Why your brand needs retail-ready packaging
Lean manufacturing practices shouldn’t end when your brand’s products ship. Creating a more efficient experience for retailers and consumers is important, too. Retail-ready packaging (RRP), or shelf-ready packaging, will help ensure that products quickly make their way from the back of the store to prime locations that catch the shopper’s eye.
RRP involves secondary packaging designed with additional functionality that makes merchandise ready to sell when it reaches the store. The strategy makes things simpler for everyone, from stockers to shoppers. To make packaging retail-ready, you must follow standard requirements known as the “five easies.”
1 EASY TO IDENTIFY
Packaging is clearly identifiable in storage and on the shelf.
This first step helps avoid lost time searching for merchandise in the back of the store. Plus, RRP should be designed in such a way that, when it is in front of consumers, it is eye-catching and branded so shoppers are more likely to notice it. This also makes re-stocking of shelves more efficient as workers can easily spot where products are located.
2 EASY TO OPEN
Packaging makes the process of getting products into the store and onto the shelf simple and safe.
Perforated packaging allowing a worker to open boxes without the use of a knife reduces the chance of accidental injury. The ability to lift a box’s top off to reveal a retail-ready or shelf-ready display increases speed-to-market while reducing labor for the retailer. “Easy to open” means it’s also easier to replenish product and keep it in stock.
3 EASY TO STOCK
Packaging reduces the time needed to place product on shelves or set it up in store.
It takes much more time and labor for an employee to place products on a shelf one by one than it does to simply slide in a tray designed to hold products in an organized manner. RRP also can involve merchandising display units that can be assembled quickly. While this improves efficiency for retailers, it also means brands can expect stores to prioritize their displays, which means getting merchandise in front of consumers sooner. For shoppers, it means less of a chance they’ll come across store employees stocking items and blocking access to products.
4 EASY TO SHOP
Packaging is designed in a user-friendly way to enhance the shopping experience.
If your shelf-ready packaging and retail displays end up frustrating the consumer, product won’t move as quickly and you could lose the value of other benefits. Making RRP “easy to shop” means designing packaging that’s not only attractive and easy to locate, but functional. It should never be difficult to remove products or replace them if unwanted. Otherwise, merchandise will be strewn about and mis-shelved, which would negate the advantages of RRP.
5 EASY TO DISPOSE
Packaging and displays can quickly be removed and dismantled.
When it’s time for RRP to be recycled or for a display to go back into storage, the process should be simple. Ideally, it should only take one person to get the job done. Retail displays intended for reuse should be foldable and save space. Avoid forcing workers to tear packaging as part of the disposal process. In addition, try to minimize the amount of material to limit adverse environmentally impacts.
Retail-ready packaging can help retailers see your brand in a positive light as you reduce labor costs and free up employees to serve customers. When executed correctly, appropriate packaging and retail displays also will boost sales. Research shows RRP increases impulse purchases. Plus, it improves product availability, thanks to the ease of replenishment.
It’s no secret that Walmart sets the pace for trends in CPG packaging. The retail giant is emphasizing RRP, developing its own set of guidelines. As more major retailers come to expect and demand retail-ready packaging and displays, if you’re not focusing on the five easies, it’s time to start.
Kerry Bailey is director of retail for Menasha, a retail-focused pack- aging and merchandising solutions provider. Menasha is Shop! edu- cation sponsor, providing educational content for brand marketers.