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  • 31 Jul 2017

The art and importance of packaging in e-commerce

Packaging is a crucial yet overlooked area of e-commerce marketing, writes Seb Burchell of e-commerce specialist Visualsoft

We think you’ll agree that if you’ve spent money on a high quality item, you wouldn’t expect it to arrive in a brown paper bag.

Packaging is a crucial yet overlooked area of e-commerce marketing, with much of the focus being put upon sales and advertising. But once a purchase has been made from your website, how do you convince them to shout about your business and return for more? It’s all in the packaging.

Why is packaging so important to consumer driven businesses?

First, let’s take a look at how packaging works on a wider scale than solely e-commerce.

One of our favorite examples of packaging is the festival Coachella. Each year, Coachella sends out tickets to festival goers in a small and fun-packed welcome box. This box contains all the tools that the customer needs to get into and prepare themselves for the festival, from the wristband they’ll need to gain entry, to unique Coachella badges and a complete guide to attending the festival. Coachella importantly focuses on how it makes customers feel. It has the luxury of doing this because customers have already bought into the experience by ordering their ticket. Subsequently, Coachella’s job is to make them feel part of their family and get them excited for the festival.

For Coachella 2017, it even invested in extending that experience by creating a VR element that can be used by interacting with the welcome box. Customers who viewed the box through the Coachella app were treated to an exclusive VR experience they could revisit as many times as they like.

What can we learn from Coachella’s packaging?

By creating this detailed and interactive welcome box, Coachella is letting the customer know that even though they’ve already spent their money, they are still worth the extra effort. If Coachella goes the extra mile for customers, they will go the extra mile for them in terms of brand loyalty and free publicity via social channels.

How should my packaging look?

You can have the most attractive and expensive packaging in the world, but if the packaging isn’t aligned to your brand it won’t have any impact upon the customer journey. Your packaging should always be reflective of your brand and feature your logo.

Bloc Eyewear, a sunglasses and goggles manufacturer for skiing, snowboarding, cycling and leisure, provides its e-commerce customers with a free hard case and presentation box for all orders placed over the value of £30 ($39 USD).

‘This packaging is an attractive branded self-folding box that displays company contact details; email address, contact telephone number and highlights our social media channels for company feedback,’ says Russell Godfrey, supply chain and operations manager at Bloc Eyewear.

Does the packaging have to feature more than just the company logo?

Not always. Sometimes simple and minimalist designs are most effective, as they can create a sense of exclusivity for the customer. Take the packaging of designer jewelry brand Joshua James for example; the clean design perfectly reflects the luxury jewelry to be found within.

However, if you are looking to do more than simply feature the logo, utilizing features such as an engraving service to emboss boxes and tissue paper can also be a fantastic way to add an extra touch that reinforces brand loyalty without taking away from the luxury appearance.

‘We use recyclable boxes with Jules B branding as well as branded Jules B tissue paper,’ comments Emma Burke of multi-award winning independent retailer Jules B. ‘It's really important that each package is sent out to the customer in a luxurious way that will be exciting to open when they receive it. The web dispatch team put a lot of effort into the way each item is carefully wrapped in branded tissue and fastened with branded stickers.’

Customers who receive attractive looking packaging from a brand are much more likely to share their purchase on social media which means you get invaluable free publicity as well as loyalty from that customer.

Is it all about the box?

Not at all. As exemplified by Coachella, your packaging can be so much more than just the container. While most companies won’t have the time or budget to create a VR interactive element, little extras can go a long way to impressing your customers.

For example, hosiery and legwear brand Luxury-Legs presents each item individually wrapped in an organza bag, and with a complimentary gift. The proof of its packaging success lies in customer feedback, with most reviews mentioning the presentation and free gift in particular.

Your packaging doesn’t have to be the most complicated thing in the world, but it’s an essential part of your ecommerce business. Get the right packaging, and your customers will be more inclined to stay loyal to your brand and encourage their friends and family to buy from you too.


Labels & Labeling carries opinion and comment by leading names from across the label industry covering a range of topics.

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