They say not to judge a book by its cover, but your e-commerce customers most certainly judge the quality of your brand by its packaging choices. If you’re new to e-commerce or simply want to up your game and build your business, defining and creating an unforgettable brand experience is an exercise you can’t afford to overlook.
After all, when that all-important box arrives, so many different things can occur. Your customer could tear through the cardboard without much thought, excited to get what’s inside. Or they could sit, gobsmacked, for a moment, admiring the look and feel of the incredible package they’ve just received. In the second scenario, they might even take a picture or a video and share it online. Later on, they’d most certainly remember what it felt like to open the box. And, as research is showing, they’d be much more likely to order again, just so they can relive the excitement.
We want you to have that second scenario experience. We want you to harness the business-building benefits of thoughtfully branded e-commerce packaging. That’s why we’ve created this two-part series. Part One covers the thinking you need to do before you construct your packaging. Part Two describes the steps you’ll take to bring your vision to life.
But first…why does branding matter?
As a savvy entrepreneur, you probably get that branding matters. But here’s why it’s specifically a big deal in the e-commerce space:
It’s the only physical touchpoint
Think about it. Without a storefront, this is your one chance to deliver a multi-sensory brand experience. Everything else is online. If you invest in this touchpoint, it can feel as good as a premium full-service brick and mortar experience.
It determines the perception of value
According to a survey by Dotcom Distributors, over 60% of e-commerce customers say that when a brand uses premium packaging, it makes the products feel more expensive and luxurious. That perception is necessary for many e-commerce brands to set sustainable prices.
It inspires sharing
That same Dotcom Distributors survey discovered that 40% of shoppers are more likely to recommend an e-commerce product when it comes in premium packaging. Also, 40% of customers have already shared a picture of a video of an e-commerce product online. And almost 15% of those who haven’t could be inspired to do so by the right premium packaging.
It builds loyalty
According to Shopify, up to 52% of e-commerce shoppers are likely to make a repeat purchase if they perceive the brand’s packaging to be premium. That’s a big deal because Forbes has found that 60-80% of shoppers, in general, don’t make repeat purchases- even when they have positive experiences with the products.
…and loyalty is more efficient
Did you know that it costs five times more to acquire a new client than it does to retain an existing one? And that return customers spend, on average, 65% more than new customers? There’s no doubt about it: loyalty is one of the most efficient business-builders around.
Defining the intangibles
So, to get premium packaging that builds your e-commerce brand with maximum efficiency, we have to start with what we call “the intangibles”. This is all the thinking you do prior to actually building your box. Shall we get started?
Know your customer
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that starting with a robust understanding of your customer is essential. But when it comes to e-commerce, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
First, you’re going to be advertising heavily online. Great social media campaigns are informed as much by psychographics as demographics. That means you should know your target demographic’s age, income level, and so on. But you should also be able to describe their fears, frustrations, desires, and any misconceptions they might have about your products.
Secondly, it makes sense to study your competition to find niches. After all, e-commerce heavy-hitters are known to pay close attention to their competitors. However, that doesn’t mean they shamelessly rip each other off and go after the exact same target demographics. Instead, they find overlooked segments of the market and tailor their branding to address those audiences.
Define the lifestyle you’re delivering
When you deliver premium packaging to a customer—the kind that inspires an over-the-moon unboxing experience—you’re actually giving them a potent dose of their desired lifestyle. Hence, it’s really helpful to think of your branded packaging choices in terms of how it fits into a lifestyle.
For example, consider our client, Honr. The sleek black packaging their men’s skincare products arrive in signifies a high level of sophistication. Since men don’t purchase skincare products as often as women, it’s important to make Honr customers feel like they are exceptional for making this choice. What’s “different” about them becomes a strength, not a liability. They’re leading a special lifestyle—and their skincare product packaging reminds them of that.
Name your values
What do both you and your target demographic stand for? If you pictured your company and customers as a community, what values would lead you forward?
Core values are an enormous part of the branding puzzle. They will guide the packaging choices you make and inform the overall experience you’re delivering. Values are the beating heart of your brand experience; they make seemingly inconsequential things feel steeped in meaning.
To get to the heart of your brand, try asking yourself the following questions:
1. If my brand is a success, how will it change the world?
2. If my brand were a superhero, who would it be and why?
3. If my brand volunteered for a cause, what would that cause be?
Now, write down up to 20 single words that describe what really matters to your company. Pick the best 3-5, the ones that feel non-negotiable and true.
That’s it for Part One: Defining the Intangibles. Next post, we’ll talk about translating all of this into a physical packaging experience that wows your customer and builds your e-commerce business. Stay tuned!
Links to the Entire Blog Series
E-Commerce Branding: Building Your Business By Making All the Right Packaging Choices: Part One
E-Commerce Branding: Building Your Business By Making All the Right Packaging Choices: Part Two