The importance of packaging in eCommerce

  • Packaging or packing is very important in eCommerce. But, have you ever wondered why? In today's post we are going to reveal the reason for its importance.

  • Among all aspects around selling online, there is one that is not usually paid attention to: packaging. Packaging is a really interesting subject in eCommerce; It has to do with the product, but also with the adopted communication strategy, and even with logistics. 
  • But... What is packaging in eCommerce?

  • Packaging is a very widespread English term which, inreality, we are referring to the packaging of any product

    Then it should be thought that, as most of the products are sold packaged in one way or another, there is no real difference in the packaging if they are purchased in a retail or on an online store... but it is not exactly so
  • Logistical issues

  • The first relevant issue is the price. When you have a policy in this sense, we are much more efficient in the use of space. In logistics, cubic meters mean money spent on storage and a higher cost per shipment, what is known as volumetric weight.
  • In addition to the volume of packages, there is something that makes the difference with the purchase in a physical store, in which almost all responsibility for the integrity of the package ends when the product leaves the warehouse. In e-commerce, there is one more step in which we lose control over the product handling

    Transport companies establish that last link between our store and the customer. This has consequences like the fact that many flaws related to improper loading or handling package may occur. The carrier may hit the product or it can crash during transport into other products. 

    Because of this, you can work with repackaging which, as its own name suggests, is an additional packing added to ensure the integrity of the shipment
  • Strategic issues

  • Another reason why repackaging is done is that it can be used to perform a rebranding and enhance the brand effect when third-party items are sold. 
  • A good example is the packaging of shipments from Amazon. Brown cardboard boxes with its logo actually contain products sold by different merchants of its marketplace, items that are already in their respective boxes, retractile or blisters, but included inside a second box of larger size

    That additional packing, as well as being practical, also gives continuity to the feeling of purchasing in a unique space:purchased at Amazon and not in the different stores. 

    Besides this homogenization of experience in certain cases, the packaging will be part of an eCommerce customer shopping experience. 

    Certain very aspirational brands or, at least, some of the most sought after and loved by their customers begin building its branding by the packaging.
    Users enjoy both the experience of purchasing your new product so much that they have fun unpacking it (they even make it video content on their social profiles: the famous unboxings). 

    Buying online produces, let´s not say anxiety, but expectations. We wait our shipping with some mystery because we have not had the opportunity to touch the product with our hands. That is why the first impression that the packing causes is so important. It has to: 

    • Project strength: customers buy on the Internet extensively and even they may have had some prior bad experience. 
    • Give a feeling of security: a packing must make us feel that what is inside is what we have ordered. 
    • Broadcast quality: a careless packaging can be interpreted as lack of interest for the final product. It is worth to devote some effort to have a good design also at this level. 
    • Consistency with the product: it must be the preview of what the client will find when opening the box. 

    By playing with these variables, the characteristics of the product and the brand values, we will improve the experience. 
  • EXAMPLE: If we sell a product whose differential competitive advantage is its sustainability and handmade process, our packaging has to convey that too. A box made of ecological material and organic appearance would make more sense than a sealed plastic bag.

    However, another product with a positioning oriented to a higher segment, based on quality should not use a sealed bag due to diferent reasons. Quality should be transmitted from the materials and the design of the packaging. Let´s take into account that it is part of the product, or better said, the shopping experience.
  • What about you, what kind of packaging do you use in your eCommerce? Is it important or secondary for you ? Come on, let us know!

  • Images | Unsplash. 

Miguel Nicolás

Miguel Nicolás O'Shea is a life-long copywriter (more than 15 years working in agencies) and a specialist in Search Marketing (SEO and PPC). From now on, he will contribute with his online marketing experience to Oleoshop, publishing regularly.

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