Top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t waste money on cheap packaging design

by | Aug 9, 2018 | Branding with impact, Strategically thinking through the design process

Whilst there are many reasons you shouldn’t waste your money on cheap packaging design, here are our top 10 reasons(in no particular order of importance)

OF COURSE…When you are investing in your brand and packaging design, you want to keep as much of your investment as possible right? So the more you pay in design fees, the less you get to keep. So why not go with the inexpensive option, as long as it looks good?

What’s wrong with cheap packaging design?

Well it just might end up costing you more money in the long run! That’s not to say you shouldn’t be prudent with your investment, you just need to be aware that if you are wanting a Porsche you’re unlikely to get one for the same as what you’d pay for a Kia.

Reason 1: You get what you pay for

There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey.

It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”  John Ruskin –

As is with so many things in life one ends up getting what we pay for and it should be that way. In a capitalist system, the amount that something costs generally determines the quality of the product. Often  the price charged is an indication of the what quality of item you are buying. Just think about the ingredients in your product.  Of course where you can you compromise. Then there are those essential elements of your product where you absolutely cannot and should not compromise. so too with your packaging and brand design. Especially as a non-strategically thought through design end up costing in lack lustre sales.

Cheap packaging design becomes no longer cheap!

Reason 2: It has no strategic design foundation

Strategic packaging design means completely understanding your consumer’s emotional and rational buying journey including all their influencers along the way to finally purchasing.

All too often when presenting your product to either distributors or retailers, they want to understand the strategy behind the pack design. They will often either reject the product or worse, put their own unqualified spin on your design. This will cost you both money and sales.

Just as there is a quality production process for your product, so too is there a quality process for your packaging and brand design.

For your product packaging to become your unique selling platform, your design must capture your target audience attention and inspire them to engage with and ultimately buy your product. Cheap packaging design is unlikely to accomplish this.

Your pack design must influence the consumers desire to discover more about the product and ultimately have them buy the product and put it into their shopping trolley. See the 7 step packaging design process required to achieve this outcome ensuring your product gets bought.  

Reason 3: Not underestimating all it takes to create a design that sells

Both mature Brand Marketers and entrepreneurs completely underestimate what it takes to create a design that grabs consumer attention and sells.

There are 3 key essentials for designing to sell:

  • Grab attention in a highly competitive market place. ie: on the supermarket shelf – This is what we at Jam&Co call “Surprise and Delight”. To make this happen requires more than just a pretty eye catching pack. Sure whilst a “disruptive pack may draw the eye and consumers attention. Attention and engagement are the differences between your product staying on the shelf or ending up in the shopping cart.
  • Convey information that appeals directly to the target market (the more personalised the better) and connects with what they know and what they desire – this is where we apply the Nescience Loop.
  • “Shareability.” is all about making sure that once the product is taken home and used its shown off and shared on Facebook and Instagram with friends and family. We call this “the shareability factor.” Your pack and brand needs to be designed with shareability in mind.

Reason 4: No Clear POD (point of difference)

To be irresistible brands and their products don’t just need a point of difference (POD); they need a point of difference that really matters to their target consumers. This means having the courage to focus on the specific unique selling proposition even when it means rejection by some.

Consumers fail to notice or even consider over 1/3rd of the brands in any particular category on a particular shelf. Therefore for a design to gain and hold attention on shelf, the pack must cut through the clutter of all the others screaming for their attention and engage with them long enough to implant your message.

The 6 PACK WOW factor of a package design that sells:

A packaging design that sells….

  1. Elevates perception within the category
  2. Creates interest involving the targeted consumer at multiple levels
  3. Is groundbreaking in its approach
  4. Both the brand and the product are ONE with each other
  5. The pack stands out in a sea of me too’s
  6. Connects emotionally with consumer

Reason 5: No reason to pick your product off the shelf

As a result of shopping habituation, most consumers will typically buy what they have always bought. Why, because of familiarity. This is when the consumer has now developed a “relationship” with the product and brand they buy. Typically they will continue to buy the same product over and over again.

Typically there are three main reasons why the consumer will be open to buying something new . These are :

  1. Product quality
  2. Perceived Value
  3. I feel like a change

Your pack needs to not only break the habitual shopping pattern of busy consumers, but it must make them want to stop and engage and ultimately choose a different brand or product from what they are used to. Your product pack needs to call out to your consumer out of a sea of “me too’s.”  Your packaging and branding design needs to cut through the clutter of all the distractions in store and speak directly to the target audience.

Reason 6: No emotional connection

It’s been estimated that over 50% of a purchase experience is based on emotions. Our emotions drive our buying behaviour far more than technical features or functional factors of a product.

