What do you see when you look at this image?
Apparently, some people think it’s a vase, while others see two faces.
What about this one?
Is it just a box? Or is it a major opportunity?
Unlike the answer to the first riddle, there’s only one correct response to this set of questions, especially if you’re a direct seller, subscription business, or eTailer – because in today’s brisk battle for business, the role of a well-presented and carefully presented package is huge.
When you think about it, it’s easy to see why. As kids, we all gravitated toward opening our more enticing-looking presents first. And even though many of the online, subscription, or direct sale purchases we now make aren’t actually presents, we still wind up wanting them to feel that way when they arrive.
So let’s talk about personalized packaging. More specifically, let’s discuss some of the ways – besides the obvious (using external shipping materials that have been pre-printed with your company’s name and logo) – that your company can do a better job of capitalizing on this growing trend.
Choosing The Right Materials For Your Personalized Packaging
First of all, pay careful attention to the kinds of bags or boxes you select. Even at their most generic they’re a major part of your customers’ unboxing experience, serving as an important showcase and line of protection for your products.
Have you thoughtfully considered all of your possible options, which include everything from basic bags or folded cartons (think Amazon) to fancy rigid boxes complete with segmented and carefully-labeled selections (think high-end subscription businesses for products such as make-up or nutrition)?
In addition, have you considered the possibility of combining one or more of these packaging types? Some companies like L’Occitane, will ship orders in a plain brown box, but when that box is opened, customers will find another fully branded, elegant and colorful box with carefully presented products inside. Other companies do something similar with cost-effective but eye-catching box and bag configurations.
Just as important, have you considered all of your options in terms of how well they’ll fit into the big picture of your budget, weighing everything from potential durability to increased shipping fees? After all, even the most personalized packages won’t make a company look good if they’re prone to damage, difficult to open, or subject to higher dimensional charges.
Upgrading Your Packing Slip
Another important (yet often overlooked) area of personalization and customization is how you produce, position, and present each order’s packing slip.
Is your packing slip just a laundry list that was thrown in as an afterthought? Or have you taken the time to make it graphically pleasing, easy to read, and easy to find? In addition, have you thought about what kind of paper it’s printed on, considered putting it in a branded envelope, and weighed the merits of including a personalized message on it?
These small but important packing slip touches cost next to nothing. However, they can make a big difference in the way a customer perceives your company – as can the addition of a “personal” thank you note, be it carefully hand-written or exquisitely printed.
People love to think they’re getting something for nothing, which is why there’s a lot to be said for this next tactic – adding a small gift, such as a special discount or some additional product samples, to each customer’s outgoing package.
One of my colleagues still talks about the free small soaps and extra pillowcases she received from two Etsy retailers that she has since done business with several times, while another was highly impressed that one of his merchants included sheets of gift wrap along with his purchase during the holidays.
Such grace notes can go a long way toward making each customer feel hugely appreciated, valued, and more inclined to buy from your company again – and (as a bonus) they’re often the kinds of things your company might have wanted customers to sample or use anyway.
Improving Your Surroundings
The way you enclose and cushion your products can also be a prime opportunity for more personalized packaging to increase the “wow” factor.
For example, if your company isn’t ready to foot the cost of custom packaging, it can still make an elegant marketing statement by surrounding products with tissue paper that matches one of your logo’s primary colors (or that’s been printed with your company name or logo) – especially if that paper has been folded and stickered “just so.” And if that tissue paper is sealed with an elegant branded sticker (which could also be affixed to many other parts of a package or order)? All the better.
There’s far more that I could say about this subject, including suggesting that your company consider customization options like:
- Tape printed with your company’s name or logo
- Distinctively shaped boxes (one of my spouse’s recent favorites looked like a treasure chest)
- Filler material – like air pillows – with your company’s name on it
- Sustainable filler, boxes or other environmentally-friendly shipping products
- Branding on the inside of a box’s top
- Distinctively colored mailing boxes
But for now, suffice it to say that if you think package personalization begins and ends with eye-catching graphics on the exterior of a box, think again. The eTailing and subscription business arena is full of various tactics and techniques that can help make your customers’ unboxing experience pleasant and memorable – and help your company make a distinctive and positive first and last impression. The question is, which are right for you and your budget? Just as important, which ones are your competitors already using?
Amware Fulfillment provides fulfillment services to many direct sellers and eTailers and works with them to choose the right packaging approach. Want to know more about the pros and cons of these or other personalized packaging solutions? Contact Amware today. We’ll be happy to discuss.