Packaging for Products
The role of packaging for products is incredibly important for retailers, regardless of what they sell. When it comes to buying products or services, often the details make the difference: the right amount of foam in the cappuccino served at a coffee shop, the smile of a shop assistant, the arrangement of products in a supermarket. These details can push a consumer to repeat the experience in that coffee shop, in that store, and that supermarket. This is no different when it comes to packaging for products, as this can create a first impression and a whole experience around someone receiving your product.
It is well known that it is not wise to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to eCommerce, one should never underestimate the power of packaging. We are experiencing an era of transformation in the world of communication through social media, where the visual element becomes increasingly important and accessibility is easier than ever. With platforms such as Instagram having immense popularity, visualization has become a core focus for many people and a deciding factor for many of their decisions.
But even in eCommerce, the details are essential. That’s why, if you manage a site or want to start one, you have to take everything into account and think of the little things. This is where you need to figure out your packaging design and functionality. Depending on what you sell and your niche, you may need to pay attention to certain elements more than others. At the end of the day, it needs to benefit the consumer the most, but can incorporate many elements if they all work together harmoniously.
Packaging for Products and Customer Experience
Would you recycle old boxes or prepare each order with dedication? We can assure you; the customer will be able to see the difference between a nicely packaged item and an old box found in an alley somewhere.
Logistics is at the heart of an eCommerce website: internal, almost imperceptible, but certainly vital for the success of online sales. Packaging is an important artery, and that additional detail could be capable of winning over even the pickiest consumer.
There aren’t a lot of retailers who invest in a high-level of detail, which is why it can also be used as a competitive lever to improve the customer’s shopping experience with you. The packaging is not only used to protect products but is the physical meeting point between seller and customer, an opportunity to materialize from the digital world.
In fact, until the moment of delivery, the whole process is evanescent and almost unreal. When the user receives the package, they open it and touch the product, so that everything that has happened before becomes real and validated.
A good package is all part of the buyers’ journey.
Doing this right can lead to huge growth and exposure for your brand because the small details are what gets people talking about you.
What Makes Good Packaging Design?
Receiving a well-detailed package can have a very strong impact on the customers experience. It is as if those who receive it were discarding a personal gift. You can make this a special moment, even if there is, in fact, no surprise and the customer knows what’s inside.
The special moment could turn into an emotion that would push the customer to immortalize it with a photo and then share it on social media. If the photo receives many shares and likes it gives you brand awareness and leaves a happy customer.
There are many elements that can make up a good packaging design and depending on what you sell you may not even need to incorporate many elements to be effective. Some designs just need to be simple, while others need more functionality or would use creativity to stand out from their competition. Let’s take a look at some common elements that are used in packaging with these product packaging examples below.
Easy to Open
Good packaging must be able to protect the product effectively, but also be easy to open. Amazon, which has always invested in customer care, has even promoted a nice initiative called “Frustration-Free Packaging” that invites sellers to offer products in packages that can be opened without the use of tools or sharp objects.
A great example of this would be Easy Tear Packaging, which has revolutionized food packaging and become the new normal for a lot of food products. Many food companies have utilized this innovation and coupled it with resealable components which aid in preservation.
As we have already mentioned, the receipt of the package is the first direct contact that the customer has with your product and therefore can decisively influence the perception of your brand. A good example of personalization could be to include a thank you card for the purchase by the owner of the company or the brand as a whole.
To improve the experience with the packaging you can customize the order, inserting within the elements that surprise the customer and give them the opportunity to repeat the purchase.
It is important to be able to transmit through the packaging and the package itself the same feeling that the customer would buy in a store. Since there is no possibility of direct contact with company personnel through eCommerce, it would be important to try to transmit that type of contact through the personalization of packaging.
Oreo did this a few years ago with their Colorfilled promotion which encouraged people to purchase some Oreo’s and create custom packages.
Another aspect that is becoming increasingly important is that of eco-sustainability. According to a Nielsen survey, 52% of online users decide to repeat a purchase if the package is eco-friendly: made from recycled, recyclable or reusable materials.
It’s advisable to use the same material for all parts of the package, so it can be disposed of more easily. Even large companies are converting to ecological packaging, using this element to retain and raise consumer awareness.
For example, Zara invented the “Boxes with a past” initiative:
The life of each package is told on the surface of the package, where you can also read some suggestions to reuse it. The goal is to prolong the life of the box as if to humanize it. This gesture makes us realize how eco-sustainability can become an important lever for branding, and it is not by chance that it is also used for Corporate Social Responsibility actions.
Ecologic Brands designs and manufactures paper bottles made from recycled materials. Their outer shells are made from recycled newspaper and cardboard which can also be recycled again after they’ve been used.
It’s tempting to want to go all-out when designing your packaging. Well, there can be too much of a good thing, and also too much going on. Sometimes, it’s better to just keep it simple and not try to do too much at once. Some of the best designs in the world are simple and some products really don’t need flashy packaging. This is the packaging below for a product by 100% Natural, a company that makes healthy treats naturally free from dairy, gluten, and refined sugar.
Don’t you love it when things just work? Practical packaging can come as a nice surprise for the customer and can help you win over more because of it. The ketchup company Heinz turned their fortunes around by doing four simple things for their packaging; they replaced glass with plastic, made it squeezable, put the top on the bottom, and made it so that the bottle could stand on both its vertical sides. Mind you, they still do make glass bottles, but this plastic squeeze bottle changed everything.
