Customization and Personalization on the Rise in Product Packaging
by Ashley Tartaglia, on November 5, 2019
There are many ways to customize product artwork and labeling, or to even change the goods themselves to suit individual preferences. Many of these methods are seeing more mainstream adoption today, with competition between brands at a digitally driven high point and companies constantly looking for differentiators.
Once you've determined which of the related strategies is most applicable to your company's products, there's another step to ponder: Whether your current Artwork Management and packaging supply chain can deliver these kinds of product customization offerings in an efficient and repeatable manner. If not, it's time for an upgrade to your processes.
Personalization and Customization in Action
The following are some of the situations that might require variable labeling and packaging design. The significant variety between these scenarios demonstrates the many strategies that may improve efficiency when it comes to delivering on these the increasing demand for customized product and product labeling and packaging.
Many items can gain appeal from a seasonal packaging variation. A product that might make a great holiday gift is a good candidate for a temporary label change. Brands can also build their appeal by embracing partnerships that only make sense at certain times of the year, such as teaming up with a sports league when they are in-season.
Product manufacturers can decide whether they want one main version of a package and an alternate for a particular month, or if they want to consistently roll out new designs with each season. In either case, they will need to ensure their Artwork Management workflow is efficient enough to handle those extensive variations through the review and approval cycle and get those new products on store shelves in accordance with seasonal dates. Timing is everything with seasonal product releases because nobody is going to want to purchase a product with holiday labeling on December 26. Your labeling and Artwork Management solution should offer task tracking capability that lets you clearly identify projects that are behind schedule or at risk of running late, enabling you to take corrective action proactively.
International and Regional Versions
As opposed to the time-sensitive seasonal changes, regional and international versions of products are relevant as long as companies are targeting those new markets. Especially when dealing with items for international audiences, there are complex regulatory wrinkles that impact the Artwork Management process and the end product. Different authorities or stakeholders including regulatory and legal may be responsible for approving the new labels and packaging. Companies with highly transparent workflows which highlight accountability will have an easier time making necessary additions and changes.
Translating content while maintaining branding and consistency is another important consideration when designing artwork variations for international markets. Today's automated and centralized Artwork Management solutions which integrate phrase and translation libraries support these efforts by driving phrase selection, copy approval and translation management. This type of solution enables you to track what's already been completed so you can reduce re-translations and be confident that you're accessing the most current version.
Private-label operations, with companies allowing stores to apply their own branding to items and sell them as a house brand, have been a staple of retail and food and beverage manufacturers for years. Today, however, these efforts are more popular and promising than ever before. As Grocery Dive indicated, private labeling, once dominated by affordable items that didn't stir much consumer excitement, is expanding in scope to encompass premium goods. With a 20% spike in overall private-label sales largely coming from higher-priced categories such as organic goods, brands are discovering new opportunity in the house-label space.
Businesses that have not previously invested in private-label products may be enticed by the greater willingness to buy these items, especially when they promise premium quality. Furthermore, the rise of online marketplaces has opened a new channel to sell products bearing the label of a retail outlet. These digital sellers can take own-brand items to a large, potentially global audience.
For companies to efficiently manage the demands of private labeling they must be able effectively track and manage artwork changes. You'll want an overview at a glance of all existing projects for better visibility and project management. The right type of collaborative and automated solution keeps projects under control as needed with business logic. Also, your solution should enable you to create, edit, approve and source content from datasheets which allows that same content to be flowed directly into artwork templates. Best practice is to store all of your data in these datasheets which are centrally linked.
As Customer Think contributor Ivan Bojanic indicated, personalized products are appealing to today's shoppers. People who get the ability to design labels for products, or make customizations to the goods themselves, are willing to pay extra money for that privilege. These buyers also engage more closely with the company websites and tend to advocate for the brands, and the data businesses gather from personalization requests represents valuable market research, providing an accurate snapshot of what shoppers want.
Freshmade's Chia Schmitz used the company's Freshmade Journal blog to point out a few creative ways businesses can use customized labeling. For instance, beauty product brands are allowing their customers to take questionnaires which determine the exact formula of a cream or shampoo. The customized label for the package then uses attractive typography to describe the process behind creating the item. This type of detailed personalization can be kept under control as needed with business logic which enables business users to easily change and update existing labeling and artwork.
Production Supply Chains That Can Provide Personalization and Customization
It's obviously more complicated to create dozens of different items than a large amount of goods that are exactly the same. Businesses that embrace customization in their production, labeling or both have to ensure supply chains can keep up with the accompanying demands. For instance, traditional label printing methods which involve engraved plates are not suitable for variable labels, as the time and expense of creating new plates adds up quickly. Digital printing is therefore the standard for organizations that have embraced customization.
Artwork Management workflows should be flexible, transparent and highly automated to ensure personalized and customized labels and packaging don't slow the company's operations to an unacceptable level. Today's centralized and configurable Artwork Management solutions embrace features such as cloud-based deployment models and integrate with digital asset management tools to replace inefficient legacy processes that added time and complexity to label design and approval. Emailing files back and forth and updating offline spreadsheets are practices that should be phased out immediately.
Even companies that don't play into the trendier aspects of personalization such as enabling online customization or offering goods through private-label agreements will have use of these updated Artwork Management workflows. Any business that sells its products overseas, for instance, will need an effective way to ensure the branded consistency of labels around the world, as well as the presence of necessary inclusions for compliance in every market.
These automated Artwork Management tools have already proven their ability to speed up time to market. When organizations are constantly working on new packaging designs, this ability to make approvals quicker and less convoluted will get frequent, active use. Tech tools which already had value are indispensable for businesses committed to customized or personalized labels.
When you inspect your own product and label design and approval workflows, the primary question to ask yourself is how many legacy processes are in place due to inertia or tradition. These inefficient or ineffective methods may be holding your company back from embracing personalization and customization, and there are ways to modernize them.