Small business owners often treat packaging as an afterthought. After all, it’s what’s inside that counts, right? However, packaging plays a crucial role in a customer’s decision to buy a product.
One nationwide study conducted by the global research company IPSOS found that seven out of 10 customers are influenced by the packing design of products. That’s because the way a product is packaged is often a customer’s first introduction to a brand. It tells a story, sets a tone and expresses brand identity all at once.
StickerYou — a successful e-commerce startup that creates a variety of customized products including labels, decals and die-cut stickers to help brand your business — believes packaging is more than an aesthetic complement to your brand; it’s an integral part of it.
Here are five ways in which packaging can be used as a powerful tool for small businesses.
1. Label Design
Labels are important tools of communication; they convey ingredients, allergies and other essential information. A well-designed label can also make a product pop and, according to Entrepreneurship Life, is a brand’s sales pitch to shoppers.
Clear or opaque labels, for example, are important elements of that design. Opaque labels stand out on products that come in tins, bags, or boxes. For products that come in bottles or jars, consider letting the product speak for itself with the use of clear labels and simple lettering. This shows off what’s inside the packaging and gives it a sleek, modern aesthetic.
Texture can lend to the aesthetic a brand is trying to achieve. Glossy labels are generally brighter and more eye-catching. A matte texture allows for a more subtle, muted tone, which can complement hand-crafted, and artisanal goods.
It’s important to consider the environment in which the product will be used, and stored in. Durable roll labels are waterproof and can withstand hot and cold temperatures, so labels won’t peel or fade when exposed to the elements.
2. What’s on the Outside
Labels with logos can be used on all sorts of things aside from the actual product being sold. The boxes and bags customers use to carry out goods from a store, for example, are great ways to spread brand awareness far and wide.
Stick-on labels can be particularly cost-effective for small businesses that don’t have the budget for custom-printed boxes and bags. Consider using stickers, such as paper roll labels, which come in any size or shape. They are also great for businesses on a budget, as companies can purchase customized rolls of stick-on labels at inexpensive rates.
3. The Unboxing Experience
Shipping packaging offers plenty of opportunities for both company and customers. The “unboxing experience,” described as the joy felt when a package arrives ready to be opened, or “unboxed,” is one of the most impactful.
Unboxing is a subculture with a massive following on YouTube. Needless to say, having great-looking, well-branded shipping packaging matters.
4. Custom Shipping Containers
According to Shopify’s Richard Lazazzera, shipped packages are one of the most underused — and most valuable — marketing opportunities. “A branded packaging experience is a thoughtful selection of shipping and packaging materials as well as how you’ve decided to present your shipped products,” Lazazzera wrote. “Its purpose is to provide a positive first impression of your product — ideally, one that’s both memorable and shareable.”
Customized shipping boxes enhance customer experience but can be costly. Alternatively, stick-on labels can be applied to generic boxes. This doesn’t have to be a logo, it could be a company’s slogan, or a sticker thanking customers for their purchase in the brand’s colors and font.
Get creative by printing logos on packaging tape, which wraps around the exterior of the box for maximum effect. Promos and upcoming sales can also be plugged on the tape.
5. Throw in Some Swag
Toss in some cool promotional items, or freebies — like collectible stickers, free samples, coupons, a newsletter — into the shipping box as a little extra touch.
A carefully-designed thank you note in the shipping box can make all the difference. Notes can be handwritten, addressed to the individual customer, and include social media handles. This helps establish rapport with customers, lets them know they matter, and reminds them that they support a small business with real humans running it.
TELL US, you make purchase decisions based on packaging?