For ecommerce retailers, shipping is a necessity, a way for them to get their products from point A to point B, and packaging, at the very basest of levels, is simply a way to protect products during transport. For ecommerce companies that want to make a lasting impression with their customers, though, packaging means so much more.
Unlike in physical retail, where merchants have numerous opportunities to impress and connect with customers through elements like decor, lighting, music, in-person interactions, and of course the vast selection of products they can see and touch when they enter the store, establishing a connection with customers can be a challenge for ecommerce retailers.
Most of these companies, lacking physical storefronts, only have one chance to really wow customers, and that’s when they get their packages in the mail and open them.
Make It Memorable
When a customer orders a product online, say that little black dress she’s been coveting for weeks, anticipation starts to build. She waits oh-so-patiently for the day when, at last, the package arrives in the mail. Then comes the moment of truth, the moment she’s been waiting for, when she finally gets to open up that box and see and touch that little black dress with her own two hands. This is the moment that’s crucial for ecommerce retailers who really want to connect with their customers. This is the moment when first impressions really count.
So how can you make a great first impression and create a memorable unboxing experience for customers? For starters, think beyond the brown cardboard box. In a metaphorical sea of plain brown cardboard boxes, unique and elegantly designed packaging can help your brand stand out from the crowd.
“Packaging that’s well designed can help ecommerce retailers make a real statement,” says Mickey Remich with PSI Group. ”And that’s key when you’re trying to establish a connection with customers who generally only interact with your brand via a website.”
Take ModCloth, for instance. The online women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, and housewares retailer strives to provide a unique and personalized experience without ever speaking to the customer directly, and one of the ways they do so is through custom packaging like their periwinkle-blue, brown, and white boxes with distinctive polka patterns on the outside.
Printed on the inside of the boxes are positive messages, such as “Fantastic!” “Gorgeous!” and “Fabulous!” that are meant to surprise and delight the customers when they open their packages. The company’s goal, says ModCloths’ Graphic Designer, is to “make the out-of-the-box experience memorable, to make the customer feel like they are getting a present. Our goal (in designing the artwork for the box) is for them to want to get a package again.”
To support ModCloth’s goal, PSI Group’s talented teams work directly with the retailer’s senior designer and graphic designer to bring their creative packaging designs to life. The boxes are printed on both the inside and the outside using EekoBlend eco-friendly inks, which ensure every aspect of the custom packaging is both environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
While the unboxing experience gives companies the chance to connect with customers on a personal level, it’s also a potentially powerful digital marketing opportunity.
In recent years, many consumers have taken to social media channels, especially YouTube, to share their product unboxing experiences with the world.
Today, there more than 30,000,000 search results on YouTube for “unboxing” videos, and many consumers consider these videos an important part of pre-purchase product research. As of November this year, for instance, Americans had watched more than 60 million hours of unboxing videos on YouTube, for a total of 1.1 billion views, according to a recent post on Google’s Think With Google blog. With stats like that, how can any company afford to deny the importance of the unboxing experience?
To encourage customers to share their unboxings, ModCloth uses branded stickers on some of the product bags inside their shipping boxes. For the company’s Stylish Surprise mystery shopping program, for example, they use the slogan Stylish Surprise on stickers to encourage shoppers to share their mystery purchases via the hashtag #stylishsurprise. To date, there are countless Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts categorized under that hashtag. There also are more than 4,000 results for “ModCloth unboxing” videos on YouTube.
With so much to gain from offering an unforgettable and share-worthy unboxing experience, take a page from ModCloth’s playbook and consider what your company could do to maximize the impact of your packaging.
Not sure where to begin? Let our team of talented structure engineers and graphic designers help you create and execute the best plan for upgrading your packaging. We’re with you every step of the way.