Over the last few years we have been able to observe a transformation of sales channels where the disruption of e-commerce has been key to the survival and growth of the vast majority of producers and distributors.
The e-commerce generates significant new touchpoints with the end user that are consolidated as new opportunity areas. These touchpoints are the key moments to build a solid relationship by generating memorable experiences.
This channel has also raised new challenges in the distribution chain, giving rise to new spaces and situations in which not only must the preservation of the quality and properties of the product be taken into account, but also a strategic, updated and controlled brand communication and presence must be achieved. However, we frequently witness how companies miss important opportunities to build a solid relationship with their consumers for not understanding how this new purchasing model impacts the experience and expectations of the end customer.
What are the moments of opportunity for brands in which to generate a lasting impact on the memory of customers? Without a doubt, packaging is one of the main tools to generate meaningful communication and the more we guide the packaging strategy to the user, the more we will retain it.
The new moments of interaction with the user are located before the distribution chain and at the end of it.
If we put ourselves in the shoes of our clients throughout the distribution process, we will see how primary, secondary and tertiary packaging play a very important role in the experience and perception of both the product and the brand.
At Lucid, investigating and rethinking the process from this perspective has taught us three key points:
1. Container and content are the same unit for the end user: if the former disappoints, the perception of the latter is also affected.
2. Damaged packaging is a damaged brand.
3. When receiving and handling a package, the user expects a moment of delight, which must be at the height of enjoying the product itself.
The website is the new point of sale and more and more companies are aware that the packaging that contains the product during this moment of presentation in which the user has to make a decision, can be a key value.
Showing on the website, together with the corresponding product, the aesthetic, functional or even ethical qualities of its packaging is a resource of the online sale moment that users not only appreciate, but increasingly demand.
Some successful examples of this are brands such as Clare, which shows the entire delivery process of its pack of home paints together with its branded and functional packaging. Also, the Vinebox wine packs, whose shape is that of the stage or product stand, or brands such as Branch Basics that, separating the sale from the content and the container, meet the new sustainable values of reuse and reduction of the use of plastics.
The packaging of the handbag brand Lilly Jones, developed by LÚCID, enriches the brand’s values such as surprise and uniqueness, as the shape of the packaging is inspired by pizza delivery, aligning with the expectations of fun, youth and freshness of its target audience.
According to Business Insider, it takes people 7 seconds to create their first judgment about the product. As we have previously mentioned, packaging is perceived as part of the product, therefore, when it is delivered, we have 7 seconds to create a good impression, only through its packaging.
As users, all of us, to a greater or lesser extent, have been able to experience the frustration and displeasure that packaging can generate in this crucial phase, receiving wet bags about to break, cans that have broken and have also damaged the rest of the order or broken boxes that prevent us from offering the product as a gift to someone loved.
Therefore, a part of the mission of the company that sells online must be that the delivery time is logical, attractive and efficient to avoid that this first manipulation by the end customer is not only not frustrating, but also a moment of enjoyment.
The best way to achieve the effect of delight is to conceive packaging as part of the same product or service, considering its handling as a Journey, an experience, with its different phases and possible pain points or frustrations to avoid and its moments of delight or pleasure to remark.
At Lucid, we have observed that, in order to achieve a delight effect in this phase, it is essential to start solving certain key questions around the end user:
Considering the relevance of this moment, companies like Tuft & Needle have turned experiences as tricky for the buyer as the reception and handling of a mattress, in a pleasant and efficient experience. During user tests, they observed that people, when receiving the product in their homes, were not able to handle and move an item as large and heavy as a mattress by themselves.
Therefore, they rethought their product and packaging, making it more compact, adding handles for an easier grab, redefining their graphics to make their brand more recognizable and aligned with the values of the organization and, of course, communicating their value in their website as part of the service and care that they want to offer to their customers.
