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How to differentiate your product: 4 innovative packaging ideas to disrupt the shelves

Create Products that Stand Out

Disruption is the buzz-word in the business world these days. We can thank the Ubers, Dollar Shave Clubs, AirBnBs and Netflixs for that. The services and platforms we use day-to-day are completely changing at an insanely rapid pace. Industries are constantly being subjected to disruption in the age of the internet. 3D Printing, connected homes, driver-less cars are only a few of the items on the immediate horizon that are expected to soon disrupt gigantic industries.

Consumers are being trained to place more value and interest on newcomers and “disrupters” to any particular economic scene, thanks to the massive success of so many recent examples. Traditionally, this certainly wasn’t the case, back when things like consistency & track record were highly valued.

An area that looks generally the same today as it did 10-15 years ago though, (although Amazon/Whole Foods may soon change this as well), is the supermarket or superstore shelf. Yes, online ordering and delivery services have created some change in the landscape, but for the most part, the industry hasn’t been truly disrupted yet. People like to shop for things like groceries in person, choosing the items for themselves –  at least for the time being.

So if you’re a new business or a newcomer to a particular vertical and you want your product to make headway in the mainstream of the supermarket shelf, disruption on the smaller scale of the store shelf may be just the ticket for you. Especially in today’s climate, disruptive packaging and custom labeling techniques can capture attention and bring success for your product and brand.

At LabelValue, we have a wide variety of customers in many different verticals from traditional corporate facilities using Dymo labels, to startup businesses breaking into both new and established markets. In both cases, they have the goal of creating products and services that will turn their industries on their respective heads.

Over the years, we’ve developed the label printing & packaging technology to help businesses of all sizes reach their goals. Here’s how.

4 ways to disrupt the store shelf with innovative packaging techniques

When we talk about disrupting the store shelf, we are talking about revolutionizing your approach to product packaging and the way customers will interact with your products. With that in mind, these ideas for disrupting the store shelf will center around innovative packaging technologies & strategies you can use, no matter what size your business is.

1. Make Your Products Unique (hear us out, this isn’t just generic marketing jargon this time)

Your product doesn’t have to be the same for everybody – in fact it shouldn’t be! Major brands have experimented with this idea for a few years now, but few companies realize with a little extra thought and creativity, they too have access to the incredible printing technologies that make personalized, targeted packaging possible.

What we’re talking about is unique, 1-to-1 packaging created using dynamic software programs and the powers of digital printing technology.

At LabelValue, we call our variable design technology Splash Variable Design. The way it works is you come up with a few base designs, patterns, text, themes, etc. and then we work together to dynamically adjust the designs through specialized software. This results in thousands of unique labels, shrink sleeves or packages. It’s the same type of technology that Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola and Bud Light have used in recent marketing campaigns to create personalized, unique packaging designs. This service is available for a small flat fee to cover our additional design time needed to set up the project.

We recently had a local Tampa Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing, use this technology on specialty labels for their beer of the month club members. They wanted this particular project to be more subtle, but the variable design settings can be as drastic or as subtle as you like. Creativity is the key with this technology. The members loved that they each got a unique bottle all to themselves.

Variable Design Labels

The labels on the left and right featured a spiderweb type background pattern that shifted and scaled with each individual label, creating completely unique packaging for every bottle.

2. Use materials, colors and finishes that nobody else in your vertical is using

Check out this unique wine bottle label set from a showcase on Talk about standing out in a good way!

Check out this unique wine bottle label set from a showcase on Talk about standing out in a good way!

Take a walk down the wine aisle of your local supermarket. I’ll wager that 90%+ of the labels on the bottles you see will be some variety of a fancy estate paper with black and red elegant script fonts and designs.

Yes, that evokes all of the emotions the winemakers want you to feel – elegance, class, romanticism, etc. But if you’re a newcomer, there’s not much chance of your wine selling if you follow the same routine.

There are dozens of label materials available today and hundreds of potential combinations between different materials and finishes like foils or embosses.

Stand out from the rest of the crowd by changing up the typical materials, finishes and colors of your product’s packaging.

3. Use interactive packaging technology for storytelling

The latest iOS update, 11.0.3 incorporated QR code scanning into the camera. Now, consumers don’t have to bother with downloading QR code specific aps and dealing with the headache that causes.

In light of this and the latest developments with interactive packaging possibilities, there are some really neat things you can do with your product to help weave a store into the customer’s purchasing experience.

Use QR Codes for interactive packaging that tells your story.

Use QR Codes for interactive packaging that tells your story.

What are we talking about exactly?

Generally, it’s referred to by a couple of different terms, each denoting different emphases. Smart packaging, augmented reality (AR) packaging, scannable packaging, or just plain old interactive packaging. Basically, the premise of this is all the same: by placing subtle or even hidden QR codes in your product’s packaging and then encouraging users to scan the items, they can then be taken to a site or app.

It doesn’t take too much creativity to imagine what the possibilities are with this.

While most major players in the AR packaging game have thought about it as being useful for either giving more product information like in-depth nutrition facts, sourcing information etc, or as being useful for implementing gimmicky things like little games, we think there’s a better use for small businesses, especially considering the costs of these expensive softwares and services. Sometimes simple use of complex technology is a better way to go.

Imagine your customer sees your product on the shelf, is drawn to it because it’s among a unique set of packaging from your brand that is different then everything else on the shelf and then is convinced to look at the product through her camera as the packaging says to do.

Then something awesome happens, you the brand owner tell a 15-20 second human story about your product and company and why you believe in it through video. That’s a powerful tool for small business owners who always have amazing stories to tell!

What’s even cooler is that with our printing technology, we can create micro or hidden QR codes in your product’s label graphics, so that the code is not obtrusive and doesn’t take away from your product’s amazing packaging.

4. Make it fun!

The old guard of established products and brands rarely take the time or risk to make their product and packaging fun. While we don’t have any neat technology to help you with this one, it’s way more important to be fun and engaging than overly-formal and buttoned up, especially as a new brand or product. We do offer design services from our amazing graphic design team though, and we’d love to help you with the process of creating some really fun packaging.

Check out this hilarious use of product packaging for paint brushes. Whatever your product is, there’s likely to be a creatively funny way to portray it with the product packaging.

What are your thoughts on how to be disruptive with product packaging?

Let us know what you think! Connect with us by posting on our Facebook wall or Twitter feed if you think we’re on point or completely missed the mark.