Food e-Com Start-Ups: Don’t Let Packaging be an Afterthought

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In this excerpt from Secrets Behind Successful Food Startups: Five Operational Infrastructure Tips You Need to Know, Gabrielle Tiven offers some tips for selecting and testing the optimal packaging.

While your product is the star, packaging sets the tone for the customer experience. Does the shipping box match your branding? How much packing material was used? Did the product survive delivery unscathed? The answers to these questions will impact your customers’ perception of your company almost as much as the product itself.

A tension generally exists among several goals with packaging:

  1. Protecting the product
  2. Minimizing cost
  3. Enhancing the aesthetic and brand experience
  4. Reducing environmental impact

It’s hard to win on all counts, so understand the possible trade-offs and be ready to talk to customers about your choices.

It’s important to plan packaging carefully from the beginning. Get prototypes made of both the interior and exterior packaging. There are firms that specialize in making prototype packaging, and many production houses have a group internally that can produce samples for you.

Weight is key if you plan to ship through the mail. Every ounce costs you money, so work to minimize shipping weight through creative shapes and varying material thicknesses.

Plan to do early test runs on a wide variety of prototype boxes. This will help ensure that the quality of the packaging will hold well especially during cross-country shipments. Begin testing your packaging as soon as you can. Organize trial runs to see how the packaging holds up in a warehouse environment and during shipping and delivery. Test shipping different weights and shapes, in multiple temperature conditions, and for varying distances. Approach the testing like a science experiment and learn which variables impact outcomes the most. The earlier the development starts the more time you will have to rethink and redesign the box.

Learn more tips for food start-ups in LIDD’s eBook Secrets Behind Successful Food Startups: Five Operational Infrastructure Tips You Need to Know.

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