Contrary to the drop shipping business philosophy (pile 'em high in someone else's warehouse and sell 'em cheap) Consumers are not always driven to purchase by price alone.
Other factors like quality of the product, customer support and affinity with the brand can make the difference between repeat purchases or unconscious avoidance.
After all, if you don't care how your product is presented to the customer then why should the customer care about the product?
I've seen my fair share of grey bland packaging turning up at the Cooper household, particularly when the wife has been suckered into another Facebook advertising campaign promising eternal youth. But those drop shippers never get any repeat business either from word of mouth, recommendation or their website. In most cases, they don't even have a website.
If the said miracle product did actually work as claimed and a friend was to ask where the product came from then the only possible answer is “China” because the only memorable thought about the purchase is that it took 30 days to arrive and had a Chinese postmark.
Can the rock bottom price make up for a lack of any semblance of branding?
The answer is emphatical - no.
Custom Package Design Is The Antithesis of Drop Shipping
I've made many arguments why drop shipping is a terrible business model, and it's not least because the product is placed in the customer's hands devoid of any branding. Customers want to feel like they got their money's worth and excellent packaging goes a long way to giving them that. That warm fuzzy feeling that makes you think the product is lovingly cared for is what separates out the winners from the also-rans.
Think about this next time you stand in front of a row of items in a store that are all similarly priced. It's usually the best-packaged item that catches your eye and entices you to buy it.
Create A Brand Through Custom Package Design
Flipping the dropshipping model on its head means you can take an unbranded product and then custom design packaging to create your brand. When you do this, you have something no one else has – your brand!
Instead of joining the rat race and trying to sell the same product as everyone else at the lowest possible price using Shopify/Oberlo and Facebook advertising, turn the model around so that you source a quality product and then create your custom packaging designed to sell it.
In this way, you can start building a website and a brand that belongs to you instead of randomly trying to sell products from this months Terapeak trend.
Building in a margin of profit to your product so that you can personalise the packaging design has so many benefits that outweigh competing on price alone. It is why leading brands like Pandora, Oasis and New Look work so hard to make sure you are a walking advertising board for them after your high street purchase.
You don't need to look any further than the vast amount of “unboxing videos” on Youtube for proof of this concept. The opening of favourite consumer gadgets like smartphones and Xboxes is a ritual to behold. Is it packaged properly? Are the instructions clear? Is there a quick and easy setup guide included?
The Power Of Custom Packaging Design
In case you were in any doubt about the power of custom packaging design a research study at Cornell University showed the way consumers connected to cereal brands when the characters on the packaging were drawn in a way to appear to make eye contact with them. When both character design and shelf positioning align correctly, consumers are found to feel more significant amounts of trust in the brand.
A summary of the findings:
- When cereal spokes-characters on the package make eye contact with consumers, consumers feel more positive feelings towards the product.
- If you are a parent, who does not want your kids to go “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,” avoid taking them down the cereal aisle!
- If you are a cereal company looking to market healthy cereals to kids, use spokes-characters that make eye contact with children to create brand loyalty.
Read the full report here.
A great example of using custom design packaging is in fast food “take away” bags emblazoned with high profile branding and advertising. The market for fast food is increasing and it seems like every failed pub in the UK is turning into an eatery of some kind.
Students, teenagers and young families are consuming more fast food than ever and capturing their attention can be lucrative. Using custom packaging, you can deliver your message directly into the homes, hearts and minds of your consumer.
Essentially custom design packaging is what made Sir Alan Sugar a multi-millionaire. Importing products from China in the days when Aliexpress and Oberlo was someone's idea of a Star Trek plotline and then packaging them up for resale in the UK.
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How To Start The Branding Process
First of all, start examining some packaging you like. Find some boxes (if you keep them) for your smartphone, headphones, speakers and similar gadgets. Examining existing packaging will give you an idea of what you need to achieve.
The first item on your shopping list should be a great looking logo. There are several excellent online logo makers, but the best possible way is to get a great designer to make one for you. You may know someone that can do the job but if not we'll be happy to help.
Most of our stock logos cost £49, but something extraordinary will cost in the region of £100 - £200 as a ballpark figure.
Your packaging design is based on the product you sell so everyone is different, but a ballpark figure is around £300 to get this job done and supply all the artwork formats you need. Don't try doing this yourself, I've worked with graphic designers for nearly eighteen years now, and even though I'm accomplished at basic Photoshop editing, you can spot my amateur efforts a mile off. The whole exercise will be ruined if you don't get this right because bad looking packaging is worse than no packaging at all.
Add A Barcode Number
Adding a barcode to your product packaging is not only for functional use like maintaining stock levels and returns tracking, but it can also highly elevate your branding perception.
To start producing barcodes, you can sign up at GS1 who will get you started. There is a £119 annual license fee for up to £0.5m turnover and up to 1,000 items which should be enough, to begin your product journey.
Alternatively for those who are only planning on selling a small range of products you can buy barcodes individually or in blocks (much like stamps) from getabarcode.co.uk
Add An Instruction Manual
Bothering with an instruction manual might seem overly complicated, but it's quite straightforward, and it's one of those things that separates the professionals from the amateurs. Most products will come with an existing instruction manual which you can scan to text. It will probably need editing, and you'll need to run the text through Grammarly to tidy it up if it comes from a country where English is a second language.
Take some time to rework your instruction manual and include your logo and contact details on it for a professional finish.
Tampo printing or “industrial pad printing” is the process by which ink layers are applied directly to the surface of a component. It is used to apply your logo or other graphical information (size, weight for example).
The personalised gifts industry uses Tampo printing to create short runs of pens, mugs, calendars and other items used in this type of promotion. If you are selling hundreds or even thousands of a singular product, then it's worth exploring having it Tampo printed.
A run of a thousand will cost about 80p per item in one colour, so it's an expensive technique if you don't have the scale with which to work.
If you can't afford to get your products tampo printed then sticker printing is the next best thing. You can have a short run of 100 stickers made for £9 at instaprint.co.uk so roughly 10p per sticker will give you a professional finish with the drawback that the sticker can be peeled off.
Dome (3D) Printing & Bubble Badges
You can use Dome labels to not only get your logo onto a product but also to cover up any original OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) label. This is useful if you are buying products in quantity from an OEM. The addition of a clear dome on a flat label gives a real quality feel to the product.
You can use dome labels for computer equipment, white goods, mobile phone cases. Around 70 pieces will cost £100 at the low end of the scale, but it will be worth it if your product has a high resale value.
There are hundreds of companies that supply custom cardboard boxes with logos printed on them, but one I like is TinyBoxCompany.
Here you can make a minimum order of just 50 units per box size, and you can have your logo imprinted on the boxes using a hot foil printing process for a professional finish.
They also do gift bags, pouches, wedding and presentation boxes, label printing and other bespoke services. In fact, anything you want packaging in short runs you can probably find the packaging answer for it here.
Another great site to check out is http://www.woohoop.com where you can find some more elaborate designs for premium products like hinged lid card cases and presentation boxes.
While the lemmings fall over the cliff as they lose their capital and savings trying to dropship their way out of the day job, now you know there is a better way!
Sourcing, branding and packaging a product is a lot easier than you may have thought and it gives you the one thing no one else has – your own product.
Instead of following the herd and delivering products in thirty days or more under plain packaging wraps why not put a little more effort into your business and source a product that you can provide quickly with personalised custom packaging.
Give the customer not only a quality product but also an experience by which they will remember you.
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