Private labels & packaging differences
The obvious and most profitable way to create sales is a private label with a nice packaging.
In German we say “Eine gute Verpackung ist die halbe Miete” which literally translated means “ A nice packaging is half the rent” or in other words with a nice packaging you “win half the battle”.
Meaning that a nice packaging will convince your customers to buy your product by 50% already. That saying even goes when you are selling online and your customers won’t even see your packaging.
BUT say you sell online and your customer receives your item and he sees the nice packaging he sure will give a better review just because the packaging is nice already.
Note: Even if you sell online, you should put a picture (high resolution) or even a 3D-rendering picture amongst your product listing so that customers can see your packaging.
It is even easier if you sell offline (in retail stores). Just think about it, how often have you made a decision buying a product because the packaging was nice.
Look at Apple’s packaging.
Nice and clean, no fancy colors, UV coating (the logo and product), clear and to the point descriptions with high resolution photos. They got me, I buy their products also based on their packaging.
Now lets look at the different options in packaging’s.
Differences in Packaging
You basically have 3 options:
– Private label packaging (color box or white box with private label sticker)
– No name packaging
– White box
Private label packaging:
You have to differentiate between a white box private label packaging and a color box private label packaging.
Obviously a full color box would be the best way to go but the thing is you need a certain quantity to print color boxes.
Suppliers will usually request a minimum order of 500 or more. It’s not that the supplier doesn’t want you to have your own boxes on a low quantity but the prices they usually quote come with a private label box.
It is not the factory itself that requests a high quantity but it is the printing factory who needs a minimum of say a 1000 pieces to offset their printing costs. Of course sometimes high MOQ’s are set by the factory (unrelated to the packaging) because they need to purchase a certain amount of raw material but in most cases they give you high MOQ’s because of the packaging.
That’s the next thing, when a supplier quotes you a price based on private label he often is referring to a color box.
But what you can still do is to have a white box with a sticker or your logo on it.
The good news is you can ask your factory to print lower quantities of color boxes and just pay a little more. Most buyers just give up on their private label when the factory tells them that they need 1000 pieces for a private label box.
Simply ask your supplier to either adjust the cost so that he can cover the more expensive packaging or ask him to have a white box and put a sticker with your logo on it. A sticker typically costs less than 0.1USD per sticker. I will get into costs on packaging in a little bit.
A private label color packaging also allows you to change everything on the box. Pictures, descriptions, instruction manual etc. I will get to that in a little bit.
No Name packaging:
When you start off importing you are probably selling items off the rack (no- name items) from the supplier bought through Aliexpress or Alibaba.
Usually these items have the manufacturer’s “brand” or even just a simple white box when they are shipped to you.
A manufacturer’s brand or no-name brands are not really brands. They are simply the manufacture’s name on the packaging with no or little meaning to your end-consumer.
This kind of packaging is only recommend if you are testing a product and say you don’t want to place an order of 500 pieces, changing the packaging and not even knowing if you will sell the product well.
Whenever you can and especially if you are testing a product ask your supplier if he has white box available for your shipment.
In most cases the supplier won’t have a white box but sometimes they do.
A white box is ideal for you to put your logo on it and not having to change anything on the packaging, especially if you are just testing the waters with this product.
Instruction Manual & Description on the box
Having a proper instruction manual is essential. There are of course products that do not require an instruction manual but whenever you can, have an instruction manual. Usually (99% of the time) the supplier will have an instruction manual. Often these can be in a very poor English.
Before you place an order, check with your supplier on the instruction manual. Inspect the manual and look for grammar or vocabulary mistakes. If you are ordering small quantities (no name packaging) the supplier will probably not agree to have the instruction manual changed. BUT say you are a native English speaker you could suggest to proofread and revise his Instruction Manual for free in exchange for him printing new instruction manuals for your order. That will also benefit him because he now has a proof-read and proper manual for his future customers.
If you order larger quantities, the suppliers will usually agree to print new instruction manuals. In this case you ask the supplier for his current instruction manual and revise it the way you need it.
