Updated: Mar 10
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Creating a chocolate brand is about more than the ingredients you use. The packaging you use can either make or break your product.
Packaging should be visually appealing and effectively set expectations for what is inside. That means creating a sense of excitement, luxury, decadence, or even romance, depending on the product and the situation. Most importantly, the packaging should protect what is inside and ensure that it reaches the recipient properly.
The type of packaging you choose should reflect your brand, as well as the best interests of customers. The following are some tips for designing an eye-catching package for your chocolates that will entice customers and provide them with everything they desire.
Base Packaging Decisions on Customer Experience
Designing the packaging for your chocolate shop requires many careful decisions to be made. You have to choose the size, shape, thickness, material, exterior design, color scheme, method of opening, how to seal it, and the list goes on.
It can be overwhelming to make these decisions if you don't have much information to help you get started. It is hard to know if you are making the right decisions under these circumstances.
However, you can get some direction by focusing on your customers' needs. After all, keeping your customers happy is the way to succeed in business. It only makes sense to base packaging decisions on your company’s customer experience and what your customers need.
The Influence of Good Packaging
Packaging is the first aspect of customer experience that your customers come to when they shop in your store. Your company’s customer experience is defined by these interactions between customers and products, which can make or break the relationship.
If you want to have a successful business where people recommend your products to others and come back often, their product experience must be positive. You can influence this experience by finding the proper packaging.
Image a customer coming into your store to assemble a custom box of chocolates. The box is for someone special.
It could be an anniversary present, or maybe Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. It could even be a birthday present for a parent who has had a rough year and can use a grand gesture of love to lift their spirits.
Once all of the chocolates are in the box, carefully placed to look their best, you put a pad on top and close the lid. It is the first thing that the recipient sees when opening the box, making it the perfect way to send a message or apply your company’s branding material.
What Do Customers Need from Chocolate Packaging?
Whether customers realize it or not, the packaging of chocolate products has a significant impact on their decisions. Improper packaging can be why some customers choose a different option in the future.
The packaging of chocolate should meet specific requirements to satisfy customers and create a customer experience that keeps them coming back. Here is what they need:
Anything That Improves the Experience
In essence, everything that enhances the customer experience is necessary. That can mean many things depending on your company, sales locations, product, and customer base.
The technology behind food packaging has significantly improved in the last several decades. Your customers need up-to-date packaging that uses the latest technologies to provide the best experience.
For example, your product should come in high-quality food-grade materials. As well as providing food with chemical resistance, these materials provide the durability required to remain intact when shipped. Upgrading your packing to the latest food-grade materials makes a noticeable difference in the end quality of your products. It can be a deciding factor in purchase for customers that pay attention to what their food is packaged in.
Packaging design has also come a long way. In many cases, you can get custom-designed packaging materials. High-end candy shops do this to make their packages distinctive.
The inserts that you find in chocolate boxes, for example, are designed to fit the different types of chocolate that usually come in each pack. Not only does this provide more protection, but it also signals to customers that you are focused on the details for every piece that you sell.
The Promise of Quality
Above all else, your customers need the promise of quality that your packaging provides. It is important to remember that branding plays an essential role in this process since customers expect quality from what they see. It is also possible to convey quality through packaging that is not branded.
As your customers open a box of chocolates, they have expectations of what they will see. At a minimum, they expect to see an entire box of chocolates arrayed in rows, intact and neatly prepared for them. Although they don't realize it, the packaging that those chocolates come in has already given them a promise of quality.
The packaging reflects the quality of the product inside. If the packaging is not high-quality, customers are less likely to think that the chocolates are high-quality. It is a comprehensive customer experience from start to finish, which starts and ends with the packaging.
Choose packaging options that convey the level or type of quality that you want your customers to enjoy.
Focus on Aesthetics
Customers shop first with their eyes, then with their hands, then with their mouths. Your packaging must convey the qualities that interest customers and get them to pick up and eventually eat your products. A focus on aesthetics is the key to drawing in customers before they have ever tried what you have to offer.
If you run the most upscale chocolate brand, choose high-quality chocolate packaging that is memorable, luxurious, and the kind that people want to share social media pictures of as a luxury status symbol.
That is a standard method of driving sales, especially when the number of people shopping online has increased multiple times over and in the past decade. How your products are packaged is the deciding factor for most customers that shop online since they cannot experience it until they have it in hand.
The key is to ensure your product meets the needs of the customer. Your packaging conveys this subtly before they even get to the chocolates. Plan your customer experience around this to give customers the complete and appropriate customer experience they need when buying your products.
