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Customer Delight

Custom packaging: An ecommerce strategy to stand out

Versha Kamwal
December 27, 2021
mins read

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The ecommerce industry is more competitive today than ever — thanks to more than 19,000 ecommerce businesses in India.  Moreover, the Indian ecommerce market is expected to grow to US$ 111.40 billion by 2025 from US$ 46.2 billion as of 2020.

These statistics clearly show the increase in the number of ecommerce brands, online customers, and the popularity of online shopping among the masses. However, as the ecommerce landscape is becoming more saturated, it has raised a fundamental question for every ecommerce brand—how to stand out?

Well, one option is custom packaging.

In this blog, you'll learn what is custom ecommerce packaging, why is custom ecommerce packaging essential in the ecommerce fulfilment process, and Dos and Don'ts for custom ecommerce packaging.

What is custom ecommerce packaging?

Custom ecommerce packaging is when online orders are packed using unique packaging according to the specific needs of an ecommerce brand, instead of using a standard box.

Custom ecommerce packaging is a vital part of the ecommerce fulfilment process that includes modifying a package's shape, size, style, colours, material, marketing inserts and other specifications.

Why custom packaging is a crucial part of ecommerce fulfilment?

1. Custom packaging is the first impression of an ecommerce brand

Online businesses have limited touchpoints between a brand and its customers, unlike brick-and-mortar stores. This means online shopping can often feel impersonal, so an ecommerce brand needs to capitalise on the very first touchpoint with the customer—the order delivery. Instead of a boring, brown, corrugated box, ecommerce brands can opt for elegant and refined packaging to stir up some excitement even before opening the package.

2. Custom packaging is an exceptional marketing tool

If you want to showcase your product as high-end, all-natural, or anything else, you can do all that with custom ecommerce packaging. You can use a combination of the right colours, materials, custom messages to present your product in the right light. Even if you have a story to tell, custom packaging is your go-to! You can incorporate meaningful symbols and phrases to communicate your brand story to your customers.

Dollar shave club communicates its brand story with humour
Dollar shave club communicates its brand story with humour

3. Custom packaging creates an incredible unboxing experience

The unboxing experience is an enthralling interaction a customer has when unboxing an online order for the first time. Such videos have taken the internet by storm—all thanks to custom packaging.

If you put in the extra effort you put into packaging, you can increase the perceived value of your product through its aesthetic appeal. Moreover, it will help you maintain a superior brand image by creating memorable moments for your customers.

Especially for ecommerce brands, where a package is often the only physical item a customer touches and feels throughout the purchasing process.

4. Custom packaging is a great branding opportunity

Custom ecommerce packaging is an effective way of differentiating your product in the increasingly populated online space. Ecommerce brands that use standard shipping boxes are always at the risk of looking too similar to their competitor. This means being more easily forgotten by their customers. So, custom packaging that’s unique to you is a big advantage to help you delight your customer throughout the ecommerce fulfilment journey, stand out from the crowd, and establish your brand.

Divine uses Adrinka symbols, derived from Ghanian culture, to represent the virtues that are valued by its brand

5. Custom packaging drives customer loyalty

Customer loyalty hangs by a thread in modern times. It takes more than one purchase for customers to consider themselves 'faithful' to a brand. To make customers loyal, you need to create great customer experiences consistently. With custom ecommerce packaging, you can create an emotional relationship with your customers and retain them.

Dos and Don'ts for custom ecommerce packaging

1. Do: Consider going green

Eco-friendly packaging also known as sustainable packaging is gaining traction with customers around the world. According to research, 78% of customers feel more optimistic about a product that uses recycled packaging. By using biodegradable, compostable, mushroom filament, or recycled boxes, you can minimise environmental harm and build a brand reputation.

Electrolux uses eco-friendly packaging
Electrolux uses eco-friendly packaging

2. Do: Include a personal touch

A personalised touch like a handwritten note, a thank you note or a custom message can significantly impact customers. It will make them feel special and encourage them to shop at your online store again. Factually, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product with a company that creates personalised ecommerce shipping. Moreover, ecommerce brands that make a standout experience for customers can expect higher rates of brand recall, retention, and loyalty.

Forest Essentials includes a personal touch in its packaging
Forest Essentials includes a personal touch in its packaging

3. Do: Add samples or gifts

Freebies are a fantastic way to enhance the delivery experience for customers. Your generosity will truly be appreciated, that can boost sales and increase loyalty. You can include a sample of your products, clear out your stock, break even on slow-moving products, or some complementary products.

MAC gives away free samples on a purchase
MAC gives away free samples on a purchase

4. Don’t: Spend too much

Custom ecommerce packaging surely means a little investment. But that doesn’t mean you have to go onboard with all your money! You must ensure your profit margins can handle it.

For example, spending over 20,000 for 250 custom boxes ( 80 per box), probably isn’t pocket-friendly for small ecommerce businesses, given their margin is thin. On the contrary, branded poly mailers can be a good starting point for such ecommerce brands.

5. Don’t: Go overboard

If you are a new entrant in the world of ecommerce, you can start small with custom ecommerce packaging. Try out basics like branded poly mailers or boxes with your brand logo on the outside and a thank you note. Instead of committing a classic packaging mistake—using too much packaging. It can not only raise your cost but also risk the box being damaged during transit. Such risk is not worth the fluff of packaging.

6. Don’t: Forget to promote

If you want to create a buzz and place your brand out there, you must promote your incredible custom ecommerce packaging and unboxing experience across the internet. Social media is the easiest way to market your unique experience that you extend through your ecommerce fulfilment process. You can share the images and videos of your packaging over your social handles and encourage customers to do the same. Additionally, you can change your packaging for seasonal promotions like Christmas, Diwali, and more.

Wrapping up

Custom ecommerce packaging is crucial for ecommerce brands looking to increase their market share and increase customer retention rates. While custom experience can transform your brand with a truly unique and personalised experience, it also increases ecommerce sales for your brand and builds your credibility.

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