Optimizing Packaging for Major Retailers for Hardware Startups

Major retailers such as Amazon and Brookstone are leading the way when it comes to sales of hardware products and a range of other consumer goods, and if you can get your products onto their shelves or e-commerce site, they can provide a great way to potentially capture customer demand and boost your revenue.  can bet it will result in a massive boost in revenue. However, if you hope to not only get onto those shelves or e-commerce site but also perform well when you get there, it’s critical you design your product and its packaging in a particular way.

Big box stores need to shift huge numbers of products, and as such, they have taken lengths to optimize their own workflow. Thus they tend to prefer products that are retail-ready in terms of their presentation. For you as the hardware startup, that means supplying displays to contain smaller units for instance, or ensuring that thinner packages have feet to help them stand up.

Meanwhile, you still also need to think about your own objectives and how your packaging is going to reflect your brand and help to encourage sales. Here are just a few things you can do to meet both these goals, and better optimize your packaging for big box retailers.

Think About the Needs of the Store

The goal for your packaging is to be as shelf ready as possible, so that it can reduce the amount of labor involved for the store managers. This might even mean making more than one side of your box the front, so that it doesn’t matter if the items get rotated. Speak with the specific retailer if possible, and learn from them what they need and what has worked in the past.

Consider Durability

Optimizing Packaging for Big Box StoresWhat’s also very important is considering the durability of your packaging. Of course if your package is damaged then this can hurt sales, and that means you need to design something rugged enough to survive getting a bit thrown about and man-handled. An example of this is perforations – too much perforation can result in parts of your packaging tearing off. And consider too, the packaging equipment that is going to be picking up and placing your item; the store in question will be able to explain if they’re using, say, a forklift or simply manual lifting.

Know Your Key Message

FitbitAlso important, is to reduce the quantity of materials in your packaging. This will not only help you to reduce overheads, but it will also help you to take up less space on the shelf. In doing this, you mustn’t reduce the impact that your product has on the shopper.

That means, you need to choose one key message that will help your product sell, and then put that front and center to ensure it leaps out at people as they pass through the aisle. In other words, you need to be efficient in your use of materials but you also need to be efficient in your use of communication.


Invest in your packaging and put in the required time, money and research to create something that works. This might mean investing in ISTA Certification, or it might mean doing field tests with your packaging. And if something isn’t working for you – change it!


Optimizing Packaging for Big Box StoresYou ever notice when you buy a product and it takes some effort to unpackage the goods? This is for a reason as most major retailers want the packaging to be reasonably theft proof. If your product is one that is easily stolen you could see your inventory shipped back to you which leads to huge problems on your end. The takeaways here is to make sure to design security concerns into your products.

Keep the Consumer in Mind

At the same time though, always keep your consumer in mind. At the end of the day, they’re still the ones you need to keep happy, and packaging can actually do a lot to sweeten or sour their first impressions of your product. For all you Apple fans you all remember what it’s like to have opened up that iPhone packaging. It’s simple and sleak. The key takeaway is don’t make compromises that are going to hurt the customer experience but also do remember that there are expectations you need to consider between the consumer and your retailer. That means maybe avoiding obnoxious stickers but keeping that anti-theft packaging design that makes the package difficult to get into.


Overall then, your objectives are simple: to ensure that your packaging looks great on the shelf and encourages sales, but also fits into the workflow of the store managers. While it might seem frustrating having to compromise with your use of materials or the shape of your packages, remember that making life easier for the big box stores means your product will be less likely to end up face down and trampled. Spending a little more time here will ultimately improve your sales and benefit everyone.

What have your experiences with big box stores been like? Do they have any common requirements or expectations? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below and subscribe to the blog if you want more tips and tricks to help your products sell!

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