What’s more rewarding than having customers profess their love for your products? Positive consumer & brand relationships that can lead to brand loyalty, referrals and of course repeat purchasing.
Nurturing these relationships takes time, and it isn’t a quick fix. Especially when the competition for retail shelf space is at an all-time high. For both existing and start-up businesses, competition has always been a difficult factor to navigate and with the shift towards convenience and eCommerce retailing, brands are having to make every effort to impress with their marketing strategies in order to create unique experiences and differentiate against other competitors in the market.
Building a robust relationship with customers is by no means easy, especially when the variety of products available to purchase both in store and online seems endless. With so many options available on the market, brands are constantly in search for the next best strategy to deliver the unique experience of their products to their customers.
Using innovative designs, branding and other visual merchandising elements, businesses can offer a total concept brand experience to enhance the purchasing journey for their customers. Packaging is the perfect way to achieve this. Below, we talk through several different ways you can use packaging to build on these customer relationships and in turn generate more sales.
Why Packaging Matters
For businesses (both large and small), packaging plays an important role when it comes to creating impressions on your customers. The age-old adage that ‘first impressions count’ still holds true to this day. According to a study in the Olsztyn Economic Journal “Packaging is an important factor influencing purchasing decisions, especially in the case of food products. Packaging draws the consumer’s attention and communicates with the consumer at a critical time in the purchasing process, providing information, while instructing and educating.” (Mruk-Tomczak Et Al, 2019, p195). Packaging really is the game changer when it comes to having your product picked out in the retail environment.
Create the best packaging designs for your products
Some of the best examples of product packaging we come across as manufacturers are when real care and thought has been worked into the consumer experience with the product and how the consumer will engage & interact with the packaging.
An example of this would be to take advantage of the primary product packaging artwork and incorporating this into the outer packaging design and structure. One innovative method is to take a feature of the product labelling and allowing this to show through the packaging in an interactive way with a die-cut window or have the primary & secondary packaging working in tangent to complete the total packaging concept design.
Recent changes to consumer purchasing behaviour are indicating that convenience, sustainability and value are high on demand when it comes to packaging design. It is widely acknowledged that, “Consumers demand smarter packaging that serves both quality and sustainability functions” [APP Sinarmas].
Because of this, it is no surprise to us that we are seeing a lot more businesses explore new packaging features such as double-sided tape strips, perforations, tear strips, crash locking designs and the use of more premium print processes such as Litho, to achieve high value, visually engaging packaging designs.
Unlike physical retail experiences, eCommerce merchants have fewer ‘touch points’ to make a lasting impression on customers, so it’s important to utilise each opportunity to create a memorable branded experience that differentiates from competitors.
Whilst the products housed inside the cardboard box are arguably the main priority within the buying experience, packaging has a significant role to play in customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and the creation of brand advocates. Quality packaging certainly is a crucial element in product marketing for not only gaining new customers, but retaining existing customers too.
The most important purpose of packaging is to keep products safe from damage. Whilst product damage often occurs through handling or during transit, damage can occur as a consequence of varying different factors.
80% of customers say that product protection is the most important role of packaging and without appropriate packaging, 1 in 10 packages will arrive damaged [AutomationWorld.com].
We see many start-up businesses opt for a ‘one size fits all’ approach to transit packaging. Whilst this approach can be a cost effective short-term solution, ill-fitted packaging can lead to unwanted movement, abrasion, scuffs and crushing, that will quite understandably lead to negative implications further along the customer journey. From our experience in designing and manufacturing packaging for over 33 years, we know that bespoke packaging is the optimum solution for product protection.
Bespoke packaging is made to measure. This means that the dimensions of the products, the packaging material and weight requirements are all taken into consideration as the packaging is designed to ensure that it is fit for purpose.
Two in five customers claimed that if they were to receive a damaged product, they would consider purchasing with a competitor before ordering again [Shorr Packaging Corp]. In today’s unrelenting retail climate, it is straightforward to see that this is a risk that is not worth taking. To summarise, consider developing your own custom packaging solution rather than a one size fits all approach.
