We use cookies to provide you with the best experience when using this site. By continuing to use this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. How we use cookies x

 
 


Newsletters & Alerts

Sign up for free to specialist newsletters and the digital edition of Packaging Europe magazine

Subscribe

Packaging Europe magazine

Bi-monthly print publication

Subscribe

Contact Packaging Buyers

Talk to 47,000 European Packaging Buyers

Get Access

Packaging Suppliers Database

Instant, free access to our network of 53,000 Packaging Suppliers

Get Access






How Small Packaging Suppliers Can Take on the Industry Big Guns – and Win

Released: 06/02/2017 07:57:00
Read 1292 times

Smaller suppliers are responsible for driving much of the packaging industry’s innovations; they’re often the first to experiment with and trial niche products. That said, they often find it difficult to make serious inroads in the market. They don’t have an instantly recognisable brand to rely on like an Amcor or Mondi, they often don’t have a national or global presence, and they can’t afford to undercut bigger players on price. There’s a perception that the largest suppliers will remain the largest forever, and that it’s nearly impossible for anyone else to get a look in – but it’s wrong.

Search for suppliers of similar products in the Packaging Network.

By Paul Black, CEO, sales-i

Certainly, if yours is a smaller organisation, it’s much harder to generate brand awareness, to extend your company’s reach, and to create an attractive value proposition. With the right strategy, however, it can be done: there will always be a market for customer-centric, value-focused suppliers.

You just need to be smart about it – and keep these three rules firmly in mind.

1. Be different
The idea of competitive differentiation is often difficult to apply to the packaging industry. The virtues of stronger plastic wrapping or more resilient packing peanuts may be obvious to insiders, but to your customers it’s often hard to tell one kind of cardboard box from another.
To differentiate meaningfully, you need to think about changing your company as a whole, rather than focusing only on what it sells. To do this, you need to align with the preferences of your target market: what do they value in a business relationship – and how can you make your organisation more appealing to them?
Consider, for example, that 60% of people say that buying goods from ‘socially responsible’ brands is important to them: they want to feel like their purchasing and consumption decisions aren’t having a negative impact on the earth, and are contributing to the general wellbeing of the environment and society.
So make an effort to be more sustainable: use recycled materials wherever possible, and make your own goods recyclable wherever possible.  More than that, encourage your employees to conduct themselves in an eco-friendly fashion: you don’t have to exclusively use solar power, but if you share equipment and stationery and minimise your energy usage, you can earn a ‘green reputation’ and save money at the same time.
You’ll always sell packaging, but if you can sell it more virtuously than your competitors, you’ll pique the interest of your ecologically-minded customers. Company culture can be a serious competitive difference. 

2. Develop relationships
Larger competitors can always beat you on price, but they can’t always beat you on value. While you likely can’t afford to undercut them, they can’t afford to spend too much time cultivating individual customer relationships. 
This can be a major advantage for any smaller supplier: you can offer unbeatable levels of personalised service. Across all industries, customers have become jaded by transactional business relationships – where they’re often treated as mere numbers to be entered in a company ledger, and given almost no post-sales support.
By defying this expectation, your business has a unique opportunity to build brand loyalty. You can send them an email asking for their opinions on a new product release – making them feel like a trusted confidante and getting them to provide valuable feedback ahead of launch. You can send them the odd value-add such as free delivery to keep the relationship going: enough that they feel like you care, but not so much that it impacts your revenues.
You have a golden opportunity to make your business relationships more personal. Take it!

3. Tech charge
Finally, business technology offers a means of supplying you with actionable information about your customers, deepening your insights about their habits, preferences, and buying patterns. Business intelligence software, for example, can use historic customer purchase data to highlight potential strategic and tactical opportunities that might have otherwise eluded you. If, for example, customers buy moulded pulp in great quantities – but only in summer – you’ll be made aware of this trend, and the system will recommend you pre-empt the seasonal pulp splurge with a special offer.

But it works on a micro level as well. If an individual customer buys both bubble wrap and corrugated fibreboard pads, the software will illuminate this correlation – giving you the chance to provide both items together within a tailor-made discount package.
What’s more, the right technology keeps track of these things over time – so if a customer relationship starts to trail off, you can pre-empt any defections to your competitors, and work to salvage the arrangement before it becomes unsalvageable. Equally, you can reward those customers who demonstrate strong loyalty, and ensure they stay around in the long run.
As a smaller business, you can afford to look at these customers as people. You can reward them for loyalty, and you can incentivise them to stick around: you may not be able to lower your prices without consequence, but you’ve got every opportunity to provide focused, personal, industry-beating service.

If you seize it, you’ll also seize a considerable competitive advantage.  

Email to a friend

Comments(0)


Log in or register for an account to leave your comment.


Related Stories

ACG Inspection Systems Acquires IN2trace

As part of its strategic international expansion plan, ACG Inspection Systems, one of the global leaders in pharmaceutical track & trace, ha...

APEAL Researches the Changing Perceptions of Steel for ...

New research has been commissioned by APEAL, the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging, to examine changing perceptions o...

 

Win a €50 Amazon Voucher

Help Packaging Europe provide a better service...

