Before a product hits the shelves of a club store like Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s Wholesale Club, it goes through a unique journey. Club stores have specific packaging requirements, and their customers are shopping in a distinct environment. Packaging designers must keep these factors in mind as they prepare to work with club stores. Let’s explore what you need to know about designing club store packaging.
Club Store Packaging Requirements
Most club stores use a no-touch supply chain, in which they virtually eliminate extra handling and stocking for their teams. When your pallet reaches the store, it goes straight to the floor. Once unwrapped, the product is displayed to the customer and ready to be added to a cart.
Club stores often require pre-packaged displays on 48×40 Commonwealth Handling Equipment Pool (CHEP) pallets. If your display calls for it, you may need certain structural components and reinforcements that keep the pallet safe during transit and use.
Unsurprisingly, the clubs have strict packaging requirements. They need to ensure that your pallet doesn’t cause undue work for their team or the automated systems that work like a well-oiled machine. The club store packaging requirements also help provide a safe environment for store employees and customers. For example, your pallet must stay together to avoid falling items. If you can’t meet these requirements, you’ll likely face a chargeback. Usually, these charges are a small percentage of the order, but they can be much higher, depending on the store.
Before you can send in your product, you’ll typically need approval from the store to meet requirements for general packaging, tray design and merchandising guidelines. Working with a packaging expert can help you get approval with minimal problems.
What to Consider When Designing Packaging for Club Stores
If you plan to send your products to club stores, you must prioritize packaging. Leaving it as an afterthought could result in costly chargebacks, poor sales and disappointed customers. It could even affect your standing with the retailer. Packaging for club stores is a unique area of design. Keep these club store packaging tips in mind as you start designing.
1. Make Your Packaging Efficient
Most club store products come in bulk, which makes them a little different from items sold in other retail environments. For example, a standard bottle of hand soap is easy enough to carry, but an extra-large size might need a handle. The handle makes it easier and more appealing to the customer, who can quickly add the soap to their cart without struggling to lift it.
A club store also needs vendors to simplify the pallets with a display that’s easy to unload. A wobbly, thin pile of products, for instance, might topple over and create hazards and inconveniences for employees and shoppers. Instead, you’ll need something that’s sturdy and doesn’t take up more resources than necessary. You may need to reduce unneeded packaging or adjust it for the needs of bulk products.
2. Maximize Your Packaging Space
Since bulk products are bigger, they offer more real estate for marketing your product. You’ll want to maximize that space by adding more images, product information, recipes and other materials. Selling in bulk gives you the unique opportunity to market to customers with more packaging.
Use the extra space to tell a story with packaging designs unique to the club store environments. Unlike other stores, club stores typically only have one or two products in a given category rather than a vast selection. Your job is more about convincing the customer to buy the item than differentiating yourself from the competition. Focus on making the most of your package design for club stores and using the extra space to tell the right story.
3. Make It Durable
From the time it’s loaded onto a pallet to the time the customer uses it, your product goes through many hands. The display must be durable enough to withstand everyday dangers like cart collisions and vibrations during transit. The product packaging itself should also be sturdy. Like other products, it needs to survive the customer’s typical use, transportation, handling and the store environment.
You can’t depend on retailer employees to treat your items with care or fix up a damaged display, so durability is crucial. Keep standard merchandising requirements in mind, and implement any necessary elements to improve the durability of your product.
4. Use Images That Stand Out
Club stores usually have a no-frills approach. With similar-looking pallets lining every aisle, you’ll need to use images and branding to make your product stand out. You must consider various elements, like the display, the layout and even the store’s flood plan, to grab customers’ attention in the most effective way.
For example, you’ll want highly visible primary packaging, which ensures your marketing materials go front and center without detracting from accessibility. If your primary packaging was bland, you might need to ramp up the space available for marketing materials on the display.
Optimize the design of your club store displays with the following ideas:
- Pallet skirts: Many front-of-store pallets for large items are raised up high. You can use high-impact pallet skirts as real estate for big and bold fonts and messages. Grab customers’ attention with exciting visuals and concise information, then share the item’s details on your primary packaging.
- Middle-of-store placement: If your pallet goes in the middle of the store, you’ll need to make sure it looks good from all angles. One popular approach is to ensure your packaging designs look good when stacked together.
- Back-of-store placement: The back of the store isn’t usually as advertising-friendly. You may have less room to share your message, so opt for simple statements and bold imagery that can stand out, especially if the lighting is dim.
Contact Great Northern Packaging to Get Started on Your Club Store Packaging
Meeting a club store’s requirements while standing out in this unique shopping space can be challenging. These retailers often suggest working with packaging design professionals who can help you avoid expensive chargebacks and changes to your process. At Great Northern Packaging, we offer a host of services to get your product ready for club store sales efficiently and cost-effectively.
Our packaging services can help you excel in club stores. We’ll tailor our products to your precise business demands and tackle pain points like structural integrity during transit and eye-catching graphics for the club floor. Reach out to us today to learn more about our extensive club store packaging capabilities!