Does Packaging Matter For Your Small Business?

Posted by Marian

There’s so much happening in the e-commerce space. Your small business is trying to juggle too many things all at once. The business side of things can be a lot to handle especially if you’re a startup. Developing your own e-commerce website, spending money on marketing, getting customers to order, shipping, and providing doorstep delivery; not to forget the fact that you are also curating the perfect products to sell – it can be too much for one person to handle. So, does packaging matter for your small business?

You can only do so much when it comes to running your e-commerce business. You want your shipping to be faultless. But then your customer opens the parcel only to find it not the one they ordered or possibly damaged? Something’s not right here.

All of these problems can be traced to poor packaging and labeling.

Why Packaging Matters

Packaging is an important element of a marketing strategy to glamorize a product in order to attract the consumer’s attention. Many consumers will judge a product by its packaging before buying it, so creating seductive and attractive packaging certainly matters.

Packaging speaks of product identity. This is likened to branding but it also pertains to how you take care of the product literally and figuratively. An all-time classic case of great packaging is the Coca-Cola bottle. On it, Coke displays an instantly recognizable logo and distinctive shape, which propelled the product to global fame.

You would recognize instantly the brand but apart from being a recognizable face and logo, it’s important that the content is secure and intact. In many cases, as with coke, the packaging is so important that it costs more than the product itself. As a result, packaging should be included amongst the four P’s of marketing: product, place, promotion, and price.

Given that not all brands are products and not all products go retail, the truth is that product and package design are vital when it comes to brand image. Consider that more than half of purchases are based on emotions, especially when a client is unsure and must choose between two brands of products.  It’s no surprise that companies that master the art of aesthetics are on the top of their game- Apple, Nike, Amazon, and the like.

Benefits of the Right Packaging

The goal of every business (big or small) is to be on top of mind. What exactly happens when we find ourselves in front of an aisle with tens of hundreds of products just staring back at us? We start to compare, remember and associate. It can be overwhelming but with good branding and packaging, customers can easily sift through the rubble and find you. When pitted against other companies, you want to stand out without appearing like a sore thumb.

You should always keep in mind that the brain associates and categorizes everything – it’s the brain’s way of keeping things in order. Whether we associate the product with a loved one or perhaps a celebrity influencer that you follow on social media, the packaging color, and layout, provide you a cue on the form and function of certain products.  

Protection from Damage

The purpose of product packaging is to protect the product from damage. Product packaging not only protects the product during transit from the manufacturer to the retailer but also prevents damage while the product sits on retail shelves.

Attracts Customers

The product packaging could be what attracts consumers to a product. With that being said, many companies research on different color schemes, product packaging styles, and designs so it becomes more appealing to customers.

 Product Promotion

The packaging provides users detailed information regarding the product. More, packaging also plays an important role in portraying information about the product. Outside packaging may contain directions on how to use the product or make the product.

Influence Purchase Decision

Packaging may also contain ingredients and nutritional information about the product. This information can help to sell the product because it allows potential customers to obtain the necessary information they need to make a purchase decision. Information contained on a package may propel the reader to buy the product without ever having to speak to a store clerk.

Point of Comparison

Packaging can also differentiate one brand of product from another brand. Because the product packaging can contain company names, logos, and the color scheme of the company, it helps consumers to identify the product as it sits among the competition’s products on store shelves.

For example, as a shopper walks through the coffee aisle of the local grocery store, the bright orange, pink and white packaging of the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee brand may be easily recognizable for the consumer to grab on his way by the coffee shelf. The shopper may identify with the company brand, which propels them to buy the product.

If the product packaging changes, it may alter the brand perception of the company, which doesn’t mean that the consumer would not still purchase the product, but it may delay the purchase until the person is able to identify the product according to its new packaging.

Safeguard From Harsh Elements or Weather Conditions

When shipping, you should always be prepared for erratic weather conditions.  From the scorching heat to the severe humidity to the heavy rainfall to the unexpected storm or snow, if your parcel is not packaged well, the effects of this harsh weather will find their way inside it. More so, perishable commodities can overripe or completely rot due to adverse weather. In fact, it’s worse when fluids involved land up leaking and destroying the customer’s parcel as well their faith in your company.

Meeting Social Media Validation

The social media culture has made consumers even more conscious as to what they purchase. With shopping hauls being uploaded every other day and bloggers promoting products on their page, poor packaging is simply unacceptable. And if you’re in the gifting space, packaging can make or break your business. People are on the lookout for hassle-free gifts. Gifts that they won’t have to wrap again.

This is where fancy packaging can make them choose your product over your competitors. More so, if you’re in the food business space, people think twice before putting something on their kitchen shelves, let alone consume it. So you have to make sure that packaging is ‘good-looking’ to rest on your customers’ kitchen cabinet.

Protection of Your Products

When your parcel is crossing the seas for days in a heavy container placed on a merchant ship, not having your products packaged properly is a deal-breaker. Delays in shipment by water are common. So ensure that your packages seal your products well, making them withstand the harsh weather and long commute.

Also, if your products involve chemicals or some form of them, airtight packaging is essential to ensure that they don’t leak into the water causing harm to the environment in the event of unforeseen problems. Coming to air transport, just like our bags on a vacation, even containers of shipment get left behind at the airport for days sometimes.

There is also the chance of your parcel getting interchanged with another one or worst case scenario returning to you after months. One of the things that help here is sturdy and airtight packaging that can at least protect your product from getting damaged. Secondly, with the label still on it and a completely visible return address, you can be more hopeful that your parcel will be returned to you. Thereby, facilitating order tracking.

Easy and Quick Tracking

Labels on packages often include the barcode of the product which can be scanned by the shipping company or delivery personnel to know the contents of the package as well as track the company and its return address.

Provides that Luxurious Shopping Experience

E-commerce shopping has become well-known for being a place to get good deals. Fancy packaging makes the product look more expensive, making the customer feel really good for having purchased it even at a discount on your website. Good packaging makes them know that you genuinely care about them and have gone out of the way to make sure that the product reaches them in perfect condition.

Accurate and Timely Deliveries

While the packaging is essential, labeling is what will make your shipment reach the right destination. Large and broad labels with dark ink and big fonts enable delivery personnel to find addresses faster and not disturb the customer for directions.

Avoids Confusion

It ever so often happens that the customer isn’t home to accept the delivery. This is when labeling saves the day. Because then even leaving the parcel with the building security ensures that it reaches the customer’s hands.

Provides Clarity of Information

A label should include everything from the exact order number, quantity, and item name to the shipping address, return address, mode of payment, and full paying price. When customers see this, it allows them to easily recollect the details of an order that they probably placed a few days ago.  It also allows them the freedom to open their package at their own time and not in a hurry because they are well aware of the contents inside. But that never really happens, does it?

The Extras Count

It is safe to say that good packaging and labeling protect your products and also ensure that they reach the right customer at the right time. While we won’t underestimate the importance of fancy packaging, we recommend doubling it up with a good old brown package that can withstand rough conditions. And yes, the extra taping, cushioning with airbags, and cardboard definitely ups the cost, but it is essential to give the customer a safe, secure, and tamper-proof delivery.

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