Push Your Packaging Down the Supply Chain
Responding to Different Promotional Packaging Needs – Without Breaking the Bank!
One of the challenges of the supply chain in today’s retail environment is packaging customization. The wide variety of retail outlets has led to a need for a wide variety of product packaging and promotional displays. Those who have product that can be sold through club stores, warehouse stores, big-box retailers and specialty shops alike are faced with the unusual challenge of packaging and configuring their product to each specific retailers’ needs. To add to this complexity, packaging might be seasonal or promotional with a specific time-frame.
“Often your warehouse or distribution facility is the best place for final assembly of product in a point-of-sale display.”
The cheapest and most obvious solution, have product configured in its promotional packaging and retailing display when it is manufactured, is mostly impractical. Endless variations of promotional packaging, coupled with retailers pushing shorter and shorter delivery times make it nearly impossible to predict and manufacture to every specification, especially if you are manufacturing overseas with significant lead times. You have to remain flexible. The best solution is to push your packaging down the supply chain to the last leg – your distribution center or warehouse.
Common promotional packaging:
Point-of-sale (POS) or point-of-purchase (POP) displays which are usually placed in close proximity to products’ shelf location within a shopping environment are used to encourage customer interest in products or special promotions. They are the most common type of product display used by big-box retailers such as Wal*Mart, Target and Home Depot as well as regional chain stores.
Counter displays are a smaller version of a point-of-purchase display specifically configured to be placed on a countertop, often near a register. Counter displays are common in all retailing environments but are particularly successful in specialty shops and drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS.
Club stores like Costco, Sam’s Club and Price Club often bundle products or market products in variety packs. These club packs may include unique configurations to accommodate unusually shaped and complex items like toiletries, travel kits, picnic sets and toys.
Another popular configuration for club stores, as well as warehouse stores such as Lowes and Home Depot, are attractive pallet displays. Product is shipped to a store in a particular pallet configuration and, upon store arrival, can be easily unwrapped to serve as quick-access displays.
Most third party warehouses and fulfillment centers offer value-added services such as packaging, kitting and assembly. This is because in many cases, the decision on final product configuration cannot be made until right before delivery to the retailer. If your selling to Wal*Mart, Target, Lowes and Home Depot, often you will face the challenge of needing to deliver the product in four different promotional packaging configurations. Companies have learned by experience – often through expensive repackaging projects, not to try and anticipate the demands of the retailer but to remain flexible and respond to those demands. Keeping product in its simplest form at the warehouse allows companies to package, kit and assemble to the exact specifications and quantities of each retailer’s requirement, and do so with shorter lead times. Pushing packaging down the supply chain allows quick response to different promotional packaging without breaking the bank!