Customers can be fickle, but they can be “ride-or-die” to businesses that attract their longterm attention and, consequently, earn their longterm loyalty.
Packaging is often overlooked as a factor in the satisfaction chain. However, it is a prime opportunity to promote the brand and educate the consumer, improving the customer lifetime value (LTV) and encouraging growth.
Beyond the Box
Packaging is more than a container to sell an item. It's more than a box to ship the item. The full concept of packaging includes inserts, labeling, marketing materials, tape, boxes, item packaging and identification. It can be used to market and sell an item, protect and ship, and even to educate and win over customers.
A business must take care not to include materials just for the sake of including them. A box full of ads and logo tape is not enough to make a customer happy. But the right materials can be of great importance to continued consumer loyalty. For example, a coupon for the next order of an item that is typically a repeat purchase has value, while gift cards for an unrelated product feel like empty advertising and have no value.
Size and appropriateness
The size of a package matters. Most people think of the waste when they receive a giant box with one small item and a sea of plastic pillows. As sustainability becomes more important in the business world, companies have started to pay more attention to their packaging materials. This can be a competitive advantage. Make sure your shipping containers are appropriate for the items shipped and consider the filler material wisely. Your business can is sending a message when it sends a package. What do you want the message to be?
Packaging can help your business demonstrate corporate responsibility. Nearly half of all plastic waste is packaging, and 36% of plastic production is designated for packaging. By making responsible packaging decisions, your business can show another level of sustainability. For retailers of luxury items, clothing and other consumer goods, this is an ideal opportunity to attract environmentally-responsible shoppers.
Sustainability has increased in importance. Companies are already distinguishing themselves with more responsible packaging. Unilever, for example, announced it will move to 50% recycled content in its packaging by the end of 2019.
Does your packaging include return instructions and labels? Making returns easy is one way to reinforce a longterm customer realtionship and including basic forms and labels or instructions in the package is an effective way to improve customer service. Plus, effective reverse logistics can help improve the bottom line.
Without a brick and mortar storefront or a national advertising budget, most businesses are limited to various forms of online advertising to promote their brands. But packaging is a prime opportunity to promote the business and cross-sell items. Online retailers can use packing tape and shipping boxes to present their brand, and inserts to cross-sell or educate consumers about the product, brand, or even the company mission.
Individual packaging materials are particularly important when a business is selling on a third-party platform like Amazon or Walmart. In many of these cases, the shipping materials are out of your control, but the item packaging should be used to direct the consumer to the website or teach the consumer about larger brand concepts. This way, customers can visit the brand or follow it on social media to become more connected.
Unboxing can become a shareworthy experience that influences growth and converts first-time buyers into repeat buyers. Parcel Industry explains how to choose and design packaging with customer lifetime value in mind.