If you have a food, beverage, or cosmetic product that you want to begin selling online or maybe you are already selling your product online, this checklist will ensure you are reaching your ideal customers.
1. The Outer Packaging is the Salesperson
The outer packaging is essentially the salesperson for your actual product inside, so this is especially important to remember when selling your products online because your customers can’t physically see or touch the product. Visually show online what you would want your customers to see if they were to pick up your product in person. Also remember that once they have your product in their home, the packaging continues to act as a mini billboard for your brand. Consider how you want your customers to experience your packaging both online and in their home. To learn more about creating a brand that connects to your customer, check out my post on How to Make a Truly Iconic Packaging Design and 4 things you need to understand about humans to make your brand stand out.
2. Does Your Packaging Fit Your Company?
Before you even begin selling any products, you should make sure that the product packaging reflects your overall company. If the brand and products go hand-in-hand, this will make shopping experiences more cohesive and appealing for potential customers. Check out my post on Great Product Packaging in 3 Easy Steps to learn more about creating your ideal packaging.
3. Does Your Packaging Fit the Target Consumer?
Similarly, keep in mind who your target consumer is and reflect that in the packaging. You will want to tailor the look and feel to what might appeal to them in order to best grab their attention. Check out my post on Your Target Demographic in Packaging to learn more about reaching your target customer.
4. In-Store vs. Online Packaging
Once you consider the packaging design in relation to your brand and the ideal customer, you might think about how the design of in-store packaging differs from online packaging. Because products sold online are usually viewed independently from their competitors, packaging may not need as many bell and whistle design elements (i.e. fancy finishes, embossing, die cuts) that would normally be used to make a product stand out on a crowded supermarket shelf. This will also make your packaging more cost-efficient. To learn more about best online practices, check out my post on Strategies for Ecommerce Packaging Success.
5. Beware of the FDA
Before you sell your products online, make sure you are following all labeling regulations. Minding regulations and providing accurate labels is important for all products sold online, but particularly crucial for food and beverages. Because these products have the potential to make people sick, they are especially regulated. You will want to make sure you have followed all the guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration. Your product packaging should have proper labeling on allergens, nutritional content, certified organic ingredients, and shelf-life, among others. In addition if you are selling a food or beverage, you’ll want to be sure you’re updating to the newest nutritional label requirements. To read more about food and beverage requirements, check out my post How the FDA is Changing Nutrition Labeling and Why it Matters.
6. Shipping Your Product Internationally
Also, if you plan to ship out product outside the U.S., make sure you know what regulations the destination countries have for food, beverage and cosmetics products, because those might require extra information or languages on the label as well.
The Physical Packaging
7. Use Sturdy Materials
When it comes to thinking about the physical material you will use to construct your packaging, you want to be sure your product not only arrives, but it arrives in the condition you want your customer to experience your product. Think also about the experience of your brand at every point from the moment they receive it, open it, to when they discard your packaging. If your brand is an environmentally minded brand you’ll also want to create packaging with sustainability in mind.
8. Cut Down on Weight for Shipping
Shipping products to consumers can add up quickly, so think light and compact when choosing material to keep costs down. Additionally, shipping might not always be the smoothest so consider durable packaging that will hold up well through travel and storage in different environments.
9. Pay Attention to Detail
Once you have determined how you will construct your packaging and are ready to ship items to your customers, put the package together with care. This is an important step for any online retailer to show customers they care about them and their products. Plus, it will help protect your product from harm while in transit.
10. Make it Engaging
Once you have decided on the final packaging of your product, it’s time to display it online and start selling. While your product may be viewed independently from its competitors unlike traditional product shelf displays, you still need to make it stand out. Check out my blog post on How to “Wow” Consumers with your Packaging to learn how to draw in your ideal customer. But don’t stop there, the words you use in your brand messaging deeply impact how long your product will stay in the mind of your consumer. Learn about how to create an engaging message in my blog post Make Your Packaging More Personal and Engaging.
11. High-Quality Images Only
It is important that you give your product its best chance of being clicked on by making it stand out from the many other product thumbnails customers will see while browsing. One way you can do this is by showing the product in 3D in the thumbnail image. A 3D image will give the customer a better idea of what your product is like than a flat image with no interest or dimension. Invest in high-quality images of the packaging from all sides. Make sure potential customers can see the texture, true-to-life color, and scale of the packaging, as well as images of the actual product inside.
12. Consider Videos and Lifestyle Photos
Taking it one step further, you might want to consider using videos or lifestyle photos of your product to give a better idea of what it looks and feels like in person. Showing the product being used in a consumer setting makes it that much easier for your potential customers to imagine the product’s place in their own life. One way to do this is to reach out to social influencers in your market to try your product in exchange for videos or photos. Building these relationships will not only give you video and/or photos but can offer you more publicity and social validation about your products over time and give your customers more insight about your product from other perspectives.
The Whole Package
In the end, everything about your product, including its design, labeling, packaging, and website display, have to add appeal and pique the customers’ interest since they can’t interact with it in person through sampling. You have to tell a story with your product and connect with your customers.
Vivid descriptions and as many details as possible are the keys to winning the customer over, especially when it comes to food and beverages. With this in mind, you can create your product and its website to meet the fullest potential and successfully sell your product online.
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