(This is a guest post from our friends over at Noissue, a company that allows merchants to design their own branded tissue paper.)
The importance of packaging often gets lost in the world of eCommerce retail. It’s a myth that a good product ‘sells itself’. As markets become more competitive, small points of difference can have a huge impact. Does your current packaging excite your customers, and help to ‘sell’ your brand? If not, it might be worth thinking about a refresh.
Here are the key reasons why your packaging design is significant:
1. It helps to build meaningful customer relationships
In eCommerce, building a relationship with your customer can be difficult. Unlike brick and mortar stores, you don’t have the chance to interact with them in person. And since most (if not all) of your communication will be online, things can feel a tad impersonal. So while it’s harder, you still owe it to your business and your customers to make an effort. At the end of the day, you’ll have to work much harder than traditional brick and mortar stores to make your customers feel valued.
At a typical clothing boutique, there is often a sales assistant taking you through each step of your purchasing process. From browsing, to product selection, to point of sale. In eCommerce, it’s the customer that directs all this. This means that you lose many of the traditional opportunities for relationship-building.
Those moments of personal interaction then become all the more important. Some of the best ammunition you have is during the post-sale phase. While in brick and mortar the sale ends when the customer walks out the door, in eCommerce the transaction is only complete when they open their order. The moment your product arrives should be exciting for your customer! ‘Unboxing’ creates the feeling of receiving a gift, and since the transaction itself has already taken place, it’s as if the gift is free. Custom packaging helps here because we form an already favorable impression of the ‘giver’, even before we have seen what’s inside.
Great packaging shows your customers that you value their experience. Putting care into that final interaction fosters the brand loyalty you need for repeat business.
2. It’s a huge part of consumer decision-making
If you are going to win out over competitors, you need to (quite literally) stand out from the crowd.
Because of how saturated some markets have become, consumers fall back on quick indicators to choose from a huge range of brands. As shallow as it seems, humans are visual creatures for whom appearances really do matter. It’s the initial information we receive that helps us form our first impressions. So although looks aren’t everything, they are still a major component of our purchasing decisions.
What will make you stand out is offering something unique. Whether that is your value p
roposition or your approach to business in general. Branded packaging is a fantastic way to present your external message in a concise, visual pitch suited to our short attention spans.
The reason that this tactic is successful is because of the appeal of something less tangible than traditional marketing. As branded packaging has now become synonymous with great value, your business is more than your product. The key here is that value lies in our experiences with companies as well as with their products.
3. It’s a valuable avenue for your marketing strategy
Consumers are active, not passive, and it’s important to treat them as such. Putting all your marketing efforts into talking about how great you
are isn’t going to cut the mustard. Chance is there are another ten companies out there offering something similar to you. So how do you up your game?
The first thing to realize is that social media has empowered consumers. We now have access to our own media outlets that present us a curated selection
of brands to scroll at our leisure. For eCommerce businesses especially, social media is already a central part of your marketing. Well get this: your packaging can help you leverage this power even further.
Sites such as Instagram are effectively a virtual shelf of products. So, you need catch the eye of your online customer just as you do in real life. Since they’re only going to see your products before buying them, it’s important that your visuals are on point. Check out some tips on making the most of your Instagram feed for eCommerce selling here.
Packaging that refers to your brand is a brilliant way to get your business out there to new markets. It appeals to social media users’ love of great aesthetics, in a place where what they like and follow reaches thousands of others. This makes it a fantastic place to get your brand out to new audiences.
4. Its functional purpose can positively (or negatively) affect your brand
Often, packaging accomplishes a lot more than simply looking good. If you sell fragile products or things which could leak or stain, functionality might be a bit more important than looks. If the glassware you ship arrives broken, it doesn’t matter how well-branded or attractive the packaging is. Take care of the basics first.
The same goes for packaging that is difficult to dispose of. If it’s non-recyclable, or too complex to take apart your customers could take notice! Packaging which hasn’t been well thought-out can negatively impact your customers’ experience. Because this is their final impression of your brand, it can harm any previous efforts you’ve made.
On the flip side, packaging that is both aesthetic and well-considered will win you major points with consumers. This is especially true if your design resonates with your brand’s values. If your brand values sustainability, using recyclable packaging shows that you practice what you preach. Backing up your words with actions creates trust, which is the number one ingredient to building repeat business. Custom packaging is a great way to cultivate this without coming across a too slick and sales-y.
The main takeaway is that there is more to branded packaging than choosing a pretty design. If your current packaging isn’t reflective of your brand and doesn’t serve a functional purpose, it might be time to change it. Branded packaging is successful when a customerfeels valued, and can extract from it the key messages that you want to communicate. For those who are still stranded inside the classic cardboard box, you have a fantastic chance to kill two birds with one stone. Compliment your marketing strategy, and improve your customers’ experience.
About the Author
Beth Owens is a digital marketing assistant and content writer at https://www.noissue.co. Her main topic areas include eCommerce, social media marketing and the art of excellent branding.