In the past, providing this level of brand recognition and customer service through custom packaging was available only to major corporations that sell hundreds of thousands of units a year or luxury brands with high price points.
Now, it seems like everyone is getting in on the custom packaging game, from subscription services such as BarkBox and Ipsy to artisans selling handmade goods on Etsy. Thanks to web platforms that allow anyone to design packaging online in 3D and order in small batches, custom packaging has become accessible and cost-effective for small businesses too.
Here’s how your business can get in on the affordable custom packaging revolution and reap benefits like greater brand loyalty and more secure product shipping.
What is Custom Packaging?
The best way to describe custom packaging is to compare it to the more traditional alternative: stock packaging.
Stock packaging, or standard packaging, is the generic type of packaging that you can pick up at Staples or the Post Office or order online in bulk. These unmarked brown (or sometimes white) corrugated cardboard boxes are easy to manufacture and come in a limited number of sizes and styles. While stock packaging is cheap and makes a lot of sense for personal shipping needs, it doesn’t do much for you if you’re trying to build an ecommerce brand. Customers have come to expect more stylish, refined packaging when they order goods online.
Custom packaging, by contrast, is tailored with the product specifications, the brand, and the end user in mind. The inside of the packaging is designed to fit the product perfectly, while the shipping box itself can be designed to mirror your brand’s colors, display your logo, or even include additional copy that conveys your sense of humor or company values. With custom packaging, the options are limited only by your own creativity and imagination.
The end result of custom packaging? Customers get a memorable unboxing experience, get the wow factor they’re looking for, and are more likely to choose your brand in the future. In fact, according to a recent study by Ipsos, 72 percent of American consumers are greatly influenced by packaging design when they make their purchases.
Top 5 Benefits of Custom Packaging for Small Business
There are many ways that custom packaging can benefit your business. Here are our top 5 reasons for choosing custom packaging for your shipping needs:
1. Custom Packaging Creates a Valuable Touchpoint at an Affordable Price.
Think about how much you would typically spend to put something directly into the hands of a potential customer. Packaging and shipping speed are two factors that can initiate a physical and emotional connection between customers and your brand. Still, there are many companies that readily spend thousands of dollars going to trade shows, handing out pens and other swag — but balk at spending a few cents more per box for packaging for their small business — even though this packaging is going directly to people who have already proven they’re willing to spend money on your products.
Why is this? Many ecommerce sellers don’t fully understand how important quality custom packaging is to the future of their business. A recent study by the GWP Group confirmed that customers relate the quality of the packaging to the quality of the brand, form an initial impression of your brand within 7 seconds, and are more likely to buy from a company again if they like the packaging. In most cases, the initial impression a customer forms will not change without a lot of effort, which means you’ll be spending much more to win and retain customers in the long run if you make a poor impression with your product packaging.
Customers expect great packaging designs. Don’t throw away a golden opportunity to impress and engage your customers for mere pennies on the dollar.
2. Custom Packaging Protects Your Product.
Custom packaging can also be a wise investment because it gives your product the protection it needs. Unlike standard packaging, where any box will do, custom packaging only uses materials that fit the product in terms of size and durability.
Custom packaging gives your product that inner protection to keep it in a fixed position in transit and the outer protection that it needs to remain intact before it gets to the customer. For example, if you’re shipping glass or other fragile merchandise, a custom shipping box that incorporates a rigid cardboard with a foam insert can ensure your products make it in one piece, every time. Hydrogenated water brand, HyVIDA, found that when they invested in a custom packaging solution for their product, they eliminated damage complaints and dramatically improved their reviews on Amazon.
Protective packaging is especially important for small businesses, as inventory is often their company’s largest investment. As a bonus, opting for well-designed custom packaging that fits your inventory to a T can save your company money on package fillers such as bubble wrap, shredded paper, and packing peanuts.
3. Custom Packaging Promotes Customer Satisfaction.
In theory, 100% customer satisfaction is the goal of every product package, but in reality most product packaging leaves customers disappointed, which is dangerous for your brand. According to Forbes Magazine, 60 to 80 percent of consumers do not go back to the same business if their packaging is poor, even if they are satisfied with the product.
Don’t let poor packaging undermine a great product. Instead of losing customers because they feel disconnected from your brand, let Arka ensure that your customers are satisfied by the product and what the product is shipped in.
With the help of a sleek design, visually appealing colors, modern prints, beautiful package inserts, and personalized messages, you can give your customers what they crave and increase customer satisfaction. These personal touches are particularly important when choosing packaging for a small business. Changing consumer shopping habits have led 55% of Americans to make a purchase from a new brand. This is a big opportunity for small businesses to make a big impression on these new customers.
4. Custom Packaging for Small Business Turns Customers Into Brand Ambassadors.
Perhaps one of the biggest (and sneakiest) benefits of custom packaging for small businesses is its ability to turn customers from one-time purchasers into brand ambassadors. This is especially true for ecommerce businesses, since waiting for the package to arrive and then unboxing the product are such a primary part of the customer experience.
In fact, according to Dotcom Distribution, 35 percent of customers report regularly watching unboxing videos, 55 percent of customers report buying a product after watching an unboxing video, and 40 percent of customers say they’ve shared a picture or video of a product’s packaging before.
That’s a lot of opportunities to get your brand in front of new buyers without spending any additional money on advertising or social media campaigns. When you look at the statistics, custom packaging begins to feel less like an extra, unnecessary expense and more like the most efficient and cost-effective way to reach new customers.
5. Custom Packaging Encourages Repeat Business.
Finally, custom packaging is a great way for small businesses to get customers to return again and again. Selling to an existing customer is so much easier than getting a new customer, yet many companies spend all of their marketing money trying to attract new customers and don’t give much thought to keeping the customers they already have.
Custom packaging can help your company build loyalty over time and earn repeat business not only by making a solid first impression, but also by giving repeat customers something to look forward to. You know this is true if you think about your own favorite ecommerce brands, the excitement you feel when you see the instantly recognizable packaging in your mailbox or on your doorstep, and the pleasure you experience opening a beautifully-presented product.
In addition, creating custom packaging gives you the opportunity to design memorable seasonal or event-based packaging and to include coordinating stickers, tissue paper, packing tape or package inserts advertising an upcoming sale —anything that will help you build a cohesive brand image and forge a highly personalized connection with your existing customers will help you retain those customers.
For these and many other reasons, ecommerce businesses should give serious consideration to custom packaging as a way to create a big impact with a small investment.
If you’re ready to refine your brand, sign up with Arka today. We’ll help you design a box your customers will hate to throw out.