5 small business packaging tips

By How's Business
schedule16th Jan 18

Between 65-70% of purchasing decisions are made in store, so the way your product looks on a shelf or in a display can have a massive influence on whether or not customers buy from you. So, to help you stand out, we’ve brought together the 5 top tips for small business packaging to give you a competitive edge when designing your product’s package. 

1. Reflect your brand

Any way you communicate with your customer needs to reflect your brand, and your packaging is no different. Ask yourself what kind of brand message you are aiming at and incorporate that into your package design. For example, if you use all natural products in your skin care, reflect that on the box shape, style, materials and design and use what makes your business different to help sell. 

Your packaging is an additional sales tool that you can use to encourage your customers to buy. If it’s of high quality, well designed and reflective of your brand, your customers will be more likely to choose your product over a competitors. Packaging is often seen as a marker of quality and can help convince your customers to buy. 

2. Be clear 

It’s tempting to cover your packaging with text and images to convey as much detail about your product as possible, but that can actually harm your chances of a sale. On average, you have three seconds of your customer’s attention before they move on to looking at another product. If they can’t understand what your product is in those first few seconds, they won’t be interested in investigating further. Try and have a primary focus point on each of your packages that will immediately grab attention and show your customer what it is they’re looking at. Once you’ve made them notice your product and pick it up, additional information can be conveyed in your considered and balanced brand style on the back or sides of the packaging.

3. Never underestimate the power of great photography 

If windows or apertures aren’t appropriate to your packaging mechanics, great photography can have a massive impact on your customers. Well-designed packaging can fall short of success if the images you include on it don’t look professional. Often, this image is the first interaction your potential customer has with your product, so you need it to look great, reflect what’s inside, and stand out amongst its competitors. Substandard images won’t encourage customers to investigate further and you could lose out on sales. 

If you’re selling online rather than in a store, make sure you include great images of your packaging on your website or eCommerce listing too. It can sway a customer to buy if they can see that you’ve put as much effort into the packaging as you have into your product. If you can show them that you’ve invested in quality at all stages of your business, they’ll feel much more confident when placing an order that they’ll be getting something worthy of their purchase. 

4. Colours 

Carefully consider the colours you’re going to use on your packaging, as it can have a big impact on whether or not a customer makes a purchase. Depending on the product, using colours that complement your brands message/tone of voice can be a great idea, as it will visually help strengthen your customer’s relationship with your business’s brand, helping the overall presentation look as considered as the product it accommodates.

However, keep in mind that different colours create different emotions or cultural significance. You’ll need to take these into account as you design, especially if you’re selling to an international audience eg. White in Western cultures can symbolise purity, cleanliness and innocence whereas in the East, it’s associated with death.

5. Test that it works

A reputable design agency should recommend you don’t spend lots of time and money on a package design and roll it out to customers before you’ve had a chance to see whether or not it actually appeals to them. From the designers point of view there are cost efficient, smart and effective ways to approach this. While it may cost you a little more money in the first instance, consider running a focus group to trial the package, you’ll save and make more money in the long run by investing in this simple research. 

Gather together a group of your target market to get their feedback on your designs and listen to what they have to say. Be prepared to go back to your designers to make tweaks to your initial design based off their comments to improve the offer you put out to potential customers. If the target audience don’t like it in the tester session, they won’t want to buy it in store.


When considering the packaging for your product, there are a number of things that you need to keep in mind. As it’s a way of communicating with your customers, you’ll need to make sure your brand style is clearly recognisable on the packaging and that your colours and quality images are all reflective of your business as a whole. Don’t just blindly trust your designer’s decisions, be a part of the process, as nobody understands your brand and products better than you do. Ask a focus group of your target market for their opinions, they’re the ones who’d choose whether or not to buy your product and these are the most important part of the chain.

A big thank you to Black House Creative for their advice and guidance in writing this article.