This is a guest post from ShipStation.
Think about how much time and money you’ve invested into your online store. Building your brand, curating what you sell, designing your storefront.
Doesn’t it seem like a bit of a disservice to you (and your customers, for that matter) to not dedicate as much effort into your parcels? If you want to prove to shoppers that you’re committed to impressing them at every opportunity, you need to brand your shipping boxes through custom packaging.
Here are a few examples to help get your creative juices flowing.
OwlCrate is a subscription box that delivers recently-published young adult books and other keepsakes each month. The company keeps things relatively simple with its shipping box, opting for just black ink on plain brown cardboard, with the exterior displaying only the company’s logo, tagline, and social icons.
But that's not all.
OwlCrate also makes use of the packaging's interior, to encourage customer engagement and more specifically, social media shares through unboxing instructions.
Finally, beneath the package contents they include a message from OwlCrate's mascot.
Overall, this is a perfect example of how you can use something as simple as packaging to make use of your branding post-sale, build a community and ultimately spread the word about your products.
Nuts.com is a family-owned wholesale nut, dried fruit and snack retailer. The company uses its shipping boxes to not only showcase the brand's staying power - "A Family Operation Since 1929" - but also its sense of humour with the use of puns such as "There's nuttin' we can't deliver" and "Cashew later".
It doesn't waste any real estate either, even branding the interior box flaps.
The graphics on Nuts.com’s shipping boxes appear hand-drawn and don’t adhere to any sort of structured design. This makes sense, though, because the Nuts.com brand is all about being friendly and down-to-earth. It’d be silly for the retailer to create stuffy and uninspired packaging.
Microchip ID Systems
Louisiana-based Microchip ID Systems is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of microchip identification products for animals. Like Nuts.com, Microchip ID makes sure every side of its branded packaging is utilised.
Because the retailer is most well-known for its Buddy ID MiniChip (designed for dogs and cats), it uses its shipping boxes to educate customers on the rest of its product line.
In fact, the exterior features paw prints of the other animals for which they make microchips — such as horses and goats — and the interior has a complete list of Microchip ID’s other products.
The language on the box focuses on making an emotional connection with the recipient. Phrases like “For the Animal World”, “For the Pets We Love”, and “Your Work is Our Work” demonstrate that Microchip ID is just as invested in the recipient’s animals as they are.
It also promotes its lifetime warranty in big bold letters to prove the company is committed to providing a positive customer experience.
The North Face - Ventrix
Last year, active-wear and outdoor gear retailer The North Face released its much-hyped Ventrix jacket. In the company’s opinion, the Ventrix technology was way too cool to come in a boring old box. The North Face decided to partner with graphic design studio Caserne to create branded packaging befitting the Ventrix.
The draw of the Ventrix material is its perforations that keep wearers warm without overheating. Caserne wanted to create a shipping box that spotlighted this feature, so the exterior of the package has only two elements: The North Face logo and “ventilation” holes.
The firm took the same focused approach to the interior of the box, where the sole graphical element is the word “Ventrix” repeated several times.
The North Face’s packaging strikes a good balance between being creative while still being on-brand.
So, how can you apply this to your own online business?
Each of the examples listed above provide inspiration on how to make use of branding on (and in) your packaging.
Even if you don’t have the resources to print graphics and text directly on your shipping boxes, you still have plenty of ways to brand your parcels. One example is to use packing tape with your logo, or alternatively affix a custom sticker. Either option will run you a few extra cents per box, but it’s a little touch that can help you build better connections with your customers.
Used creatively, custom packaging can help your business to create a lasting impression amongst your customers, something that is particularly important if you are selling on a marketplace. After all, unless you have an eBay store or equivalent, it's incredibly difficult to convey your branding and encourage repeat custom.
By branding your parcels you further increase the likeliness of the customer sharing images on social media, even more so if you promote your social media channels and branded hashtag on the package.
All in all, there are tons of things that can be done to suit all budgets and businesses.
What works for you? Drop us a comment below and let us know how you're increasing customer engagement through the use of your parcels!
This article was contributed by Callie Hinman, Content Marketer & Writer at ShipStation, a leading provider of shipping software for eCommerce fulfilment.