Manufacturers and wholesalers face a number of considerations when packaging consumer goods. Practicality and cost are paramount to profit-driven enterprises, so these are primary concerns for companies that need to keep packaging expenses to a minimum. On the other hand, packaging is the most visible component of product marketing, so cost-saving measures cannot be allowed to overshadow merchandising effectiveness.
The type of product being sold and its retail destination are important factors to be contemplated before moving forward with packaging decisions. For example, inexpensive mass-produced items are appropriately encased with skin packaging for economy and easy displays. Blister packaging elevates the perceived value of a product by providing a sturdier preformed cavity that showcases a small item neatly.
Clamshells are essentially hinged blister packs that provide some additional features for retailers and consumers. They share merchandising strengths with other packaging types, including the flexibility to hang products or place them on shelves, but they do cost a bit more to produce.
Three types of containers should be considered by production facilities contemplating clamshell use:
Stock - Ready-made grab-and-go packaging that does not require customization. Appropriate for generic goods of uniform size and shape. Clamshells that hold screws or nails are good examples of these small, stock plastic boxes.
Custom - Single-unit products that are irregularly shaped lend themselves to custom clamshell packaging. PVC or polystyrene materials are formed into configurations that 'ghost' the precise shapes of the items being packaged. Goods are visible to consumers who want a tactile sense of their heft and construction, but they remain protected from handling wear.
Hybrid - When possible, stock clamshells are modified slightly to accommodate retail products. This in-between approach provides a custom look, but benefits from cost-savings over 100% custom units.
The nature of the product to be contained weighs heavily on clamshell packaging decisions. Electronics lend themselves to clamshells, because of the security they provide. Heat-sealing the edges of a clamshell makes it difficult to penetrate, often requiring a knife or scissors to get to the product. Small, valuable items can also be placed in large clamshells to prevent pocket pilfering.
While sealed clamshells keep consumers out, sometimes merchandising requirements are such that retailers want to allow shoppers to handle goods directly.
Clamshell closures are available for every retail application.
Fully sealed clamshells are the most secure, designed for single use presentations that get cut open by buyers - post-purchase.
Tabs or friction are used to seal clamshells intended for repeated entry and closure. Multi-piece retail products are contained this way, so that consumers can come and go, removing what they need before resealing the container. The most effective vessels of this type employ male/female closures that snap securely into place.
Another snap-type clamshell enclosure uses a perimeter channel to create a recloseable seal. The packages are easily opened without a blade, and can be snapped shut if desired.
Tri-fold clamshell packaging provides an attractive option for retailers because the containers can be displayed vertically, using integrated hang holes, or presented standing upright on shelves. A similar method uses conventional clamshells, but attaches a protruding foot, which allows them to stand if desired.
Contract packagers are well-versed in clamshell options and retailer preferences. Size, configuration and cost are key elements to consider with your packaging provider. Once you've nailed down the specifics, it is as simple as providing your product and associated artwork to the contract packager for fulfillment.