Is Branded Packaging Really That Important to Customer Experience & Growing Your Online Business?
It’s a difficult process to expand your physical shop into an online one. It involves a lot of hard work and attention to detail, but the results are more than worth it. Not only do you get to sell your wares to a much larger pool of customers, but you can do this while simultaneously selling in your local area. Still, a big issue for many shops, particularly boutique stores that have established a reputation for quality, is how do you maintain your high in-store standards when selling online?
Yes, the product remains the same regardless of how you purchase it, but with so many sales coming online, the delivery and unboxing process is considered increasingly important. A number of new stores selling online take their delivery and packaging process very seriously, taking a little more time to ensure standards remain as high as ever.
Considering how much extra time this takes you and your members of staff, how important is it to the overall customer experience? Do your recipients appreciate your packaging efforts as much as you do? Or is it simply something you want for your brand?
Many would argue that branded packaging is perhaps more important for your own vision of the business than it is to any actual customers and if that is the case, one final question needs to be answered – does it help to grow your online business?
Striking the Right Balance
All of the following information is obviously just general advice, only you can know what is the ‘right’ balance for your business? Brand is of course important, to say that it isn’t would be wrong. The key is in balance. What’s the right balance for you? Handwritten notes are great, but at what point are they no longer sustainable? Is a sticker relevant if the box isn’t branded? Does it help sales? Do customers need tissue paper in your brand colour?
Essentially… how do you separate the concepts of brand and the right un-boxing experience? How do you ensure your choices drive a high level of customer satisfaction?
In the early stages of your business, brand is likely to be really important – as you start to scale, there are other priorities that take over, like actually getting the orders out the door… So, knowing what your brand is, what adds value, and what is simply ‘nice to have’ will help you make the right decision. What’s right for one business is bound to be wrong for another, this article will hopefully help you understand where you fall.
How Much Time Does Branded Packaging Cost Your Business?
In terms of how long it takes to package your products, that’s completely dependent on a number of factors; the size of your products, how much branded material you want to have stamped over it and the overall presentation being just a few of them. Take the London souvenir shop We Built This City for example; they were very keen to continue their in-store journey with online orders. To do this, they went more than the extra mile.
“We were putting branded tape on every single parcel, using handwritten notes on cardboard, the whole lot. Embarrassing as it may sound, doing the packaging ourselves, and actually not just the packaging but the taping up of our products was taking hours.”
Adam Shoemark, Store Manager at We Built This City
While it’s completely understandable to want to make your products look as special as possible, as with all things, there’s a trade-off. A point where the time and effort put in may not justify what your customer gets out of it. That point may be different for every brand, but when it begins “eating into your evenings” like it did with We Built This City, that’s a bridge too far for most companies.
Is Branded Packaging Really What The People Want?
The 2018 State of Ecommerce Delivery Report revealed that the biggest concern of online customers is the speed of delivery. A whopping 54% of those surveyed claimed that fast delivery was their biggest priority. Conversely, branded packaging wasn’t even mentioned in one of the main reasons for using a particular company. But of course, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t help when it comes to customers reordering from the same brand.
The same report went on to claim that while customers demand their products to arrive in “immaculate condition”, there was no real demand for fully branded packaging. In fact, when asked what delivery conditions would incentivise a further purchase from certain websites, the only answer that gained real traction was that of free delivery. 80% of customers said that free shipping could inspire more purchases during peak trading seasons like Christmas or Black Friday, but outside of that, concerns like branded packaging weren’t as popular.
Branding is Important, Consistently Excellent Packing is More Important
Having your brand clearly visible on your products is important, yes, but if that piece of packaging is poorly put together, having your name emblazoned all over it will do more harm than good. So if you can do incredible branding and exceptional packaging in one fell swoop, that’s the way to go. If not, like most retailers who can’t afford such a huge sacrifice of time, you need to ask yourself – which one is more important?
So, when you consider just how much extra time branded packaging can take your business compared to customer’s opinions on it, it’s not entirely worth the energy unless you have the free time or staff to do so. This was something Adam at We Built This City was beginning to realise too.
“We’re quite protective and proud of our brand because we know it represents the artistic community. So because of that, we were probably overcooking the packaging. But it got to the point where, because of the scale of what we’re doing online, it simply didn’t make sense to keep doing it. We’ve had to accept that our black & white branded tape isn’t entirely necessary for every customer!”
Adam Shoemark, Store Manager at We Built This City
So What Actually Does Grow Your Business?
There is no easy way to grow your business, but one thing that is vital to every step you take is time. Getting your store’s name out there is vital and whichever way you do it, be that sponsored posts, online marketing or social media, that type of work takes time. Time which boutique stores simply don’t have if they’re focusing too much of their time on highly developed branded packaging.
A sticker on a box is easy to do, but poring over the tape, bubble wrap, handwritten notes and more, it gets harder. And remember, your customers have already bought a product from you. Do you really need to raise awareness in a customer who has already used your site? Could that time packing be spent better elsewhere?
Speaking of the specific case we mentioned earlier on, the staff at We Built This City realised that packaging was not only taking over big chunks of their business day but was also “eating into their evenings”. Which is the opposite of what you want when trying to focus on growth. Knowing that this was hindering their progress, they opted to outsource their order fulfilment and reclaim that time.
We Built This City found the compromise of partnering with Weengs, who handled their packaging but still allowed them to have branded stickers on their boxes to add a little bit of flair. This way, they were able to win back their evenings, maintain a high standard of packaging and build on their reputation by spending that previously wasted time on marketing, increasing their product range and more.
Weengs is a unique collect, pack & ship type of order fulfilment that is revolutionising logistics in London. Weengs’ drivers come to your store in your own convenient 2-hour time slot, transport your items to a London-based warehouse, package each product professionally and send them off via the best carrier for the job with the help of their intelligent algorithm.
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