No matter what sort of product business you are running, packaging will play a big part in how people perceive you.
If you’re shooting for the luxury market, customers will probably except something luxe or unique, or perhaps something minimalist and chic? Alternatively, a dash of humoUr or eco-friendly packaging may be more appropriate for your brand. It’s all about matching your packaging with what’s underneath and ensuring the whole package reflects what your brand stands for.
As part of you customer experience (CX) strategy, it’s important to keep packaging in mind. It’s one of the most direct ways you communicate with your customers — so make sure it’s saying the right things. Here is how to be more in-tune with your customers when it comes to packaging.
Packaging as part of the customer experience
There is no doubt about it — packaging is important to your customers.
Just think to Tiffany’s for a second — their duck-egg packaging is just as famous as their high-end products.
In fact, in a retail environment, packaging could spell the difference between someone picking up your product, or going to the competition instead. Shelf appeal is real, and many startups (rightly so) plough money into researching consumer packaging trends. The right sort of packaging can directly increase sales figures and revenue.
In an ecommerce environment, your packaging as it at the end of a potentially long customer decision journey. This is the moment that could determine whether the customer chooses to ever shop with you again.
When thinking about your packaging, consider the following criteria carefully:
- Practicality & suitability — there is nothing worse than packaging that’s not fit for purpose
- Delivery/unboxing experience — does your packaging protect your product and deliver a ‘wow’ factor?
- Values & emotions — what kind of emotional connection are you creating?
- Customer perks & extras — can you slip in anything extra like written inserts or branded stickers? Remember: customer loyalty = more revenue.
- Brand coherence & longevity — is your packaging in tune with who you are as a brand today? And will it stand the test of time? (The beauty of using stickered labels for your packaging is that they can be quickly and easily updated without wasting budget).
Finding the right packaging for your brand
Now that you have some idea of the criteria you should be scoring yourself against, it’s time to find the right packaging format and solutions for your brand.
The first step is knowing your brand and its audience. What values do you want to communicate? Who are your customers? Having a feel for your customers and understanding their wants and needs will help you design a package that’s going to add value to their interactions with you.
Something customised and unique is always better than something generic (differentiation will help customers remember you), but customisation doesn’t need to be be complicated and expensive.
By using shortcuts like branded stickers and simple, yet effective packaging (think brown paper, string, or recycled materials), even the smallest ecommerce startup can create a special packaging experience.
Top tip: Overseas, cultures have different conventions when it comes to colour, symbols, and even numbers. Especially the Asian market has a unique way of reading visual clues, so make sure that your packaging is culturally sensitive and appropriate.
Telling a story
Customers like to buy into intangible things. Whether it’s a story, a mission, or a cause —for your customers, it’s not just about walking into a store and finding the cheapest deal.
If you can sell an idea or a lifestyle to your customers, you are onto something. A big part of that wider story will be your packaging.
The idea of telling a story through packaging may seem a bit odd at first, but it’s actually a common feature of modern design language. The idea is to focus on creating experiences that are both exceptional and representative of who you are as a brand.
- Find design inspiration on sites like Behance and work with a designer to ensure that all your brand touchpoints are in order. Here is a nice example of some Mexican-style food packaging:
- Think about how your packaging reflects your values. An ethical clothing brand may choose to use stickers on simple brown paper packing or bags, whereas a kids’ toy store may want something a bit more exciting like colored paper and ribbons.
- Think creatively about how packaging can work for your products and industry. Choose a method and a medium that’s appropriate, but maybe also slightly surprising.
Testing your packaging
When it comes to testing your packaging out, you have a few different options. You may want to use focus groups to test out its initial suitability, but test runs are essential for testing durability. You want to to see what actually happens during the delivery journey — like how your packaging looks once it’s got rained on!
For anyone running an online store, packaging may be one of the only offline experiences your customers have with you — so it’s important that you make it count. Use integrations that safeguard the delivery experience so that your packages turn up looking good — a robust delivery tracking system is a must-have for any ecommerce operation.
For your customers, packaging is one of the key yardsticks they will use to size up your brand. There are loads of unique and innovative ways to package products, so don’t be afraid to try something a bit different.