Rewind to 1950. A typical grocery store carried 5,000 different items. In 1990, this number grew to 30,000. Today, the number of products in a grocery store tops 100,000. It’s no wonder consumers are overwhelmed these days with the number of choices they have for almost any given retail item.

In fact, in a study done in 2005 by Dr. Raymond R. Burke, professor at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, 75% of consumers claimed it was difficult to choose between so many products offered, and 95% of department store shoppers said they often left empty-handed.

Consumers are being forced to wade through too much clutter to find what they’re looking for. That’s why product differentiation is so critical in today’s marketplace. But how can you make your product stand out to consumers?

Considering the battle for mindshare and consumer attention, one way to grab potential customers is through packaging that pops. As a provider of custom labels and printing solutions, Lofton Label knows how eye-catching labels can positively impact your brand and sales.

Here are 10 tips from the experts at Lofton that will help make your product jump off the shelf and into the hands of potential buyers:

1.   Location, location, location.Think about where the package will be located and whether or not certain materials will hold up in these environments. Will it be on a store shelf or rack? Will it be stored outside? Will it be refrigerated or frozen?

2.   First impressions count. What do you want customers to see and remember for next time? Think about how you can make not only a good first impression, but a lasting one, as well.

3.   Pop it, peel it, flip it.How will customers interact with the label? Does it need to educate and inform or provide instruction? Some products use peel-off labels for drug facts, coupons, or other promotional information.

4.   “Pick me!Pick me!” How can the label get the product into the customer’s hand and, ultimately, into the cart? Is it a creative design, a coupon offer, or a product guarantee?

5.   Make it simple, make it fun. Make the package inviting and attractive, yet easy to read. Remember, customers are sifting through clutter, so don’t overload them with unnecessary information.

6.   Color coordinate.Choose a color scheme that works with your product. If you’re packaging an organic product, it might be more appealing to customers to stick with neutral earth tones. If your product is fighting for shelf space, a neon label might help your product stand out.

7.   Have a purpose.Why are you selling this product, and to whom are you selling it? Play to the desires of your target audience, and keep in mind that the package is the gateway to the product, and should reflect as much.

8.   Change isn’t always bad.Technology changes all the time. Take a look at the printing equipment you’re using to create your label. Will the technology give you the best results?

9.   Be materialistic –at least when it comes to labels. Consider a shiny metallic, glossy laminate, or textured plastic. What material are you printing your label on? Take into account the feel and appearance of materials to find the right one for your package and product.

10.  It’s more than a label, it’s your brand. Make sure your labels are consistent, accurate, compelling, and true to your brand.

But what if it’s not a label at all?

Labels aren’t the only way to break through the clutter; sometimes the best way to get noticed is through an innovative package design or material. Consider packaging your product in a flexible, stand-up pouch or a custom designed bag with a re-sealable zipper. Lofton can help design the entire package – the shape, the material, and the graphics. Consumers will value a custom look and appreciate the convenience of a package with unique physical properties.

By the time the customer has seen the label and package, a judgment has already been made about the product inside; use these tips to help ensure that the judgment is a good one. Make your product’s visual impression appeal to customers enough so they purchase it not once – but over and over again.

About the author

Micheal Lane is CEO of Lofton Label ( He is responsible for the company’s positive financial performance, improvements in the production process, and quality management initiatives. Micheal holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Friends University in Wichita, KS, an executive MBA from the University of MN’s Carlson School of Management, and has over 30 years of sales and marketing experience prior to his role at Lofton.