In his best-selling book, The Purple Cow, American author and dotcom business executive, Seth Godin writes, “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible."
Among the most common (and critical) contact center KPIs and quality scores that are typically tracked: Similarly, in e-commerce, branded packaging is what helps a product become the purple cow in a sea of other rival cows. Think Coca-Cola and Pepsi; two beverages to be served chilled. One cannot distinguish between the two – by their color or taste – unless they come in their signature red and white, or blue packaging respectively. It is their brand packaging that makes the first point of difference between both the global brands.
Branded packaging is not something that became a vogue in recent years. It has a lineage that dates back almost 150 years. It is that journey of 150 years that has made branded packaging into a branding artifact.
Traditionally, branded packaging was used to help carry the goods from the seller until the customer’s place. Brown paper bags imprinted with the maker’s name was the typical branded packaging that was used. With advancements in material technology and also printing technologies, things started getting better.
Today, branded packaging is not just wrapping the product in a nice way. It is a workhorse that brands use to expand their branding capabilities, reinforce visibility in consumers and most importantly, help preserve and deliver the product in the best condition possible to customers. In e-commerce, it is the fulcrum that can tilt the scale of the decision in favor of the seller.
A good product will NOT sell itself. It needs the thrust of good packaging. Packaging is, in fact, one of the 7 Ps of Marketing that creates the first impression on buyers. It shows to the customers, from the outside, how the product looks from the insides.
In e-commerce, where customers expect to get what they see, branded packaging plays a significant role in convincing them to make a purchase. That said, here are some other ways how branded packaging serves an e-commerce business:
The primary purpose of packaging is to serve and protect the product that is holding. It should preserve the product while it is at the warehouse, while it is transported throughout the supply chain and until it reaches the customer’s hands. Branded packaging ensures that the product is protected the way it is meant to be until it is ready for dispatch or delivered to the customer.
In e-commerce, branding packaging also has the added responsibility of extending the shelf life of the product. Depending on the choice of packaging, primary, secondary and tertiary packaging, the shelf life of the product would also extend or decrease accordingly. For instance, corrugated boxes filled with silica gel help electronic appliances from getting damaged during transit.
In e-commerce, customers don’t get to see and touch the product until it is delivered to them. In most cases, the delivery time spans over a few days, which increases the anticipation of the product. There is a high-volt of excitement involved when the product finally arrives; and this makes it necessary for brands to take product packaging seriously.
Brands like Apple have taken the ‘unboxing’ experience to a whole new level with near perfect ivory boxes that literally glide when opened. In fact, unboxing the product from the packaging, tearing off the wrapping paper, etc. all resemble the experience of unpacking a present.
As a result, most customers have an emotional attachment to the unboxing experience. The number of YouTube channels that are dedicated to unboxing videos has also mushroomed in recent years. All said, branded packaging helps in giving that brand-new feel that helps elevate the customer experience to a whole new level. If done right, it acts as an extended marketing stunt that can keep customers loyal to the brand.
In e-commerce, looks precede quality. It is the best-looking product that gets bought first. Customers get a brief idea of the product’s quality and utility only if they get to hold it in their hands. To put the product in the hands of more number of customers, an e-commerce business needs high-grade and highly creative branded packaging.
The packaging also gives customers a way of visualizing the product before they are consciously ready to make a purchase. Branded packaging helps the product look great in a whole new light, making it more appealing to customers. Without branded packaging, the product would look like any other generic product, which could undermine its selling ability.
Solid colors. Hues. Gradients. Brand logos. All these graphical elements come together in a brand package design. And, when they come together in the form of a beautiful package design, they can invoke a higher perceived value for the product.
Think Tiffany’s packaging. It comes in a tiny blue box that is so adorable; it immediately evokes a sense of luxury and style. In fact, it is now recognized as one of the most popular packaging even having its own term, ‘the Tiffany Blue Box”.
In short, the brand packaging of the product is as important as the product itself. It can create a higher perceived value that will position it in the right place in a crowded marketplace.
From influencing a customer’s buying decision to protecting the product in transit and creating a positive excitement of unboxing for customers, packaging has a great deal of importance in e-commerce. It is definitely more than just a container for the product; it can enhance your brand’s value and identity. And if your packaging is doing that for your brand, you are on the right path.
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