When it comes to releasing a product, packaging plays a critical role. Not only does it help an item stand out on crowded store shelves, but it also creates an experience that consumers just can't get anywhere else. It also makes it easy to access the product and protects the product while in transit. There is a reason why unboxing videos are so popular on the Internet — sometimes, the packaging can be every bit as compelling as the item itself.
What Does Purposeful Packaging Mean?
Purposeful packaging is a concept of creating packaging with a minimal environmental impact that involves every step along the supply chain. Purposeful packaging means being mindful of your material choices, the suppliers you use, the transport to and from your warehouse, and all the related steps along the way.
People have become far more conscious of excess waste. They don't necessarily want the most complex packaging out there — they want something that meets their needs and aligns with their values. Purposeful packaging aims to create a satisfying unboxing experience with minimal, responsibly-sourced materials.
Why Invest in Purposeful Packaging?
Consumers care a great deal these days that product packaging should be safe, healthy, and good for the environment. That doesn't mean it can't meet market requirements for cost and performance — quite the contrary. Purposeful packaging is a way to go beyond the generic nature of most packaging to create something as memorable and versatile as the product itself.
Purposeful packaging must also be sourced, produced, and even transported to put renewable energy and reduced resource consumption at the forefront. This extends to the recycling of that packaging, too. Packaging should be designed to prioritize using as many recycled materials as possible and what the customer can do to recycle the packaging when they’re done with it.
Any materials used during the manufacturing of purposeful packaging should also be environmentally-focused. This goes a long way toward showing your target audience that your brand has values that carefully align with their own. Purposeful packaging helps reduce your brand's carbon footprint, which buys goodwill with consumers and simultaneously reduces overall costs.
A purposeful packaging strategy doesn't have to involve significant changes to your packaging. It can include something as simple as using water-based inks in printing. Water-based inks have significantly changed the world of corrugated packaging as an alternative to the solvent-based inks of eras past. For instance, water-based inks are easier to adjust when needed. To adjust viscosity, you only need to add water. With solvent-based inks, you need a solution that must be precisely balanced along with the pH level. This takes longer, requiring more manpower and increased costs. Additionally, water-based inks break down easily and don’t contain materials harmful to plant or animal life.
Another way to embrace purposeful packaging is to rightsize your boxes. Rightsizing means optimizing the size of the box and the amount of filler needed to protect the product during transit. Ideally, your brand will use less material by rightsizing. You can save costs in several ways, including potentially shipping more products per pallet and lowering overall spending on packaging because the boxes are smaller.
How Purposeful Packaging Impacts the Unboxing Experience
The unboxing experience is impacted by purposeful packaging in several ways. It allows for the use of unique materials that combine the packaging design and how it functions to protect the product. But it also helps present a product in a bold new way. Suddenly the packaging — like the product itself — becomes a part of the brand’s story. Meaning that story begins not when the product is in hand but when the unboxing experience begins.
Upfront costs of this purposeful packaging approach can be daunting. However, that does not outweigh the benefits. You’re adding a new layer to the consumer experience in a way that complements the product and your brand.