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We all know that unique looking packaging draws the eye on a shelf, but many brands do not know how critical a role unique packaging can play in e-commerce. In fact, a recent study suggests that they key value of great packaging is that it plays a critical role in word-of-mouth marketing. Simply put, consumers share product purchases if the packaging is great.
Though brand websites are constantly coming up with innovative ways to bridge the online and in-store gap, it’s more important now than ever before that the physical products that reach a consumer’s doorstep – and the packaging they arrive in – personify the brand experience.
“Customers look for the ‘WOW’ factor when shopping online and when receiving a package, as they miss out on the in-store experience,” Dotcom Distribution president Maria Haggerty says in the 2013 study. “Premium packaging for online purchases delivers a brand’s in-store experience to an eCommerce customer.”
And the numbers support her claim. According to the study, 51% of consumers expect that the packaging they receive from a retailer through the mail will be of equal quality to what they would receive in-store. What’s more, 71% of consumers expect that the quality of packaging should increase proportionately with the quality of the brand.
Even in the age of e-commerce, 35% of consumers still say that they’ve discovered a new brand after seeing another shopper toting around a branded box or shopping bag in public. While the Internet makes it easy to direct a search for new brands, nothing replaces the random, organic discovery that comes from observing varied shoppers in the real world.
Furthermore, though marketing campaigns make it seem like everyone is engaging with a particular brand, nothing validates a brand’s popularity like seeing evidence of its widespread appeal in real life.
One of the byproducts of the sustainability movement sweeping through retail is packaging that is even more conducive for reuse than ever before. According to the study, 84% of consumers have reused branded bags to cut down on waste. Brands should rejoice – not only does this mean that consumers are marketing the brand beyond just the trip from the cash register to the car, but it’s also trendy to do so.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have conditioned users to be compulsive sharers, and new purchases are some of the most photographed subjects.
The study found that 40% of consumers – 74% of which come from the 18-25 age bracket - will upload a picture of his or her purchase to social media if the product comes in unique or branded packaging.
As the social shopping trend suggests, the most powerful recommendations still come from within a consumer’s social circle – thus the more times a person is exposed to a brand through a social media network, the more likely he or she will eventually spring for a purchase.
Packaging is a critical visual marketing tool online. Is it time for yours to get a refresh?
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