Brands spend millions every year designing and refining product packaging to give it stand-out shelf-appeal, and to make target consumers pine for what’s inside. And, while successful packaging design might come in many forms, the overall goal is always to deliver more sales.
To meet that goal, packaging designers face the constant challenge of keeping pace with changing consumer preferences: After all, what appeals now is likely to be short-lived. However, one product issue they’re unlikely to consider is theft – despite the fact that last year it cost UK retailers £500m – a significant percentage was cosmetics.
SECURITY BEFORE BEAUTY
So, how can brand owners and manufacturers tackle theft and how can packaging design help? To stem product losses, retailers use security labels to act as a visible deterrent. They are a fantastic defensive tool and a huge percentage of security labels are now applied in-store before items go on display. From a retailer’s perspective, the optimum position for a security label is on the same side as the barcode – because the label will be deactivated as it is scanned at the till point. However, the reality of a busy retail environment often means that security labels are hastily applied, with little regard for branding or information panels.
Poorly positioned labels are particularly problematic for smaller products, such as make-up, that need to be security protected because they are desirable, easy to conceal, and often top of shoplifters’ wish lists. Ill-considered security label application can render packaging design completely pointless: In a worst-case scenario, it could even prevent a purchase and force the customer to switch to another brand if the ingredients or allergy information is obscured.
SO, WHAT IS THE SOLUTION
Source-tagging – the process that sees security labels applied with precision at the point of manufacture, is an effective anti-theft solution for both parties. For retailers, it introduces in-store efficiencies because sales assistants can replenish items quicker, without the extra step of applying security labels, which increases availability. At the same time, because tags are applied at source, they are sealed within the packaging, making them more difficult to vandalise or remove, which could mean fewer losses and reduced shrinkage.
Using source tagging alone is not enough. It’s important to clearly inform both retailers and shoppers that a product is protected. This warning can be considerately worked into the original design. This reassures store management that additional loss prevention solutions, such as safe- cases, spiders, hard tags or even another RF tag, are not needed, while also allowing for accessible, open product merchandising. The result is better sales performance and, ultimately, higher sales volumes. Where source tagging has been implemented effectively, we invariably see an increase in on-shelf availability, due to retailers confidently merchandising products.
For packaging designers and manufacturers, source tagging means label location compliance and complete confidence that branding is not obscured, and products are presented as intended, making it a key step to delivering sales success. And technology advances mean source tagging is now possible even for small products. In fact, Radio Frequency (RF) label dimensions have decreased by 75% in size over the last 20-years. The smallest Checkpoint RF label is under 2.5cm, smaller than a postage stamp, and easily hidden within packaging or placed sensitively on the exterior of almost any item as a visual theft deterrent.
The FMCG industry has never been more competitive, making it important for brands and retailers to ensure they have the processes in place to maximise sales. Engaging, creative packaging design is an essential part of the marketing mix and vital to differentiate brands from competitors: Source tagging enables this – offering a clear competitive advantage.
Security labels have always been a thorn in the side of packaging designers and have the potential to undo all their creativity and investment, if not applied correctly. By introducing the benefits of source tagging with Checkpoint, you can take back control of your packaging, protect your brand image and give retailers the confidence to merchandise your brand to best advantage. Product packaging with a built-in security feature will be more successful, from both a creative brand identity and availability perspective. It will deliver happy shoppers and happy retailers.