Most people would posit that the packaging is less important than the product, and in general this is true. It doesn’t matter how great your package looks if the product within is useless. On the other hand, the packaging you choose could serve to protect the contents as well as provide visual appeal that entices consumers into buying. So it’s not as though you can throw your wares into a plain box and hope for the best. Instead of putting all your effort and budget behind the product, you need to come up with a plan that allows for packaging to be part of the deal. And here are just a few things to consider when you implement a strategy for the packaging that will house your products.

First and foremost, you must think about utility. The main purpose of packaging is to protect your products from damage during shipping, stocking (if your products go to warehouses or retail stores), and display. It is essential that your goods arrive whole, undamaged, and in working condition if you want to keep customers happy and coming back for more. To this end you must consider not only the fragility of the product, but also the protective qualities of different types of packaging. Some items may hold up with nothing more than shrink wrap or a paper bag while others require molded foam padding inside a sturdy cardboard box or even a hard plastic container. The point is that there are many options that can offer the functionality required to package your products effectively.

From there you’ll almost certainly want to address the issue of visual appeal. If your packaging is not attractive and eye-catching it may not fly off store shelves. Having great products is one thing, but marketing and selling them is another, and your packaging serves as a marketing tool. To that end it should definitely display your logo, the name of the product (and potentially a photo and/or description of the contents), and an appealing design, including color scheme, graphics, fonts, and so on. Your prospective customers may have many options when it comes to the type of goods you offer, and you want their eyes to be drawn to your packaging first.

Of course, no business can afford to ignore the question of cost when it comes to any aspect of their operations, and packaging is no exception. So you may have to make concessions in order to stick to your budget, at least for the time being. However, there are resources that can help you to arrange for the proper packaging within any budget and still hit the main points when it comes to purpose and appeal. You might want to consider the relative carbon footprint of your packaging, as well, especially if you cater to a green demographic; using recycled materials for packaging could pay off not only in additional sales, but potentially reduced costs, as well.

Clearly, it is important to think long and hard about how you’re going to approach the packaging process. It’s not like you can rely on gift bags to see you through; if you want your brand to be taken seriously you need to have packaging that is not only functional, but also unique. The packaging you create provides a first impression of your brand for consumers, and although the most pressing concern of the average business is to provide quality products at reasonable prices, you must first get consumers to buy your products, and that starts with effective packaging.