It is easier than ever to set-up an eCommerce business. However, that also means you’ll have a more significant number of competitors over a specific target market. It is crucial to capitalize on each customer interaction, the most direct being delivering your product to their doorstep.
The mindset of merely getting your merchandise from point A to point B will lag you behind the competition. Exploring creative and alternative kinds of packaging adds more value to your brand and exceeds customer expectations. You’ve done it successfully when your customer shares your packaging on his/her Instagram story before sharing whether your product even works.
Our 10 best practices for eCommerce packaging will definitely make each customer’s unboxing experience special.
Less is more
Good packaging is clean and hassle-free packaging. Unnecessary layers of tape desperately wrapped around the product might disappoint some customers and ruin their unboxing experience. It’s even worse when the customer needs to unearth the small item he/she bought inside several cardboard boxes like Russian dolls.
In this day and age, people are becoming increasingly aware of climate change. Customers want to minimize their carbon footprint as much as they can and expect businesses to do the same. “Less is more” is the easiest way to address this consumer demand by reducing the number of packaging materials to what is essential.
Fewer boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts are not the only things you should have less of. Trying to employ as many gimmicks as possible (like putting so many notes or instructional materials) can also be jarring. Plus, your customer might not even have the time to use or read everything you placed alongside the product they purchased.
At the end of the day, a business must effectively communicate its brand to its customers. Your product’s packaging is the most tangible way to get this message across. Edit your packaging, and make your message stand out.
Include promotional material/business card
ECommerce businesses have limited resources to spend on advertising, unlike big corporations. Inserting promotional materials in your packages can be an ingenious branding opportunity that can also boost customer retention.
Package inserts have become a popular marketing strategy for many eCommerce businesses. It’s a low-cost way to surprise the customer and keep them engaged. If you don’t have the budget for customized boxes, this could be your best way to enhance the customer experience.
A simple packaging insert could be printed-out coupons and discount offers for future purchases. It may be easier for you to send these digitally, but it’s a whole different experience for a person when it’s tangible.
And if you’re feeling a little extra, you can give away small gifts or tokens that are in line with your brand. These aren’t products that you sell like free samples, but a way to add something exciting and unexpected to your packaging. For example, if you’re selling coffee equipment, you can spice things up by delivering some coffee beans that they can use with their purchased merchandise.
One thing to never leave out is handing out business cards with every package. Including them can add a boost to your business, making it look “official” and “professional.” Plus, if you’re new in the industry, you can already offer discounts or shipping perks with it and act as your sole promotional material.
Custom note/Thank You note
A personalized thank you note with each product is a surefire way to maximize customer satisfaction. It’s something that will instantly exceed expectations and make each interaction feel special. You may have fewer customers than your well-established and large-scale competitors, but this is one practice that you can have leverage over them.
Customer appreciation is critical. Remember that without them, your business will not thrive.
Having an e-commerce business means limited touchpoints and zero in-person interactions, unlike competitors with physical stores and friendly staff. Business owners like yourself must therefore find innovative ways to make a special connection and build customer loyalty.
A handwritten note will trump a typewritten one, which can give the impression that a template was used and feel manufactured.
Thank your customers by their names and express how you’re looking forward to future interactions with them.
Information about the products/Care Instructions
Help your consumers know more about your products. You can place instructions on how to use them, especially if your product is experimental and innovative.
Answer some frequently asked questions that could be information they never knew they needed. If you’re selling a skincare line, for example, explain what to do in each step and which products not to combine in a single routine.
Including care instructions for your merchandise can also help your customers, especially when you’re selling clothing, shoes, equipment, among others. Share your tips on how their products can be properly cleaned, under what conditions they should be stored, and other information for them to last long.
This is also an excellent opportunity to inform or even educate your customers. You can share information on where your raw materials were ethically sourced, how their purchase is benefitting another community, or what benefits they can expect from using your product.
Making them learn about everything good that goes into every purchase with your business can instantly give them a quality customer experience.
Some people aren’t open to trying out new products or experiences. It’s easy to get comfortable and probably even stubborn, especially when something has been tried and tested and never once failed. Old habits die hard, but as a business owner, you have to be creative and make people try something out of the box.
Giving out freebies or samples with each package is a great way to offer your customers new experiences and promote your products. This is a practice that you should definitely exploit when boosting an underappreciated item that doesn’t seem to get enough purchases or launching a new product or product line that you want to get out there. Moreover, it is a great form of appreciation that your customers will look forward to in every purchase with your brand.
