The Touchpoint that Matters More than Most: Storytelling with Packaging

Not only does your packaging carry a product, but it also delivers an experience, and when it is done right, it can be a great experience. It’s not just a means to an end anymore, it is part of a unique customer narrative that is part of the full marketing and customer experience (CX) strategies.

For most brands, the packaging is the most tangible part of the shopping experience, whether it is ordered digitally or picked off of a shelf in a store. So as e-commerce becomes more prevalent, packaging becomes even more critical. It is a physical manifestation of your brand that you cannot overlook. Packaging should be part of your brand’s narrative--it should tell your story and the story of the product inside. It has become such an excellent way to fully embrace your customer (and they will hug you back).

Unlike physical retail, e-commerce businesses have fewer touchpoints to attract and amaze customers, so it’s essential to use every tangible moment to create a branded experience that sets you apart from competitors. You can have the best product in the world, but if the packaging does not contribute to the bigger picture, it can become a lackluster, and sometimes frustrating, experience.

In a recent study by Dotcom Distribution, they found that 52% of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from an online business that delivers premium packaging and 4 in 10 consumers would share an image of the packaging on social media if it were unique or aesthetically pleasing.

Here are three sure-fire ways to think about the box and how it can become a part of your brand’s story:

1. External Design

The external packaging should guide consumers into the experience before they ever start to open it. From the moment they see and touch the package, they should understand the story you’re telling. Whatever colors, materials, textures, typography, or copy you use, your external packaging should evoke certain feelings and emotions.

For example, Bee Bright’s creamed honey comes in wax packaging with a wooden lid. Once the product inside is used, the wax packaging can be turned upside down, mounted on the wooden lid, and used as a candle.

Bee Bright

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Such clever uses of colors, textures, and the ability to reuse the packaging beyond its initial purpose creates a beautiful consumer experience every step of the way.  

Another original example of packaging design that tells a story is used by Thelma’s bakery. A simply designed box made to look like an oven creates a quirky narrative of freshly delivered cookies straight from the oven.

Thelma’s

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These examples offer simple solutions for branding that packs a serious punch. When the packaging is as coveted as what’s inside, that’s a brand experience!

2. Internal Wrapping and Messaging

Once the box is opened, the experience should continue. More brands are making sure to use every surface outside and inside the box to tell their story. Whether a company uses tissue paper with branded seals, textured ribbon or twine to embellish the products, or an additional message on the inside of an opened box lid (or a combination of all of these), every piece of the internal narrative should be intentional.

A great example of internal branding can be found in a Trunk Club box. Not only does it have sophisticated, well-designed, and pertinent information on the inside of the lid, the clothing in the box is wrapped in a natural-colored, cotton ribbon and there is a handwritten note from the stylist to give the experience a uniquely personal touch.

Trunk Club


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This is a perfect example of how simple touches can make an incredible difference in a brand experience and not break the bank. This is the stuff that creates customer loyalty.

3. Packaging Inserts

Marketing collateral and package inserts are wonderful ways to attach additional messaging, offer future discounts, or announce up-and-coming products. It is a cost-effective and versatile medium for building a solid relationship and keeping them coming back for more. Not only does your brand get another chance at engaging the customer, but it is something the customer can take away for future use. Simply put, a well designed and targeted insert can increase customer loyalty.

Companies like Gale Leather offer aged-looking paper with product information printed in brand-specific typography and treats like Turkish coffee or a tea sample. Something so simple means a lot to a consumer because it makes them feel special.

Galen Leather Co.

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Inserts are always a great way to add a personal touch for very little cost to the business, and the payoff for such small sentiments can be considerable.

Think about how your brand can up the ante on its narrative with packaging. By creating clever, personal, and elegant presentations, you give your customers a full buyer’s experience before they ever get to the end product.