Food Product Ready for the Shelf? 4 Packaging-Design Strategies

Only sell food products that are ready for the shelf. It takes some marketing skills to know what sells and good strategic skills to find out how to improve sales. Review 4 different ways to create effective packaging designs. 

Clear Design 

Your package design should clearly identify what type of product it contains, leaving no ambiguity. Also, create packaging with large fonts and images that can be seen by visually impaired people. There are millions of people who cannot see correctly either up close or far away. They are more likely to put the product back if they cannot read the labels. Also, larger images are seen as more visually appealing by shoppers. 

Bold Colors 

Some advertisers place human faces on their packages to appeal to different demographics of people. They want to appeal to people’s emotions by showing sad or happy faces. Those techniques work, but the most effective one of them all is the use of colors. Everyone enjoys looking at colors, and shoppers love buying colorful items. Use a variety of colors to represent an entire line of products. Some companies stick to one or two colors like black or gold to appeal to the visual senses. 

Eye-Catching Messages 

The best advertising is bold and catches the attention of viewers in a unique way. It’s the most effective because it gets the most amount of attention, whether it’s good or bad. Some companies and organizations are known to make their ads controversial to attract attention to certain social problems. The same idea of using specific words or images to attract people can be applied to designs for food packaging. You may also consider including messages that highlight consumer preferences. Whether your product is gluten-free or dairy-free, be sure your product undergoes nutritional profiling so you can back up these statements on the packaging.

Ease of Use 

Consumers always avoid products that are difficult to use. These include wine bottles that cannot be opened or closed easily, glass bottles that slip out of the hand too easily, and pump bottles that eject too easily. The problems may seem trivial, but companies can lose countless customers by not fixing problems with ease of use. No one wants to struggle with a complicated item when an easier, and cheaper, one is ready for purchase. 

Every product seller in every industry has many competitors to deal with. The growth of online businesses has made it harder to compete and win. Making bold packaging designs for your products is one way to grab the most attention from consumers. Make it a top priority to promote good advertising through packaging.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Should Your Business Consider Chatbots?

The business community has benefited greatly from advancements in digital communication technologies. Today, there’s practically no end to the ways companies and brand representatives can engage with, troubleshoot for, market to or otherwise stay in touch with their fans and customers.

Chatbots are a relatively new addition to a bundle of tools that already included email, video chat, SMS, social networking and more. Chatbots are the next logical step in many ways when it comes to keeping businesses and customers in constant and easy contact. But they’re not for everybody. Below are some of the advantages of — plus one or two warnings about — chatbots to help you decide if it’s the right time and the right tool for your company.

What’s a Chatbot?

This word is one of those terms that pretty much gives it all away up front: A chatbot is an audio-based or text-based assistant that can autonomously help customers find answers to questions, troubleshoot problems or carry out other business-related tasks, such as ordering or re-ordering products, changing payment information, inquiring about or renewing subscriptions and memberships and much more.

Command-based chatbots are relatively rudimentary but still deceptively “intelligent.” They can respond to customer inquiries using heuristics that match replies with the most relevant topics or sub-menus for the customer.

On the other hand, AI-based chatbots are more sophisticated but also have a further way to go before they’re available to a wider array of businesses and more consistently able to reply accurately to any inquiry. But chatbots powered by AI are undoubtedly already showing their potential: Thanks to their use of natural language processing, they can reply “from scratch” instead of using canned responses. They can even become better over time at picking up meaning and intent from conversations with human callers.

With the different types of chatbots a little better understood, let’s move on to the main question, which is whether or not chatbots are worth the investment for your business. For a start, some industries are simply a likelier fit than others.

If Chatbots Make Sense for Your Industry

Chatbots are a relatively new concept, but they do already exist out in the wild. And there are several frontrunners when it comes to the types of industries that are well-suited to adopting chatbots. Some of them are:

  • Hospitality
  • Banking and financial services
  • Retail
  • Service-based companies

Based on polling, some 80 percent of business representatives would be interested in bringing chatbots into the fold at their company. But early popularity in the industries mentioned above already indicates which use-cases might yield the best results and return on investment. In hospitality, guests and travelers often require nearly instant solutions for checking into hotels and lodging, boarding airplanes and other conveyances, choosing venues, organizing transportation for meetings and conventions and a multitude of other tasks that have to happen at the speed of business.

In financial services, chatbots can help even regional banks and nonprofit credit unions provide members with account information or help them tailor their retirement or college savings. In retail and services environments, chatbots can pick up some of the slack during high-traffic times of the day or season by taking orders, pointing customers to what they’re looking for and more.

The point is, there might be use cases in your industry, and there might not be. Industries that depend on timely, accurate, always-available customer interactions appear to be early favorites, but as the technology improves, applications will undoubtedly continue to appear almost everywhere.

If You (and Your Customers) Value Time

On the customer and the company side of things, the first major advantage of chatbots is that they’re on standby 24 hours a day and don’t take a single day off during the year, provided there aren’t any technical snafus behind the scenes.

Allowing customers to have their questions answered on their own time is great already, but chatbots also save time for the company by providing an automated solution to the “problem” of answering common inquiries all day long. Both parties can breathe easier. Customers know they won’t have to try their luck calling back during business hours or trawling through a website for answers, and businesses know their employees are a little freer to respond to other, more urgent demands on their time.

There are one or two caveats when it comes to using chatbots in extremely customer-facing industries. Human beings know — or can be trained by locals — to respect cultural taboos and avoid words or phrases that might cause offense in another country or region.

