What is the Importance of Packaging in eCommerce?
Importance of packaging in eCommerce is often underestimated by online sellers. Up until now, packaging was just about wrapping the product, putting it in a box, pasting the labels and delivering it. But now, ecommerce sellers are looking beyond corrugated boxes and new regulations have brought in new packaging requirements.
In short, good packaging ensures the safe delivery of the product. Labelling enables brand promotion. Moreover, effective packaging and labelling provide an immense boost to the brand’s goodwill. Delivering the product in the best shape to the customer is essential. This only increases the chances of the customer placing more orders, thus leading to increased ROI and business growth. Let’s explore the importance of packaging in eCommerce.
Importance of Packaging in eCommerce
Reduction in Company’s Costs
Most e-commerce businesses view high-quality packaging as an additional investment. What they don’t realise is that proper packaging in a way significantly reduces the company’s costs. Good packaging protects the product from damages during shipping, thus minimizing the chances of customers returning it.
When the customer returns the product, you have to bear additional costs of reshipping the returned product. If the customer opts for a refund, you have to reimburse the product cost, which would again cut into the company’s profits. By ensuring proper packaging, you can avoid these extra costs. Hence, it is important to select the best packaging material for enhanced protection.
Many states in India have banned plastics in various forms. The pioneer in this was Maharashtra, where ecommerce companies were given extensions but finally had to comply. Here is a note from Amazon on such regulations. Sellers can learn from platforms like Nykaa and Myntra who have adopted an almost 100% eco-friendly approach. The former has had sellers switch to bubble wrap alternatives- known as Hexcel/ honeycomb wrap/ hexagonal paper wrap. Myntra has clothes sent in high gsm paper packaging.
There are categories however, where sellers have to use plastic packaging to protect the product. These include gadgets such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets. Luckily, states like Maharashtra have allowed external plastics to be of 52 microns and above. So sellers sending products to or sending products out of Maharashtra have to make sure they adhere to these packaging guidelines. Changing regulations and keeping up with it also contributes to the importance of packaging in eCommerce. Customers today, too, tend to appreciate products and packaging that are eco-friendly. There is a growing adoption of an eco-friendly lifestyle in India and having eco-friendly packaging will help you stay on top of the game.
Building Customer Loyalty
A core aspect of building a lasting relationship between a brand and the consumer is the packaging. A well-packaged product leaves a lasting impression on the customer, long after the sale has been made. The packaging of products can impact how the brand is perceived by the customer.
User experience is what makes or breaks the product. Bad packaging results in unhappy customers. Ecommerce sellers should determine whether the packaging used, is making the use of the product easy or difficult for the customer. Quality product packaging can earn customer loyalty.
Building Brand Identity
Another reason why you should be aware of the importance of packaging in eCommerce is that proper packaging creates a good first impression of your brand, on the customers. A customer’s opinion of your product is bound to be good if he/she gets a well-packaged product. It is a well-known fact that proper packaging helps in creating a strong brand identity. Placing a customized label with the brand logo & name will help you create a distinct brand value, and stand out from your competitors. Even if you are packing your products in Flipkart packaging, Amazon boxes or AJIO packets; the primary or even secondary packaging can have your brand projected in an impressive manner.
Ensure that your packaging has essential product information that you want your customers to know. For cosmetics or food products, ensure that the expiry date, manufacturing date, etc. is easily visible on your packaging; of course you need to follow FSSAI guidelines for labelling. High-quality printing & packaging material coupled with a distinctive design that reflects your brand’s imagery and positioning, will help you connect with the customer and differentiate your brand from competitors.
Preventing Product Damage
Packaging is not meant to be as simple as a container that holds a product. Rather, the product should be packed in such a way that it is protected from any kind of damage or wear and tear. In case of health or food products, the package should be temperature controlled. Many Amazon India sellers and Flipkart Sellers use gel packs when shipping chocolates. Fragile items should be labelled so. Sellers also use 10 mm or 30 mm bubble wraps to protect breakable products when shipping.
The packaging need not be so complex or sophisticated that the customer has to spend a lot of time getting rid of the package itself. It should ideally fulfil important objectives such as getting the product delivered to the customer in a safe condition. There are creative ways to solve this issue, including 3D printing packaging for ecommerce. Overall, safe packaging reduces product return rate and improves your seller rating.
Influencer Marketing & Unboxing Videos
Social media plays a major role in any customer’s day-to-day lives. Hence influencer marketing has been one of the tools used by many small & mid-sized ecommerce sellers, to promote their products. Influencer Marketing is a powerful marketing tool. It involves the brand collaborating with one or more online influencers to promote its products or services. Though it takes the idea of celebrity endorsement it doesn’t just involve celebrities. In most cases the influencers might not even consider themselves popular in the offline world. If you intend to use influencer marketing, ensure your product packaging has a visual appeal.
Influencers usually share product reviews and unboxing videos in their Facebook or Instagram stories and now even reels. Stats say that 60 million hours of unboxing videos have been viewed on YouTube. Research shows that around 93% of consumers these days rely on online reviews before making a purchase. Plus, it is not unusual to see people share their online purchases on social media. If your customer is social media savvy, chances are that your product packaging will be visible in any content they share. Instantly, the influencer’s followers will get a glimpse of your brand, product & packaging. This is another reason to acknowledge the importance of packaging in eCommerce. Having high-quality & visually appealing packaging is a must-have.
Reduction in Dispatch Time
Most sellers don’t realise that this is a contributor to the importance of packaging in eCommerce. Delayed deliveries will always annoy your customers. Timely delivery of the product can be ensured when the pre-shipping process is carried out in a proper way. That includes the product packaging too. If it takes too much time to pack & sell your products, you may slow down the delivery process.
Boxes that are difficult to assemble can add unnecessary time to the fulfilment process. 3D printing of paper based products is a new alternative to creating packaging that exactly fits the dimensions of your product and also protects it. Your company should have the ability to carry out product packaging in a systematic & timely manner. Ensuring quick deliveries helps maintain loyal customers.
Personalised gift packs or innovative baskets are another way to introduce a new SKU in your category. Many ecommerce retailers tend to club multiple categories together and offer such gift baskets. These may contain regular products like chocolates, pen drives, stuffed toys, dry fruits, mugs etc. Such specialised baskets are not just in demand during festive seasons but also throughout the year as most customers run out of ideas when listing.
A traditional e-commerce transaction involves the customer buying a product, paying for it, and the company delivering it. Brands often ignore the aspect of thanking the customer. Personalised thank-you cards are a great way of expressing gratitude. Personalisation is what makes your product stand out from the lot. It’s no secret that the current generation loves personalized products.
Many ecommerce sellers and D2C brands cleverly include brochures and coupons in their packaging. These contain details of other products on their catalogue. Coupons can induce a purchase. Sometimes, teaser communications on upcoming products can also be included.
Sample packs are used by ecommerce sellers to let customers try their new products or those with stagnating sales. It is 10 times easier to retain an existing customer than gain a new one. This is a key reason why packaging is important in an ecommerce business.