The importance of a clear strategy and consistent design for FMCG packaging

6th July 2018

If your business is preparing to launch a new FMCG product into the market place branding is not just about having a pretty box to put it in – there needs to be a clear business strategy and a Unique Selling Point (USP) to make the product stand out.

The product needs to have a compelling reason for buyers to want it – a unique brand story – before you can even think about putting it out on the shelves. The story needs to draw in the consumer and make them buy.

Without a clear business strategy and story behind the product it becomes yet another box ignored on the shelves and that is something you definitely want to avoid as if your product goes unsold there can be serious business implications.

Here at Frost Creative, we understand the retail branding industry inside out – not just in terms of packaging design but also the pitfalls on the commercial side if you get the strategy wrong.

Product strategy for retail

Retailers won’t stock a product if it just blends in with all the rest of the products already on the shelf. They want a product to stand out and be sold, and so should you. There needs to be a clear story behind the product which comes through in the packaging design and really attracts the customer.

With retail packaging design it’s about digging really deep into the buying mentality of the customer – what do they like and what are they looking for – if you can understand this you have a much better chance of having a product which sells.

Brands really need to be aware of the Sale or Return policy (SOR) which is where a retailer will make a bulk order but will return all the unsold items and demand a refund on them. So if your product doesn’t sell there could be serious financial implications.

You will not only have to refund the retailer but you will also end up with a lot of returned stock which you will then have to sell through other channels. This is not a good position for any business.

Another important element to think about is that some retailers will ask for changes to be made to your product brand design and packaging. They know what they have in store already and they know how much room they have on shelves.

They might ask for a smaller box size or a change if it matches something else already on sale. You can bend over backwards to get an order or say no, and stick to your brand and then try with a different retailer. It’s a balancing act and you need to keep your brand strong and if you have a business strategy behind you, then you need to stick with that.

The key to avoiding all of these pitfalls is to test the market first – carry out some consumer testing with the brand. For any new product the strategy has to include research, customer insight and testing, before you can even think about approaching a retailer to stock it. A brand agency can help you out with this process.

The approach for B2B packaging design

If your strategy is to sell your product wholesale or business to business, then you need a totally different approach for selling your product.

Often with selling B2B you will be approaching businesses directly to buy your products so it’s a very different approach from a brand-building perspective. There won’t be the fight on the shelves for recognition that you have when selling in a store.

Instead you will need a product which you can present and talk through as you will most likely be presenting your product personally to the business. Your strategy and design approach needs to reflect this different selling technique.

Packaging design for travel retail

Another option for selling products is to get your brand into travel retail so it appears in duty free and on aeroplanes etc… This can be great as even if they don’t sell, travel retailers don’t return the products. It’s also a great way to get in front of a global market with your product.

In this case, your product is not competing as hard as it would in a supermarket, on the shelves and it needs to be branded with the travel buyer in mind rather than the mass market consumer. It’s another different approach altogether.

At Frost Creative we work with all of our clients to develop their brand strategy, based on business values, before attempting any kind of packaging design – no matter what their budget. We are there for our clients for every single step, from strategy through to design and point of sale.