I admit that I have finally reached the point in my career where almost everyone I deal with in business is younger than me; in some cases, much younger than me. I am enjoying it tremendously because I find the combination of my age and experience, mixed with their youthful energy and creativity results in some great looking and effective packaging. They come up with the most amazing original ideas and I show them how to best accomplish the desired outcome at the lowest possible cost. One of the things that I most enjoy about working with young, creative marketing people is their refreshing focus on the customer.
I agree with this approach wholeheartedly because for too many years I think the packaging industry was focused primarily on operating and financial performance measures. Worse yet, the industry considered shipping boxes as utilitarian and simply meant to take a package from point A to point B.
To the contrary, young designers and buyers view shipping containers as a marketing tool and an opportunity to impress the customer with their performance as well as their appearance.
Their favorite two expressions are enhancing the customer experience and increasing the WOW factor. My generation called it creating a good first impression but no matter what it is called, the focus remains where it should be – on the customer who is receiving the packaging. It almost seems too simple to be important but I believe it is THE most important factor in designing packaging containers for e-commerce and subscription programs.
Enhancing the customer experience
As I have stated many times in writing and in presentation, the corrugated shipping container a company sends out is usually the first and only tangible contact many companies have with their e-commerce customers. There are no more door to door sales people, and retail stores are quickly becoming showrooms rather than places you buy products. In fact, most of our customers have no traditional “brick and mortar” operations selling their products only through the internet and their on line stores.
That makes the shipping container more important than ever before because it helps to influence and shape a customer’s opinion about the company shipping the product. I believe every shipping box says something about the company that shipped it and it is up to the shipper to decide whether it is going to be a positive or a negative message.
We have all been on the receiving end of a package that was poorly designed, difficult to open, or possibly plain and/or printed poorly. We know how that feels and as shippers, our objective should be to make sure our customers do NOT experience that same disappointing feeling. The best example I can come up with on this is when someone asks me how I feel about packaging peanuts. I usually respond by asking them – how do YOU feel when you receive a box that has been filled with packaging peanuts? Why in the world would anyone want their customer to experience those same negative emotions?
Today’s consumer does notice when a package is effective and it delivers undamaged and uncrushed as it protected the product enclosed. They appreciate when the box is easy to unpack and no tools or knives are required to extract the product from the box. More and more, consumers are demanding that packaging is not only made of as much recycled content as possible but also be easily recycled. The functionality of a package design is every bit as important as the appearance.
Increasing the WOW factor
The functionality described above can play a role in increasing the WOW factor but mostly this is about impressing visually. That first, and immediate impression you create when your customer sees your packaging. Is the custom printing sharp, crisp, eye-catching and memorable? Are people impressed by the uniqueness of the graphic design and does it deliver the desired look? Does it look masculine for a male audience? Does it look happy and festive for the children’s market it is intended for? How does your package standout and compare if it was stacked on a table with twenty other printed boxes?
If your packaging causes the consumer/recipient to take notice and perhaps give it a second look, you have successfully increased the WOW factor. If customers are so impressed they show it to someone else, you have accomplished the goal. If it makes your competitors envious, you have succeeded. However, mostly it is about pleasing the customer and making that all important positive first impression and ideally helping to create a loyal customer that will return time and time again.
This new, younger generation gets it and we are pleased to play a role in helping them turn great ideas into great shipping containers.
If you provide the challenge or share your vision, whether your fuel is youthful energy or not, we have the experience to help you make it happen. There are many great looking boxes out there and we have the resources and expertise to help yours stand out in the every increasingly crowded market place.
Please contact Salazar Packaging for a no cost, no obligation discussion on your specific application and we invite you to read some of the additional blog posts below.