This week I called out for a brand audit referral for a client in Melbourne, Australia. A well-meaning friend suggested I use a Seattle Digital Marketers Facebook group to find someone. Working in digital makes it really easy to forget that customer experience occurs offline too.

We promote our products online, we transact online. But once the sale is made, the customer experience moves offline. Ignoring this stage or treating it as a generic process means you’re missing opportunities.

An easy (and cheap) way to do this is with packaging. After all, it’s a necessity, so why not make it branded and fun. Assuming fun is part of your brand.

TDS-Amazon-box-Packaging-5Why Brand the Packaging?

How often have you become envious seeing a box like this on a neighbor’s front step?

At least in North America, it’s a normal occurrence. Oooh, what did they get? Oh, they have new toys. I don’t have metrics but I’m sure people then pull out their phones and finish the Amazon order sitting in their cart. Do you want people looking at your packaging with envy? Imagine the buzz you can give your customers with that attention. They’ll come back and buy again.

Who Brands Their Packaging Well?

Recently I’ve seen two examples of this done well.

TDS-Thirdlove-box-Packaging-2The first is lingerie company, Third Love. They complete the customer experience and then add to it. Not only are the boxes beautiful, but they have a call to action to share the unboxing experience on social media. It’s not currently the most popular hashtag but I like the empowerment it encourages.

Inside the box is also branded with customer appreciation messages. An envelope discretely holds the packing slip and a card with care tips. They give you a reason to remember them for next time.

TDS-Hogwarts-Running-Club-Packaging-4It’s fairly easy when you have the budgets of Third Love, but the second example didn’t cost anything. The Hogwarts Running Club is a non-profit, fan-influenced virtual running club. Each run supports a different charity, so their priority is fundraising, not pretty boxes. The medals arrive in a small plastic envelope, but the awesome part is the caption printed on the stock-standard shipping label. This run was in Dobby the house elf’s memory raising money for the Hermione Granger Academy: a conference with the HP Alliance teaching people how to make a difference in the world.

Adding a caption doesn’t cost anything and is definitely more interesting than perhaps an order number.

Who Shouldn’t Brand Their Packaging?

TDS-Third-Love-Box-Packaging-3While branding packaging is an easy and relatively cost-effective way of completing the customer experience, it’s not for everyone. Your product may be sensitive and your customers prefer discretion. The Lego Group intentionally have plain packaging and include a note on the inside explaining why. It’s easier to sneak a plain box by an excited birthday child.

So even though you’re in e-commerce and digital marketing, don’t forget to look at ALL of the customer experience.