As consumers buy an increasing amount of their shopping online, businesses must adapt their packaging to take account of this rise in online purchasing. This article gives 3 tips for designing packaging for online consumers.
This article on the Packaging Innovation website states buying online is a “leap of faith” for most consumers as they have not seen or touched the product before they order and pay for it. It continues that it is the job of packaging designers to create packaging that delivers the product in excellent condition and creates a good image of the product’s brand. They suggest that by creating a good brand image through use of well-designed and sustainable packaging will mean the opening of the package (known as “unboxing”) will be a pleasant or exciting experience for the consumer.
The 3 online packaging tips are as follows:
Clearly your product must arrive in excellent condition to delight the customer. This will require the effective use of outer protective packaging such as corrugated board and possibly cushioning materials like bubble wrap or air pillows. As with any type of packaging, it is always advisable to “road-test” the transit packaging you intend to use by sending the product to yourself using the same methods as will be used to send the products to consumers. This will reveal any weaknesses with your intended transit packaging.
While Tip I above advises the possible use of plastic transit packaging materials such as bubble wrap, it is advisable to investigate and use as much sustainable packaging as possible. The tide of consumer protest against the use of “UseLess Plastics” or “single-use plastics” is growing in force continually. This was evidenced in April 2018 when Irish and UK consumers decided to leave any unnecessary plastic packaging in supermarkets in protest at the over-use of plastic packaging by supermarket chains. Online businesses will generate goodwill with their online customers if they are seen to use reduce packaging to a minimum and use sustainable version of all the packaging. If your online customers are millennials, this is especially important as this generation have a very high level of interest in sustainability. Clearly, it makes sense also for online businesses to inform their customers across all their customer contact points that they are use sustainable packaging materials as it is not always obvious from the appearance of the packaging that it is a sustainable material.
The growth of online shopping has created the trend for creating “unboxing videos” and posting these videos online. In most cases, the unboxing video has been created because the consumer has enjoyed the experience of unpacking and revealing their new purchase. Nearly all of us can relate to the delight of opening a beautifully wrapped parcel. Even Maria von Trapp sang about this in The Sound of Music “Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favourite things”. The author the advises that online businesses should “Replace that boring brown corrugated board you’re planning to use for secondary packaging with something luxurious and preferably interactive”. They advise that a good unboxing experience is vital if you want your product to “go viral”. In addition to this, a study has shown that consumers pay more for products in luxury packaging as they perceive it to be of better quality even when it is the same quality as a similar product in less luxurious packaging. Read about the study here.
Related article: Are online food companies neglecting their packaging?