Good packaging has to do a lot of things. It has to keep your products safe through the shipping process, look good on a shelf, and communicate what your product is all about.
What it doesn’t have to do is cost you a fortune. You should never skimp on quality, but there are several other ways to save money on packaging:
1. Thoroughly test all your packaging
This step may seem like an unnecessary expense (and a tedious process), but it’s better to discover problems sooner rather than later. Altering a design for a small number of test products is much more cost effective than putting out thousands of products with deficient packaging.
The main things you want to be testing for are durability—it needs to be able to survive several journeys—and ease of handling. Other things you should pay attention to include government regulations, tamper-proofing, and aesthetics.
Every type of packaging you work with should be thoroughly tested before you make a large order.
2. Choose lightweight materials
The more your packaging weighs, the more you’ll pay to ship it, and when you’re shipping a lot of product those costs add up quickly.
But opting for lightweight materials doesn’t automatically mean saving money. You also need to pay close attention to the dimensional weight (the amount of space a package requires, relative to its weight). A high dimensional weight can cost a significant amount of money during both manufacturing and shipping.
3. Reduce the number of layers
Every layer makes your packaging more expensive and adds weight. They also don’t always make your product safer—you can always have too much of a good thing.
Most products really don’t need more than 1-2 layers of protection, even when traveling over sea.
4. Keep sustainability in mind
Eco-friendly materials are often more affordable than most people think, and millions of people throughout the developed world are intentionally buying from eco-friendly companies. Choosing sustainable packaging supplies can do much more for your brand than save you money.
There are two things to remember here: your packaging should be easy for your customers to reuse or recycle, and it should be made of sustainably sourced materials. And even 50-75% sustainably sourced materials is better than nothing.
5. Buy in bulk
Once you’ve chosen and thoroughly tested your packaging, it’s time to make a big order. Most manufacturers will give you a discount if you’re willing to buy a lot of packaging in one go. You’ll save a fortune if you’re able to buy hundreds or even thousands of packaging units at once.
You may also be able to get a deal if you’re making medium sized orders for several different types of packaging.
6. Get several different quotes
Any packaging company worth your time will be happy to provide a free estimate, so long as you can provide specific information. They may request images along with measurements and material details.
Ask other business owners for suggestions and look for companies online. Get at least 4-6 quotes from different manufacturers to get an idea of what typical prices are. Be sure to ask about bulk discounts and other options for saving money. If you’re skeptical about their prices you can also ask for an exact cost breakdown.
These negotiations can get tricky, so you may want to hire a broker to help you get the best deal possible.