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Open packaging question for the readers

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johnhattan

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Just a question about software packaging, specifically for mailed products. How important is packaging to you if I was to mail you a CD?

For example, let's take four scenarios for a piece of software that I mail to you.


1. Full color CD in DVD-style clamshell case with full-color insert with screenshots on the back. two-page mini-manual inside, shipped in a fitted cardboard mailer. Total cost:

Media (inkjet printable CD-R) - $0.25
DVD Case - $0.29
Insert and mini-manual printing - $0.25
Cardboard DVD Mailer - $0.43
Postage - $1.50 (first class or media mail)

Total cost: $2.72


2. Full color printed CD in plastic jewel case with full-color square insert. Setup instructions printed on the jewel case insert or CD. Mailed in a small cardboard jewel-case box. Total cost:

Media (inkjet printable CD-R) - $0.25
CD Jewel Case - $0.24
Insert printing - $0.10
Cardboard mailer - $0.26
Postage - $1.25 (first class)

Total cost: $2.10


3. Full color printed CD packed and mailed in a scratch-resistant cardboard mailer Installation instructions printed on the CD.

Media (inkjet printable CD-R) - $0.25
Mailer - $0.59
Postage - $0.60 (first class)

Total cost: $1.44


4. Full color printed CD packed and mailed in folded orgami CD case printed on stiff paper. Installation instructions printed on the paper and/or the CD.

Media (inkjet printable CD-R) - $0.25
Insert printing (stiff paper) - $0.15
Postage - $0.60 (first class)

Total cost: $1.00


The question is, how important would it be for you to receive the "deluxe" packaging over the no-frills one? Would you be willing to take no-frills packaging if you could save $1 or $2 on the product?

Or, as an alternate question, what price-point would you expect to pay for the above items? For example, would you feel ripped off if you paid $20 for packaging choice 3 or 4? How about if you paid $5? At what price-point would you expect to get each packaging choice?


I'll start the discussion by posting my own worthless opinion first. Respond with your own worthless opions.
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8 Comments


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My own worthless opinion.

Packaging choice 4 doesn't bother me as long as it's software that doesn't require a manual and it arrives safely. Choice 3 might prevent having to re-mail discs that are scratched in transit, so it might be worth the extra 44 cents. I don't need cases, as I store all my software in a file-box in slim jewel cases, so if I get software in a larger case (thick jewel case or DVD case), I always end up throwing out the packaga anyway. If I could save a few bucks for cheap packaging (long as it's safe), I'd take it.

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I'd go for deluxe packaging over price for prices like this... I don't like being sent "traditional" CD jewel cases as they tend to be easily cracked/broken by careless posties.

I personally prefer the DVD cases over CD jewel cases.

In truth, the deciding factor for me is overall price (in my case, i've often declined buying things because of extortionate international shipping fees) and the speed of delivery. CD-WOW are dirt-cheap, but can take *ages* to deliver a CD - I've waited 2-3 weeks from the time they officially despatched it.

Jack

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Personaly I get the cheap feeling from something that comes in minimalist packaging and display. The dollar or so difference in the costs of goods is not worth the possible feeling loss of a customer in my opinion. I would go with option 1 myself for that little extra polished touch. Also I have had very good luck with Jiffy Padded mailers and DVD cases. Using Stamps.com is nice too.

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If I paid 5$ for it, I would expect to 'get what I paid for' to me $5 isn't all that much. If I paid 30$ however (much like peole do when they purchase our physical games) I would expect somthing with quality.

Personaly, I don't mind spending more on a quality product, but more importantly a quality product on the outside, helps sway my purchase.

I would say the big issue for you comes in terms of labor, sure 3 bucks per cd production isnt all that much (can easily be passed on to the customer) but it can be labor intensive; I am very glad we out-sourced our production, because I wouldn't have time to think let alone make anothe game.

It depends on your target market I would say, assuming this is for duck-tiles, you probably don't need to go crazy with the packaging, a good looking full-color CD should be fine.

Also, If you have your copy of Morning's Wrath handy, for reference, the CD is done via heat-transfer printing, it's automated machine and does burning and printing, might be somthing to look into if you are going to have high voulume.

for ink-jet labels I would go with photo ones, i found memorex photo-labels were the best quality and produced good looking results.

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I wouldn't expect to see a $5 product in a DVD case. Because then I'd likely get the impression that all the money was put into packaging instead of development and the producer was trying to make you think you got more product than they can actually deliver. However, a well designed piece of software can usually turn around those expectations, but I really can't remember the last time I saw a well designed piece of software for $5.

Likewise I wouldn't expect to see a $20+ product in a paper sleeve. Then I'd have the impression that the producer doesn't really care anything about delivery or that they went for the cheapest packaging option in order to keep more of the $20.

The packaging should be appropriate to the price point. A cheap package or demo version is OK to ship in a paper envelope. But if I paid a reasonable amount of money, I'd expect a keep case (jewel case minimum) and at least minimal printed instructions.

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Personally I prefer This type of case. They are extremly sturdy, small, easy to mail and protect the CDs well.

For an inexpensive product I would combine option 3 or 4 with this type of case. They start at about $0.22/ea (carton of 200) from the site above and go down as you buy more.

_Evan

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If I were to pay $20+ for software, I expect it to ship in the package #1. Anything less and I get the feeling that the software I paid for is also a cheap piece of crap. For things under $20 though package #2 or #4. If I'm paying only 5, 10, or 15 bucks for it, I expect that I'm only paying for the software and no fancyness.

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Personally, I wouldn't expect a physical media at all with a cheaply priced game. I could see adding option 3 or 4 to a standard download as a value-add, but not as a selling point in itself. However, if I'm paying near retail prices for your game, I would expect something more like option 1. And if you're charging me $30 per game, the extra buck or two for the DVD case seems relatively minor.

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