Is Your Retail Packaging Ready for its Close-Up?
With "likes" and "favorites" taking center stage in retail, trends like "retail hauling" (i.e., the YouTube version of calling a friend to brag about a recent shopping spree) are creating a market environment in which posting to Instagram, Facebook and other social sites is now a natural follow-up to making a purchase.
Social is also playing an increasingly larger role in online retailing. Photos of Birchbox picks, PetFlow.com boxes and other online retail packages frequently appear among the 250 million images shared on mobile devices and desktops each day, highlighting the opportunity e-tailers have to cash in on the social media bonanza.
But there's a catch: How can you ensure that packaging makes the cut for social sharing in a way that's both impactful and cost effective?
The Science of Packaging for Social Shares
In today's e-commerce marketplace, it's all about creating affordable packaging that inspires customers to share their experience with friends and acquaintances across a range of social media channels.
The type of packaging that works well for one brand may not deliver the same results for another, even if the brands occupy the same retail category. But in general, there are several things all online retailers can do to optimize their packaging for increased social shares. Consider the following three tips:
1. Start with the brand experience. E-tailers need to understand that packaging is an extension of the brand experience, and therefore needs to be consistent with the brand messaging consumers encounter at other stages of the customer journey.
By carefully identifying the brand experience they're trying to promote, online retailers can begin to explore creative and cost-efficient packaging solutions that deepen customers’ relationships with the brand, ramping up their level of excitement about purchases and improving the likelihood of social sharing.
2. Consider cost-effective packaging ideas. Many online retailers are surprised to learn how affordable premium packaging can be. Branded shipping cartons or customized carton interiors dramatically improve the appearance of shipped products without significantly increasing costs, giving e-tailers the ability to efficiently extend the brand experience to the customer's doorstep and beyond.
When it comes to social sharing, premium packaging gives brands a competitive edge. The average consumer receives three deliveries to five deliveries per month from online retailers. Branded packages stand out from the field of dull, brown boxes; they create a sense of enthusiasm that often translates into social shares.
For example, our client Birchbox uses a simple pink box to brand its packaging. When Birchbox customers receive a delivery, the packaging frequently invites inquiries from social networks or houseguests, generating additional brand impressions and creating opportunities for sharing on social media sites.
3. Align packaging with product requirements. In the race to develop cost-effective, premium packaging solutions, brands can't ignore the need to align packaging with product requirements. While low-cost gift boxes and tissue paper may be an effective packaging solution for some products, other products may require more robust and costlier packaging solutions.
So while it's important to match premium packaging with the brand experience, you also need to consider the types of products being sold when evaluating packaging options and developing realistic budgets for packaging materials.
It's no secret that social media is changing the way consumers interact with each other and the retail brands that are important to them. By paying closer attention to opportunities for premium, branded packaging, e-tailers can take a big step toward expanding their presence in the social space.