It’s a little more complicated when it comes to descriptions on the packaging itself. If it is a no-name packaging and you order small quantities the only thing you could do is to put stickers onto the packaging to cover certain wordings or pictures on the packaging. But this will obviously look cheap.
Different story again when you have your own packaging (private label).
To change a products packaging you need to ask the supplier for the “die-cut”. That’s usually an .ai file (sometimes a PDF file) that can be rendered and modified by your designer (trough photoshop or similar programs).
If you do not have a designer or layouting company on hand check out www.fiverr.com. There are a lot of guys on there doing amazing jobs on packaging. I recommend to pay a little more (hire more gigs on the fiverr job) and have a nicer packaging than if you pay 5US$ only.
Once you have the .ai file from the factory send it to your layouter and advise him of the changes you would like to have. Remember if you are selling on Amazon you will also want to have the UPC and FNSKU code embedded onto the packaging already.
Once your layouter finishes the job, send the file to your factory and confirm the new packaging with him.
There is no general thickness that you can apply to your packaging as it all depends on the weight and size of your product. If I would have to tell my supplier the thickness of the carton I would probably tell him more than 0.25mm (or 0.01inch) as anything below would be too thin and my product is likely to be damaged during transportation.
A nice but more expensive way to finish your color box is a UV coating that you apply to your packaging. You don’t coat the entire packaging but only highlight a few things like the product picture or your logo. If you look closely enough at my packaging you can see that the logo as well as the picture on each side of the packaging are elevated and UV coated.
It gives the packaging a nice and high-end finish. UV coating usually costs an additional 0.2-0.3USD cents.
Ah the photos. Photos are so essential to your packaging and your sales.
If you don’t have high resolution or clear photos your customers won’t be able to see your product clearly and it will turn them off buying your product.
When you first ask for a quotation from a supplier you usually get an excel file with a small picture. That kind of picture won’t suffice for your listing (online) or your packaging. Ask your supplier for a high resolution photo of the product and don’t believe him when he says he doesn’t have one.
They always have high resolution photos because they probably have a packaging of their own (or from a different customer) where they had to take a high resolution photo. They needed to take a high resolution photo at some point because you can’t use a snapshot photo on a packaging. If you would use a snapshot photo on a packaging it would be highly pixilated.
The more photos you can collect from your supplier the better.
If the photos are good quality, great, if not try to enhance them with programs on your computer. There are several programs these days for free to enhance photos. If you would like to have it done professionally you can revert to fiverr.com again. There are a lot of guys on there offering photo enhancement for 5$.
Costs of packaging
As previously mentioned, when a factory quotes you a price based on private label or color box the costs are included.
If the factory refuses to print your packaging because of the low quantity you may tell them that you will outsource the printing job. If they agree you need to follow the same direction as described above. Find a layouting company (service on fiverr.com) and send your newly made packaging to a secondary printing factory that will in turn deliver the empty boxes to your factory.
I often use a secondary factory for my packaging as some of my manufacturers have a very high MOQ for packaging’s (1000 or more).
To get an idea of how much a color packaging actually costs when outsourced I will list indicative prices here:
1000 pcs ~0.3US$ cents per packaging
500 pcs ~1US$ per packaging
300 pcs ~3US$ per packaging
100pcs ~7US$ per packaging
These prices are from my printing factory and are based on 4-color box with UV coating (contact me for details of the printing factory if you need someone). You can get it a little cheaper without UV coating.
You see that the prices go up the lower the qty but that’s normal as printing a low quantity of 100 pieces really is quite expensive.
Alibaba has a lot of sources for printing factories as well.
Use Alibaba just like sourcing any other product. However, below the search bar click on “Location” and find the area closest to your product factory.
That way the packaging can be quickly delivered locally to your factory and much cheaper. Many suppliers will deliver free to your factory if the distance is close enough.
I hope that the above gave you some overview of differences and options in packaging.
If you have any questions, comment here or shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org