Branding your packages gives you the opportunity to:
- Surprise and delight your customers
- Drive more sales
- Encourage repeat purchases
- Spread the word about your business or product
- Reduce support calls and returns
Both new and long-standing business often overlook this important aspect. Although choosing to not brand your packaging isn't necessarily detrimental, adding even small branding elements can really add to the overall perception of your business.
Think outside the box
The first thing to focus on is your shipping container. Go beyond the standard brown box and give your package an identity that makes customers excited to see it on their doorsteps. There should be no question who it's from.
Client Example: Packed Party
To do this, you can purchase specialty packaging, but it comes at a cost. Alternatively, consider spending a little of your marketing budget on stickers or a stamp. There's also nothing wrong with writing something by hand, especially if having a personal touch is part of your brand.
Consider including the following on your packaging to help it stand out:
- A prominently featured logo
- Your store URL
- Contact information
- Location (if you have one)
- Mission statement or tagline (if you have one)
- Fun additions that are either personal, reflect your brand or enhance the package (e.g, drawings, personal notes, jokes, tags, etc.)
Even the smallest customization can make a world of difference. Over time, you can work up to something on the same level as Man Crates. They ship in a customized brown box that contains a branded crate. The icing on the cake is the branded mini crowbar and directions on how to open the package.
Client Example: Man Crates
Think inside the box
As discussed, the most important part of packaging is making sure the product arrives safely. Since you have to use packing material anyway, why not have it add to your brand and help make the unboxing an event? Here are some ideas to replace standard packing peanuts and bubble wrap:
- Confetti for a celebratory gift
- Dated newspaper clippings or magazines for a hand-crafted or antique item
- Pine-scented wrapping paper for an item used for camping
- Lace or satin to wrap something delicate
- Tissue paper with a bone print for dog toys, and a few treats strewn about so they can unwrap it themselves
- Rope or twine wrapped around a nautical item
- A printed piece of cloth that wraps around small box containing jam
Your packing material is a great opportunity to be clever based on your knowledge of your products and the people who buy them. A little extra thought and love inside of your package will never go unnoticed — your customers will spread the word, take photos and more.
Client Example: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
INCLUDE SOME EDUCATION
Take some time and think about how you can support a customer with your product as he or she is first opening it. Help your customers out by providing:
- An FAQ sheet: Does the item need to be charged? Is some assembly required? What's it made out of?
- Directions for use: A step-by-step tutorial, a quick cartoon or even a URL to an online video.
- Maintenance recommendations: Where do I store this? How do I clean it?
- Alternative uses: Perhaps you can recycle your product or use it in different ways.
- How to connect with others: Links to communities or a calendar with a meet-up schedule.
- Additional information: Industry statistics, tall tales, fun facts, trivia questions and jokes.
DON'T FORGET THE MARKETING
Including marketing in shipment packaging it something many merchants forget about. If someone has purchased from your online store, they are your hottest lead. They liked your product enough to purchase it the first time, so why wouldn't you do all you can to bring them back again and again? As we've mentioned, it costs up 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customers than it does to retain an existing customer, so go for it!
- Encourage social posting: You could ask customers to take a video of a dog opening the package and post it on social media, or run a contest where they have to submit a photo of themselves using your product. Or maybe just include a hashtag in case they decide to tweet about your product.
- Provide incentives to come back: Offer a coupon (Bigcommerce allows you to create a single-use coupon code) for a percentage or dollar amount off the next purchase. Or include a tangible gift card (could be as simple as a business card with information and your logo).
- Invite them to enroll: Kick off a loyalty or referral program and get your customers to find and bring in more of your target demographic.
- Include some marketing collateral: Throw in some branded stickers, flyers, etc. Be sure to include your store URL and other pertinent info to make it actionable and drive more business.
Show your appreciation
Don't forget to thank your customers. Include some bonus items, a coupon or discount, or even a handwritten note telling them how awesome they are and how much you appreciate their business.
Client Example: Loren Hope
Have fun with it
If it's part of your brand, don't be afraid to have a little fun with your packaging to meet a customer request or make them feel special. For instance, Colin from Captain Chocolate had a customer who was concerned her shipment would be eaten by the opossum family living in her neighborhood. Colin couldn't do much to prevent that, so instead he had some fun with it. He wrote things like “Poisonous to Opossums” and “Opossum Warning: Contents may be hazardous to your family's health” on the shipping box in marker, and included some hand-drawn cartoons. Luckily, the opossums heeded the warnings and the customer was so amused that she became a regular shopper.