Cannabis retailers share the same design challenges as everyone else, but they also have additional constraints due to differences in state-by-state regulations.
Newcomers in the retail industry can learn a lot about what goes into successful cannabis printing packaging from other companies who have come before them.
Knowing what to avoid and where time and costs can be saved, reduces headaches and gives your company an edge over cannabis competitors who may be using a trial-and-error approach to packaging design.
Market research should begin by taking a look at the retail outlet that is going to sell your product. Is it a brick-and-mortar store or an online distributor? Locate your competitors’ products and examine their packaging. How does it look on the shelf? How does it feel in your hands? What kinds of design do they use?
This will give you an idea of whether your concepts for packaging are on par with the rest of the market. While it’s good to stand out, you should take a balanced approach to differentiation. Your product should look like it belongs in the market that you are targeting. Make sure that it isn’t over- or under-packaged, which will detract from its appeal.
The reason this is important is you don’t want to inadvertently turn consumers away because they see your product as either too premium or too cheap compared to other products on the shelf. It’s also important because you don’t want to overspend on packaging design. If you’re selling $15 pre-rolled joints, your packaging shouldn’t cost $5 to make. If everyone else selling $15 pre-rolled joints is using a simple, colorful plastic case that’s inexpensive to produce, there’s a good chance you’ll want to do something similar.
Understanding regulations surrounding cannabis packaging is crucial for business. Regulatory compliance is critical in the cannabis industry, for obvious reasons. Cannabis retailers who do business in multiple states should pay particular attention to how state regulations differ. States have different requirements for packaging and what has to be printed on it.
If you retail cannabis in multiple states, you’d ideally work with an experienced design team to come up with packaging that meets every state’s requirements so you won’t need a different solution for each state.
Since the industry is new and changing rapidly, you should also focus on your growth trajectory. Rapid growth may affect your distribution strategy and could impact decisions about bulk packaging orders and, thus, pricing.
If you need multiple packaging types, such as folding cartons, vials, and rigid boxes, work with a company that can produce all your packaging needs under one roof.
When you start working with multiple vendors, efficiency decreases and the risk for issues with quality control increases.
For example, if you’re working with a single printer, making sure colors match from one product sample to the next is straightforward. If your litho-lam box is a little off in one print run, it can be caught right away and fixed before it ships. But if you’re working with multiple vendors and your design team is one place, your folding cartons are made in a second place, and your rigid boxes are produced in a third place, catching quality errors and fixing them takes longer and could end up costing you more.
You need to know where your product will be sold and what the specific conditions of that environment are. If you sell your goods mainly through e-commerce and online retail, the digital presentation is essential.our packaging design should photograph well and look good onscreen. If you’re selling electronic pens and your marketing strategy involves social media like Instagram, your pen box should pop in pictures. For storefront retail, the packaging itself should be designed with shelving and display constraints in mind. Additionally, it should look and feel good in the buyer’s hands when they pick it up.
A structural engineer can help you hammer out technical details that might not occur to you. There are drop testing standards that glass products should pass, for instance. Liquids will also need special design consideration. Boxes that aren’t purchased from a store will go through extra handling if they ship directly to the customer, so packaging needs to be able to withstand that process.
There’s a lot to consider in cannabis packaging design. Knowing your market, retail environment, and regulations are critical. Working with a structural engineer to create packaging that stands up to your shipping needs and gives you a competitive edge is vital. A vendor who can provide all of this in-house is a great way to ensure quality control and smooth and timely communication.
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