A glimpse at producing and marketing club store items.
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Club store packaging faces different challenges than traditional packaging for
grocery stores. Consumers analyze items for a shorter period of time in a club
store and rely more on imagery to capture their attention. Packagers must
realize these differences and fine tune the package and display for bulk
According to Dana Terrill, creative director forLC Marketing(www.lcmarket.com),
“The average club store customer makes a decision whether or not to buy your
product in four seconds from six feet away. Does your product tell your story
from a distance? The customer is not going to turn over the carton to try to
figure out what your product is; he or she will move on to the next one. You
just lost your opportunity.”
So how do you make the most of the small opportunity you’re given? The package
itself is not the only thing that consumers see at club stores, design elements
must carry on to the tray and sometimes display, too.
Terrill adds, “The club store environment gives you additional components that
need to be designed and thought through. Warehouse clubs do not have
traditional shelving displays. You must design the packaging as well as the
outer case, tray, or skirt. This acts as your billboard. The warehouse clubs
sell most of their items in full pallet displays, usually in a tray or carton.
Most trays have a standard three-inch lip, so make sure the graphics are
centered in the part of the box that is not taken off. Every product in the
aisle is fighting for the same customer to buy their product. It is important
to keep in mind, the warehouse clubs do not sell lines, they sell items. Each
item has to stand on its own. Packaging can be a key component to a new product
succeeding or failing.”
With club store packaging, packages have more real estate to convey the
message. And a powerful way to do that is with imagery.
The package design for Wells Enterprises, Inc.’s 22-pack of Weight
frozen ice cream treats, fromGreat Northern Corp. (www.greatnortherncorp.com),
earned top honors and a Gold award at the annualPaperboard Packaging Council’s
fall meeting by doing just that.
The StrataGraph® brand of laminated paperboard product used in the ice
package and tray combo feature matching graphic elements on both
creating seamless graphic elements and providing the product with
in-store differentiation. The tray’s low wall allows for more product
visibility and product attainability, creating the highly visible image
tempting ice cream.
A customized formula of high-gloss, low-slip UV coating was developed
enhance the visual impact of the package and keep unitized products
pallets throughout the supply chain. Great Northern’s laminated
strong moisture holdout properties and freezer-grade glues, provides
performance in freezer conditions and a sustainable solution with the
elimination of master packaging.
Sustainability in big item packaging
According to Costco’s 2011 annual report, sustainability is a very hot
club stores, so much so that the store, working with vendors, is
eliminate all polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic in its packaging and
replace it with recycled or recyclable materials.
Costco is working toward greener pastures as it switches from rigid
resealable pouches and bags, as in some of the store’s snacks and
items, which in turn has allowed for an increase in items per pallet,
in fewer delivery trucks on the road.
BJ’s Wholesale is also swapping out containers and opting for flexible
packaging for its Berkley & Jensen 100% Columbian ground
coffee. The Fres
Bag, designed by coffee packaging innovator Fres-co (www.fresco.com), will help BJ’s significantly reduce the cost of
“Compared to cans, and even other bags, our Fres Bag has a lot of
explains Chris Burger, coffee market manager at Fres-co. “Our original
degassing valve better preserves the coffee’s flavor while the Corner
technology gives the package a firm, compact feel that ships
looks great on store shelves. Combined with a wide-mouth opening and
expensive materials, Fres Bag offers major gains as a can
a designer and manufacturer of quality corrugated Bliss box formers,
formers, top sealers and top cap lidders, stays ahead of the
curve with the Bliss line, which is designed to reduce scrap and
(in most cases compared to regular slotted
The Bliss box designs offer various tray styles that offer product
displayability, top-to-bottom compression strength and stacking
end cap displays without sacrificing the ability for good graphics.
Club stores face the challenges of grabbing the attention of customers,
considering the environment in its packaging. Similar to traditional
store packaging in that these stores face these challenges too, club
feel the pressure on a bigger scale. Bigger products, bigger packages
bigger displays all mean bigger challenges…and bigger
Glass to PET = Grocery
stores to club stores
A change in materials led to a
change in venue
Heritage Family, with the help ofAmcor Rigid Plastics(www.amcor.com),
has entered the club store market after a big material change. The
Brack Ranch sweet pepper glaze is now offered in a 32-ounce
polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle. The move from glass to
PET allowed the company to sell the item at Costco throughout the
The stock PET bottle, weighing in at 50-grams, was chosen over
packaging options thanks to its premium look and sustainability
important was the PET container’s ability to deliver cost benefits and
manufacturing efficiencies for club store distribution, according to
Moss, Vice President of Marketing for Heritage Family Specialty Foods.
hadn’t found an acceptable bottle like Amcor’s we would have been
forced to use
two shrink-wrapped 16-ounce bottles which would have added cost and
production time,” says Moss. The final product would have required
much packaging and increased the cost for consumers, he
Moss noted that PET meets the growing sustainability requirements of
packaging and retail industry, resulting in greater penetration in