Package Like a Pro

by guest author nikole gipps

Have you ever purchased an Apple product? I bought myself a new MacBook Pro recently, and I have to tell you that there is nothing quite like opening up the box for the first time. The machine itself is so very shiny, every cord is in its place. Even the discs and guides that come with the laptop are perfectly designed to fit into their own little nook.

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My MacBook purchase made me think about the emotional aspect of purchasing — the buyer perception that creates a positive or negative brand and purchase experience when someone buys a product. When you buy an Apple product, you pay a premium price and expect a premium product. Consider this: what if the packaging had looked like this when I opened it:

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If you had received the product in the third picture instead of the one in the first two, would you have felt like it was a quality product that commanded a premium price? Would you have been as satisfied with your purchase?

Packaging and presentation can influence your customers in many ways. In this article, I will be exploring how you can use packaging in your own business to create an image of your brand in your customer's mind, increase the emotional bond between the customer and the product/company, and to drive future sales and referrals for your products.

Demonstrate Causes & Core Beliefs

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With my laptop, I purchased a Targus laptop case. I chose this particular case among the other cases because it was made with greener materials and could be recycled/repurposed after I was done with it. "Green products" are particularly popular right now, but there are a number of other causes that might be important to your company such as:

  • Supporting a charity
  • Giving back to the local or industry community
  • Company culture, ethics, or work environment
  • Fair trade
  • Supporting local or small business
  • Buying or using recycled materials
  • Supporting work-at-home moms or handmade products
  • Using renewable energy to power your business

If you have a cause that is important to you, broadcast it! You'll find more buyers that will be happy to support your cause too.

Show your Personality

Every company has a personality in their brand. Are you fun? Happy? Trustworthy? Reliable? Upscale (like the Apple example above)? Do you value personal connection over professional distance, traditional over modern, low tech over early adoption? When a customer sees your product for the first time, are you conveying that personality?

A while back, I purchased some MiniCards from Moo. (Moo is also where the new build a little biz MiniCards came from). When you get a new box of MiniCards, they say things like "yay!" and "excited? we are!"

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Even the little holder I purchased for my cards says "ooh, hello!" and hopes that I am happy with my purchase.

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When a customer opens up a package with these kinds of messages on them, the happiness is a bit infectious. How can you not be delighted with your purchase when your purchase is so happy to see you?

Make an Emotional Connection

I received a beautiful handcrafted necklace from a client of mine who designs her own jewelry. When I opened the package, this is what I saw:

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As her jewelry line is all about an intimate connection with the pieces you wear (it is, after all, called a "zen necklace"), what better way to create that connection from the very moment the product arrives? A handwritten note and tissue-wrapped packing may seem overly simple, and yet they convey powerful emotions that start on her website, continue through her product descriptions, and complete themselves once the product arrives.

Using Packaging in Your Little Biz

You don't need to have the budget of Apple or Moo to create a unique product experience for your clients. A few dollars worth of materials (with a few product options) helps turn Cypress Sun Jewelry buyers or gift recipients into raving fans. If you want to evaluate your own product packaging, follow these steps:

  1. Evaluate your brand. What do you want your packaging to say about your company? Make a list of adjectives that you'd like your product to convey.
  2. Get creative. Look for new materials or methods for packaging and sending your product.
  3. Keep it simple and inexpensive. Unless you have a truly premium product, you don't want to increase the product costs (or cut your profits) with expensive packaging.
  4. Focus on presentation. Package your products in a way that are neat, tidy, and minimize breakage. Even if your product is not a gift, make it look like a present!
  5. Test your packaging. If your packaging needs to be shipped, see what it looks like on the other end once it has been sent. Try wrapping and unwrapping your product — is it difficult to get out? When you look at the package, is is clear how it should be opened, assembled and/or used?
  6. Follow through the sales cycle. To really go the extra mile in increasing customer satisfaction, make sure you maintain customer contact from purchase to delivery. This connection will make a review/referral a no-brainer when you ask!

How do you package your products to showcase them?

Post your ideas in the comments below or continue the discussion over on the build a little biz Facebook page.

Nikole Gipps is web developer and marketing process specialist at That Super Girl. She helps entrepreneurs at all stages of their business to get more out of their website and marketing campaigns. She's also a mother of 2 and a little biz owner herself.