Take our 3-Minute Survey




Packaging Europe Latest

Folplast2

Skarszewy 83-250 . st. drogowców 17

Quality Minerals Public Co., Ltd.

9/13-17 Yarnphaholyothin Rd., Jatujak, Jatujak Bangkok 10900 Thailand

Oneworld Packaging SL

Carretera Segovia, Km 19,6, 41762 Aldeamayor de San Martín, Valladolid

SANCAK Etiket

Minareliçavus Mahallesi, N. 208. Sk. No:4, 16140 Nilüfer/Bursa

Wains of Turnbridge Wells

Wains is a family business founded in 1963, supplying an extensive range of glass and plastic containers for a range of purposes, from food packaging to cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. We have the expertise to match our customers' requirements to the best packaging solutions for them and can provide orders in a range of quantities - from small orders through to bulk, trade requirements.

Packaging Jobs

Find top jobs in the packaging industry on Packaging Europe Jobs

£43,000 + bonus up to 25%, private healthcare, pension

£30,000 - £38,000 (DoE) + benefits

£30,000 - £35,000 + private healthcare, private pension, fle

€75,000 - €95,0000 basic (dependant on candidate/ experienc

More packaging jobs >>

Related Suppliers

Vinsak

Products: Converting, Labelling and Coding, Materials Handling

View
Supplier

ProAmpac

Products: Films and wrapping

View
Supplier

Sick AG

Products: Materials Handling

View
Supplier

EyeC GmbH

Products: Labelling and Coding, Printers, Services

View
Supplier

D.R. Joseph, Inc

Products: Films & Wrapping

View
Supplier

See all suppliers >>

Packaging Europe Magazine Subscription

Packaging Europe's Bi-monthly print publication, presenting a selection of the most talked about features from our online magazine. The cost of subscription is €120 for six editions.

Your Name:*
Email Address:
Twitter Username:
Phone No:
Company Name:*
Address Line 1:*
Address Line 2:
City:*
Postcode:*
Country:*
  • Please send an invoice to the above address for the sum of €120 for six editions of the Packaging Europe Bi-monthly print publication.

Electronic Subscriptions

Your Details

Email Address:*

Optional

Your Name:
Company Name:
Twitter Username:

Packaging Europe Magazine

  • Bi-monthly alert with an overview of and link to the latest digital edition of Europe’s most popular packaging publication

Specialist Newsletters

Packaging Markets

  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Cosmetics & Personal Care
  • Pharma & Medical

Industry Segments

  • Corrugated
  • Flexibles
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Paper & Cartonboard
  • Plastics
  • Wood
  • Labelling
  • Machinery
  • Print

Topics

  • Business News
  • Products & Innovations
  • Sustainability

By clicking "subscribe", you consent for Packaging Europe to hold your details within our system. You may subscribe for free to as many newsletters as you like (including Packaging Europe magazine) and can unsubscribe at any time. Packaging Europe will not sell your data to third parties but reserves the right to occasionally send you carefully selected information on behalf of relevant suppliers.

Packaging Buyers Database

Packaging Europe’s business intelligence service offers direct access to European buyers of packaging. Serving the information needs of packaging buyers, we have built up a contact database of over 60,000 buyers who want to hear from suppliers of packaging suitable to their market segments.


Please select the products you are interested in from the sections below and when you have made your selections, click on confirm, fill out your details and one of our team will attend to your request promptly.


There are 6826 total buyers within the Beverages industry.

  • Select All
  • Alcoholic Drinks (4059)
  • Non-Alcoholic Drinks (2767)

There are 7057 total buyers within the Pharma / Medical industry.

  • Select All
  • Medical Equipment (4556)
  • Pharmaceutical (2501)

There are 15516 total buyers within the Retail industry.

  • Select All
  • Fast Food & Cafes (1986)
  • Retailers (11842)
  • Supermarkets / grocers (1688)

There are 30603 total buyers within the Food industry.

  • Select All
  • Food: Bakery (4826)
  • Food: Cheese (2881)
  • Food: Confectionary (2563)
  • Food: Dairy (2263)
  • Food: Frozen (1795)
  • Food: Fruit and Vegetables (2104)
  • Food: Honey (618)
  • Food: Loose/Dry (2712)
  • Food: Meat, Game and Fish (6109)
  • Food: Oils and Fats (1519)
  • Food: Pet Food (341)
  • Food: Preserved In Cans and Jars (1994)
  • Food: Sauces & Condiments (878)

There are 6801 total buyers within the Other Consumer Goods industry.

  • Select All
  • Cosmetics (3187)
  • Cut Flowers (372)
  • Electrical Appliances (571)
  • Home Cleaning Products (1321)
  • Soaps and Detergents (1177)
  • Tobacco Products (173)

There are 9382 total buyers within the Industrial / Building / DIY industry.

  • Select All
  • Adhesives (1772)
  • Automotive Components (2042)
  • Chemicals (2251)
  • Construction Materials (1455)
  • Paints (1862)
Your Name:
Company Name:
Your Phone:
Your Email:

Your Selections:


  • 0 Products Selected