eCommerce Packaging Needs a Different Approach to Retail Packaging

If you design your eCommerce packaging to be very similar to your Retail Packaging, then you may be missing out on marketing opportunities, according to a recent article on the Packworld website. This article was written by Dr R. Andrew Hurley, the founder of Package InSight and The Packaging School.

Your Packaging Has Many Tasks

As a packaging buyer, you will know the many tasks your packaging needs to do – it needs to market your product, protect the product during transport, store and preserve the quality of the product throughout its lifecycle. In addition, the materials used in the packaging, i.e. the board, the ink and the window film must be sustainable and as minimalistic as possible.

eCommerce and Retail Packaging Have Different Marketing Tasks

 In this article, Dr Hurley makes an important point about the difference between eCommerce and Retail Packaging – your consumer will only see your eCommerce packaging after they have made a purchase. Therefore, when it comes to marketing your products and your brand, eCommerce and Retail Packaging have different roles to play. As we all know, Retail packaging must promote the product in the supermarket aisles, grab the attention of the consumer as they scan the shelves and it must compete with similar products.

If you apply the same design styles to eCommerce packaging, you may end wasting valuable “real estate” on your packaging carton or box by “preaching to the converted”  i.e. promoting products that the consumer has already purchased.

Design your eCommerce Packaging differently

Cross-Promote: eCommerce packaging design can take on a different marketing role – it can be used to cross-promote other products while still giving the necessary information on the carton about the product inside.

Unboxing Videos: Also if the design of the eCommerce packaging is done well, it opens up the opportunity that your consumers may become “brand advocates” if they feature your product in an “unboxing” video on their social media pages. If the particular consumer has a large following on social media, i.e. if they are an “influencer”, this can be hugely beneficial to your brand. This means you need to design the whole packaging with this possibility in mind, i.e., would this packaging motivate a consumer to record and share a video on social media? Is the entire packaging attractive, funny, or does it stand out because of the use of sustainable materials?

Use the “real estate”: With eCommerce packaging, you have a lot more space in which you can promote your brand, e.g. the inside of the outer box, the cushioning materials, the carton/sleeve on the product itself. You can also include some small amounts of printed reading material to help promote other products and encourage the consumer to engage with the brand on social media by entering a competition etc.

Sustainability: If your company is working hard to make your packaging as sustainable as possible, then make sure to let your consumers know this. For example, they may not know that your carton is printed on an FSC-approved board, where a new tree is planted for every tree cut down or that your carton and outer box are all made from recycled materials. The issue of sustainability is by far the most important issue for consumers’ regarding packaging.

In his article, Dr Hurley reminds readers of the importance of Story-telling in packaging and gives an example of how the Big Trouble eCommerce coffee brand couldn’t get their packaging due to COVID19 restrictions and how they skilfully turned this issue into a story-telling and brand-building opportunity.

You can read the original article here.

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