How to Build Brand Loyalty with E-Commerce Packaging

Shopping online is increasingly becoming the method of choice for consumers. This is especially true in today’s climate, with Canadian ecommerce sales having already doubled amid the recent COVID-19 pandemic[1]. This means that a good unboxing experience is more important than ever before.

If you’re a business that sells its products online, you’ll want to keep in mind that receiving a package with your products may be the first physical interaction a customer has with your brand. Customers not only care about the product they’ve purchased, but about the package it arrives in as well. This first impression can make or break the brand-customer relationship; it can be the difference between losing a customer and gaining one for life.

Six steps you can take to ensure your e-commerce packaging drives, rather than inhibits, customer loyalty

Step 1: Know Your Customer

The first important step to driving brand loyalty is knowing your customer base. Take the time to assess your target customer and understand what their likes and dislikes are, as well as what their needs and expectations may be when they receive your product.

Below are some questions to help you get started:

  • Does your customer care about sustainability?

  • Do they respond well to promotions, samples, or coupons?

  • Are they concerned about package theft?

  • Would they like a personalized note thanking them for their purchase?

  • Would they like a catalogue of other items that might interest them?

  • Are they likely to share their unboxing experience on social media

Step 2: Develop a Cohesive Packaging Strategy

Using the data you’ve collected about your target customer, as well as information about your product (such its weight and dimensions), the next step is to develop a packaging strategy that takes into account the needs of your business, your product, and your customer. Whether you develop one in-house or hire a packaging expert to develop one for you, it is important that your packaging strategy encompasses everything involved in the packaging process – including the materials, machinery, method of shipment, etc. A cohesive packaging strategy will not only ensure a seamless journey from store to customer but will also help you save money in the long run.


Step 3: Ensure Your Packaging Properly Protects Your Product

Protection is the primary objective of packaging and it is therefore the most important component to consider when it comes to e-commerce packaging.

A customer that orders a product online, at the very least, expects your product to be delivered in one piece. A product that has incurred damage due to insufficient packaging is not only costly (due to refunds or replacements) but it can be damaging to your overall brand image. These types of incidents can result in poor reviews, and ultimately, the loss of a customer.

Void fill materials like air pillows, foam, or paper are designed to provide extra protection to your product and is something you should consider utilizing if your product is particularly vulnerable to damage.

Step 4: Invest in Custom Packaging

With the outer packaging potentially being your brand’s very first impression to a customer, you want to make it count. Customizing your packaging with brand collateral like logos, taglines, and unique colours can be a powerful tool in building brand recognition and loyalty as it reinforces your brand and helps build anticipation for the customer’s unboxing experience. Moreover, since custom packaging tends to be an underused marketing opportunity, investing in branded packaging can help you get a leg up on your competition.


Step 5: Provide a Gift-Like Unboxing Experience

Consumers increasingly expect a gift-like experience when ordering products online. Providing customers with a gift-like experience can be as simple as including samples, a personalized thank you note, branded tissue paper, or coupon codes along with their products. Adding these kinds of touches to your package creates an engaging experience for your customer, which can do wonders for your brand image. In fact, a 2019 study[2] by DotCom Distribution found that 45% of shoppers surveyed said that gift-like packaging made brands seem more up-scale.

On top of this, providing a gift-like unboxing experience can also be a great way to encourage customers to share their experiences online – creating even more opportunities for brand awareness.

Step 6: Keep Sustainability in Mind

Another interesting statistic that came out of the 2019 DotCom Distribution study was that 80% of shoppers surveyed were bothered by oversized packaging. Hashtags like #PackagingFail have arisen out of missteps like these and it is something ecommerce businesses should strive to avoid. Not only can it negatively impact your brand but using an unnecessary amount of materials can drive up shipping costs as well.

Along with avoiding over-packing your products, you’ll want to consider utilizing eco-friendly packaging materials. Many of today’s consumers, especially those in the 18-25 age range, are concerned about sustainability. In fact, 62% of respondents in DotCom Distribution’s study stated that they were more likely to purchase from brands that use sustainable materials. Therefore, investing in packaging materials that are eco-friendly can make your customer feel good about choosing to shop with you and encourage future purchases.

Contact Us

With ecommerce being a highly competitive market, having a great product simply is not enough to foster brand loyalty. Investing in packaging that creates a good first impression can set you apart from your competition and win you a customer for life.

Need help developing a packaging strategy for your ecommerce business? Contact Crawford Packaging today to learn more about our packaging solutions for ecommerce businesses.

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