The right packaging shows your customers you care about their needs. Creating an excellent customer experience (CX) involves everything from your website to interactions to opening the product. Good packaging design helps build consumer confidence and shows them they can trust you to understand them.
E-commerce has a unique challenge with packaging. Not only do you have to consider the outer container for your product but you must think about the materials in the package, such as the box, padding, invoice and instructions.
What Should Be Included in Proper Packaging?
The Small Business Administration estimates there are about 32.5 million small companies in the United States. No matter what industry you’re in, you likely have competition. If you want to stand out from your competitors, you must ramp up your efforts to provide a good experience right down to product packaging.
While not every small business is an e-commerce one, many also sell online. If you want to stand out from the crowd when customers receive your shipments, here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Choose a Product Outside
What kind of packaging you use for the outside of each product will depend greatly on the type of e-commerce store you run. For example, if you resell items you buy wholesale, they may already have an outer shell. If you sell clothing, you may only need a clear plastic bag.
Consider how hard it is to get to the product once the person opens it, if you’ll ever need to stack it on retail store shelves and the cost of the packaging.
2. Ensure Contents Remain Safe
Thanks to the pandemic and more people ordering online than ever before, the number of e-commerce orders going through the mail systems each day has increased significantly. With more volume comes higher risk of damage to items you send. While you might have insurance, you don’t want disappointed customers on the other end when they receive a product that’s unusable.
Start with a strong box that withstands the rigors of being dropped from several feet, crushed under larger boxes and otherwise treated roughly throughout the logistical process.
3. Cushion Contents
What does your e-commerce store sell? If you ship electronics and breakables, your packaging must be quite different than if you sell something that won’t break, such as a book or piece of clothing.
For glass items, wrap them tightly in small bubble wrap and tape in place. Make sure there is no movement and the box you place them in has zero extra space for them to jostle around. Wrap each item individually. If a product has two pieces, such as a candy jar with a lid, wrap each as though it is a separate one.
Next, place the box with the breakables inside another box with two inches on all sides. Add additional cushion in the form of shipping paper, peanuts or more bubble wrap around all sides, top and bottom.
4. Create an Experience
When users open the box, is the unboxing experience pleasant? Have you seen some of the social media videos of people unboxing their makeup deliveries? The beauty e-commerce stores use pretty wrapping paper and place a nice card or discount flier on top of the products. Everything looks pretty.
Of course, what you sell determines what your packaging looks like. However, if you can create an experience and provide it consistently to your customers, they’re much likelier to order from you in the future.
Order custom tissue paper for items such as clothing, handbags and cosmetics. Add a bright card to thank customers for their order. If you offer a discount code for another order, you may increase your revenue and keep your brand at the forefront of your audience’s thoughts.
5. Protect the Environment
The packaging industry is a $1 trillion one, using many natural resources people today want to conserve. No matter where you stand on the global warming debate, nearly everyone agrees it is smart stewardship of the earth to try to live greener where it makes sense.
If you want to reduce your brand’s carbon footprint and attract green conscious consumers, choose packaging that is sustainable. Recycled boxes, bubble wrap and other packing materials help you do your part to protect the environment for future generations.
You could also look at packaging, such as using glass bottles your customers can refill or things that disintegrate more quickly in landfills. Another thing to consider is how quickly materials regrow. Bamboo clothing may be more environmentally friendly than something with a man-made material base.
6. Brand Your Outer Packaging
Putting your logo or stickers on the outside of boxes helps grow your brand. Think about companies such as Blue Apron or BoxyCharm. They ship out orders in boxes people instantly recognize.
The brand is promoted to the person ordering the item and every hand it passes along the way through the mail system. Even neighbors might see the box and wonder about your company. If someone comes over, and the customer shows them the order, they see the branded material.
Use any opportunity to put your brand image in front of potential customers. Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful way to reach new clients. Your packaging can play a part in that.
Is It Aesthetically Pleasing?
At the end of the day, your product packaging must be visually appealing. A certain structure helps people know what to expect with each order, such as an invoice always on top.
Unwrapping the order can be half the fun of receiving it. Look for ways to make your packaging special with custom tissue paper and boxes. You don’t have to spend a fortune for your packaging to have an impact.