One of the moments with the most impact and the most boom in social networks is the moment of unpacking or Unboxing. According to the data offered by YouTube, if we linearly viewed all the Unboxing videos played during a year, we would spend more than 5,500 years watching videos in which the buyers show the moment to unpack the purchased product. This is a moment of enthusiasm, easily communicable and contagious, and that is why Unboxing video playback increases by 150% during festive times such as Christmas.
Unboxing is a crucial experience in brand transmission and therefore must be designed in the same way in which the product and service are designed, ensuring that this moment of communication with people is not mute and making it so special that they want to share it with others.
To do this, each brand must reflect on what its message is and who its recipient is, what is the possible added value to offer at this moment, and what are the possible resources to transmit it.
Companies like M.M.Lafleur, a high-end clothing and accessories brand that is defined by attention to detail and its personalized recommendations, has created a packaging for the delivery of its products purchased online perfectly aligned with these brand values. For this reason, the brand has thought of every detail, from the size and position of the shipping sticker, to the personalized messages that the users find as they pull out the items.
Other brands, such as Nike, focus on the value proposition of their star products to elevate them to their maximum expression, such as the inflatable packaging of the legendary Nike Air model.
Therefore, we see the importance of selecting materials, defining volumes and designing unpacking experiences capable of reflecting the brand, the company culture and covering or even exceeding the aspirations of the buyers.
Focusing each of these areas on the user, we will achieve a clear and strategic communication that differentiates us from our competitors and allows us to retain them through a close and meaningful relationship.
The phase of disposing of the package can be as important as the previous ones in the user experience, especially now that buyers, as they increase their spending on e-commerce, are also becoming more aware of the impact that the rise in packaging has on our planet.
The selection of ecological materials, the decrease of the material used, or the reduction of CO2 is no longer an option but an obligation, if you want to make a good impression on the consumer. Account of this is given by new terms increasingly used such as “ecoshame”, or “green social status”. Therefore, there is no resource that better allows it to be more sustainable (and appreciated) than a well-studied packaging, capable of communicating the efforts of companies to be more sustainable, transparent and aware.
Sustainability in this phase of the user experience is interpreted from different perspectives according to the type of company and is implemented gradually according to its size. There are many examples of how to step forward in the field of sustainability, like facilitating a second life for packaging, as the Marmota brand does, making it easy to turn their packaging into play spaces, Pangea Organics, whose biodegradable packaging can be planted, or the Celver Little Bag by Yves Behar for Puma, which reduces the use of cardboard by 65% compared to previous packaging.
Moreover, other large companies such as Asos, Zalando or Adidas have begun to carry out tests on the packaging return service to achieve a truly circular packaging and service in their shipments.
92% of e-commerce consumers go to reviews to decide whether or not to buy a product online, and 94% of them decide not to buy a product if they have bad reviews. The relationship between the review and the packaging is that these reviews or comments, especially when the experience has been disappointing, do not focus only on the product, but also on its packaging.
For this reason, a bad experience with packaging is a bad experience with the brand, worsening its perception a 41% of the time if the packaging has suffered any damage or arrives deteriorated. That is why it is essential to internalize that all packaging, whether primary, secondary or tertiary, is e-commerce packaging and the user will consider it part of the product, the service and the brand, as a whole.
At Lúcid, we have learned that all packaging is e-commerce packaging, and the key to establishing a special relationship with customers. Therefore, we want to share with you the key questions we ask ourselves when starting every branding and packaging project:
1. Do we know what is the experience of our users when they are getting information and comparing on the website?
2. Do we know what are the highs and lows of their experience when they receive our products?
3. When the user receives the package, do we manage to differentiate ourselves from our competitors?
4. Have we identified how to connect and delight our end customers through packaging and the moment of unpacking?
5. The material, size, way of opening, use and moment of elimination of our packaging; Does it reflect the values that we want to transmit with our brand and our products?
6. How could we help users to reduce the ecological footprint when they order and consume our products?