MARTIN LEEMING, CEO of Trakrap, explains why Retail Ready Packaging is the way forward for on-shelf sales…
It’s not news that good primary packaging design can drive sales. Achieving on-shelf stand out through effective design is the key to securing a sale in an increasingly crowded marketplace. However, if that beautifully designed primary pack is then covered by a damp
cardboard pack on shelf, what’s the point?
Designing for sales success means designing a pack that highlights and flatters the product inside, whilst being eye catching and motivating consumers to choose your product above all other options. And primary packaging designers are good at this; we’ve all reached the checkout and thought to our ourselves ‘How did that get in there?’ Good packaging, that’s how. But effective packaging isn’t cheap, with the branding, design, cost of materials and production all costing money. And yet, all that effort is regularly undermined on-shelf by the secondary packaging it sits in.
Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) has grown in popularity in recent years. Designed to go directly on to the shelf with minimal handling, it is usually made of corrugated cardboard and designed to be easily transformed by removing a perforated section to allow the product to be visible on shelf without needing to be unpacked. Its role is functional, or at least, it should be. It should protect the product during transit, enable easier unpacking and make the primary packs easily accessible and visible to the consumer. However, somewhere along the line, that final point has been lost in translation.
At the point of purchase, RRP packaging should be invisible. Unlike primary packaging, the key to driving sales success in secondary packaging is to create a pack that is unnoticeable to the consumer, so that the real star of the show – the primary pack – can be clearly
seen. And yet, go into the chilled foods section of any major supermarket and you’ll see items such as deli meats and their packaging all but obscured by scruffy, wet and damaged corrugate. This is a real issue in fresh and chilled foods as trust in the quality of the product is vitally important and a big part of what drives sales.
So, how can we overcome this challenge whilst still delivering an easier merchandising experience for supermarkets? The importance of collaboration cannot be underestimated. If your design agency has developed an appealing primary pack, the RRP pack should be designed with that pack in mind, ensuring that the front edge does not obscure any key messages or branding that helps to differentiate your product from the competition. Instead, the RRP pack should be clean, strong, reliable and unobtrusive.
We also need to be willing to be flexible in our approach to the materials used for RRP packaging. Many retailers have achieved sales success in fresh foods by experimenting with hybrid pack designs which combine an rPET tray with a corrugate shell wrapped in transparent 7µm-thick LLDPE stretch film. This approach removes the corrugate tray fronts that hide the product in conventional Shel Ready Packaging and, in addition, clear rPET trays make the primary pack stand out, thereby enhancing the feel of product freshness and this “nothing to hide” approach builds customer trust and sales.
UP YOUR SLEEVE
Crucially, this new packaging format is no more expensive than existing corrugate RRP but is both considerably cheaper and much easier
to merchandise than other Corrugate/rPET delivery systems. A hybrid format will also improve product identification in the stockroom, and eliminate the need for expensive case printing when primary packs are redesigned. The rPET tray is simply contained in a minimal, quick-to-assemble, corrugate sleeve, providing product protection in transit whilst also making it quicker to unpack and place on shelf. Meanwhile, the thin, cold wrap, stretch film holds the pack together in transit and is also perforated to accelerate the unpacking process.
The flexibility in design, shape and function offered by hybrid packaging is key to driving sales while minimising packaging and selling costs. Using the investment in the primary pack to sell the product is a much better option than paying twice by printing on the corrugate that is hiding the primary pack you’ve already invested in. By separating the delivery system from the display system, both can be optimised instead of compromised.
Efficient hybrid solutions that consume fewer resources, use less material, and therefore negate the feared impact of smaller pack sizes, must become the norm. By working together, the corrugate and RPET industries can create a truly different and innovative packaging solution. Not all packaging should be designed to be the star of the show. Let the primary pack do the talking and invest in an RRP design that complements and supports your initial investment.