right direction!