The Importance of Product Labeling
The importance of product labeling cannot be overstated. When purchasing consumer products, evaluating the product label is typically the final step in the buyer’s decision-making process. A high-quality label can be the difference between getting the sale or not. It’s also your first point of communication after the sale, helping customers use your products correctly.
But, how does the product labeling process work, and how can you make your labels more impactful?
Using Label Design To Get The Customer’s Attention
Consumers likely already know what they want to purchase by the time they’re staring at a store shelf. So, it’s imperative that your labels quickly convey how your product remedies a need or want.
Be Strategic To Stand Out
The right label design draws attention to your product. A bright, colorful label can help your product stand out in a crowd of drab packaging. Similarly, using minimalist design or subdued colors can help your product stand out when surrounded by bright labels.
The overall design and choice of colors can also correlate to the type of product you’re offering. For example, the less processed a food product is, the more natural the label should look.
Take a look at the snack aisle the next time you go to the grocery store. Organic and natural brands lean toward neutral colors, fonts that emulate handwriting and simple images or artwork. Look at less expensive, highly processed mass-market snacks, and you’ll see bright colors, bold designs and heavily modified photo elements.
Also, remember to highlight the reasons why your particular product is a better choice than the competition. Does your product have distinct health benefits? Is it a larger size than competing products? Is it easier to use? If your label puts your advantages front and center, it gives customers a reason to pick up the product and investigate further.
Strengthening Brand Identity
Good packaging and label design also reinforces your brand identity. If a consumer already likes one of your products, they’re likely to choose your brand over competing brand names in other product categories.
Consistency in theme and branding helps customers find products that they have experience with. While that doesn’t mean that each product label needs to have the exact same color scheme, you should keep in mind that consistency helps build brand recognition.
Ingredients and Health Risks
For safety, consumers need to know what ingredients are in the products they buy. Food items, cosmetics and medicines are legally required to have specific product information (e.g., ingredients of the product) printed on the label, and chemical products must display warnings regarding hazards and how to deal with them.
How does this apply in practice? Approximately 10% of Americans have some type of food allergy. To help these people avoid dangerous products, regulations require clear labeling of common allergens, including peanuts, soy and eggs. The language and placement are uniform across products, making these hazards easy to identify and avoid.
For example, take a look at the FDA’s recently released final ruling on labeling gluten free products
These regulations are designed to aid the three million Americans who have celiac disease, because for them, eating gluten can have an immune reaction that can lead to chronic illness. While it’s obvious that a loaf of wheat bread contains gluten, this protein shows up in a variety of non-grain based foods, including everything from snack chips to soy sauce. Adding “gluten free” to product labels makes it easy for celiac sufferers to identify food that is safe.
Under the new regulation, a product can be labeled “Gluten Free” if it meets one of these three conditions:
- It contains no gluten-containing grains or ingredients derived from gluten-containing grains.
- Gluten is removed from gluten-containing ingredients, resulting in a total gluten content below 20 parts per million (ppm)
- The amount of gluten-containing ingredients is so small that the total gluten in the product is below 20 ppm.
Instructions and Hazards
At best, misunderstanding a product’s intended use produces poor results. This leads to a negative experience and opinion of the product. At worst, misuse can lead to damage, injury or death.
Instructions should include complete information for using the product, as well as answers to common usage questions. For example, how long does a paint or glue need to fully dry and cure? How long will a food item remain edible after the container is opened? When can a second dose of medication be taken? Answering these questions on the label helps prevent usage mistakes.
To help avoid confusion, regulatory bodies create standardized ways of presenting this information to potential buyers in required fields within the label. For chemical products, that means adhering to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS.)
GHS-compliant labels put the hazard and identification information for a product in a standardized form that is easy to understand and reference. Medicines sold in America are required to have a Drug Fact label, which breaks down usage and hazards in an easy-to-follow standardized format.
While not required for most products, it’s good practice to list a website or phone number where customers can get answers for questions about your products. This helps eliminate confusion that can lead to potentially harmful mishaps.
Tracking Products From Production To Consumption
Labels make it possible to track containers across their entire lifecycle, from initial production to disposal by the consumer, and can assist in addressing issues that may arise during a product’s life:
- Labels help organize the warehousing system by keeping track of the location and quantity of each SKU on hand.
- Shipping labels and bills of lading make it easy to keep a package moving through a logistics system. These labels often include machine-readable barcodes and plain text so that workers and equipment can identify the container.
- Adding lot and batch numbers helps identify products, even after the sale. This is useful for tracking products that may need to be recalled.
Labels As A Safeguard Against Counterfeiting
Custom labels also provide an effective way to protect your brand by combating counterfeit products. A label can help identify genuine goods through the use of serial numbers, random lot numbers, destructible labels, and hard-to-replicate label details.
Branding products with registered logos and trademarks also gives you legal leverage to take counterfeits off of the market. Taking these steps helps resellers and buyers identify counterfeit goods, and it also helps protect your company from liability and public relations issues when counterfeit goods cause harm to consumers.
Product Labeling in Use
Designing your packaging and labels is half the battle. You also need an efficient way to incorporate them into your operations. At CTM Labeling Systems we offer a variety of equipment to meet the demands of any situation.
Pressure Sensitive Label Systems
Pressure sensitive labeling systems offer the ability to modify the label to fit evolving needs without changing your labeling equipment. Even a basic machine like CTM’s 360a Series Wrap System (WR) provides versatile functionality and can apply a range of labels, whether they’re metallic, clear, or have special coatings for environmental resistance.
Print And Apply Labeling Systems
A print and apply labeling machine like the 3600 PA Series lets you add information to each label just before applying it to the packaging, and this labeler can communicate directly with your operations system (getting information including dates, serial numbers and addresses, which are added to the custom label). Our print and apply labeling machines also natively support over 10 bar code formats, turning identifiers into machine-readable prints.
Let Us Help Maximize Your Labels’ Impact
If you’re looking for a better way to apply your new label designs to your products, contact CTM Labeling Systems. Our local distributors will work with you to set up a labeling system that works with your labels and containers in a way that fits your production system.