With the holiday season fast approaching, now is a great time for brands to invest in a new look. Seasonal packaging is a fantastic tool to give your brand some extra relevance for this time of year. When competition is high, a festive revamp really can make all the difference to your marketing efforts!
It is a myth that seasonal packaging for small businesses simply isn't accessible. Low MOQs for custom packaging allow businesses of every size to create a holiday packaging design that turns heads.
Christmas also isn't the only time of year where seasonal packaging is useful. Depending on your brand, smaller holidays throughout the year might have greater relevance.
So, what is the key to a successful packaging refresh, and how do you know which holiday season is right for your business? Our guide to seasonal packaging for small businesses is here to help!
What are the Benefits of Seasonal Packaging For Small Businesses?
Consumers are overwhelmed by choice when it comes to brands and products. This intensifies even more during the holiday season. We simply don’t have the means or the time to compare every option that’s out there. So, we have to rely on a series of shortcuts. The most important of these is our visual perception - whether we find a product attractive to look at.
According to Nielsen, 60% of consumer decision-making happens at the shelf. This is why product packaging design is such an important tool for brand storytelling. Packaging catches our attention, and aids in our split-second decision-making.
There is no better time than the holiday season to make this work to your brand’s advantage. For most businesses, seasonal events are crucial to attracting new customers. They are also a major source of revenue. In 2018 alone, holiday sales amounted to $719 billion dollars in the United States. When there is intense competition to tap into this goldmine, you need to get creative.
During the holidays, consumers are primed to search out ‘appropriate’ products for gifting. This makes a seasonal packaging design a major asset. It makes your brand relevant in consumer's minds, and creates a sense of exclusivity. Most of all, it promises a unique and memorable unboxing experience, which is a massive drawcard during the holiday season!
Top 5 Tips for Successful Seasonal Packaging:
1. Take Advantage of Low MOQs For Custom Packaging
Multinational brands are shifting huge volumes of product over the holiday season. But sourcing seasonal packaging for small businesses is a different ballgame.
For one, your needs are going to be more modest. And because your packaging design is temporary, the last thing you want is to be left with excess stock you can’t use for another year. To avoid this, you need to seek out a supplier who can fulfill a low MOQ.
noissue’s MOQ for custom tissue paper and custom stickers starts out at just 250 units, and at 5 rolls for our custom packaging tape. We make it easy for every size of business to source the order size that matches their needs.
Your packaging needs will depend on your order volumes and which holiday you are celebrating. For a smaller holiday, such as Valentine’s Day, your packaging design will likely be in use for no longer than two weeks prior. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, the window of usage is longer, around six weeks.
But if your seasonal packaging design is celebrating an actual season i.e. the summer, you’re looking at a usage period which is in months rather than weeks. It’s important that you consider this carefully to avoid running out of supplies early, or having excess left over.
2. Seasonal Packaging On a Budget
You don’t need a complete packaging revamp to commemorate certain holidays and events. If commissioning new boxes or wrapping paper is not cost effective, investing in other packaging accessories will still allow you to channel the holiday spirit.
Custom stickers with a seasonal motif are a low-cost way to jazz up a minimalist holiday packaging design. Likewise, custom packaging tape can be used to decorate the interior and exterior of your packages for some holiday cheer.
This is a particularly good tactic for holiday seasons that you may want to commemorate on a smaller scale. For example, investing in some heart-patterned packing tape for Valentine’s Day hardly breaks the bank, and will give your products a lovely seasonal touch!
3. Reflect Your Brand Aesthetic
If we look at some of the biggest seasonal packaging ‘fails’ in recent years, there’s a consistent theme that emerges. Brands, in an attempt to do something different, ended up straying too far from the style that their customers associate them with. The result? Lost sales and packaging waste!
When Coca-Cola rebranded its cans silver for the 2011 Christmas season, customers got this seasonal redesign mixed up with Diet Coke. Due to customer complaints, they pulled the design two months early.
In 2015, Starbucks also faced a backlash when they unveiled their limited edition holiday cup. The plain red was an effort at channelling the ‘minimalist’ packaging trend. However, it was criticized as ‘boring’ and ‘too secular’ by disappointed customers, as it differed from the more traditional Christmas designs they had created in the past.
So, why did this happen? Because both companies failed to take into account that consumers feel a strong sense of ownership over the brands they support. When people have come to expect a particular aesthetic from your brand, too dramatic a change can create confusion and frustration.
Brand recognition is a vital tool during the holidays to give you an edge over the competition. You don’t want to give this up! When you invest in seasonal packaging, it’s important to retain a sense of familiarity through details such as your logo or color palette.
4. Include Local Imagery Where Appropriate
Big brands need to be global in their appeal. As a result, their seasonal designs tend to be quite generic. Small businesses have a massive advantage in this area - you can tailor your design to a more specific audience! Channeling regional imagery says that you are a ‘local’ brand, which makes you more trustworthy to consumers.
