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Pack in the Benefits

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It’s no secret that shoppers can be lured by eye-catching packaging, especially in the personal care market. It follows that a great secondary package can clearly differentiate your brand from the competition.

“If we look at two of the same product side by side—one with secondary packaging and one without—we’ve been conditioned to think the product with the additional packaging is better before we even know if it’s any different at all,” says Jonathan Dudlak, general manager of Chicago Paper Tube & Can Company. “We expect it to be more expensive, and we expect to get something for the additional cost, and while in some cases it’s more product or better product, sometimes it’s just a nice package that makes it giftable or worth saving and reusing.”

Indeed, Dudlak hits the nail on the head—consumers expect to get something for the extra cost of the outer package, and so do the brands that opted for it. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that the resources you invest in secondary packaging lead to a payoff for shoppers, for retailers and for you.

Add Some Value

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Grouping related products together is often a win-win for a brand and the buyer. More items in a package means a higher price point, but it’s an overall value and convenience for the shopper—she’ll receive all the items needed for the necessary hair or beauty regimen. Often, a bag as secondary package can be a fantastic choice.

“A great example would be for a hair treatment kit—let’s say it contains five items, such as color agents, brushes, et cetera, and it’s intended for several uses,” suggests Steve Jeffrey, president of Imex Packaging. “If it’s sold in a box, where do you put the items after the first use? If the secondary packaging is a bag—voila! You can use it, then put it back in the reusable bag. You could even travel with it.”

Jaimey Wilman, director of marketing for Action Bag, agrees that creating grouped product sets delivers value: “Having ready-to-go packaging allows consumers to buy multiple items and easily transport it to checkout areas.”

For example, Action Bag created a diecut, easy-to-carry bag with a snap, which was perfect for the Copperfalls Spa’s HeatSmart Serum shampoo and hairspray combo pack.

Keep Branding Consistent

When you’re incorporating multiple packages, you’re also adding more variables to your production line.

“It is important for both the primary and secondary packaging manufacturers to collaborate closely to ensure the correct and secure fit between the various components, as well as the consistency of branding between [them],” says Mark Kenah, president of Albert Paper Products.

Utilizing suppliers that can help minimize room for error is key.

“One thing we always stress is to produce as much of the packaging in one facility as possible, especially when it comes to printing,” Dudlak says. “When you go to marry the products up with one another, the details start to stand out, and having as little equipment and few producers involved will naturally help here. When this is not possible, we try to produce things serially—time permitting—and have, say, a bag supplier match to our actual printed canister wraps, or we match to the color and finish of a plastic squeeze tube once it’s made. This eliminates those little variances that come from everyone matching to a color chip. Matching to production parts allows the supplier to make an adjustment on the front end to match the result rather than the target.”

Stay Retailer-Friendly

Investing in a strong secondary package can mean fewer worries about damaged goods.

“Our secondary packaging needs to protect product from breakage and scuffing, and our exceedingly strong corrugated board and various coated stock of paperboard enables us to perform each time,” says Mark Kenah, vice president of Albert Paper Products Co.

Plus, retail-ready secondary packaging means ease of transport for everyone along the chain.

“Big box retailers want something that goes directly from the pallet to the shelf,” adds Wilman. “Packaging that is its own retail display makes it easier for retailers, which saves labor and additional material costs.” Creating a secondary package that works well for retail environments may have some bonus environmental benefits as well.

“Comparing a blister pack or clamshell pack to our bags, our bags take up less space, which saves on trucking costs, [which means] less fuel used and less greenhouse gases emitted,” says Jeffrey. “As a result, more packages on the shelf lead to higher sell-through.”

One example is the compact, zippered PVC bag that Imex created for a Breeze duopack that included a Venus razor and Olay Quench body lotion. With no wasted space, it was the perfect size for the shelf and the end-user, and included a woven hang tag fit for a shelf at the store or inside the home.

When to Incorporate the “Wow Factor”

For a specialty line or product within your brand, it may be worth it to keep the functionality and add a touch of luxury to make a secondary package stand out.

“We’re rolling out a line of round packaging with an actual woodgrain finish furnished by a local Midwestern partner in the next few months,” says Dudlak. “We also have expansions to our EcoPush line—our all-paperboard dispenser for balms, butters, and other oil-based solids that offer new performance and design possibilities.”

This package was a natural choice for the Marula by John Paul Selects’ Lips 2 Lines Time Released Hydration Balm.

Also along the luxury lines, Cosfibel now offers Stairsbox, an innovative secondary package for fragrances. Stairsbox takes on a novel architectural design, conceived as a stack of plates that double as walls, while still allowing the contents to be visible. The package opens as the plates rotate; each one pivots to release the next, making for a fun and progressive discovery of the fragrance inside.

“A beautiful pack is something you will love to keep,” says Ilan Schinazi, Cosfibel Premium CEO. “It needs to be customer-friendly and at the same time astonishing.”

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