Packaging 101: The Complete Guide

Meet Kyla Moore, the dynamic project coordinator at Arka, who is driven by her passion for sustainable packaging. She is dedicated to assisting businesses.

What is Retail Packaging? Key Advantages and Challenges

So, what does retail packaging mean? The retail packaging meaning can’t be properly explained if we do not highlight the main advantages people can get. However, investing in this powerful business tool also comes with certain disadvantages. That’s why we would like to highlight them both and let you determine on your own whether retail packing is worth it.

The biggest advantages of retail packaging are:

Product protection: transporting goods from one location to another is always a risky process for product quality. At every moment, the items you sell can get damaged. That’s why they need to have appropriate protection. Retail packages must be strong and durable. In other words, they need to be made of strong materials!

Environmental impact: entrepreneurs have the task of showing empathy! The retail packaging meaning is even stronger if your packages are made of sustainable materials! Arka can help you with this because we are a FSC-certified packaging supplier with many years of experience!

• Improvement of reputation: the good news is that most people will appreciate your effort to work with sustainable retail packages. That is the best way to improve your reputation among consumers.

Consumer attraction: with the right packaging and branding experts like Arka, you can easily make your packages more attractive. That will ensure better brand recognition in the market.

Better communication with consumers: retail packaging is where you can highlight all the important information about the product and your brand. It is a great communication tool that can grab the attention of the people. With the appropriate design, the results are going to be much better.

Functionality: the appropriate choice will ensure you a much better packaging functionality. People do not like products that are hard to handle. These are not the types of packaging that can ensure a lovely and comfy unboxing experience.

retail packaging

Credits: Serhii Shakh, Kima

All these benefits are great, aren’t they? Yet, if you want to understand the retail packages fully, you need to be aware of potential challenges. Here are some of them:

Cost consideration: stronger and more eye-appealing packages can sometimes cost you more. They will provide the above benefits, but your profit margins will decrease. The good news is that Arka can help you with this! Our prices are fair, but you can even get a better price for larger orders.

Regulatory compliance: all the retail packages your business uses must comply with laws and regulations. Not respecting the rules may result in some huge penalties.

Logistics and supply chain: ordering packages, designing them, and transporting them from one location to another…are all tasks where certain issues can arise. Surround yourself with a good team that will know how to handle every process regarding retail packaging.

• Increased brand value: unlike regular packaging, custom retail packaging creates a better customer experience. It can increase the value of your product and boost brand awareness. Plain packaging falls short of customer expectations these days. These days, they want unique and customized products over generic and plain-looking packaging.

8 Types of Retail Packaging Materials

Choosing the right type of retail packaging isn’t as easy as it seems. The reason for that is the challenges that we highlighted above. That’s why we would like to highlight 5 amazing types of retail packaging materials that you should focus on.

Custom Retail Boxes

Custom retail boxes add an exciting element to your product, on the shelf or at the delivery point. It allows businesses to turn functional packaging into a valuable marketing tool.

Using well-designed custom retail boxes gives buyers the feel of receiving a gift. Even when they buy the item for another person, the cycle of gifting continues.

These boxes are also good for items that need protection against damage. Some of these items are glass bottles, candy, candles, etc.

The quality of custom retail boxes reflects on the products inside. Also, their durability makes it hard to throw them away.

Many customers prefer to reuse these boxes to store items at home. If you print your logo on it, your customers get a reminder every time they see the box.

Paperboard Boxes

Paperboard boxes are the most common type of packaging material for most eCommerce stores. It is perfect for small and fragile items that are usually not exposed to any form of harsh environment. This retail packaging type is sustainable because it is usually made of recycled cardboard, kraft paper, and typical paper.

Paperboard Boxes for retail

Credits: Derrick Lin

Eco-Friendly Materials

Eco-friendly materials are gaining massive popularity within the retail packaging industry. Some of the most popular options are cotton, hemp, and bamboo. All these materials are biodegradable and compostable, making them harmless to the environment. Also, all these materials are easily customizable.

You can change their shape, choose between various designs, put your company’s logo, etc. With Arka, all these processes can be done smoothly. Our expertise in the packaging and branding industry is huge, and we are ready to turn all your ideas into reality!

custom retail boxes by Arka

Foil-Sealed Bags

This type of retail packaging provides an amazing air-sealed barrier that can protect products from any environmental impact. That makes them a good choice for all items vulnerable to moisture, heat, and even UV radiation. The reason why they are so strong is their structure. They are usually made of high-density polyethylene.

foil sealed bags

Credits: Bell’s Reines

Custom Retail Bags with Logo

After shopping, customers often expect the brand interaction to end. Custom retail bags are packaging materials you can use to continue the interaction.

Some types of custom retail bags are paper gift bags, cloth totes, and plastic carry-on bags. These bags give customers the option to reuse and repurpose.

With your brand logo printed on it, it is hard for them to forget your brand in a hurry. Customers like the idea of a good bargain, getting two for the price of one.

