How Cannabis Packaging, Structural Engineering, and Design Increase Sales
What is the best approach to packaging an exciting new product people have never seen on store shelves before?
Companies in the cannabis industry are grappling with this very question.
Despite how new this market is, it is growing rapidly. As more states move to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, a new wave of consumers is using this product for the first time (legally, at least).
Cannabis culture has a long history and no shortage of connotations which companies have to navigate. Stereotypes surrounding marijuana users as “hippies” have been largely cast aside in favor of a very different type of consumer.
In fact, many of our clients in the cannabis space are leaning toward designs more in line with boutique products like cosmetics.
This is due in part to the price of cannabis, and also customer experience. Self-guided purchasing might not necessitate high-end packaging, but cannabis sold in retail spaces where an on-site “cannabis concierge” helps clients find a product suited to their needs will.
Are You Selling a Medicinal or Recreational Product?
One of the first things to consider in deciding how to package your product is whether you’re targeting a medicinal or recreational user.
While you might sell the same strain to both types of clients, you’ll want to channel very different graphical tones for each. If you’re branding for medicinal use, look to pharmaceutical packaging for inspiration. You want people to take your product seriously, not see it as a means to a good time. This is why the most successful dispensaries partner with the best cannabis packaging design companies; as audience targeting and how the product is presented means everything for your bottom line.
“Clinical” is a good term to use. If you’re selling a recreation cannabis product, you can lean into more playful and creative branding to help your brand stand out.
Another thing to consider is the featured benefits of your product.
Take, for example, over-the-counter cold medications like NyQuil and DayQuil. NyQuil is a product that helps you sleep well even when you’re miserably sick, so it comes in a blue-colored package with moons and stars on it. You don’t have to even read the box to know that it will probably help you sleep. It’s the same with DayQuil, which comes in a yellow and orange box that distinguishes it as a non-drowsy formula.
This clear branding is necessary for medicinal markets, where customers are seeking specific experiences. However, even the recreational side of cannabis can draw inspiration from traditional brands like NyQuil.
Cannabis Packaging Branding for Your Newest Customer
While many people have a passing familiarity with cannabis in one form or another, few have encountered it in a traditional consumer environment like a brick-and-mortar store.
It’s a familiar but totally unprecedented experience for most customers, and you should take that into consideration when branding and packaging your products. This emerging market offers an exciting opportunity to communicate functionality through your packaging.
Most people will likely not know there’s more than one strain of cannabis, or that different strains have different effects on the user. Keep that in mind as you evaluate competitors’ branding efforts, especially if they’re operating in a more mature market like California.
In established markets, people have more experience purchasing cannabis for recreational purposes from a retail store. Try to create cannabis packaging that brands your product for your newest users. Look to other companies in the food and wellness industries, such as the beer, coffee, workout supplements, and energy drink industries. These markets have created a brand language that are familiar to your new customers. And if it feels familiar, it’s more likely that new buyers will gravitate to your product over ones that speak a brand language they’ve never encountered before.
Structural Engineering & Scalability for Cannabis Packaging
The cannabis market lends itself to broad differences in production, packaging, and marketing.
As for the substance itself, extracts are becoming as popular as the flower-type of marijuana. Many manufacturers are using packaging to showcase glass vials that highlight the amber colored liquid inside, giving people a clear view of the quality of the item.
Similar to packaging glassware accessories, cannabis packaging primary concerns will be protecting the glass vial with the internal structure of the box, as well as using plastic PET to allow people to see the product. This experience can be further enhances with some sharp looking graphics and finishes.
If you want to do something creative with your packaging, it’s wise to speak to a company that has an experienced structural designer to guide you. There’s no limit to what you can do with enough imagination, but creativity doesn’t always scale.
A good packaging partner will help identify creative avenues for your packaging while keeping scalability in mind. You might want to ship your vial in a battery-powered treasure chest with a miniature light bulb shining light on your gold-tinted extract, but if you have to fulfill 25,000 orders your costs will add up quickly.
Shopping for cannabis products is going to be a new experience for the majority of your future clients. You have an opportunity to make a big impact with your packaging, especially in a space that is presently without a true industry leader,. As the market grows, it’ll be the companies that can position themselves as unique and accessible that will emerge as household names like Coors, Apple, and Nintendo.