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Up-Level your Packaging: A Checklist for Small Creative Businesses

A couple of days ago I attended my local Etsy team's monthly meet-up and one of the subjects discussed was packaging. It was suggested that at the next meet-up we take examples of our packaged items, and we could give feedback and share ideas about how to improve it.

This immediately got me thinking about the purposes of packaging and the many things that should be considered when 'creating' packaging for an item. Here's my checklist:

1. PRACTICALITY

- Does it explain what the product is / does? If it's not immediately obvious by just looking at the item, does the packaging let the customer know?

- Does it need to have care instructions or ingredients? Some items will need these while others won't.

- If it is a gift, could it be given as is? Some packaging is so lovely that extra wrapping isn’t needed and this could make life easy for the customer. Is this something you could consider?

- Is it eco-friendly? This is something that every business should be thinking about, and is even more important if it is one of your business brand values. A useful resource is the Naked Cards website which champions selling cards ‘naked’ (without extra packaging).

- Will it protect the item for display in a shop / at a market? Lots of people may pick up the item to look more closely at it - will it be protected / kept clean / looking good?

- Will it protect the item for postage? Will the item be in perfect condition at the end of its postal journey? What materials might you need to help ensure this?

- Size and weight. This will impact how much an item will cost to post - there is a big price difference in sending a large letter versus a small parcel.

Paperbuzz Hen Party Game Packaging

2. ON BRAND

- Does it convey the feel / values of your business? Do you know what your business values are? Luxury, fun, eco-friendly, contemporary and classic are a few examples.

- Does it share your story? The story could be about the particular product, your business values, who you are, or the processes / methods you use to make your products. Think about using a mix of text and images.

- Does it include your brand colours?

- Are any written materials written in an on brand tone of voice / style? Simple and calming, fun and chatty, warm and luxurious, for example. This could be a handwritten note, a printed thank you postcard, or information about your business.

- Are the packaging materials on brand? Tissue paper, glassine, ribbon, twine, fabric, card, etc - which ones suit your business values?

- Have you included your logo? Perhaps it could be on a sticker, branded ribbon / tissue paper or stamped on the outside of the package.

 Small creative business packaging checklist

3. ENGAGE & ENCOURAGE CUSTOMERS

- Provide your website address / Etsy shop details. They'll be able find you again in the future.

- Ask them to sign up to your newsletter. You'll be able to keep them updated regularly.

- Encourage them to follow you on social media. You'll be seen by them every day / several times a week, depending on how often you post.

- Suggest that if they like your product they could share it on social media. Photos, videos and boomerangs can be shared with your social media audience.

- Ask them to leave feedback. Good feedback can be shared online and helps to give you a confidence boost! Negative feedback, although awful to receive, can help you to look at ways you can improve your product or customer experience.

- Ask them to recommend you to a friend. Word of mouth is a great way to obtain new potential customers.

- Give them a discount code for a future purchase. Even 10% could encourage a customer to return at a later date to make another purchase.

- Tell them about an upcoming event or product launch. Everyone loves to know what's going on and to get a sneak peek of something new!

- Give them a freebie - something that they will use or display - it will help to keep your business in their mind for future purchases. Make sure it has your logo / website details on it.

 Love at first sight hen party consequences game

4. TIME & MONEY

 - How long will it take you to package the item? If it takes too long, how could you make it quicker / more efficient? If you don't have time to write a handwritten thank you note with every order, for example, you could include a lovely printed postcard instead.

- How much will the packaging cost? Is it too high for the value of the item you are selling? Could you bring the costs down by buying in bulk? Or perhaps you need to spend a little more on packaging for high value items to make it more luxurious?

5. HOW DO OTHERS DO IT?

Why not think back to some of the recent items you have purchased? What did you like about the packaging? What stood out? What could have been done better?

6. EVALUATE YOUR OWN PACKAGING

Use all of the points above and take a look at your own current packaging. What might you get an A* for? What areas need more work?

If you're still not sure, then why not get together with some of your small business friends and ask them to take a look at it, just as we're planning to do at our Etsy meeting next month.

Or if you're feeling really brave - ask your customers!


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