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A Step-by-Step Guide to The Creative Process of Branding:

PACKAGING FOR AN E-COMMERCE BRAND

Now that we have gone through the fundamentals of branding – from fonts, logos to colors – now it is on to the next step, how it all comes together for the packaging of the product – one of the key physical touchpoints for brands today.
In a world where e-Commerce has become part and parcel of everyday purchases, capturing a market of more than 1.92 billion customers worldwide, brands are changing the way they packaging their products – and so should you!
With the shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping, brands are increasingly re-evaluating the customer journey and how they should evolve their branding and packaging efforts to stay ahead of the competition.
Some are some key statistics to consider:
• 97% of brands think that packaging impacts the online purchase experience.
• 70% of packaging professionals believe that store and e-commerce are different channels requiring different packaging approaches.
• 49% of e-Commerce buyers share their purchase experiences on social media.
In light of these considerations, how should a brand go about creating a memorable and positive brand experience with the right packaging? Read on to learn all about it!

The Different Types of e-Commerce Packaging

Starting from the basics, the core function of packaging (e-Commerce or not) is a functional one – to protect the product inside.
For e-Commerce products, with the increasingly complex and globalized supply chain, packaging solutions of today need to be able to handle all that and more.
Here are a few common categories of packaging that will enable your brand to fulfil this basic function:

Corrugated Boxes

Check out our showcase for Genius Food to learn more

From easy-fold mailers to large moving boxes, these come in many shapes and sizes for varying product sizes.
Thanks to their versatility, general sturdiness, and recyclability, they are one of the most common types of e-Commerce packaging around.
For extra protection, brands can also opt for double-walled boxes for added sturdiness.
Apart from functionality, corrugated boxes also have incredible amounts of prime real estate for branding opportunities – which we will explore in the upcoming section.

Bags and Envelopes

Poly mailer bags and envelopes are also popular choices for light and non-fragile products like apparel, accessories, or even shoes.
Usually heat and water-resistant, they are lightweight options that can make a difference when shipping costs are high.
Compared to boxes, they tend to also come in a huge variety of colours and are customizable, which makes it easy and cost-effective for brands to create branded packaging.

Padded Mailers

Usually used to ship small, flat, or fragile items like handcrafted products, books, or electronics, padded mailers tend to come with added protection like bubble wrap to ensure the protection of the item inside.
While the cushioned layers do add extra protection, it is comparatively less eco-friendly for the same reason.
Nonetheless, there are increasingly more eco-friendly options that use upcycled newspaper or kraft paper in place of plastic bubble wrap for the cushioning that brands can consider.

Customizing e-Commerce Packaging for a Meaningful Brand Experience

Now that you have chosen from one of the above categories of e-Commerce packaging, how can you customize it to help your brand stand out from the crowd? How can you delight your customer with their first physical interaction with the brand?
Here are some interesting methods brands have used successfully to keep their customers captivated:

Customized Prints

All the common e-Commerce packaging options come usually as plain canvases which allows brands the opportunity to play around with customized prints.
Whether you go with a vibrant exterior to capture the attention of your customer or include meaningful quotes of instructions on the interior of the mailer box, these are all additional touchpoints to enhance your customer experience.
Holy Rice, an Asian food delivery service, is an example of a brand not afraid to inject their brand personality all over their packaging.

Biodegradable and Sustainable Materials

Are you a brand that stands for sustainability? If so, make sure your packaging is aligned with your values. Opt for biodegradable alternatives when you can – from biodegradable (instead of Styrofoam) air peanuts to corrugated bubble wrap instead of their plastic counterparts.
Luckily most packaging materials are made of paper and cardboard which means they can be recycled! Want to be a part of the solution? Source for packaging made from recycled paper and cardboard!
Using mailers? There are increasingly more compostable options made of corn/wheat which are much more eco-friendly alternatives to plastic mailers.

Tissue Paper

Part of the excitement in receiving a parcel is the unboxing process. Having your product wrapped in layers of tissue paper can build up more anticipation and excitement in the unboxing experience.
That is not all – with custom tissue paper printing, brands can now easily bring the unboxing event up a notch with beautiful, branded illustrations and prints on their packaging materials.

Stickers

Looking for an inexpensive way to customize your packaging? Branded stickers are a great way to make a difference to plain packages.
Choose from a huge variety of shapes and sizes to use on your boxes, mailers, or envelopes – there is nothing much a sticker cannot be stuck on.
Did we also mention it is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to create a professional look across all types of merchandise?

Printed Promotional Material Add-Ons

Want to go the extra mile beyond just the packaging material itself? Consider additional printed promotional materials like a personalized thank you card, instructional guides, brand story, or coupons.
Depending on what you would like your customer to take away from the unboxing experience, they could make a difference in the following ways:
• A Personalized Thank You Card – Whether it is a printed or hand-written card from the brand, it helps the customer feel all that more connected to the brand.
• Instructional Guides – Providing a how to use guide or care guide is a useful way to show your customers that your service goes beyond just the transaction. And could potentially save you time on inquiries to your hotline or email.
• Brand Story – Is this a first-time customer? Help them to get to know more about the brand by sharing short snippets about the brand. Sharing moments like this helps elevate the simple transaction into a genuine connection with the brand.
• Coupons – Interested in getting a return customer? Offer them an incentive to return with a special promo code.

Tips When Designing e-Commerce Packaging for Your Brand

Ready to get started on your packaging design for your brand? Learn from the experts and keep these tips in mind.
Sustainable Packaging Materials
With consumers becoming increasingly focused on environmental practices and impact, consider choosing “green packaging” wherever possible. Not only is it good for the environment, but it is also great for company PR.
Materials that Double Up as Promotional Materials
Tape, ribbons, or stickers that help keep the package securely sealed can also double up as useful branding when customized meaningfully.
Think of the various aspects of packaging as additional advertising real estate – and come up with ways to connect with your customer in ways that catch their eyes.
Stand Out from The Crowd
What do you think of when you think of typical e-Commerce packaging? Well, that is what you should avoid. Amidst the hundreds of parcels that a consumer receives on an annual basis, you want to be the brand with the parcel that they cannot forget.
Think out of the box (pun intended!) on how you can surprise and delight your customer when they unbox their purchase from you.
Additionally, not to forget about having consistent branding across all touchpoints, make sure you keep in mind to use your brand colours, logo, and fonts accordingly.
Be Instagrammable
Ask yourself if this is a package you would whip out your phone to take a picture of or document the unboxing process on social media. If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board.
Success e-Commerce brands thrive on social proof and having Instagrammable packaging makes it all that easier when consumers contribute to user-generated content on their social feeds!
Keep It Compact
Here is a functional tip: keep the packaging as compact as possible. This has benefits on many fronts – from saving space, ensuring the product is secure (and does not move about during transit) to saving costs on materials and shipping fees (usually based on weight and/or volume).
Create Mock-ups & Get Feedback from Customers
Last but not least, get feedback from your customers. After all, they are the ones that you are hoping to please.
Create mock-ups and share them with your customers online or in focus groups and get their feedback on what would they like to see. This way you ensure that whatever you are creating is perfect for your target audience.
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