Bespoke packaging can:
- Significantly reduce the risk of product damage during delivery
- Help to maintain brand identity, build on customer relationships & encourage repeat sales
- Reduces costs that may be incurred through replacements/returns/administration as a consequence of damaged goods during delivery
- Can be made to suit individual products, applications and modes of transport
Find out more about protecting your products from damage in our article ‘Prevent Transit Damage With Quality Packaging’.
It’s all about the Unboxing Experience
When it comes to retail, first impressions are extremely important. They are made within the opening seconds of setting eyes upon something new. This differs slightly when it comes to eCommerce retailing, as the product packaging is the first perceptible experience a consumer has with a brand and its products. Therefore, the structural and visual packaging designs should be a facet of the brand that a lot of thought goes into.
In today’s modern age of digital content and online media, it is no new revelation to see research indicating that ‘90 percent of people say they discover new brands or products on YouTube’ [Oberlo.co.uk]. Which is no surprise given the search volume for keywords such as ‘unboxing’ and ‘unboxing experiences’ generates over 60,000,000 results. This clearly represents the emphasis we as consumers place on the ‘unboxing experience’ and this is an aspect that eCommerce businesses can use to effectively market their products.
We’ll shout it again for those in the back, “4 in 10 customers will share content of a recent order on social media if it came in a unique, branded, gift-like box”. Any shared content featuring your brand will organically advocate and market your brand to a wider reach of individuals in your consumer demographic, (without the need for additional spend on paid social media marketing).
It is for reasons such as those aforementioned above, that going the extra mile with your packaging is something well worth considering. From the structural design, print process, print finish, product presentation, inserts, ease of use, complimentary notes, right down to the branded tape used to seal the packaging ready for shipping.
Branded Packaging Tape is one of the most overlooked, essential, external packaging products. Having your own branded tape, is a great way to seal your packaging whilst promoting your brand. It is also a cost effective way to improve brand exposure, and have your packages easily recognised.
Customer loyalty and advocacy
As much as bespoke packaging can be effectively utilised as a marketing tool, it also aids brands in fostering loyalty with their customers. Loyalty is extremely important for eCommerce retailers due to it being so straightforward (and quite often cheaper) for customers to switch to another competitor brand offering a similar product.
It has been widely reported that 40% of online shoppers say they would be ‘more likely to purchase from a retailer that offers premium packaging.’ The same percentage of online shoppers said that ‘branded or gift-like packaging affects their perception of the online retailer that shipped the item’ [Multi Channel Merchant].
Bespoke packaging and particularly litho printed packaging has the power to propel a modest eCommerce brand into luxury territory through premiumisation. If you’ve been taking notes from earlier, you’ll already know that premiumisation is a big hit with consumers. Studies have shown that when people are excited about a brand, they are more likely to personally recommend it to their friends. According to Nielsen, ‘92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising’ [Neilsen.com].
When exploring new options of printed packaging for your brand, it’s important to know the different print processes available and the vast array of additional print finishes & embellishments available for packaging. The processes used in the manufacturing process will dictate the quality and price of the packaging.
With ever-improving technology, high quality printed packaging can be achieved with traditional printing methods for a relatively low unit price. But with the goal to create connections with customers through packaging, the lithographic printing process (litho) is arguably your best bet.
The litho print process produces printed packaging to a higher standard compared to other print processes and facilitates endless options for print finishes. All of which are great opportunities to enhance the consumer’s interaction with the packaging (and ultimately your brand).
Litho is one of the few print processes that can be combined with a multitude of additional print finishes. Today, there are many varieties available for the purpose of delivering multi-sensory experiences to the consumer. For example, luxury embellishments such as foil blocking, spot UV varnish, fragrance-burst elements and an array of different film laminates. By combining an innovative structural design, a quality print process and additional print finishes, you can transform your packaging from the ordinary to a premium and memorable packaging design.
Where do I go from here?
Finding the right company to deliver your packaging needs for your products is something that every brand owner should give some sincere thought to. After investing a lot of time and effort into produce your products, you want to avoid falling at the last hurdle. Along with all the other elements to consider, your packaging still needs to be reliable, cost effective, of sound quality, aesthetically pleasing and of course sustainable. We encourage you to reach out and seek advice from your packaging manufacturer. The suggestions and possible solutions may be key to your continued success.
To talk to our packaging experts about your products, submit an enquiry via our website or call us on 01502 513 112.