The products you sell as an online retailer, direct-to-consumer brand, or eCommerce company obviously matter. Your customers are on the lookout for high-quality beauty and wellness products they will love to use, but almost as important? The packaging.
Many eCommerce brands believe that their product is the main factor that deserves their attention, without giving much thought to the packaging design. But today’s customers are savvy, they’re sharing their likes and dislikes online, and they’re looking for ways to stand out.
One recent report revealed that 60 percent of respondents said they would even share an image of their new products online if they liked the packaging. And in younger demographics—those aged 18 to 25—this figure soars to 74 percent. Packaging can even convince consumers to make purchases. In fact, 72 percent of U.S. shoppers claim that packaging design influences their buying decisions.
Your packaging is an opportunity; packaging alone has the power to get noticed, generate business, and drive conversions.
Are you looking to transform your customers into brand ambassadors, encourage them to try new products, and boost sales? It can all be done through your packaging.
The Best eCommerce Packaging? It’s About Your Customer
Packaging can have a huge impact on your customer’s purchasing decision. One study shared that it only takes consumers seven seconds to decide whether or not they want to buy a product, and that 90 percent of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously—with packaging playing a major role in that decision-making process.
In short? Your packaging must be for your customers.
Sure, there are ways to design packaging to use fewer materials, expedite fulfillment, and keep costs low. But ultimately, packaging is a critical part of your brand experience. What kinds of things are consumers looking for when it comes to packaging?
- Consistent branding
- Appealing design
- Attractive colors
- Clear accreditation if a product meets a certain standard
Ninety-three percent of buyers focus on visual appearance when making a purchase, which means your packaging has more influence over your consumers than just about anything else. So, why not spend your efforts designing packaging that focuses on what your customers want?
What are some of the biggest global packaging trends that beauty and wellness consumers are looking for in 2021 and beyond? It comes down to sustainability:
- Biodegradable packaging
- Reusable and/or refillable packaging
- Efficient, streamlined packaging with less waste and outer packaging
- Airless packaging for no wasted product
- Recyclable pumps and sprays
Product packaging and fulfillment today is about so much more than just the box or mailer that transports your product; it’s a commodity. It’s been described as an online DTC retailer’s “second product;” the touchpoint customers associate with a brand in lieu of an in-store retail shopping experience.
Consumers will associate how the product looks and feels in a space—in this case, the box—with the product’s perceived value. It can even boost brand loyalty. OceanX client Glossier does this quite well, sending off beauty and wellness products in a now-iconic pink bubble mailer. It’s become a symbol of the company, and customers love seeing the pink mailer show up on their doorstep.
But this eCommerce retailer has also taken their packaging a step further, offering primary packaging that is simple, sustainable, and beautiful; primary packaging that comes with modern, clean lines and colors that appeal to contemporary consumers.
From the moment Glossier’s customers interact with their order when it arrives in a box or mailer to the moment it’s time to reorder, their interaction with both the primary and secondary packaging is special and memorable; it’s been designed to appeal to their interests.
A Push for Sustainable Product Packaging
Consumers want sustainable packaging. Consider the following. According to Greenpeace:
- The volume of packaging used by the eCommerce sector in 2019 reached 9.4 million tons.
- By 2025, the amount of packaging used by the eCommerce industry is expected to reach 41.3 million tons by 2025.
- The package delivery sector amassed 850,000 metric tons of plastic waste in 2018 alone.
To make matters worse? The Center for International Environmental Law reports that packaging accounts for 40 percent of the global demand for plastics; a material that takes hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose.
When consumers hear these kinds of statistics, it only further solidifies the fact that they are on the lookout for conscientious eCommerce brands that offer exceptional products and eco-friendly packaging. Customers are craving these kinds of environmentally-friendly products. In fact, when it comes to beauty brands, the demand is overwhelming. In one survey of female internet users in eight key markets:
- 43 percent would pay more for eco-friendly packaging
- 67 percent agreed that packaging should be environmentally friendly
- 56 percent would pay more if products were made with natural and/or organic ingredients
Using sustainable packaging—both for the products and shipping—can be a valuable part of your brand story, connecting with consumers who are hungry for products they can love to use and feel good about purchasing. Environmentally friendly packaging is often free of allergens and toxins, especially if it is biodegradable. As more consumers are seeking out products that are allergy and toxin-free, your packaging and products can meet these demands too—giving you more opportunities to connect with new markets.
Plus, sustainable packaging builds consumer trust. It communicates that your brand is acting responsibly. After all, your products may be organic or pure, but if your packaging is not sustainable, it creates a disconnect between your brand message and your practices. Your brand promise will lose credibility.
