The title does sound somewhat rhetorical – the importance of product packaging for e-commerce business. But you would be surprised how many e-commerce store owners don’t get it.
A ubiquitous cardboard box and bubble wrap is not the best way to present your product. Granted that the key factor working in the minds of entrepreneurs is to cut costs, but much can be achieved by staying within budget.
Moreover, there is a wave of thought that promotes the idea that e-commerce packaging can be eliminated altogether because the branding exercise has moved from the product to the store and its reputation.
The customer already knows what is arriving and has paid for it. Therefore generic paper boxes are more than enough since the need is to protect what is inside and not advertise it all over again.
That is a persuasive argument. But then why do large fast-food chains like Papa John’s and Domino’s still have attractive packaging? The customer has already bought the pizza. Why not give him a white cardboard box and save the cost of the ink?
That is because the packaging is a way for the customer to relate to the product and brand.
Why Is Product Packaging Important?
Let us try and understand the nitty-gritty.
Packaging for relationship building –
Until the customer uses your product, their sole interaction with you has been through your website. It is essential to realize that customer experience is part of a continuum that starts when they first arrive at your landing page, though product selection, checkout, delivery, opening the box, and use.
In each of these phases, the customer is judging your product and your brand. It might be that there is no way to adequately measure the weight attached to each stage of this experience, but, indeed, it does not cease at checkout and start all over again when he/she uses your product.
Consumer buying behavior is a complex set of interlinked psychological processes. Emotion plays a significant role in it, and packaging is a perfect way to engage with that emotion.
Packaging for brand building –
Why don’t you go to a meeting dressed sloppily? You are the same person who graduated magna cum laude from business school even if you wear a crumpled shirt and have mayonnaise spots on your tie to a VC meeting.
It’s because your clothes make a statement about you.
How is it any different for your product?
The packaging is as much about branding as the product inside. Branding goes much beyond slapping on a logo.
It has to complement your company’s core values and message.
You have doubtless seen gizmo unboxing videos on YouTube. Almost always, there would be several words spoken about the packaging, although that has nothing to do with the performance of the phone or gadget inside.
Somewhere deep inside the human psyche, good package design is associated with a reliable brand.
Source: Buondi Craft Packaging
Very probably, we think in our subconscious that if a company paid this much attention to designing the cover, they must have been remarkably meticulous in the manufacture of what is inside.
How to Do Distinctive Product Packaging
Of course, your packaging won’t become iconic overnight. It is probably safe to say that it won’t be iconic for several years.
But the task must begin when your product first begins to roll out. But how to create perfect product packaging that is striking, attractive and low cost?
Make it chic –
Great packaging does not have to be expensive. It is instead a matter of color and font. Premium sticker design and excellent quality printing from dedicated custom design partners such as iCustomLabel can go a long way in giving your products a stylish look it deserves.
Color and font have to match each other perfectly. Clean and modern typography like that we find in Manos de Cacao inspires trust and confidence.
Use differentiation –
Whatever be the design of your package, it must not at all be like your competitors. The packaging is a great way to differentiate your offering.
The design, shape, volume of the packaging must be completely different. If possible, and cost permits, allow the use of different packaging material and grade of cardboard.
Impart information –
Packing is not only to protect the product. It is prime real estate for advertising. You can slip in a glossy information brochure inside. It could be something useful, such as a page holder with your product line printed on it.
You could also promote other products on the inside surface of the box. In short, the possibilities are limitless. Use your imagination and you would be surprised at how much marketing material can be sent alongside the product.
Make it recyclable –
Consumers are more aware than aware of the deterioration of the environment. Try and avoid plastic and synthetics as far as possible and go for paper and board – anything that is biodegradable and can be recycled if possible is fine.
Source: Packaging Redesign Maui Express
The more you establish yourself as a responsible business and brand that is conscious of environmental impact. Your products will perform better in the market due to the goodwill this generates.
Proper packaging is more important than ever for startups and e-commerce. After all, you are trying to stand out from a clutch of products and businesses that are very similar if not identical to each other.
Use packaging as a marketing channel and use the unboxing experience as a way to grow closer to your customers.