Creative packaging designs can be the most memorable. Not only this, but they can become iconic as well. In terms of brand recognition and word of mouth creative packaging can certainly be a winner. Two different companies could sell virtually the exact same product, think bottled water for example, but these two companies could be greatly differentiated by their packaging. If one company uses bland and generic packaging while the other one makes creative use of theirs, which one would stand out more for consumers?
Packaging For Products: Ideas and Design
If you have an online store, you should take care of every element of the user experience: the home page of your online store, the description of the products, the payment methods, etc. This is no different when it comes to your product packaging.
With eCommerce, unlike traditional sales, the seller does not have the opportunity to really connect with the customer, which is why the package represents a real opportunity to win them over and retain them. There are of course various channels of communication such as live chat systems, chatbots, email, and telephone but a lot of customers make their purchasing decision based on the information on the website.
This means that for a lot of customers the first tangible point of communication is when their package arrives. You have probably heard the expression “we eat with our eyes”, which is very true in more ways than just food. The moment your customer see’s their package, their brain has set an expectation based on this. The expectation then changes, evolves, and the whole experience either elevates or precipitates based on the unpackaging. The packaging is the first thing your customer will see, so start by getting creative with this and then create a journey for them as the package unfolds.
This is the most important component and is generally made of resistant cardboard in order to protect the product during transport.
Some eCommerce websites also personalize this element, and Cratejoy sells a wide range of beautiful subscription boxes with amazing designs.
Many stores also use an internal weft made up of threads, which allows you to immediately notice if the package has been tampered with before delivery, thus representing an important protection for both the customer and the seller.
You can further protect the product with a tissue (which gives a touch of mystery) or polystyrene, shavings, bubble wrap (if the product is fragile). However, with a view to eco-sustainable packaging, we recommend using as little material as possible.
Also take into account the costs of customized and high-quality packaging, because it is something that will likely be thrown away. It is, therefore, necessary to find a way to do this in the most convenient way possible. Custom product packaging is great and can certainly draw attention to your brand, but remember, most people will dispose of your box so keep this in mind when it comes to the costs involved
Inside the package, together with the purchased product, a sticker with the brand logo can be inserted.
You have probably seen this with many brands, such as Apple, and when the customer uses the sticker on something; free advertising for you!
Not only that, but you can also enter a discount code for the next purchase, or one to give to a friend to trigger a kind of word of mouth.
You can also insert contact details and social media pages to follow. Even just a motivational phrase to hang or keep could be great for the customer as well. If you are launching a new product, you can take advantage and give a sample to customers to test it out. You could even throw in a free product that is a relatively low cost to you just to surprise them, which could do wonders for getting more customer reviews.
Custom Stickers Company
Your product needs to be protected while it is in transit to avoid being damaged. Not only this, but filler can also be used creatively as well to enhance the customer experience. You could use your standard fillers such as packing foam and bubble wrap or you could go further and insert partitions or use wood excelsior. Depending on your niche and what you sell, you could use something a bit different such as custom made newspapers for the more hipster-oriented brands or even air cushions.
Packaging Filler Company
Sometimes you may need to hold your package together to protect it during shipping. In this case, you can get reinforced packaging tape for extra security. The most common tape used would be your standard clear packaging tape so it doesn’t look unsightly for the customer. You could also customize this as well and get some cool branded packaging tape. Not many eCommerce websites do this so it’s a great way to make yourself stand out from the crowd as Beardition has done.
Packaging Tape Companies
It’s still rather common to include a packing slip in with the delivery, but with technology enabling merchants to send digital receipts and invoices, this is not as standard practice as it used to be. Some countries may require this to be sent, however, and the packing slip also presents another opportunity to brand yourself and stand out. In addition to the product information, you could also include your company logo, product image, and maybe even a little promotional message down the bottom as well.
Custom Packing Slips
Handwritten notes add a nice touch to your package and also personalize it as well. Very few people will expect to see a handwritten note when their order arrives and the more you can personalize it the better the connection you are establishing with the customer. Small details like these can make a world of difference but it may be harder to keep it up as your business grows. This could be a good strategy when your brand is new and these notes could spread via social media and word of mouth and get you more sales. Johns Crazy Socks includes a handwritten note in their packages and the notes are also personalized when possible.
Samples & Gifts
Free samples and gifts also go a long way for customer satisfaction. Some companies will do this when a customer orders an item over a certain amount so the cost of the sample or gift has been offset. It should also be closely related to what the customer has ordered if possible. So if the customer ordered conditioner from you a good compliment would be a free sample of shampoo. Glasses company Warby Parker offers people a chance to try on 5 different pairs of glasses for 5 days with free shipping and a prepaid return bag.
Packaging for eCommerce Products
Make sure that the packaging is in line with your brand and is at the same level of every other element of the purchasing process such as your cart and checkout pages, customer support, etc.
Think of packaging not only as enhancing the customer’s experience but as marketing too: if word of mouth is the most effective tool for persuasion, you can make the packaging of your product talk about your brand. By creating attractive and aesthetically appealing packaging, you encourage your customers to post what they have received on their social media channels. The fundamental role that packaging combined with social media can play to increase the notoriety of a brand.
It is no coincidence that great brands known internationally rely on influencers on various social channels to share the experience of unpacking their products, thus creating virality around them. Without the right packaging, you can actually miss the target with the majority of your potential customer base. Remember that packaging for products is an active phase in the purchasing process, and for some; the final phase.