The problem for most FMCG companies trying to connect emotionally with the consumer on-shelf is that they “get” the operational side of the product/customer relationship as opposed to really understanding the emotional connection side of the transaction. they don’t get how to connect emotionally with their consumer.

A Forrester Research survey revealed that 89% of consumers felt no personal connection to the brands they buy. When there is limited or zero emotional connection to a brand or product, customers will swing anywhere. They will go with whomever, whenever!

Emotional connection” is about capturing the consumers’ heart. Its all about understanding and portraying with your brand and pack, how the consumer “feels” about a particular brand or a product determines their opinions and their buying decisions.

See the 10 elements that create magnetic emotional connection with package design.

Reason 7: It won’t translate into sales

Why are you doing this? What is the whole purpose of you investing in your branding and packaging design? Of course it’s because you believe in your product. Of course you want to get it into the hands of as many people as you can. This means you have to create sales!

If you your pack design isn’t designed to sell, you’ll never realise the results you are hoping for. Your packaging design and your branding is your silent salesperson. It has less than 5 seconds (They say more like 3 seconds) to capture your target consumer. According to Boundless, a cloud powered educator on marketing, a typical supermarket a shopper passes about 600 items per minute. That equates to roughly one item every tenth of a second.

Wow! How do you sell in that environment?

Your your silent salesperson, has only between 3 and 5 seconds to be successful in it’s sales approach. It has to do all the heavy lifting and sell itself off a shelf without any human sales support. Cheap packaging design is unlikely to achieve the best in silent selling.

To create shelf shout packaging that attracts attention and engages the consumer, clever packaging designers, knowingly or unknowingly, use what we at Jam&Co call the 4 SEC’S Silent Sales Process™. See more about this 4 SEC’S Silent Sales Process™ here

Reason 8:  It won’t be the best it can be – you don’t want ho hum, me too!

  • How much time effort and energy have you invested in the creation of a quality product you’ll be proud to put your name on?
  • How much time was invested in ensuring the ingredients of the product and the packaging form that it was packed in was of the best quality to ensure a quality experience for the customer?
  • How much effort and energy have you invested in selling in your product to the retailer or distributor?

So why then would you scrimp on the critical key required to get your product into the hands of your consumer? You want you product and your branding to be the best it can be. You need to invest in this the last piece of the puzzle. You need to invest in your packaging and branding design.

9: It says inferior product inside.

Its no secret that consumers often judge lower-priced items to be of lower quality. Consumers’ beliefs affect their subjective experiences. There is a well-known study, where a particular beer was rated as tasting far better when it had a well known brand’s label than when it was un-labeled.

This study clearly demonstrates that our marketing actions can affect more than just judgments and subjective consumption experiences. They can go as far as changing actual consumer behaviour. Our perception becomes our reality!

Cheap packaging design often say’s cheap inside!

“Perception is reality.” What that means for us selling off a retail shelf comes down to how consumers experience our product on the shelf. The way the product is packed and looks and feels has a huge impact on their thoughts, emotions and behaviour.

In this reality our perceptual system is constructed so that what we experience feels like physical reality.  Our brain’s translation from perception into a model of reality is so automatic that most of us aren’t even aware of its happening.

An example of this is; lets say you are after a tin of canned tomatoes. Lets say that the first tin you pick up has a torn label. Do you put it in your shopping trolley or do you reach for another one? Chances are the latter. Why?  Because our perception in that moment is that the product must be in some way defective. Really? If that same tin was the very last one on the shelf would you care about the torn label?

Whether you approve or not your brand and your product sitting on the shelf is selling a perception. Is it the perception you want your consumers to buy regarding your brand / your product?

Reason 10: It ends up as a re-do

Have you ever bought something based on price and ended up buying the one you should have bought in the very beginning? Of course you have. We all have. even if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, we have all fallen for this game.

Sometimes its a simple question of basic economics. Can you really afford to redo because your first attempt failed to reach it’s objectives? Sure we often get some clients who simply don’t have the money to invest. It’s not a matter of undervaluing your work, they just don’t have the money to pay for the quality design they really want.

Here’s the thing…If your business is so strapped for cash that you can’t afford to invest into creating and designing the very thing that will generate your revenue, then how will you ever afford to pay for a RE-DO?

Most often the  big issues between what your expectations are of what you should be paying for packaging and branding design and the reality of what it actually costs to create a high performing product on shelf, is directly related to how well you understand the process of creating a pack that sells.

CLICK HERE to see how we help your brand stay ahead of the private label and copy cat brands