When you’re placing free samples in your packaging, it’s best to put your business card or any contact information (which is a must) and encourage customer feedback. It can help you gain reviews, which can sometimes be promotional when they post it on their Facebook or Instagram, without paying extra for marketing. It’s a win-win for all!
Most companies and brands are switching to completely eco-friendly packaging. As we said under “Less is More,” consumers want to shift towards practices that will be less harmful to the environment. In fact, the majority of them are likely to purchase from brands that utilize sustainable packaging.
Saying goodbye to plastics might be a little challenging at first, but it could give your brand a sense of purpose. Although it could increase your fixed expenses, it also sends a message to your consumers that you’re taking your part in preserving the environment. It’s a huge step against mindless production and consumption that will make your customers appreciate your brand and increase the likelihood of re-purchases.
The first step to more eco-friendly packaging practices is removing what is entirely unnecessary for your product to reach your customer’s doorstep.
Do you really need four boxes and layers and layers of bubble wrap to secure a small bottle? It could even be more costly for your business by doing this in the first place.
Finding more sustainable alternatives for packaging solutions is your next step, which isn’t that challenging anymore. There are packaging suppliers available in the market that will cater to your needs. Use post-consumer waste (PCW) corrugated boxes, packing peanuts made of cornstarch, recyclable plastics, and other alternative packing materials.
Earning money while doing some good to Mother Earth is already an accessible option for small e-commerce businesses like yours.
Inform your customers about your efforts and how they have likewise contributed to a better cause. With a great product and eco-friendly packaging, you’ll be able to offer a stand-out and memorable consumer experience.
A plain kraft corrugated box is already presentable. However, if you want to create an unforgettable unboxing experience, a customized one featuring your brand’s theme and color palette will do so. This will help your consumers recall your brand’s name and identity.
First impressions truly last. Having a customized box for your products can immediately create a positive and delightful experience that can even be the highlight of their day. If your product is already one of the best in the market, packaging it in a unique way that communicates your brand will heighten customer satisfaction even more.
Customized boxes can be costly. It’s best to buy in bulk from your supplier as you would do with any raw material. If your products don’t need a box, consider having customized mailers instead, which will be cheaper.
There has been a war against single-use plastics in recent years. People have shifted gears and want to become smarter and more environmental-friendly consumers.
To address this need, brands are opting to house their products in reusable packaging that can last in a consumer’s space for a while or even a long time.
Some packaging options include more durable shipping boxes that can be repurposed as extra storage at home. You can also design your packaging products so that customers would want to place them on their shelves as a decorative trinket or use them as a stylish storage solution in their purses.
In any event, choosing to have reusable packaging is a great opportunity to have a lasting impression on your customers. Plus, it can work as word-of-mouth advertising in the long run whenever their friends ask them about it.
No matter how appealing your packaging’s appearance is, your most important objective is to safely and successfully deliver the product.
Your product should survive the miles-long journey it will take to reach your customer and the inevitable poor handling of some couriers.
Ultimately, you’ll need to balance aesthetics with functionality. You can come up with the coolest packaging amongst your competitors, but if it sacrifices your product’s safety and integrity, it’s all useless. For example, if you’re shipping something containing liquids, adopt measures to prevent leakage and damage to their containers.
It’s important to do your research and consult with your supplier or an expert on the best packaging to make your product stand out while keeping it safe. Lastly, check if some pertinent standards or regulations apply to your product.
Something many businesses overlook is the receipt. Giving your customers the breakdown of their purchase is very important, but don’t settle for a standard black-and-white receipt. Use it as a marketing opportunity to mix things up and surprise your customer.
Together with the other elements of your packaging, make your receipt consistent with your brand. You can easily print something that will mimic the design elements or tone of your box, plastic, freebies, among others. You can even add a message to thank your customer for their purchase or grant them a discount code to make them look forward to their next purchase.
Today, the norm for good packaging is whether it’s Instagrammable or vlog-worthy. Businesses now have to make their packaging and products “too pretty/professional/sleek not to post” and earn free advertising from their customers.
If you’re just about to start building your eCommerce brand, integrate these packaging practices to give you a valuable marketing edge. But if you’ve been in the business for some time, it’s never too late to reinvent.