How to Choose the Right Packaging for Your Products

person choosing from selection of packaging types

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to product packaging. According to Nielsen’s market research, the average consumer is willing to give brands only 13 seconds of their time before making an in-store purchase decision and only 19 seconds before making a purchase online. 

The right custom product packaging can help trigger a purchase decision through a collection of visual cues that makes a product appear more desirable than the competition. This post covers the custom product packaging basics you need to know to make your products more attractive to consumers and provide an excellent customer experience. It includes how to choose the right materials for your packaging, the different options for product packaging and how they’re used, along with what to consider when designing your own custom product packaging.

What is Custom Product Packaging?

Custom product packaging is packaging that’s designed specifically for your product rather than that which is mass manufactured for use as-is. The materials, text, artwork, and colors used are all dependent upon your design preferences. You’ll base your choice of product packaging on a variety of factors, including who the product is intended for, how it will be used by the customer, how it will be transported, and how it will be displayed before sale. 

The Importance of Product Packaging 

Custom product packaging has many jobs to do. Packaging has to be protective enough so the contents aren’t damaged during shipping or transport. Packaging is also the primary means of communicating product information, such as government-regulated consumer data and instructional information on how to use the product. Packing is also one of your most important marketing tools. Well-designed product packaging doubles as an eye-catching billboard, grabbing shoppers’ attention as they browse the digital or physical shelves. 

Considerations for Choosing the Best Packaging

When considering how to package your product and what materials to use, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Here are the top three.


The route that products travel from the production facility to the consumer varies. You may be shipping direct to consumers, or you may be transporting your products to retail locations. Your packaging choice should ensure your product arrives in the hands of your customer undamaged. If you’re shipping directly to consumers or are selling products that are easily breakable, you will want to consider using robust corrugated material within the packaging. This type of packaging is more expensive, but over time, you’ll recoup that expense by avoiding the costs of replacing damaged products. If you’re selling smaller items that ship directly to stores in multi-unit corrugated boxes, a less expensive paperboard box may be sufficient. 

When thinking about durability, you should also consider the labels on your product packaging. Using robust materials such as waterproof plastic, BOPP, or vinyl for product packaging that will be exposed to non-ideal conditions will ensure your products arrive looking great.

Ease of Opening

Product packaging needs to be easy to open. There’s nothing more frustrating to a customer than fruitlessly trying to get a box open or attempting to free a product from its container. Test out your product packaging by having people open packaged products. Was the process seamless? Are there any parts of the unboxing experience that could be improved upon? Beyond reducing friction in the opening process, also consider ways to delight the customer. Including fun brand messages or promotional products like stickers can generate brand loyalty and word of mouth. 

Marketing Message

Your product’s packaging is one of your very best opportunities to connect with new customers and delight existing ones. Designing with your target audience in mind ensures your packaging and design choices encourage your current customers to stay committed for the long term. 

Unique branding opportunities exist with each layer of packaging, starting with the product box. Don’t pass up using this valuable real estate to its highest potential. The product box is a canvas to use for custom graphics and messaging that support the culture you’re building with your brand. Don’t overlook other opportunities to build connections, such as adding an invitation to connect on social media, sharing stories about customer experiences using your product, or including a small piece of swag or a complimentary product sample.

Types of Product Packaging

Packaging for products can be created using a range of materials. Finding the right one for your product box or flexible poly packaging depends on what you’re selling and how you plan to put your packaging to work in your marketing efforts. Here are some of the most popular types of product packaging and popular applications for each.

Paperboard Boxes

Paperboard boxes are made using coated chipboard. They’re incredibly versatile and are easy to print high quality graphics and text onto. These product boxes are most often seen in cosmetics, food, dietary supplements, and a host of other retail products.

Corrugated Cardboard Boxes

Corrugated cardboard is an excellent choice if your products are bulky, fragile, or need to withstand the rigors of direct-to-consumer shipping. Corrugated cardboard’s fluted paper ridges are laminated onto a flat paperboard surface to provide additional shock absorption and durability. Small appliances, glass containers, and electronics are often found packaged in corrugated material.

Custom Folding Cartons

A custom folding carton is a box with tuck flaps at the top and bottom. Usually made from paperboard, custom folding cartons make an ideal canvas for bespoke color printing of logos, branding messages, and more. 

Rigid Boxes

Rigid boxes are paperboard boxes on steroids. This type of packaging for products is made with highly compressed paperboard that’s four times thicker than its plain paperboard cousin. With a price point to match its robust quality, rigid boxes are most often used to package more expensive items such as smartphones, custom jewelry, or luxury cosmetics or perfumes.

Poly Bags

Poly bags are made from a pliable, thin sheet of plastic. The resulting bag or pouch is perfect for packaging items that can be compressed easily without being damaged, such as t-shirts, cleaning liquids, and some types of foods. Poly bags can also be used as a more eco-friendly option: refill pouches.

Take Advantage of the Power of Custom Product Packaging 

The way a product is packaged can make or break your customer experience. Custom packaging protects a product from damage during shipping and also helps your product to stand out as it vies for attention in a sea of competition. Product packaging has the power to draw consumers’ interest, earn your product a spot in their shopping cart, and build brand loyalty over time.

If you have any questions about label selection or printing, don’t hesitate to contact the Experience Team by phone or Live Chat! Our team is ready to serve your business with care and excellence.

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