In today’s increasingly competitive e-commerce market, consumers have infinite options for what to buy and from whom. To compete, retailers are trying to stand out with a superior customer experience. But, unfortunately, many continue to neglect the importance of their product’s exterior packaging as they push for more orders and loyal customers.
At my company, we wanted to quantify how important packaging really is to the typical shopper to show retailers how packaging for delivery makes a difference.
Here are the key findings for retailers from our 2015 eCommerce Packaging Study:
Premium Packaging Affects Your BrandConsumers have low expectations for how their online orders will be packaged upon arrival at their door. In a world of plain brown boxes, we were not surprised to find that two-thirds of consumers say packaging doesn’t affect their decision to shop with a retailer in the future. The existing packaging experience may be boring, but consumers are used to it and often don’t demand more.
A retailer’s packaging can still give a brand a huge boost if done well. Our study found that 61 percent of online shoppers think that premium packaging makes a brand seem more upscale. Further, 49 percent of shoppers say they get more excited about opening an order delivered in premium packaging. Even if consumers don’t expect high-quality packaging, they do enjoy it and view brands more positively when they deliver an upscale experience to their homes.
To make the best impression, brands first need to ensure that the package will arrive in good condition and on time. Beyond that, a retailer should consider the unboxing experience as a whole when they plan product packaging. Everything from how the product is nestled in the tissue paper to the location of the return slip impacts the experience. Go through the process of unpacking your orders as a customer would to identify pain points and opportunities for surprise, such as free samples or a personalized note.
High-Quality Packaging Encourages Recommendations
Shoppers love to brag about recent purchases to their networks, and that remains the same for their online orders. Their reviews, both formal and informal, can spread quickly and have a major effect on sales. Once brands get their product right, it’s in their best interest to foster this kind of word-of-mouth marketing.
Our study found that branded packaging is a key driver of shopper conversation. Forty percent of online shoppers say branded packaging makes them more likely to recommend a product to friends, and they are making these recommendations online for everyone to see. Fifty-four percent of those who shared online an image of a purchase did so to recommend it to family and friends.
To encourage social sharing, brands can motivate shoppers to post images on social media using a specific handle or hashtag. Most importantly, brands need to make sure the packaging speaks for itself. Consumers like to show off, so a high-end experience will prompt them to share.
Social Media Reviews Matter
Once shoppers share product images online, they are available to that shopper’s extended social media network and possibly to the public at large to inform shoppers’ product research.
More than half of our survey respondents used social media to find an image or video of a product they were thinking about buying. Even more important are these images’ impact on buying behavior. We found that 61 percent of online shoppers were convinced to buy after looking up product images on social media.
No longer can a brand curate on their website the product images and comments they approve. Today, brands take on a life of their own on social media. Retailers need to consider if their online image is what they want to portray as a shopper makes a purchase decision. If not, they need to address what consumers share that makes them cringe. To counteract the inevitable negative post, retailers can feature positive consumer images on their own social channels to encourage additional sharing and extend the reach of their best product photos.
Brands that want to make the best possible impression on their shoppers would be wise to adjust their packaging to reflect their desired brand image. When the packaging is right, consumers will enjoy their experience and be more willing to share on their review on social. That kind of earned word-of-mouth marketing pays off because consumers are authentically sharing their thoughts and their love for the brand.
Photo by tigger11th/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Maria Haggerty is CEO of Dotcom Distribution.