The correct packaging of a product is vital, yet is all too often not given the consideration it deserves. The debate over how to best present items must look at a variety of aspects. From the materials used to how well it protects the contents, this crucial element is the first thing your customer sees, therefore is wholly responsible for a brand’s first impression.

Whether to use a box, bag or folding carton of any kind will depend on many things. The following are three aspects to fully appraise before deciding on what is the ideal presentation for particular items.

1. Shipping & Display

Whatever you sell, the products will need to be transported to a place of sale and/or to customers. Depending on the fragility, this might demand sturdy boxes or, in the case of unbreakable items, bags that sport a company logo or message.

Whichever is needed, the key to great packaging is that it’s light and compact. This will ensure that maximum amounts can be loaded onto a pallet, therefore lowering the transport cost for each piece.

While both boxes and bags can fit this brief, both have their pros and cons.

While boxes, with their uniform shape, are easy to stack, they may well need additional internal elements to hold the product in place.

Bags, however, can easily be compressed together and take up minimal room – they can even be vacuum packed for even better use of space. Of course, it might still be necessary for these bags to be contained in a larger box for ease of transportation.

You should also consider how the items will be displayed at their destination. Will a bag show the product off in the best light? Or would a box present a better visual display?

2. Presentation & Desirability

Customer perception is crucial to the success of a product or brand. Boxes bring an air of luxury, tempting potential purchasers with the anticipation of the unwrapping experience. While this can, potentially, be replicated with a bagged item, it remains true that we subconsciously associate boxed packaging with higher-end items.  For example, the unboxing videos which are so popular with influencers promoting luxury products.

Removing a purchase from a bag or plastic packaging doesn’t have the same experience as the decadent activity of lifting the lid on a carefully crafted box to reveal the contents within.

3. Sustainability

While we’ve put it at number 3 on the list, this certainly doesn’t mean that this is a less important element. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Today, the sustainability of product packaging is more vital than ever – both to your customers and to your baseline profits.

Customers are more ecologically-minded than ever before. As millennials slide into an era where they have more disposable income and Gen Z move into the workforce, these environmentally-aware generations will penalise a brand that hasn’t considered this. They do this by voting with their purchasing choices, with many actively seeking out brands that utilise packaging that has the least impact on the planet.

Cardboard boxes and foldable cartons are easily more sustainable than bags. Plastic, foil and other materials that are commonly used with bagged packaging are unlikely to be recyclable or compostable – unless they’re made from wholly natural materials or are biodegradable. Boxes, on the other hand, are easily dropped into recycling bins or, if compostable, tossed onto a compost heap to naturally break down.

Taking all of these into consideration, the role of packaging is to protect, transport and display your products. The choice of box or bag will be directly impacted by your target market, level of luxury and brand message. Either way, how to best package your products is something that should be given your utmost consideration.

Cardboard box and folding carton packaging specialist, Crystal Pack, is a leading supplier of quality sustainable packaging to Perth businesses and the wider Australian market. Their packaging solutions encompass every aspect, from design through to delivery, with a friendly team who work with you to understand your marketing and packaging needs.