Industry Insights: Packaging and Merchandising for Inventors

Packaging and Merchandising for Inventors

Before you do anything…

STOP!  Packaging is soooo important!  There are many concerns you must balance when developing a product.  Packaging and merchandising often get forgotten at great cost.     Make sure you read and consider these few things.

Retail Merchandising

Before you make too many decisions about your packaging, stop to consider a few things first, chiefly – what does your customer (the retailer) want?   The kind of packaging you need to have is very largely dependent on where your item would be merchandised within the store.  Delta hook? Clamshell? Box? PDQ? Pallet display?  POP display?   There are many many different ways to display a product, and retailers have different ways of doing things.  So before you make any lasting decisions (like buying 50,000 boxes) make sure to consider the customer needs.

Not only can merchandising considerations change the way you think about your package, they also can affect your product itself.   For example, you developed a fantastic widget, but it’s kinda bulky.   Now, you’ve got it in a pretty big box.   An amazing box, but pretty big.   Your potential buyer says: “It’s great, but there is no way it fits on my shelf, can you get it into a smaller box?”   All of a sudden you realize that you are going back to the drawing board to re-design the product to fold, or be assembled by the end user, so you can fit that smaller box.   Think about these things earlier, and save yourself the time.   If you have any doubts, ask us!


Fancy boxes are awesome, and we all know that extra touch really helps to cement the brand image when the consumer opens the goods.   We see this on high end computers, chewing gum, and and organic foods.  But before you spend big bucks on flashy packaging – consider the return on investment carefully.   Take the pack of gum for instance.   I mean, let’s face it gum is gum.   So how do you stand out in this kind of commodity market? Packaging is the last selling frontier, and thus we see the shiny flashy gum packs.   Notice that the industry staples here (Wrigley comes to mind), don’t spend the money on those packages…. because they don’t have to – they already have the customers attention.  The newcomers (“5” comes to mind) have to get attention – so here comes the foil and fancy folding boxes.   Now look at your electronics, like spendy laptops, or cell phones.   The consumer EXPECTS a nice package when they spend 600+ dollars.   And as a percentage of your total cost of goods, even a nice box, is not that expensive.

For most products however, cost IS an issue and the above cases don’t apply.   Let’s say you’ve got a folding chair.  Best dang folding chair in the world. Revolutionary indeed.  So, it should have the worlds most amazing package right?  Probably not.   A simple, easy to read hang-tag that highlights what’s great about the chair is probably your best option.

Bottom line: consider your competition, the current state of your brand, and the total cost of your item when you choose how expensive to go on packaging materials and graphics.


Your packaging also can affect your shipping costs.   The more items you can get on a container, the better.   Again, you don’t want to be regretting your product design once you get to the shipping state. A hefty box, or strangely shaped clamshell, can really affect the loading of boxes, and thus shipping containers, and its adds up fast.   Shoot for something that stacks easily, and packs tightly and you will maximize that container for a lower cost per unit spent in just getting it where its gotta go.


For more tips or professional help on packaging your goods, give us a ring – we’ll get you down the right path.





The Matthew Kenton Group is a full service product marketing consuting agency serving manufacturers, wholesalers and inventors navigate product development and the retail market.

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