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Packaging Design For Online Sales: Does It Matter?

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There are still barriers to entry when starting an eCommerce business. However, they are the same barriers that all businesses face when creating a new online store.

Startups can quickly speed with customers and sales when they work smarter, creating that first impression and following through with expert service.

Some of the obvious barriers to entry for new eCommerce businesses include:

  • Startup funds for operating capital
  • Market knowledge – what do customers want?
  • Point of difference – i.e. why customers choose to shop with you instead of your competitors
  • Service
  • Price
  • Supply chain
  • Technical competency
  • Leadership
  • Marketing

There are many more areas that challenge new entrants, too, but customers can be found online with your points of difference. For example, marketing is key, and part of it is growing an online community of followers who are your advocates and your customers.

Remember, people are visual, so your products can be the same as your competitors but stand out via their packaging. You control your brand and how you present your products online and when they arrive at their destination.

However, you’re only going to focus on the packaging if it’s one of your points of difference as packaging prices can also be a barrier to entry. For example, global events like a recession or pandemic impact packaging prices, making sure you have a plan A and a plan B with your packaging, so you’re not stung by rising prices.

Product packaging has been well utilised over decades, particularly in retail, but does packaging still matter in today’s eCommerce era?

The Right First Impression

As we all know, first impressions matter, and as a business owner, you want your customers’ first impression of your product to be positive. A soft-touch texture and a simple yet authentic packaging design can really alter the entire customer experience by producing the right first impression.

However, you can not touch the product or packaging when shopping online, so your packaging needs to be more visually appealing. For example, using layers to show you’re taking care of the product. Choose the colours carefully as they will need to appeal to your customers and resonate with your brand and what it stands for. Today online brands need to be eco-friendly, so in your marketing, share your vision and commitment to sustainability and looking after the environment.

Standing Out

In retail, product packaging design is used to increase shelf impact, with its sole aim to stand out and attract customers. The same impact is actually present online as well. Customers rely on product photos and images when comparing options online, so having your product packaged beautifully does help grab an emotion from the prospective customer.

On the other hand, you also want the packaging to be honest and simple enough for online use. Avoid small letters and long descriptions; they are often not big enough to read on an online catalogue anyway. Instead, use colors that match your brand and invest in packaging with a clear and easy-to-understand message.

Practical Advantages

Let’s not forget that the quality of the packaging will also influence the perception of the quality of your product by the time it reaches the customers. If you sell homemade almond milk, for example, having a durable label is crucial. People will get the impression of quality when they see the high-quality label and pristine glass (or plastic) bottle.

So, does packaging still matter? The answer is a big yes. Customers may not pick your product off of a shelf in a retail store, but they still interact and connect with the product after making an online purchase.

The packaging your use is a statement about your business and how discerning it is with the environment.

With your brand and its product packaging, you will create the right point of difference to stand out as a new entrant.