9 Packaging Problems That Lose Sales

You have a great product, but it’s not flying off the shelf. Is
one of these packaging problems turning sales away?

1) You don’t understand your market.

There are so many new markets and retail outlets out there. Don’t
forget Internet marketing too. The question is can one package
service them all? The answer is no. There are features that work
to your benefit in all types of packaging, but in general
attributes that appeal to one audience won’t appeal to another.

What to do:

Refine your niche attributes. Is your product broad based? Does
it appeal to a special target audience? Do you understand what
this group is looking for in product packaging?
I have several research studies that focus on packaging that
appeals to niches: Women and Boomers (to order these special
reports return the word “research” via email).

2) The packaging is too big or too small.

In my recent research for the Packaging and Design Summit, I
uncovered an interesting fact. Products that work well for
children, especially kid proof packaging, simply doesn’t fit the
requirements of the over 50 market.

What to do:

Keep size in mind when designing your product packaging. Who is
actually going to use this product and how? Is there a shelf life
or consume by date that can impact the usage factor?


Women said: keep it easy to carry and easy to store.

Boomers said: keep it simple and easy to open. custom mech mods

3) The package is too hard to open:

Every Christmas and holiday time we read ranting and raving over
packages that simply cannot be opened easily or require the aid
of scissors. Much of this packaging has come about for specific
reasons: security, tamper evident, counterfeiting and so on. But
think about it the next time you try to open a product. Was all
that packaging necessary?

What to do:

Try testing with a focus group outside the world of packaging.
Many times a person unfamiliar with packaging can identify a
problem area that a packaging pro can’t. I did a segment for NBC
TV as their packaging guru. They ended the story with people
ripping and tearing open the packaging that I had so carefully
explained. Boy, was that an eye opener.
Look for my upcoming article in the June issue of Global Cosmetics Industry.

“Don’t think like a package designer. Think like a consumer”

4) The package is too generic:

Is it trying to be all things to all people and as a result, it
doesn’t appeal to anyone.
Have you ever been totally confused when looking at a product
package? What am I supposed to do with it? Or what’s the purpose?
This is a total turn off.

What to do:

Tell people up front what’s inside, how to use it and what the
benefits are. Simpler is better — especially when we are in a hurry.

5) The package doesn’t fit with today’s life styles.

Got any 20lb bags of potatoes lying around? If you are like me,
20 lbs can last a year. Large quantities and amounts do have a
special market but generally people are buying in smaller size
units. In fact, one of the fasted growing market segments is
ready to use and consume. When I was in China ready to use was
the only type packaging available. Single servings were huge
there and now they are becoming hot here.

6) People are confused by the packaging.

More product iterations mean more confusion at retail. Yes, I
know brand managers are constantly creating new and improved
versions, but get real! How many new and improved products are
really different from their predecessor?

If you want a good laugh be sure and read my upcoming article in
the June issue of Packaging Design Magazine: “Packaging Design
for Overworked, Time-Crunched and Over-The-Edge Consumers.”

7) The package doesn’t fit the retail outlet. There are myriad of
cross marketing opportunities available. What works in a club
store certainly won’t work at a convenience outlet. Consider
where your package will be merchandised.

What to do:

Ensure you have the appropriate package size for the retail
outlet. Go to a store and see how people shop. It could affect
the product’s success.

8) The package isn’t contemporary.

There are a lot of old brands that are repackaging their image.
Old brands have been revitalized with new and updated packaging.
Old brands can lose favor with the consumer simply because they
look old.

What to do:

Keep on top of important trends. Remember when the Pillsbury
Dough Boy went on a diet? Just kidding, but he did get slimmer
and trimmer in his image. The same is happening to Ronald
MacDonald. He is getting a makeover too. Even long-standing icons
have to keep up with the times.

9) The package is too gimmicky or doesn’t work.

Keep in mind, simple is better. Products that get too complicated
only appeal to a certain market segment, and it’s not boomers,
the largest share of the purchasing market. The electronics
industry seems to have lost track of this fact. Make sure it
doesn’t apply to your product.

Whatever the problem is, it can be corrected by understanding
your target audience. Learn what they want and need. Make some
adjustments and watch packages fly off the shelf.



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