Packaging tips for eCommerce start-ups

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During the last few months, we’ve received an increased number of sales enquiries from internet start-up businesses. The lockdown has obviously inspired creativity and driven an entrepreneurial spirit!

eCommerce is a competitive marketplace, and some retailers have built up fanatical brand loyalty. Customers post unboxing videos, product reviews and social media shares. All this builds towards the most important business element of all – repeat orders.

Packaging can play a huge roll in connecting a customer to your brand.  Without the ability to bring them into an actual retail space to interact with your products, you need to think about how you take that store experience into their home.

Packaging will be the first physical interaction your customer will have with their order, the customer reaction to the packaging is a vital part of their shopping experience. How would you like your customers to react when they receive your parcels?

Here are a few tips to get you thinking about how to pack your products for shipment.

Make sure your product arrives intact.

Sounds obvious right? But, how many times have you received an item and found it’s been damaged?  Pick your packaging accordingly – consider that your product isn’t going to be delivered by a courier wearing white gloves and treating it like the only parcel they’ll be delivering that day. Chances are it will get thrown, dropped and rained on….

Some products may seem like they should transport well but, really do give great consideration to the journey they will encounter. Items like books for example, could experience corner damage if not properly protected in a book wrap or rigid envelope.  Creams, lotions and potions may be susceptible to leaking or bursting if heavy packs are placed on top of them in a delivery van. Think about placing them into a sealed polythene bag to contain any damage to other products being shipped with them and place them in a rigid outer pack.  Don’t let products rattle around loose in a box, use a cushioning product to hold them in place – like paper void fill or bubble wrap.

Make sure the packaging fits the product.

Have you ever received an order in oversized packaging? Or had to dispose of metres and metres of airbags because the box was far too big for the product? It’s frustrating, especially if you had to arrange redelivery because you were out and, it could actually have fit through the letterbox…

Make the pack easy to open

We’ve all been there, wrestling with a kitchen knife to unpack our new shiny purchase.  Easy-open packs with tear strips are a brilliant solution, readily available and offering great protection – there’s no excuse!

Consider the recyclability of the pack

We’ve already discussed what a pain it is to dispose of too much packaging. This becomes a bigger headache if the pack is not easily recyclable (especially if it’s a pack that needs to be split before disposal). Use sustainable materials where possible to make it easy for your customers to recycle.

Show you care on the inside

Branding your packaging makes for a great experience for your customer, logos and notes inside of the pack helps to connect your customer to your key values, can make the interaction feel special and, depending on your content, can raise a little smile. Remember to keep this on the inside of the pack though – this helps to reduce the incidence of parcel theft and pilfering whilst on its journey.

Custom printed packaging is available but, if you’re just starting out this may prove expensive, pricing is often driven by the number of packs you order.

If you don’t want to make an investment in custom packaging just yet, think about more creative ways to personalize the pack, perhaps using coloured tissues to match your company branding, printing stickers for inside the lid or to seal the tissue, including a business card or printed note – even a handwritten one.  It all helps to make the unboxing experience more intimate.

Offer returnable packaging

If you receive a product that’s unsuitable or damaged, it can be a real headache to find the right packaging to return it.  By using a pack that is returnable you’re not only making it easier to return, you’re also ensuring your products arrive back to you in one piece. Make sure you include clear return instructions too, including the contact details if there is a problem or a return address.

If you are just setting out on your eCommerce journey, Macfarlane Packaging carries a full range of postal and eCommerce packaging. We’re also able to offer advice on the most suitable packaging for your products.

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