Depending on the product you purchase, the packaging can vary greatly. The packaging of a product you would get from an AliExpress merchant, for example, will differ very much from that of a product purchased from Apple. And the same goes for digital products, too.
There are many factors, but from the packaging’s perspective, the difference between AliExpress and Apple is that the latter company uses it to establish a communication channel with the end user as they unbox the product. And the attention to detail fosters that ‘Instagram moment’. In fact, during the last few years, unboxing has gone from being a seasonal pleasure, through to an online fad, and finally becoming a powerful ecommerce marketing tool.
The Importance of Packaging in Branding
Packaging is the necessary evil that hides your product from sight in order to protect it during transit. If you put the product into a plain cardboard box and use transparent shipping tape, it’s just an item that travels from A to B and while that will fulfil its purpose it doesn’t offer any greater value to the customer. Things change when you start customizing the packaging elements required to get the product to the customer.
For example, you could replace the boring shipping tape with a custom one that has the company logo printed on it. That’s a good tool to use for building a brand. Or take Amazon’s example: when you order a product, you expect firstly to get it there quickly, and secondly for it to arrive in a plain cardboard box carrying Amazon’s name and logo.
But that’s only a basic step. You must already have experience with online shopping, so the question here is this: what makes you feel more valued, a product arriving in a dull cardboard box or one delivered in attractive packaging?
The former sends a clear message: the item you got is just one of a million things available; it’s cheap and impersonal. The latter takes a different approach, adding value to the necessary stuff surrounding the much-awaited product. The attention to detail, the frustration-free packaging, the logo, or the stickers added to the parcel all send a message to the customer and make the purchase more valuable and feel more special as a result.
It all boils down to the simple fact that your customer will first interact with the package, not the actual product, so why not use this to establish an emotional connection with the customer that could be capitalized on later by converting them into a returning customer.
Just a side note here: roughly 80% of customers won’t return to the same store, even if they received good service and a good price. That reveals important information: without that emotional connection, you will need to concentrate your energy on bringing new customers in. Why not let your customers become ambassadors for your products by talking about it on social media and other platforms that grab user attention, ultimately leading to more traffic and more sales? Packaging can help you with that, so below you’ll find some practical advice on how to strengthen your brand with your packaging.
Customize the Package
Customize the cardboard box by printing your logo on it. Of course, this is just the first step, and there are great examples out there of how to make stunning packages or how to create interactive packaging. Just a quick example: Beer Cartel surprised its customers for the holiday season with a custom-made box that they call the Beer Advent Calendar. At the end of this period, the customer will return the box to get a new gift, so interaction is possible even remotely.
Think About What You Put Inside
While the external materials are rather limited, the inside the box is much more customizable. You could decide to use a unique material or pack it with eco-friendly shipping peanuts; every little aspect that shows your willingness to go the extra mile and talk about your brand strengthens the message you’re trying to present. That space can be used in novel ways, too, perhaps by inserting a handwritten note to the customer with a message thanking them for their purchase.
Include a Hook in the Package
In fact, inserting such letters has a huge impact on customer retention because it is received in a physical form thanks to the purchase they made. Including free samples of another product or a coupon as a bonus for their purchase also adds to return custom. Of course, this is a great opportunity to include branded stickers because it will keep your brand in sight, even after the sale is completed. The same strategy applies to digital products, though they have a major advantage in that you have already established a communication channel via email. Use this to convert the one-time customer into a returning one.