5 Retail-Ready Packaging Tips

5 Retail-Ready Packaging Tips

by Eira Braun-Labossiere


Whenever we prepare graphic and structural design for pre-pack displays or retail-ready packaging, we always begin with the question of  “how do we reach your Target Audience?”.   To define what we mean by “retail-ready packaging” I turn to an excellent article by Packaging World*.

“Retail-ready packaging (RRP) refers to packaging delivered to a retailer in a self-contained unit, which is immediately ready for on-shelf product display without the need for assembling or unpacking. This type of packaging provides an attractive structure that both advertises and displays a product, cutting down on operation costs as the shipping package itself arrives basically shelf-ready.”

The article continues:  “According to a survey conducted by Packaging World, 57% of suppliers in North America stated they had received an increased number of requests for RRP in the last 12 months from their retail customers.

I encourage you to read this insightful article, titled Retail-ready best practices to be shelf-ready in its entirety.  But for now I would like to comment on 5 of their 11 fabulous pointers for retail-ready packaging that also have many applications for pre-pack displays.  Starting with their second tip, here we go:


Tip #2:  Engage suppliers early.

Reynolds FloorstandConsult your suppliers as soon as possible.  We need to allow time to think through and prototype the packaging to account for things like shelf dimensions, automated warehouse systems,  distance traveled.  And graphic design! See Point 8 below.



Tip #5. Maximize the experience for consumers.

Think Like A CustomerAlways imagine you are the customer.  What would make you stop and look at the packaging? “Consider this:

  • 75% of a purchase decision is made at the shelf.
  • 100% of your buyers see the package.

No other form of communication can claim such impact.“**

Make design relevant to your target market graphically and structurally.  How? Keep reading!

Tip #6. Go the extra mile for marketing.

Repeat branding as display is shopped down.Brand it and make the products “claim to fame” front and centre.

Always keep in mind how the product will look as it shops down.

Take advantage of opportunities to repeat that branding!



Tip #8. Invest in thorough design exploration.

ThermaCare PDQScrutinize not only what will be attractive on the shelf to consumers, but what the retailer parameters are for their store.

Do yourself a favour:  please allow packaging designers do their job.  Prevent design by committee; too many opinions water down final design and the focus becomes lost.

Keep in mind that our graphic designers still need to use a collaborative approach with production.  The point is to design a functional package that is both eye-catching and easily automated. Fewer “cooks in the kitchen” result in design with great impact and ready for print much faster!

Tip #11. Don’t skimp on printing.

Centrum FliptrayWe get it.  Every department is on a budget.  But if the paperboard is flimsy and printing registration is careless what message are you sending the consumer? When a high end restaurant serves a gourmet meal, do they present it on a picnic plate? Show that you believe in the quality of the product and remember that presentation is key in those famous 5 seconds of a buyer’s impulse buying decision.

Also consider shelf wear and its impact on shelf appearance when choosing materials and finishes.  Better yet, let your designers do that for you!

But Wait! There’s More!

These are only 5 of Packaging World’s 11 factors for consideration when designing retail-ready packaging.  We urge you to collaborate with professionals like The Freelance Portfolio for the graphic and structural design, print and production of your packaging.  As a one-stop-shop Repack Canada will then pack your retail-ready displays faster than you can say “I’m seeing dollar signs!”.



*Packaging World article here:  http://www.packworld.com/package-design/retail-ready/retail-ready-best-practices-be-shelf-ready

**Quoted from:  Package Design Workbook by Steven DuPuis and John Silva

Eira Braun-Labossiere

Eira’s seemingly unpronounceable and usually misspelled name creates excellent conversation opportunities. A content crafter for Repack Canada and The Freelance Portfolio, you can reach her via email (eira@repackcanada.com) or the good old telephone (1.877.804.4841). Contact me with any questions or to request a quote.