The problem of maintaining cultural propriety during international affairs is not a new problem. But while it seems to make sense to turn chatbots into public liaisons in regions where you don’t have a strong employee presence to process customer calls, those chatbots had better have been developed with linguistic and cultural input from the region they’re intended to serve.

Being mindful of potential cultural frictions and even the subtleties of respectful political correctness is key to successfully using a chatbot to fill in your service gaps here and abroad.

If You Want Additional Insight Into Your User Base

The average interaction between a human customer and a chatbot can yield a surprising amount of information about your user base — too much, potentially, for a human operator to take in all at once, much less record and pass on to interested parties.

A phone conversation is practically analog compared with a chatbot chat when it comes to the potential to take in information from your user base. When your customers interact with your chatbot, with just a couple of simple questions and basic analytics, you’ll come away with a greater understanding of how they use your products, where common sources of frustration are coming from and nitty-gritty details. These details include their location, the device type they’re using to contact you or interact with your services and other factors that might be of interest to your marketing team, your R&D team or both.

Chatbots are here already — and companies are figuring out how best to put them to work. By 2021, say industry experts, the chatbot “market” — including third-party cloud-based chatbot solutions — should reach a total value of $15.8 billion. That’s a ringing endorsement. Just remember that chatbots are a product like any other, and computing their probable ROI isn’t that much different, no matter what else you’re promised by a software vendor. In some cases, the human touch might just be the better choice for your business anyway — you’ll need to decide based on your unique circumstances.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

Master Bakers: How to Run a Top-Tier Bakery in Your Community

If you love to bake and all your friends and family rave about your creations, then you might want to think about opening a bakery. Before you sell your 1,000th product, there are lots of different decisions that you will need to make. Here is some helpful guidance on opening your own bakery.

Decide on the Type of Bakery

There are several different types of bakeries that you may want to consider. You may choose to open a retail location where you sell your products directly to customers or a wholesale location where you sell your products to restaurants and other locations in your neighborhood. If you choose to open a retail location, then you may want to think about creating delightful breakfast pastries, wedding cakes or breads. Making this choice now will help you in making other important decisions.

Find Your Suppliers and Products

Do some snooping to determine what will sell well in your area. You may even want to work in conjunction with an established business to give potential customers a chance to sample your products and see their reactions. Once you have narrowed down the list of products that you will be selling, then consider what products you need to make those delicious items and find your vendors based on price and reliability.

Decide on a Location

If you will not be operating strictly out of your home kitchen, then make sure to find the right location. Some people find it advantageous to start their business in a startup location where there are mentors and angel investors to help them along the way. You may even find government programs to help you open a bakery. Others choose to open a location in their own neighborhood opting to strike out on their own. You will need a location large enough to hold commercial equipment like mixers available from arrowmixingproducts.com. You may also discover that mixer accessories makes your life much easier when cooking in volume.

Market

You will need to market your business. Taking care of each customer is a great way to build word-of-mouth advertising. Think about advertising on social media as well. You may also want to buy advertising on a radio station or participate in trade shows.

Many people open bakeries and make a lot of money. Following these guidelines is a great place to start. Listen to each customer and learn from the feedback that they give you, and you will be very successful.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Make Your #Retail #Business Easier To Manage With These Life-Changing Hacks!

Retail businesses can be one of the hardest business types to make a success of. The reason for this is simple – a lot of organization is required to have any chance of success. Although all businesses require organization, for retail companies, it’s even more important. Because, if you’re not organized you’ll end up forgetting to do something important, such as ordering new stock, for instance. So, with that in mind, below are some handy hacks to make managing your retail store and staying organized, that little bit easier.

Have a schedule in place

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Photo from Pixabay

One of the most important things when it comes to making your retail business (or any business) easier to manage is having a schedule in place. This is because by having a list of tasks to complete each day, along with a time frame to do each task in, it’s easier to keep on top of what needs to be done. You know what needs to be done and when, so it’s just a case of doing it and ticking it off afterward. A daily schedule can be a great motivator because it gives you a clear idea of what has to be completed each day. This makes it less likely that you will put off doing the important things like reordering stock. This is because you’ll have your daily schedule to remind you of everything that needs doing. To learn about the best planners to use, resources like onewomanshop.com/2014/5-best-planners-for-creative-solopreneurs/ can be useful.

Invest in the right software

The right software can have a big impact on how easy to manage your store is, so it’s worth taking the time to research the best types to invest in. There are various options on offer; it’s just a case of determining what you could use help with. Integration software, for instance, can be highly beneficial for retail businesses. This is because sites like adeptia.com/products/b2b-integration.html can offer various benefits for your business. For instance, this type of software can aid supplier on-boarding, making the process much quicker and easier. Some software might be a little pricey. However, it’s important to remember that it’s worth the investment if it makes running your business easier. After all, the easier you can make your business to run, the better.

Outsource tasks

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It’s important to remember that there are only so many hours in the day. This means that no matter how hard you work, the chances are that you’re not going to be able to do everything. If you’re not at a stage where you’re able to afford to hire some help, then your best option is outsourcing. By choosing to outsource tasks like your accounting, for example, you can ensure that they’re completed to a high quality. And also, that you’re not rushing to try and get everything done, and so, end up forgetting to do something important.

Running a retail business isn’t an easy task, as it takes a lot of time and effort to keep on top of everything that needs to be done. Hopefully, however, the handy hacks above will help to make the process of running your store, that little bit easier.