Seeing is believing, they say.
I have seen a DRAMATIC shift in the outcome in sales presentations when a brand owner has REAL samples, in full color, that appear retail ready. Pictures on a flyer or samples to taste that aren't in retail packaging, aren't convincing or exciting for anyone.
It is therefore WISE to have full color and real looking samples available for EVERY sales presentation you attend with a buyer, all the way up until you get a PO (tradeshow, 1st sales meeting, sending to the buyer for final review before the PO). This is ESPECIALLY important if you have products in development that aren't yet in mass production.
Here are the reasons why you must bring real looking color samples:
1. INCREASE CHANCES THEY REMEMBER YOUR PRODUCT
Your retail buyer is SO busy when they are scouting new products to fill their planogram. They cannot remember every product they see. Products with packaging they see with just a flat image on a flyer will not become a tangible memory. There is something powerful in our brain that remembers the items that we pick up and touch. How will you make sure they remember your product presentaton?
SOLUTION: Create and bring full color packaging samples to your meeting. Hand the product to your buyer so they can hold it in their hand, turn it over and inspect your packaging. This act will increase the likelihood they remember what you showed them. You can read more about PREPARING FOR TRADESHOW SUCCESS in my other articles.
2. ELIMINATE THE RISK YOU WILL LOOK "NOT-READY"
Buyers have their own worries that you should be aware of and ready to address if you want short term and long term sales. As much as they are excited to find new products that could sell and serve their customers, they are also worried about being HELD ACCOUNTABLE by their boss for buying products that are not "RETAIL READY." If they buy a product that is NOT #retailready, their job and profitability is on the line. You can read about BEING RETAIL READY - BUYER NIGHTMARES YOU SHOULD BE READY TO ADDRESS in my other articles. But related to this specific article on full color mock-ups, buyers will want to see you have though through the sell unit and master unit packaging.
Some examples of things that go wrong include brands that haven't finished commercializing their packaging include:
Miscalculations on #VISUALPACKAGING - Everyone underestimates lead times and speed bumps to launching new products and things will go wrong making you late. Packaging can influence that and here are just a few examples. Your packaging company will be at capacity that month your PO is due and can't deliver what they normally promise. Your projected serving size is incorrect based on allowed nutritional elements so artwork must be changed last minute and re-run. The USDA won't approve the product name because it's close to their definition of the product, but off on one small piece you didn't realize so you must change it to get the bug on your box. All these small things will slow you down and make you uncontrollably late.
Poorly executed #STRUCTRUALPACKAGING - You might know what type of packaging you want to use but until you run it, execution of the sell unit can have structural errors. For example dielines and dimensions of packaging might not fit the promised weight or volume or product once air bubbles get in during manufacturing. The cheaper packaging manufacturer creates similar LOOKING packaging but doesn't deliver functional re-sealing lids. Materials were selected without long term shelf life testing and it allows flavor to permeate from outside causing products to spoil and become a bad flavor. Ribbing and bubbling on the printed film coccus on the NEW machine your factory didn't mention so the packaging image is distorted and unappealing to shoppers. Just some element that can reduce sales and cost your buyer profitability.
These nightmares are subconsciously on a buyers mind and your best bet as a seller is to address these things for your buyer during a meeting by SHOWING them you are ready to go.
SOLUTION: The best way to do this is to obviously have a mass produced product where all the elements are bought out. Even if it's a small test run that will boost your buyers confidence tremendously and force your team to think through the logistics.
The next best way you can personally prepare to address those concerns is going through all of the motions to make sure your product is fully commercialized by creating samples. Just the process of finalizing print ready artwork will force your team to double check copy, nutritionals, regulatory claims and ask your packaging printer for their specs and costs given your target print finishes. The final result will be a sample that is VERY close to the finished mass produced product which will eliminate risk for you and worry for your buyer.
Clearly printed samples that are retail ready will benefit your sales process. Where can you get these?
Have a packaging knowledgable packaging graphic designer who knows brand assets and objectives ready in the wings. Be sure that designer is not just "any graphic designer" to avoid wasted time on designs that aren't PRINT READY. Plus the advantage is they will be contributing a professional eye to help you create something that will sell on the shelf (not just look good on your computer). Don't have one yet? Give Pearl Resourcing a try! (http://pearlresourcing.net)
Have a packaging check list that your team goes through with every new product launch to be sure you have double checked the key elements that will go into the products launch. The elements are ALMOST ALWAYS the same. It's easy to rush and skip a step resulting in errors at production, and then blame one team member who was just doing their job and skipping the steps as instructed. Being strict on this will reduce risks.
Order printed mock-ups that look professional on a similar structure that you plan to sell it on. Mock-ups can be surprisingly expensive compared to your mass production units, but honestly don't be surprised by that! Most custom printed mock-ups will be done by HAND which includes label application, color plating, and sealing seams. Relatively it's not much of an investment when it results in a confident buyer excited to place a PO. Don't know how to create printed mock-ups OR have someone who can do them for you yet? Give Pearl Resourcing a try! (http://pearlresourcing.net)
We hope this information helps you sell products that rock! Share your samples success with us, or ask us questions in the comments. We wish you the best sales!
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MORE ABOUT EMILY PAGE
Emily is CEO of Pearl Resourcing and has managed and launched multiple 7-figure brands in Costco, Williams-Sonoma, Kroger, and Amazon. She’s bringing you the expertise, resources, and mentors you need so that you can develop products and make them sell.
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