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6 Packaging Tricks To Make Your Cannabis Product Stand Out

With the market flooded with products, here are some opportunities to make a good impression.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Cannabis packaging has moved leaps and bounds -- but as an industry we can do better.

Kirill Vasikev/EyeEm | Getty Images

The transformative process began with the most economically and logistically sound method for the original weed “retailers”: plastic baggies. Walking into a cannabis store in the year 2018, you discover the evolution of packaging buds in many variations of bags, jars, tubes and boxes. But many of the styles used aren't unique or innovative. We need to be braver. Here are the top-five opportunities for innovation in the packaging of cannabis.

Related: 5 Questions to Ask Before Picking Your Packaging

1. Flaunt the Flower

Inappropriately sized mylar bags, poorly placed logos and windows that do not display the buds inside properly -- this is the current state of flower packaging. Although this type of mylar packaging is still an upgrade from the Ziplock baggies the flower was delivered in previously, we have a ways to go. Weed no longer sells itself. As states continue to legalize cannabis use, what once was an illegal drug is now becoming an experiential product --  that experience should extend to the packaging as well.

2. Offer Variety

The design of the packaging is affected by the quantity of flower that a producer chooses to sell. The chosen design should then be malleable enough to be translated into varying sizes. Branded flower is typically packaged in one quantity for retail sale. Occasionally, much larger quantities are packaged by shops and dispensaries. I believe the one gram quantity should be dropped from most product lines. As cannabis products continue to become more experiential, there will become less of a demand for this. Everyone should be paying attention to sampler sets due to the rapid increase in strains available on the market. After all, variety is the spice of life.

3. Be Experiential

Mylar bags are currently the most popular packaging solution for cannabis. This material and style have incredibly low overhead, and it retains the scent of the product. It’s an easy solution in the mental arena of a business owner who is already overwhelmed by decision making, in some cases on a daily basis. We encourage our clients to take inspiration from successful business ventures outside of the cannabis industry.

The current approaches to specifying strains are outdated. It has been deemed a myth that terms like “indica”, “sativa” and “hybrid” disclose the effects of cannabis products. How cannabis is interpreted as a commodity will continue to pivot and identifiers will shift to reflect this. Choose to label your product in a way that is more meditative of the experience rather than its genetic profile.


4. Augment Reality

Producers must effectively convey all information that is legally required along with a description of every product made. The biggest problem our clients face is finding the most effective way to display all of this information while also presenting a solid brand story. Incorporating augmented reality into packaging solutions is one of the best ways to solve this problem. There has been a huge increase in demand for consumer packaged goods to include AR across all industries, and we should start reflecting this trend in cannabis as well.  Augmented packaging allows consumers to interact with the product on their phones when a salesperson is unavailable, or even from the comfort of home. If you want to shorten sales cycles and increase ROI, put the power of information into the consumer's hands.

Related: Branding Your Business and Crafting Your Story in the Cannabis Industry

5. Take a Cue from Coffee

Based in Seattle, my company Wick & Mortar has taken inspiration from our hometown’s history. Coffee is as prevalent in the Seattle culture as weed, and the Starbucks headquarters is just blocks away from our office. For this reason, coffee and tea packaging solutions have influenced the methods we conceptualize to package cannabis. Coffee and tea are dried plants which is exactly what we’re smoking on! Why not borrow a page from an established industry’s book?

Producers often shy away from coffee packaging because consumers have grown accustomed to being able to see the weed they’re about to smoke. True, opaque styles might not be the best solution for a new company launching in a recently legalized state. However, it could be a winner for the established producer. Coffee and tea packaging solutions are unique to the cannabis industry. They help to maintain humidity levels within and protect the cannabinoids in the cannabis flowers from overexposure to light.

Related: 6 Essential Items to Include on Your Cannabis Label

6. Get Luxurious

We’re huge proponents of luxury packaging and have found the best inspiration n the cosmetic, fine chocolate and wine industries. Most packaging solutions in cannabis retailers and dispensaries these days are borrowed from the food industry. Glass jars, for example, work great and are cost-effective -- but for a little added elegance, you can upgrade to a styled glass jar courtesy of the cosmetics industry. They often have unique lid closures as opposed to the plain Mason jar-style closures. Fine chocolate boxes are a perfect modality to house something like the strain sampler set previously mentioned.