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Your Packaging Should Be as Pretty as Your Jewelry

Because no one is going to remember who sent the busted brown box sitting in their foyer.

Most people know what it’s like to dig through a mountain of boxes delivered to their front steps and not be able to tell which one contains the statement necklace or beautifully beaded bracelets they custom ordered from an Etsy artist.  Every single box looks the same. It’s just a vast desert of cardboard, interrupted by the occasional white plastic wrapping as a substitute. And usually those are covered in dirt by the time they arrive. You don’t really know what’s inside or what store they came from until you open them or squint at the tiny addresses on the labels. It’s all so…forgettable.

For some people, that may be okay. “Who cares if the brown box blends in?” they say. “It’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?”

Well, yes and no...

When business owners start to ramp up their marketing efforts, there’s a tendency to shift all focus online. That makes sense. Our e-commerce-fueled world is booming, and the digital realm drives revenue. But your (future) customers’ shopping experiences don’t start with the opening of a browser. Nor do they end with the click of a “confirm purchase” button. Even the most frequent online shoppers are influenced by what they see and experience offline. So are those lucky recipients of reused empty cardboard boxes. Just last weekend, we had five different neighbors ask if we had empty boxes laying around from recent online purchases. They didn’t want to buy boxes to move or ship items they sold on eBay, Etsy, Poshmark and other online markets. So, we put them on the curb for pickup at their convenience. But you know someone was probably nosy enough to do a quick online search for the stores they saw on the label and cardboard itself to “get to know their neighbor better.” (Assuming there was anything on the outside of the box to investigate.)

Well, joke’s on them because they also got to know your store better – and now they might want to buy what you’re selling, too!

That’s why it is so important your packaging looks as pretty as the contents within. An exciting, unique, out-of-the-box (or in this case, right on the box) experience can leave your customers looking forward to their next purchase from you even more. It can also help attract more customers without a lot of work on your part. So, be sure every package you ship…

• is dressed to impress (and leaves a lasting impression).

Jewelry can make a statement. Why can’t your packages? No matter the product inside, you want to take every opportunity possible to excite customers. They shouldn’t even have to open the box to know it’s from you. And knowing how nearly every other package shipped today looks, you have a great deal of creative range to stand out in the crowd and make a fantastic impression among buyers.

Think of it this way, if Cinderella showed up to the ball in a plain brown cardboard box, do you think Prince Charming would have spent endless amounts of time tracking down the owner of the glass slipper? Probably not, kids. Unless Cinderella was the only attendee of the ball wearing cardboard, then hey, that actually might work. Nonetheless, picture your package showing up and turning heads. That’s the kind of impression you’re trying to make here. You want those nosy neighbors to notice your box sitting on the curb – and remember your name and logo the next time they see it on another box, a billboard or in their social media feeds.

Now, if you are wondering, “well what can I do with just a box? There’s nothing exciting about a box.” Think again! Maybe you use a material that shimmers iridescently in the light or star-shaped boxes (to represent how you’re shooting for the stars). Whatever it is, let it capture the voice of your brand. Let it sing who you are in such a bold way that people see your box and know exactly what’s inside. It’s fun to break the rules of conformity (just like the sea of brown boxes). By the way, you can (and should) get your cool logo printed onto every box. Just be sure you create a brand guide of type fronts, logos and color first, as you’ll need to be consistent to help customers make that connection to you from the box to the screen. Plus, it will make it easier to decide how to glam up your shipping labels to accessorize your box’s new outfit. Perhaps you can even mockup a few different label designs to rotate through each month, week or order. If you have the right label printer in hand, it will be easy to switch back and forth depending on the vibe you’re trying to convey to that customer.

• ramps up excitement all the way to the big reveal (when that last little jewelry) box is opened.

Want customers to keep coming back for more? Give them variety. Give them mystery. Make the unboxing experience memorable, no matter what you ultimately decide to do with the outside of the box. (And no, a plain brown box does not add to the mystery – at least not in the way you want.)

If it’s in the cards for you, stuff the box with multicolored, earth-friendly filler or randomize each package with different colored ribbon, tissue paper, stickers, anything! You can even throw in a neat freebie with every order you ship that corresponds to the package fillers you used. Customers won’t know which decorations or freebies they’ll receive each time, which will make the experience much more exciting and enticing. It’s like a McDonald’s Happy Meal. They’ll want to “go back and get another” because they want a shot at a different toy (or ring or bracelet). That’s how you should look at your physical packaging strategy. A marketing mechanism.

If that’s not your style, no worries. But do make sure there’s some kind of style to your interior packaging – and the product packaging itself. A charming, unique jewelry box (made from a ten-cent white box with a pretty label printed on it) is far more memorable than a clear plastic bag stuffed with the necklace or bracelets. Plus, that pretty box may be regifted somewhere down the line, with your business’ logo and website on it.

Remember, there’s always more room to stretch your creative boundaries.

So, let your imagination run wild when thinking both inside and outside the box. And add “a (not so boring) brown box” to the list of options new customers can check when you ask, “how did you hear of us?”  


Editor's Note:

It’s fun to be bold! So, tune back into the Zebra ZSB Blog soon for even more clever ways to make a positive impression on your customers.