There’s something special about receiving a package in the mail. Yet, the ubiquitous brown cardboard box stuffed with bubble-wrap that consumers have come to expect from e-commerce retailers may not cut it anymore.
According to a recent report by Dotcom Distribution, packaging is playing an increasing role in consumer loyalty. Forty per cent of shoppers surveyed said if their online purchase arrived in a gift-like or premium package they’d be more likely to make additional purchases from the retailer.
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Setting the tone
"When a package is wrapped in a delightful way it sets the tone for the entire unboxing experience," says Daniel Broukhim, co-founder and co-CEO of FabFitFun. "That’s why it’s incredibly important to create fun, inspiring and beautiful designs for subscription boxes, then follow it up with tasteful interior packaging, useful information and high-quality products."
FabFitFun’s subscription boxes are filled with full-sized luxury lifestyle product samples and are delivered to thousands of its members every quarter.
Last fall, the company themed its box around products created by female company founders. Its winter box was bedecked with stars in support of the Starlight Children's Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to improving the hospital experience for seriously ill children.
"Whether it’s holiday themed or playful for the summer, our box designs speak to the season, the products and the causes we support," says Broukhim.
Great packaging not only has an impact on customer loyalty, it has a positive effect on brand perception. More than 60% of shoppers surveyed said premium packaging makes the brand appear more upscale and drives excitement in receiving the product.
That excitement translates into referrals and repeat customers, with more than half of respondents saying gift-like packaging would make them more likely to make a recommendation to a friend.
Naturally, what’s inside a subscription box is equally as important as the outside. From delicate tissue paper and luxury content to informative booklets and unexpected surprises, unboxing the package must be a holistic experience, says Broukhim.
“The box is a springboard to action with each of the items included leading the recipient on a journey of discovery,” he says. "It’s about unearthing the latest and most exciting trends, while delivering something new to the individual and an outstanding value."
With consumers researching products online before purchase and existing customers sharing reviews, photos and videos, social media is helping to generate the excitement necessary to gain new customers.
Sixty-one per cent of surveyed shoppers said they were influenced to buy a product after viewing images and videos online. One in three had watched an unboxing video and of those, 55% were intrigued by the experience and 41% excited.
For FabFitFun, online influencers were an unintentional bonus for Broukhim and his team. "We discovered more and more customers were excited about their boxes and happy to promote them,” he says. “From there we developed partnerships with individuals who receive and review our products each quarter."
Staying connected with subscribers is an important aspect of keeping them coming back, notes Broukhim.
FabFitFun connects with customers in many ways. "We have a members-only online community where people discuss everything from movies to how to use items in the box. It’s growing robustly and will continue to do so over time. We also produce fresh content for our website, blog and social media platforms every day," he says.
The FabFitFun team continuously elicits feedback from its customers at various touch points and incorporates that feedback into improving everything they do. "We have a wonderful team of people who are working night and day to create a delightful experience for the customer," adds Broukhim.
"We value our brand," he says. "Finding the best products and ensuring customers are satisfied at every point in the process – whether online, with customer service, or through the unboxing experience – is paramount. We want people to see and feel what sets us apart from others in the marketplace because we believe customer-friendly practices are key to generating repeat business."
Tying it up
Here are some things to consider to create a great experience for your customers.
Sell the experience
Remember that your product isn’t just the sum of the contents of your package, but the anticipation and excitement that comes every time a new box is delivered. Design packaging that taps into that excitement.
Change it up
Give subscribers even more to look forward to each month by adding some variety to your packaging. Seasonal flourishes or hints at what’s inside make each experience unique.
Surprise and delight
Fun extras add to the experience by going above and beyond your subscribers’ expectations. A personalized note or on-brand tchotchke will let subscribers know you appreciate their business.
Make it social
One of the best ways to get the word out is through your existing subscribers sharing their excitement on social media. Help them out by turning their unboxing experience into a sharable moment.
Keep in touch
Build a community of subscribers and elicit feedback. One simple way to get everyone in the same place is with a hashtag. Just make sure to stay engaged with what your subscribers are saying.