Protection During Transport
While the packaging you choose for your chocolates can do many other things, its first and foremost purpose is to protect your products during transport. That is why many luxury chocolate brands pick rigid boxes, custom chocolate molds to hold everything in place, and special candy pads. This collection of premium options provides all-around protection so that chocolates reach recipients intact.
You do not have to use premium-level packaging to make your products safe. There are ways to do that at every price point, making it possible to safely package any and every type of product no matter what it costs.
The keys to safely shipping your food products are sealing and cushioning. Proper cushioning keeps the product from being damaged. While your product will likely ship in a standard mailing box provided by the carrier, you cannot count on that box to do everything that you need. Make your packaging as effective as you need it to ensure that there won't be problems. The package from the carrier makes sure that your box stays clean and presentable.
To that end, make sure that your packages are appropriately sealed. Food-grade materials can be used to make sealed packaging. Do not forget to include tamper-proof seals and liners so that your customers know that they received everything the way that you packaged it.
Every chocolate shop can benefit from picking the correct type of packaging that fits their packaging style best.
Candy pads provide protection for the tops of chocolates once they are placed in a box. They also help seal them in so that they stay clean. Boxes often are not perfectly sealed unless you put a pad inside. Candy pads can also be customized like a chocolate box. You can print your logo on it.
In some cases, the suitable packaging can even help maintain the appropriate temperature to keep chocolates from melting. Think carefully about which type of packaging you choose since it can have a big impact on how someone receives your chocolates.
Get Customer Feedback
Understanding which changes to make to incorporate customers' needs effectively means that you need to find out what your customers need. The simplest, easiest, fastest, and most effective way is to get customer feedback.
There are many ways to collect that feedback. A few of the fastest ways to do this are:
● Ask return customers directly what they think of your packaging
● Ask prospective customers what they think of your packaging
● Offer rewards for customer feedback from confirmed customers
● A/B test packaging changes based on customer feedback
As you implement changes based on customer feedback, make sure that you maintain the things about your packing that are effective. Making changes that fix one issue while creating another can quickly lead to a cycle of problems that you are trying to solve. As you make improvements, keep these concepts in mind.
Balance Form and Function
In many cases, making a specific change in one aspect of your packaging may mean compromising in another. It becomes a balancing act between making something more in-line with what customers want and the functionality of your packaging.
Allowing your design to focus too much on the form means that it may not perform to the level that is needed. Your packaging could be beautiful, but it can still fail if it does not provide adequate protection for your chocolate.
Alternatively, packaging that works exceptionally well at delivering the product to customers intact may fail to get to customers because its design is so bland that no one notices it. Fortunately, it is possible to balance form and function in ways that can make your packaging successful.
Make Everything Look Good in The End
When you make adjustments based on customers' needs, take the time to make every aspect of the design look good in the end. The decision to buy is primarily based on what people see. No matter how well your product is designed, customers won't try it if it is unsightly. Take time to refine your design so that it looks appealing to customers.
Appealing does not mean that your packaging has to be flashy or fancy. It means that when customers look at it, everything about it seems right.
When people look at products, there can be the sense that something is not quite right in its design. While subtle, the differences in the design can be the difference between a purchase and a pass. It could be in the colors, the shape, or even the way that a box lid lays when shut. Little things can make customers decide to pick something else.
Whatever changes you make to your packaging, go back and refine the design to do what you want while looking right to the customer. This may take several iterations of the packaging to figure out, but it is well worth the investment. Keep going until you run out of things to fix, then test with potential customers. Get samples into their hands and collect any feedback that you can.
Keep Packaging Affordable
There is one more aspect of designing packaging with customers' needs in mind that is also very important to companies: affordability. Creating high-quality packaging does not have to be expensive, but it can be. This cost is passed along to customers, which raises the price of your chocolate.
While investing in higher-quality packaging is a good idea, there are ways to do it that are not expensive. Remember, you need to balance form and function while incorporating customers' needs.
You can do that without creating elaborate packaging. It is often the simple and well-stated choices that have the most significant impact. Plus, keeping your packaging affordable means that you can better control your prices and stay popular with customers.
The Bottom Line
Redesigning the packaging for your chocolate boxes with customers' needs in mind is one of the best ways to grow your customer base and gain an edge over the competition. Give customers what they want, and they'll continue to support your company for years to come. It all starts with the packaging that you choose to give customers the best quality customer experience.