Using custom retail bags sells them the idea of saving money.

Branded Folding Carton Boxes

Folding carton boxes are paperboard containers designed to offer light protection against damage. In transit, storage, and display, goods may encounter scratches and scuffs.

These folding cartons are better suited for items like candles, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. They are also lightweight, which is a feature that makes them so popular.

You can print your logo inside and outside the package to draw attention. Also, you can print usage instructions, ingredients, and creative messages on the carton.

Doing this will give you packaging some functional purpose. You can make your branded folding cartons in different materials.

Some of the popular styles are the straight tuck, reverse tuck, and automatic bottom. Play around with options and decide what works best for your products.

Rigid Boxes

Rigid boxes can be a great option if you are in the food, medical supply, or electronic industry. They are always made of different sturdy materials like plastics, metals, and heavy-duty cardboard. Thanks to their durability and structure, they provide an extremely strong layer of protection for all the mentioned products. Rigid boxes are also a great choice if you want to customize your packages and make them unique. They are one of the most customizable retail packaging options.

corrugated boxes by Amazon

Credits: Anirudh

Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated boxes are an ideal choice if you are working with heavy items. They have multiple layers of protection, ensuring amazing strength and resistance to all sorts of troubles that could appear. They are a perfect option for automotive parts, appliances, furniture, and similar stuff.

corrugated boxes

Credits: CURVD®

Creating Effective Retail Packaging: 4 Tips

All the mentioned benefits highlighted above will be available to you if you put into consideration some important factors. These factors are:

Creating a memorable unboxing experience: the unboxing experience is a powerful marketing tool. Investing in this factor will make buyers feel special when opening your package. There is a big chance they will post it on social media, a free word-of-mouth marketing tool. Also, they would want to provide the same feeling to someone they love, which can make your brand the number one choice for gifts.

Creating visual impact: the packaging design is crucial because it sends a message and ensures the improvement of brand awareness and uniqueness. Properly analyze the expectations and tastes of your target audience. Also, analyze successful competitors that have already done such research. Don’t copy/paste the design; just get inspired by creative packaging ideas and upgrade yours, always striving to make it unique.

retail packaging

Credits: Prime Studio

Collaborate with professionals: Arka is a packaging and branding manufacturer with years of experience in the packaging industry. Thanks to our knowledge and equipment, we can turn all our client's ideas into reality. You can check our custom retail boxes and shipping boxes that help brands level up their business and create an unforgettable unboxing experience for customers.

Add QR Code: using modern information-sharing methods with consumers will always pay off. There is sometimes not enough space to say everything you want. Plus, a lot of textual content on the packaging may ruin the overall look of the package. That’s why QR codes can be quite a useful tool!

Choose the Right Colors: colors play a huge role in how your packaging looks. It also determines the emotions your customers will feel from looking at it. Many buyers make buying decisions based on packaging colors. So, you must understand color psychology and what every color represents.

3 Successful Retail Packaging Examples

If previous explanations didn’t make clear the meaning of retail packaging, then real-life examples certainly will. The three most popular retail companies have invested a lot of effort in developing amazing retail packages. Read more about them!

Apple Inc.

It is a well-known fact how powerful the retail packaging Apple has. The reason for that is the elegancy of packaging as well as minimalist design. These two criteria are something all businesses should strive to reach regarding retail packaging design.

apple product retail packaging

Credits: Julian O'hayon


Experts from Coca-Cola analyzed the effect of colors on the consumer’s emotions. They intended to make Coca-Cola a synonym for joy, nostalgia, and happiness. That’s why their packages are all red! Colors are something you should carefully analyze.

coca cola packaging

Credits: James Yarema

Tiffany & Co.

This brand invested much money, time, and effort in designing the retail packaging. Their packages are in blue color and white ribbon. Their purpose was to represent their products as luxurious, sophisticated, and elegant. It seems that they managed to achieve their goal.

tiffany retail pakaging

Credits: Behance, Heaz

Final Thoughts

We are pretty sure that you now perfectly understand the retail packaging meaning. It can easily boost your brand identity and the product's value and promote your brand. Determine what you want to achieve with the packaging changes and apply the tips we shared to achieve those goals.

At Arka, we have packaging solutions for any niche; you can check our custom food boxes or cosmetic boxes. Contact us for any packaging and branding assistance if you get stuck at some point!

FAQs on Retail Packaging

What’s the difference between retail and bulk packaging?

To make it simple, retail packaging is dedicated to individual products. Its purpose is to attract customers, boost the brand’s value, and improve brand awareness. On the other hand, bulk packaging is designed to accommodate larger quantities suitable for businesses or consumers looking to purchase in larger volumes at a discounted price.

OEM vs. Retail Packaging: What’s the Difference?

Retail packaging usually comes with a user guide and other important facts. On the other hand, OEM packages do not come with such additions.

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