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Packaging Tips Told by a Retail Veteran

Ron Sasine, who has served as senior director of packaging for Walmart, is a retail veteran who is sharing his vast knowledge of the packaging industry with brand owners and their packaging suppliers looking to decipher the best practices for what retailers are really looking for. His six tips come with the intention to close the gap when it comes to miscommunication or missed opportunity between consumer packaged goods companies and consumers’ needs or wants. Applying these tips will surely help but remember, physically being in the stores to better understand the consumer is where success really begins. Analyzing from afar doesn’t mean much until retailers and consumer packaged goods companies are on the front lines, seeing the actual exchange between retailer and consumer and finding what really works firsthand.

Sasine’s six tips are as follows: learn the retail business, focus on the buyer, design for the right price point, raise the profile of your packaging, innovate strategically and help consumers use your product once they get it home.

Learning the retail business is pretty straightforward in that Sasine is suggesting packaging companies be mindful of what determines retail success. Most packaging professionals aren’t familiar with terms like sell-through, planogram development, seasonality and syndicated data, but they should be.

Focusing on the buyer is crucial because these retail buyers are at the center of these retail businesses and with so many other factors to focus on, packaging sometimes gets lost in translation. Make sure that doesn’t happen.

Designing for the right price point is a great tip because the price is one of the first things consumers notice before making a split decision to buy. Competitive pricing between retailers plays a crucial role in this, and the price point has to make sense to the retailer despite packaging companies’ belief that the benefits their packaging options provide should increase the product’s price.

Make sure elements such as ease of use, performance improvements and distinctive branding play a role in packaging in order to raise the profile of your packaging, because it’s important for retailers to set themselves apart from their competition. When it comes to innovating strategically, converting consumer products from obscurity to go-to products is the goal so find the easiest possible way for consumers to find, identify and purchase products they want and need in the most innovate way possible.

Lastly, after following the correct protocol for what happens before the consumer makes the decision to buy a product, consumer packaged goods companies should also focus on what happens when they bring the product home. Repeat purchases depend on the consumer’s satisfaction with the product on shelves in the stores and also at home.

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