At first sight, an article on packaging may not sound very interesting. Yet, more and more companies are taking a closer look at this aspect as a way to differentiate.
Have you thought of packaging as a marketing tool?
LET YOUR CUSTOMERS ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE
Too many online retailers underestimate the importance of the packaging choices. They tend to only see the functionality of packaging: to protect a product.
Imagine all the places your package will go to before getting into the hands of your customer. Think of all the people who will handle your package (and don’t think they care as much as you do about your package). It will be put in bags, will run through machines, will ride in trucks, on planes, and so on. Even if you sell cotton t-shirts (not a fragile product per se), you wouldn’t want the packaging to open and the goods to be stained or torn, right? Everybody agrees: goods need to be well protected before shipping. Check out the following articles for practical tips on the topic: Quick Practical Guide to Packaging – Part I and Part II.
Beyond functionality though, packaging should be one of your tools to set yourself apart from the crowd. Packing your goods so they are well protected until they get into the hands of your customers will no doubt contribute to their satisfaction, but letting your customers enjoy an experience as they unwrap their order will win you bonus points.
I’d like to illustrate this with two situations my family experienced personally when ordering online.
My wife ordered beautiful, hand-made textile items from a small Quebec business. She bought it to give a gift to a friend. The products were delivered in perfect condition; wrapped in plastic, vacuum-packed for less volume, and in a bubble mailer.
She was very satisfied with the products themselves, but her initial reaction was focused on the plain packaging. Interesting. The business delivered exactly on what was expected of them. The products were received in perfect condition. Nothing wrong, right?
Sometime later, we ordered from another business similar to the first. The product was also packed in a bubble mailer similar to the first order. However, inside, the product was in a small recycled cardboard box, stamped with the brand name and attached to a string was a label with our name on it. Simple, but pretty and personalized.
In fact, had we bought the latter to give as a gift, we wouldn’t have needed to buy gift wrap; that’s how good-looking the packaging was. Unwrapping it, we had the feeling someone was sending US a gift, yet we were the ones who bought it. You get the point…
In short, attractive packaging is like a beautiful restaurant dish: the presentation makes all the difference and greatly contributes to the experience. If the dish’s presentation was so-so, the taste and the memories wouldn’t be the same, wouldn’t you agree?
Why is that? The visual aspect is that important to the experience.
A customer who enjoyed his experience is much more likely to come back to you or share his experience with others through photos on social media, all of which will only generate more sales.
CAREFULLY DESIGN YOUR CONCEPT
For your packaging to really serve as a marketing tool, it must be carefully designed and comply with your business’ style and values. That way, it will allow you to create a direct link with your customers.
After all, your packaging becomes your brand’s spokesperson. You will never walk into your customers’ houses, but it will! Packaging not only protects the product, it sends a message. You need to determine what yours will be.
Take pochesetfils.com as an example. I love these guys: they create clothes with unique and super creative pockets. All their products are shipped in pizza boxes. So cool! Totally fits with the off-the-wall, quirky spirit of their company and their colourful website.
Photo credit: pochesetfils.com
In conclusion, it stands to reason that your team should meet to formally discuss your choices in terms of packaging to ensure they are in line with your company’s core values, your image, and what you want your customers to experience when receiving their orders.
Of course, the financial aspect is not to be neglected. The fancier the packaging, the higher the cost. Yet, creativity doesn’t have to be expensive. A packaging can be simple and inexpensive and still make an impact.
Also, the quality of the packaging has to match the value of the order. However, even if you are a small new company, in no way are you limited to vacuum-packed plastic bags. Think outside the box, so to speak!
Nowadays, environmental concerns are growing among consumers, reinforcing the pertinence of eco-friendly packaging.
How to avoid plastic, encourage recycling, provide reusable bags – such aspects need to be considered.
Trois fois par jour, one of Buster Fetcher’s customers, is a company that attaches considerable importance to its image. You are likely familiar with this company. Their core values include local products, respect for the environment, and a balanced lifestyle. These values are reflected in their packaging: eco-friendly and simple, yet visually appealing and elegant.
Another Quebec business, womance.ca, specialized in making women’s fashion accessible to all, ships its products in bags that are 100% recyclable, reusable, and weather-resistant (cold, heat, or rain).
Photo credit: womance.ca
This bears repeating: eco-friendly packaging is increasingly sought after by consumers. According to Éco Entreprises Québec, one in two Quebecers claims to be genuinely interested in eco-friendly packaging with the following characteristics: security, transportation, protection, conservation, resistance to breakage, storage and consumer experience.
So, with all the above points in mind, do you feel your packaging is attractive, eco-friendly and fits your company’s image?
If not, perhaps a little team meeting is due…