When you think about a great customer experience in a brick-and-mortar store, you may find yourself picturing the friendly face at the front counter. Or the pleasant atmosphere as you walk in. Or even the charismatic staff member who answers the phone when you have a question.

But most ecommerce stores have little to no direct contact with their customers, beyond what marketing, email, and their website can provide.

To offer a great customer experience, sometimes you need to think outside the box.

But other times, you need to think about the box itself.

Because packaging and the ‘unboxing’ experience can go a long way to creating an excellent customer experience. First impressions are everything, after all.

Here are five ways to enhance your customers’ experience and loyalty with the right packaging.

1. Use packaging to reflect your brand identity

From the materials you’re using to ship your items, right through to the packaging of the product inside, your customer’s impression of your brand starts the moment your package arrives on their doorstep.

Many of us know Apple products come with a ‘premium’ unboxing experience that feels like Apple: simple, unadorned, clean, and with a delightfully smooth sensation as you unwrap it.

Customers trust a brand that understands who they are — a brand that just gets them.

If you can reflect your brand identity right down to its packaging, your customers will know exactly what you’re about, and they’ll trust you for your transparency.

There are many ways to help your packaging reflect your brand identity:

  • Simple, clean designs
  • Brand logo and name on the packaging
  • ‘Thank you’ notes
  • Packaging materials that reflect brand values (e.g., biodegradable)
  • Choosing ‘premium’ quality packaging
  • Sustainable e-commerce packaging

With the right tools, and a clear understanding of how you want your customers to see your brand, you can turn your packaging into more of a reflection of your company’s personality.

2. Think before you pack! What does your brand stand for?

Your choice of packaging can be as much a part of your brand message as any other aspect of marketing your business.

Spell & Gypsy Collective, for example, are a bohemian fashion brand who work to minimise their impact on the planet. And they’ve got the packaging to prove it.

Using 100% biodegradable poly bags that break down naturally over time, and with the garments themselves packed inside reusable, organic eco tote bags, the packaging demonstrates the company’s values the moment it shows up at your door.

A brand that uses eco-friendly packaging sets themselves up as a company that cares about their impact on the world. A company that claims to care about the environment while using excessive amounts of plastic creates a disconnect, and can do more damage to their brand identity than if they hadn’t claimed to care at all.

So take the time to think about what your company stands for, and pack accordingly.

3. Revisit and revamp the “little touches” in your packaging

It’s surprising how the smallest things can improve your customer’s experience.

Coupons, gifts, and ‘thank you’ notes are like little surprises that can warm your customers to your brand. Bonuses are the little ‘cherry-on-top’ that can be the difference between a one-time buyer, and a loyal repeat-customer.

But take care that your packaging gifts are relevant, and represent both your brand, and the items you sell.

Think of the Book Depository. Their items arrive carefully-wrapped in simple cardboard, stamped with their name and logo, usually with a free bookmark inside that’s also stamped with their name and logo.

Book Depository is not only an excellent example of how a relevant and low-cost bonus can improve the customer experience, they’re also a clear demonstration of how your packaging can be used as a clever marketing tool.

The little touches are what help you develop brand loyalty: They don’t always aim to bring new customers in, but they can bring old customers back.

So have a think about what little touches you could be adding to your packaging.

5 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience (and Loyalty) with Packaging

4. Level up your customers’ unboxing experience

With unboxing videos trending across the internet, packaging has never been more important.

Some people make a lot of money filming themselves unboxing new items, and if your packaging game is strong enough, it’s free advertising for your business. It can give you the opportunity to display your products to thousands, if not millions of online viewers.

But unboxing isn’t just a physical experience anymore, it’s also a visual one. The more enjoyable you can make the experience for the unboxer, and for their viewers, the more likely you’ll turn those videos into sales.

Don’t leave customers struggling with confusing and ugly packaging, or fiddling around, looking for the end of the sticky tape that you’ve needlessly wrapped around the box ten times. Make the moment of unboxing an experience your customers want to have.

With the right packaging, you can offer your customers (and perhaps their online circles) a more positive experience from the comfort of their own homes.

5. Prioritise painless returns to improve loyalty

Not every order is perfect, whether it’s product fit (or nonfit), finish or other variables. But how you handle returns can be just as much a part of the positive ‘packaging’ experience as the box your product arrives in.

Make the returns process as easy as possible.

Be easy to contact, and have a clear returns policy on your website with step-by-step instructions on what to do. Make sure you have an efficient way of creating return labels for your customers, to make the process quick and easy for everyone.

Returns are annoying and expensive, but if you can make the process pain-free, you’re well on the way to winning more loyal customers.

Great packaging deserves a great shipping provider

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And as one of the few carbon neutral shipping providers, we help you ship with confidence, knowing that your provider is doing their bit for the planet. Don’t just package eco-friendly, send eco-friendly, with a carbon neutral shipping provider who cares.

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