How does Rigid Packaging Compare to Traditional Packaging

A product’s packaging is usually the first introduction to the product and as we all know, first impressions are vital in this day and age. The packaging doesn’t just protect the product, but displays it, promotes it, attracts buyers and differentiates the product from its competitors.

Well-designed packaging usually appeals to customers and influences them in picking up a particular product over another. Materials, finish, colours, font and images can easily help set a product apart. Moreover, sustainability is playing a vital role in the current market with various studies highlighting that customers are inclined to spend more on products which use sustainably sourced packaging.

Packaging comes in different forms, from card boxes for tea bags and corrugated cases for e-commerce to luxury gift packaging for premium products. Given the important role it plays for a product, it’s imperative that these are produced to high quality standards.

What are rigid boxes?

When speaking about luxury packaging, one would automatically think of a type of packaging which is used by premium brands.

Rigid boxes, also known as paper over board boxes, are the perfect solution for packing luxury items and also products that are delicate in nature and need a box that is strong enough to protect it during transit. Rigid box packaging could be either handmade or machine made by wrapping and lining the grey board (1000 micron to 3000 micron, subject to the box size and purpose) with coated, uncoated or specialist paper. In order to enhance their appearance further and increase the luxury feel, special finishes such as foil, embossing, debossing and spot UV varnish are added.

Although the most common box style produced is the rigid base with a separate lid, luxury rigid boxes can be produced in a range of different formats such as: hinged lid, shoulder box, tray and slipcase, cabinet box and jacket box with magnetic or ribbon closure. For a better product presentation, internal fittings can be constructed which in turn will also protect the product by keeping it in place and therefore, avoiding movement within the pack.

How do rigid boxes differ from traditional packaging?

There are multiple benefits and differences between rigid box packaging and traditional packaging that one should be aware of. While the traditional packaging, such as folding cartons produced with Folding Box Board (FBB), are packed flat and therefore require assembly before being filled with the product, rigid boxes are usually made up in production which in turn, could decrease the assembly costs.

Tooling costs for simple rigid boxes with separate lids are usually much lower than for traditional packaging. As rigid boxes usually have either removable lids or magnetic/ribbon closure, they’re often easier to open and close than standard folding cartons. From a material point of view, the rigid gift boxes are very durable and are also able to hold heavier loads.

On the other side, rigid packaging does come at a higher price due to the materials used and the more complex production methods required. In addition, rigid boxes suffer from higher transportation costs due to the increased volume as a result of them being delivered made up as opposed to flat packed; hence why this type of packaging is more readily used by more premium, luxury brands that have higher packaging budgets.

Although rigid boxes are perceived as a luxury product, these could also be produced for lower budgets by using either thinner boards or choosing simplified artwork – certain toys or activity pack brands follow this route.

Benefits of rigid boxes

Initially used for marketing campaigns or limited-edition items, rigid boxes are nowadays used for packing luxury products such as premium footwear, clothingperfumesgifting packs and candles. Their durability and high-quality finish make them very desirable by leading brands because they not only protect the product, but they also provide a higher perceived value and often reflect the brand’s values. When buying a premium product, the customer would expect it to be packed into a luxurious box that reflects the product’s characteristics and quality.

Furthermore, there are many customers who keep and either repurpose or reuse (see jewellery boxes) the rigid boxes long after the original purchase; as a result, these provide excellent opportunities for product and brand recognition and could encourage repeat purchases and therefore, increased revenue.

Hinged lid rigid boxes coupled with internal inserts provide the perfect luxury presentation packaging. Moreover, special finishes such as velvety foam, soft touch lamination or embossed/debossed logos go even further and provide a tactile solution for brands who want to stand out in a crowd of similar products.

Having a premium gift box to accompany a reputable product will emphasise the brand’s status and enhance the customer’s experience.

Benefits of traditional packaging

Traditional packaging such as folding cartons are the most common type of packaging on the market. Being used as primary or secondary packaging, folding cartons could be made out of different card weights which can hold the products secure and could be created into various different bespoke styles to meet certain specifications. Relatively flexible in design, they work well in combination with hanging tabs or windows which helps showcasing the products in shops.

Due to the production process required for traditional packaging, they can usually be produced within shorter lead times which means that brands could adapt their strategy faster subject to the market requirements and fast changing trends.

One of the main benefits of traditional packaging is the convenience offered when it comes to storage and delivery. Lower costs in the supply chain could be achieved as most of the traditional packaging is delivered flat packed, therefore less storage space is required. Due to its relatively simple structure, traditional packaging is suitable for automated packing and assembly lines which can result in shorter fulfilment times and therefore lower costs.

Traditional packaging is one of the cheapest forms of packaging and subject to the specifications, the unit price could lower considerably when economies of scale are achieved.

Rigid boxes vs traditional packaging

As we’ve established earlier on, the packaging of a product has a great influence on the consumers’ buying decision. While traditional packaging is used by most brands in the market, rigid packaging is usually used by the brands positioned on the higher end. Their price plays a very important role for the decision makers however, aspects such as space availability or fulfilment costs have a high influence on the decision.

Although rigid gift boxes are perceived as a luxury packaging, it doesn’t mean that the luxury feel cannot be achieved by traditional packaging.

Indeed, luxury gift boxes do come at a premium price and may not be accessible to everyone, but they are undoubtedly the “go to” packaging solution for luxury brands who aim to create a unique unpacking experience for their clients.