6 Tips for Better Business to Consumer Packaging
Consumers preference for online shopping is quickening and perhaps not enough retailers and manufacturers are still dealing with this new retail experience.
From packaging, to branding and merchandising, the online environment is different. And the retail experience isn’t gone, it’s just changed. The retail shopping experience is going from a physical walking and grabbing merchandise routine, to one of clicking and opening packages.
The physical, tactile experience is being reduced to receiving packaging, opening it, touching and evaluating their purchase. Post purchase anxiety is a big concern because returns are very costly. However, more importantly is how the satisfied shopper feels about their purchase and of the brand experience they had.
eCommerce Retail Grows Strongly
Walmart just reported a 145% increase in web sales in Canada during the 4th quarter of 2013. Amazon’s first quarter sales in 2014 grew 23%. eCommerce is huge so the future is here now.
As the table below reveals, retail ecommerce is growing at a rapid clip of above 15% compared to a rather bleak 2.4% rate for overall ecommerce growth in the US.
You could say there is a similar point-of-purchase in the online environment, yet it could be very costly for a small manufacturer to promote their product that way. Although some digital agencies can create excellent promotional ads, those ads aren’t present when the shopper receives their products via UPS, Fedex or Canada Post. This is the point in the whole online shopping experience that hasn’t been optimized as yet.
So, here’s my 6 tips for improving ecommerce packaging:
- Better protection – Pick and Pack shippers have to ensure orders are packed correctly. With multiple unique items in the box, it is an art/science to ensure items don’t shift and break in transit. Even with excellent rigidity in boxes and foam or bubble wrap, items can still get broken. Ensure your packer knows how items will be jostled in transit. Shipping via Fedex is much rougher than in the bulk shipping on skids to retail stores. Good packaging is important.
- Minimize packaging waste – since each order gets its own corrugate box, plastic wrap, tape etc., the amount of packaging waste increases. Packagers need to innovate to keep post consumer waste to a minimum. Check out new eco-friendly corrugate and paper solutions.
- Easy to open – regular retail packaging is geared to anti-theft and anti-tampering protection such as clamshell packaging yet this tough to open experience isn’t needed for direct to consumer shipping. Eliminate the tough packaging for something simple and lightweight.
- Custom sizing – Using custom cardboard corrugate boxes that are sized or compartmentalized for each unique bundled purchase, you may have less cardboard waste and your shipment dimensions are smaller giving you lower shipping rates from Fedex or UPS.
- Maximizing brand experience – Rather than plain brown packaging, you can use printing to ensure your logo, slogan and other brand marks are prevalent before and after the shopper opens their package. The tactile feeling of packaging whether paper or plastic is important, and you can enrich it to make unwrapping a positive brand experience.
- In package promotion – adding branded promotional merchandise is a no brainer way to build preference. Variable data printing as well, can help you personalize their package. Add in any helpful printed material to add value to the purchase. From maps to discount coupons to surprise gifts, you’re building anticipation for the next purchase and creating greater overall value.
As competition for consumers increases, we’ll see new more innovative packaging and promotion. The battle for consumers will be right inside your package when it arrives at their doorstep. Good luck in brainstorming new ways to promote your products.