In a brick-and-mortar store, packaging is everything. With a hundred separate products jockeying for a customer’s attention on the shelves, standing out is imperative.

The same kind of pressure isn’t quite there in e-commerce. By the time a customer sees your packaging, he’s already bought your product. But you shouldn’t ignore packaging because of that. It’s still an important part of the product experience. There is a reason YouTube is full of unboxing videos.

Why should you invest in more attractive packaging?

1. First impressions

Good packaging conditions your customers to think the product is good too. If your packaging is plain and boring, or worse, terrible, any minor flaws in the product are magnified because of the bad first impression.

2. Customer satisfaction

Many things go into customer satisfaction. While the packaging is not the most important one, it’s still a contributing factor that shouldn’t be ignored. You want satisfied customers. They not only become repeat customers but also act as unpaid brand ambassadors. Turning product unboxing into a pleasant experience goes a long way toward improving customer satisfaction.

3. Brand consistency

Good packaging helps establish and reinforce your brand image. Think of Coca-Cola with its iconic red and white, Cadbury with purple, or Apple with that sleek minimalistic look. You can achieve the same iconic status for your brand by paying a little more attention to your packaging.

Anticipate rough handling

While you’re technically packing your product for the customer, the more important person is the shipper. You want your shipping company to get your product to your customer with as little damage as possible. But that is not always the case.

Drivers may drive on bumpy roads, causing packages in the back to rattle and fall to the floor of the truck. Some drivers don’t bother with walking to the door with your package either. They’ll just toss it out of a window and drive on to the next address on their delivery schedule.

For this reason, you should always consider rough handling as the default and pack accordingly. Or you can go the way of Vanmoof. After realizing that a full quarter of the bikes they shipped to the United States arrived damaged, the Dutch company put a picture of a TV on the cover of their shipping boxes.

The bike was still there but it was shown inside the TV. Unsurprisingly, delivery drivers treat flat-screen TVs far more delicately than they do bicycles. Shipping damage on Vanmoof’s bicycles declined by 80% and remained unchanged even after their little trick was revealed.

Other packaging best practices

  1. Make your packaging unique within reason.
  2. Keep it functional. Don’t use star-shaped boxes or other impractical shapes in the pursuit of uniqueness.
  3. Make your packaging as emotive as possible. You can do this with emotive images and certain color schemes.