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 The Difference Is Clear

You Can Judge a Product by Its Package
By Mr CM Yeung/Managing Director, The Hip Lik Group

That old saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” warns that an attractive façade may entice an unsuspecting reader into the purchase of a boring book. But you may not realize that when it comes to product marketing, consumers, retailers and manufacturers increasingly believe that you can – and consumers actually do – judge a product by its ‘cover’, in this case, its external packaging. I’d like to share with you why clear plastic packaging offers the most lucid argument that this all-important consumer verdict will be in your product’s favour.

At the outset, everyone selling in the consumer channels should understand the challenges of today’s economy. A recent Unilever Trip Management Report states that “an overwhelming… 79 percent worry about rising personal-care product prices. If you are a retailer or producer of accessory items and discretionary purchases you may likely feel consumer anxiety even more. 


                                              To Buy or Not to Buy

The more glamourous facets of branding such as advertisements and billboards have likely been the previous focus of your marketing efforts. But during a recent visit to Olympia Beauty, I noticed an unprecedented emphasis by retailers and producers on packaging strategies to match the singular challenge that they now face. Why is this so?

Plain and simple, more and more marketers are realising that the package is a dominant influence in shaping the consumer’s moment of truth – when he or she makes that all-important judgment: to buy or not to buy, as Shakespeare might have put it if he were a marketer. Attractive as well as functional packaging creates the initial and the lasting connection between the product and the consumer. What I thought was interesting was the proportion of cosmetics that were housed within attractive clear plastic packages.

For starters, the flexibility of clear plastic packaging enhanced by soft creasing for a longer as well as stronger crease enables attractive designs that can catch the consumer’s attention on the shelf. A good example is cosmetics targeted at a more sophisticated and contemporary female market segment. I noticed a number of clear packages fashioned in bolder non-traditional geometries as well as the more traditional quadrangular forms.


                 Good Things Come in Clear Packages

Now let’s look more closely. Beneath the attractive cover, plastic’s transparency renders convenient a closer inspection of the product, both inspiring consumer confidence and providing the marketer the means to showcase cosmetics to discriminating consumers. Renowned brands and lesser-known names were using grade A PET packaging. On the surface, of it, PET’s strength including higher barrier characteristics, as well as scratch- and watermark-resistant properties reinforce the notion of quality. In reality, clear plastic packaging lets the appeal of elegant cosmetic containers and the attraction of beauty products shine through.

And for branding strategy, the design flexibility and decoration possibilities of clear plastic packaging can create a striking visual identity for a well-established or new brand. This was brought home by a variety of printing options such as vivid offset, colour and silk screen printing portraying a plethora of symbols of femininity. On some of the products, a graphic recalled a TV advertisement or a celebrity endorsement.

For some of the newer names, a tastefully printed, embossed logo or hot stamped logo delivered a stronger brand identification. Certainly a number of attendees stopped to take a closer look. Furthermore, the ability of plastic to retain this identification across a family range of different package sizes was taken advantage of by a number of brands, even for same-brand packages containing different cosmetics. The cosmetic products themselves for new and old brands alike were framed by key messages and as well as brand promise and character traits crisply printed directly on the plastic package.

While many of the packages succeeded in radiating an aura of elegance, the surprising thing was that in many instances the actual cost belies the svelte forms. One reason is that clear plastic packages can then be delivered flat for assembly to save transportation charges. And an auto-lock bottom carton automatically unfolding itself and locking the carton in a ready-to-pack condition by applying pressure to opposite folded edges saves labour in assembly and packing.

For personalized products, packaging has become an increasingly important element in an emotional yet thoughtful consumer purchase decision. Clear plastic packaging may offer the clearest evidence to entice consumers to make the judgment in your favour.

The importance of the transparency plastic box 
Using plastic boxes is to let “consumers directly see the beautiful products”; thus, transparency of plastic boxes is very important. The plastic box is just like the face of the product. If the surface is clear with a high transparency, then the beautiful product can be seen by consumer at the first sight and rouse their attention and buying desire accordingly. Finally, the goal to “enhance sales volume” can be realized.

The Grade A Folding Box Pieces we use have a high transparency. Plastic pieces used by other manufacturers are mostly "poor-quality” domestic blister pieces with low transparency, which definitely fail to demonstrate the advantage of transparency of plastic boxes.

Studies show that 5% of poor-quality pieces are due to their low transparency.

PP – polypropylene More
flexible than PVC and PET, PP is suitable for file folders. PP supports single creasing and Smart Krease but not soft crease. PP has a low density. So, if using the same weight of material, boxes made in PP have thicker sides, and thus can bear heavier products. But the transparency of PP is not very good.

PET – polyester 
PET is a kind of environmentally friendly material used as a substitute for PVC. It is popular in plastic packaging especially in Europe and Japan. PET supports soft crease. It has a close similarity to PVC in physical properties but has less "crystal grains".        

           APET: commonly used for die cut plastic products, folding boxes and etc.            
           PETG: commonly used for tubes.

a.Offset printing:
Offset printing is a printing technique which is based on the repulsion of oil and water. The technique employs an image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink while the non-printing area attracts a film of water, keeping it ink-free. Then with pressure applied, the inked image is transferred from the plate to the printing surface.

b.Silkscreen printing:
Silkscreen printing, also know as screen-printing, is a printmaking technique in which an image is imposed on a screen, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance, and ink is forced through the areas of the screen without the coat onto the printing surface (plastic sheets).

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