Every step of the purchasing process is an opportunity to build your brand. In fact, what happens after customers press the “order it” button can make or break their experience. Packaging and delivery intervals affect your brand reputation. Customers view quick delivery and sustainable packaging as important parts of the purchase experience. Don’t view them as simply cost burdens. Both are opportunities to build brand recognition and customer loyalty.
People are sensitive about what happens to all the packaging material coming across their doorstep. Is it recyclable or reusable? Sustainability is an important environmental concern and customers will look for it when making future purchases. Some studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay extra for sustainable packaging, but in any case, they are more apt to bring their business to vendors who offer it. A 2020 study from Shorr Packaging found that during the pandemic two-thirds of shoppers who changed their shopping behaviors began to pay more attention to the packaging that they purchase. Of those surveyed, 58% reported being “likely” or “very likely” to select products that use recyclable or reusable packaging. Millennials are the group most interested in sustainability, but all groups show a growing interest. How can small businesses respond to this growing concern?
- Shipping Materials: Use green shipping materials and recycled materials to ship products. Use a variety of sizes to prevent oversized boxes. Choose reusable boxes for product returns or other uses. Minimize packaging inside the shipping box, if possible.
- Messaging: Include package inserts that explain your commitment to reducing waste and offer suggestions for recycling. Reinforce your sustainability commitment.
- Website and Social Media Content: Include messages during the order process on your website or social media channel about the sustainability of your packaging.
Delivery intervals and fees are a growing issue for consumers who have become used to fast, free shipping from the very large ecommerce companies. Small businesses may not be able to meet those expectations, but can build customer trust by sharing their shipping practices and offering incentives, including:
- Offer delivery incentives based on order volume, such as free shipping with orders over a certain dollar amount.
- Use flat rate shipping to reduce overall shipping costs.
- Offer lower fees for slower delivery times, higher fees for expedited delivery.
- Offer delivery options; curbside pickup, delivery or in-store.
- Share delivery tracking with customers to manage expectations.
- Adjust product pricing, if possible, to make up for shipping costs.
- Shipping issues for 2022 will continue to cause delays for the time being. Manage expectations to keep customers engaged. Tell customers about potential delays, and keep communication open to build trust.
When ecommerce businesses ship products, the packaging becomes part of the overall shopping experience. It is part of the merchandising of the product. Customers should find something attractive and personally appealing in the packaging, such as:
- Labels that have a greeting – Some businesses include a seasonal message on the outside label, or simply a friendly greeting.
- Personalized messages inside the box to thank the customer. These can be generated based on customer purchase history, such as “Thanks for buying this again! Let us know if you still love it!” Other personalized messages may be suggestions for future purchases, new product offerings or notices of upcoming sales and events.
- Coupons or other incentives for future purchases.
- Information about the business, such as products offered, values, concerns for sustainability, history and commitment to the community.
- Ask for feedback! Include links to social media and the website to input photos and comments about how the customer is using the product. Just as you use “call to action” buttons on your website, include them in the packaging messaging.
These messages will help build your brand, show your commitment to customer focus, and make you stand out in a crowded ecommerce space.
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* Image used under license from Unsplash.
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