Sustainable packaging can be an easy switch when working with the right fulfillment partner. Not only can your third-party logistics (3PL) team work with you to implement more sustainable primary packaging, but they can use sustainable secondary packaging including:
- Biodegradable packing peanuts and other loose fill
- Recyclable corrugated bubble wrap to replace plastic
- Recycled cardboard and compostable paper packaging
- Inflatable air pillows to replace styrofoam
- Packaging made from other materials like cornstarch, mushrooms, and even seaweed
Product Packaging and Optimizing Fulfillment
The good news? Sustainable, eye-catching, customer-centric packaging can also be efficient and cost-effective. When it comes to primary and secondary packaging, there are ways to optimize your entire fulfillment process to provide eco-friendly, memorable experiences that also make sense for your bottom line and your fulfillment processes.
What are some strategies to optimize your fulfillment processes through your packaging?
- Reduce the amount of material that goes into your packaging to save money and also take up less warehousing space. This can also cut down on pallets needed, limiting the number of transports you have to make and reducing your brand’s transit emissions.
- Partner with your 3Pl to come up with a well-thought-out logistics plan with smaller, lighter packaging, which also means you pay less in shipping costs.
- You can make eco-friendly choices to use recycled corrugate and less ink, still offer personalized packaging, and pay less to do so.
- Work with your 3PL to see if there are certain kinds of packages that make fulfillment more efficient. For example, some 3PLs have machines to assemble certain kinds of boxes, automating this process and saving you money in labor costs.
- Discover what tools your 3PL has in place to automate, expedite, and streamline your fulfillment processes, like pick-to-light strategies that also reduce costly errors and returns.
- Optimize packaging to contour and fit common orders and monthly subscriptions perfectly.
- Consult with your fulfillment team about affordable, effective packaging materials like tape, air packs, and packing peanuts.
Your 3PL can be crucial in developing packaging that makes fulfillment fast, simple, and affordable for you. After all, a box that’s not optimized for the fulfillment line means that your fulfillment team can’t pick things fast enough, or you may end up with a finished order that doesn’t look nice, or isn’t sustainable. Your 3PL should be able to connect you with the right people to design packaging that meets your aesthetic needs, is functional on the fulfillment line, and is sustainable and affordable.
The Importance of External Packaging
In the world of eCommerce, your packaging fills a different role than products found in traditional storefronts. Your products aren’t sitting on the shelf in a brick-and-mortar store, competing with other similar products for consumer attention. When your customers hold your eCommerce product in their hands, they’ve already ordered it, waited for the package to arrive, and gone through the unboxing experience. Instead of the busy packaging found in storefronts today, your eCommerce customers want products with packaging that will become simple, beautiful, meaningful parts of their lives.
As one packaging expert shared:
“Simple packaging is quite often the secret to effective marketing with ‘clean labeling’ being a current trend. Consumers want to know the key details about the product; the packaging should offer clear and concise information about the brand, product, and sustainability. Moments of visual calm are often rare in today’s overstimulating market, so when consumers are exposed to simple packaging, they often gravitate towards it.”
For eCommerce retailers, this means flipping the script. It’s not your products that need to catch the attention of consumers. It’s your external packaging. It’s the bubble mailers and boxes that serve as small billboards as they travel from your fulfillment center to your customers, replacing the experience of shopping in a store with a memorable unboxing experience.
Unboxing is exciting, it’s emotional—and it can establish a lasting relationship between you and your customers. Why does unboxing matter so much? Consider this:
- Over 90,000 people search for unboxing videos on YouTube every month
- There are nearly 40 unboxing videos that have each amassed more than 10 million views apiece.
What’s more? Collectively, consumers have spent more than 60 million hours watching unboxing videos online.
Your external packaging isn’t just on-the-go advertising; it’s a chance to create an unforgettable interaction between your customers and your brand (and maybe a few—or a few million—viewers online). It can be elegant, fun, sustainable, bold, eye-catching, or entertaining—without ever sacrificing fulfillment efficiency. If you haven’t already, now is the time to work with your 3PL provider to add personalized packaging to your fulfillment processes to take advantage of this opportunity.
OceanX: Empowering Personalized, Sustainable Packaging
When it comes to optimizing packaging, your fulfillment partner should be your ally. At OceanX, we understand that the success of your packaging and fulfillment go hand in hand. Not only do we have cutting edge tools and technologies in place to support all kinds of packaging needs, but we will also work as an extension of your team; consulting with you about what makes the most sense in the fulfillment center and connecting you with the right people to make your packaging dreams a reality.
With decades of experience in the beauty and wellness industries, we also have a deep understanding of the industry. We understand the trends in products and packaging, and can be your partner in developing smart, effective packaging solutions. To learn more, contact our team of experts today.