The New Zealand biscuit company Cookie Time capitalized on this through the seasonal packaging of their cookie buckets. Their design features the pohutukawa, a native New Zealand tree which flowers during December, and so is known as an alternative Christmas tree.
Because Christmas takes place in the summer in New Zealand, winter imagery would not resonate with customers’ perception of the holidays. By channeling a ‘local’ experience of the holiday season, you can make your product feel much more relevant to consumers.
5. Think About Sustainability
In a nutshell, holiday packaging is responsible for a lot of waste. In fact, the United States produces a shocking 5 million tons of extra waste over the holiday period. So, it's important to make your seasonal packaging as low-impact as possible.
Not only is this a sign of a responsible business - your customers will really thank you for it. In an era of increasingly conscious consumers, packaging has become one of the biggest indicators of whether a brand is environmentally friendly. According to Dotcom Distribution’s 2019 study, 62% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands using sustainable packaging materials. This rises to 74% amongst 18-29 year-olds, one of the biggest consumer markets.
For more about environmentally-friendly packaging solutions, check out our guide!
Which Holiday Season Is Right For My Business?
With so many holidays in the calendar, it’s unlikely that your brand will be celebrating all of them. When it comes to seasonal packaging for small businesses, it’s quality and not quantity that counts. Constantly switching up your design for every holiday season runs the risk of losing its impact. So, it’s important to be selective, and to choose holidays that fit well with your brand identity and product offerings.
As the first major holiday after Christmas, it's quite refreshing for consumers to see a different color palette. Those shades of red and pink will spark instant recognition in your customers! However, it’s very easy to get lost in the crowd. So, it’s important to find innovative ways of making your brand’s personality shine through in your design.
This custom tissue design by our customer Have A Nice Day captures the romantic feel of the holiday with its vibrant pink hue. The hand-drawn illustrations allow the brand to stay true to its quirky and fun aesthetic.
Industries well-suited to this holiday: We all know that florists and confectionary brands make a killing on Valentine’s Day. However, they aren’t the only ones that Valentine’s Day packaging works well for.
Any brand who sells gift merchandise can leverage this tradition of buying for significant others. It’s really worth curating a ‘Gifts for Him/Her’ out of your existing product range to complement your packaging design!
Halloween ushers in a takeover of ghosts and spiders on product packaging, especially kids apparel. But we are starting to see some more nuanced approaches to this holiday which cater to a more mature market.
This excellent design by 1820 House combines both Fall/Autumn and Halloween imagery. This creates seasonal packaging with a much longer window of use. The foliage with anatomical elements gives the design a spooky twist, creating a classy, understated approach to the holiday.
Industries well-suited to this holiday: Although Halloween is a more niche holiday season, it’s not only brands selling candy or costumes that can benefit. Leveraging broader seasonal trends, as 1820 House has done, means that you aren’t bound strictly to a 'spooky' theme.
Lifestyle industries, such as beauty and home decor, can channel a more sophisticated approach to Halloween by making Fall/Autumn the centerpiece of their packaging.
Naturally, we can’t miss this time of year off the list! Christmas is by far the most popular time to invest in seasonal packaging. In terms of design, this is the time to go all-out. People expect to be wowed by festive packaging, and this is critical to a great unboxing experience.
To exceed expectations, consider something a little outside the traditional Christmas imagery. This is what will make your brand memorable to consumers, rather than a classic Santa Claus motif.
This minimalist tissue design by der kleine salon doesn’t use a Christmas color palette, but still has a festive feel that makes it very eye-catching. Their festive greetings inserts are also a great personal touch!
Industries well-suited to this holiday: All of them!
The (Actual) Seasons
It’s easy to overlook that the traditional seasons, as opposed to holiday seasons, offer a lot of packaging inspiration. This is some of the most cost-effective seasonal packaging for small businesses, as these designs have the longest window of use.
Consider imagery that is clearly associated with a particular season and in tune with your brand identity. This leaf print design by Temple and Co, for example, evokes both Spring and its natural beauty product offerings.
Industries well-suited to this holiday: Those with seasonal product selections can make the most out of this packaging design. Fashion brands, for example, traditionally have collections which change with the seasons.
However, it’s also a great option for more modern eCommerce industries. Product presentation is incredibly important to subscription box services, where there is a strong emphasis on the customer experience. Putting a seasonal twist on your presentation is a great way to keep your offering fresh and exciting!
The Wrap Up:
To sum up, seasonal packaging is a brilliant marketing strategy. It helps your business to increase sales and stay relevant during periods of high competition.
The secret to successful seasonal packaging for small businesses is taking advantage of low MOQs, and choosing holiday events which resonate with your brand’s offerings. This makes it easier to create unique holiday design that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Most importantly, seasonal packaging helps you to better engage with the consumer and build brand loyalty that outlasts the holiday season. In short, it sets you up for a successful New Year - and beyond!
For more on seasonal packaging, check out our top holiday packaging design trends for the 2019 season!