Retail industry is undergoing digital transformation. Evolution in practices of eCommerce, increased use of smart devices and digital wallets is not only making the customers tech-savvy, but also is bringing about a permanent paradigm shift in the retail experience too. However, sustainable packaging options, the Internet of Things (IoT) and devicification is making a significant impact on e-commerce packaging. At least that’s what it seems as of now.
Ecommerce has become the preferred channel for consumer purchases. With emergence of eCommerce companies with deeper pockets and brainy teams, have equipped themselves with logistics and digital skills and operational capabilities to keep pace with evolving consumer behavior, and combat others to position themselves ahead of the competitive curve. Traditional or brick and mortar retailers have realized that optimizing the customer experience for physical stores as against eCommerce sites is different.
Gone are the days when delighting and persuading the customers to purchase by enhancing on-shelf experience. But in an ecommerce setting, the consumer cannot touch and feel the product as the purchase is made in a 2D world. Once the purchase is done, the product is then shipped, which reaches the customer while undergoing considerable wear and tear in the transit – powerful enough to turn the experience upside down.
Let’s see why the shift from store shelves to online shopping is looked at as the game changer in the way brands package their products.
1. Grab attention with visuals
In an online scenario, when purchasers are scanning thousands of choices – products need to catch their eyeballs. Prioritizing pack visuals and quality of the imagery helps. Don’t forget that majority of online stores are suited to square shaped images. Providing reassurance on quantity/volume if not showcasing it visually, is a smart move.
2. The ‘unboxing’ experience
It is a golden opportunity to create loyalty and repeat purchase. If the product parcel that arrives makes the shopper feel special, as if they have received a gift through courier and not just another brown parcel; more are the chances they will remember your brand and come back to the online retailer again. Ensuring the package first in a typical mail slot, the customer has the comfort to know that it will be delivered.
3. Lose the extra weight
Retailers prefer product packaging that has high price-to-weight ratio as they’ll cost less for them to deliver. Simplifying packaging or changing materials to reduce weight – even introducing sustainable or recyclable packaging to reduce waste – is something that increasing number of retailers are opting for.
4. Re-evaluate the role of your product’s packaging
Think about fresh groceries. Shoppers would certainly want to see the product, and there are no sensory cues as well. It is the farmers market experience that shoppers look for today, but imagery which incorporates packaging is a barrier to it. Many shoppers lack confidence in the freshness of online purchases, it is fine to go bare.
Customer experience, especially for the eCommerce business, does not necessarily end with the actual purchasing process. Actually when the consumer receives the shipment of the product, the actual physical experience begins. Admit it or not, but we are all guilty of judging books by their covers…aren’t we?
“Retailers can expect the ECommerce market for day today CPG products to grow significantly. They should not treat eCommerce as another sales channel, instead should adapt and embrace it as a distinctive marketing channel. This might lead to situations where several industry best practices for merchandising and packing will have change – but those efforts would be worth doing.” – Ashish Joshi, Director of Digital Marketing & Branding at Hi-Tech iSolutions LLP
In last few years, the technology has completely changed the purchasing experience and the way customers interact with companies. Today, customers have a loud and collective voice to express the dissatisfaction about their experience. More than half of the eCommerce buyers don’t hesitate to share their online purchase experience on social media through images and comments.
Brand experiences are getting redefined for eCommerce, and it calls for new business models encompassing social listening and social media data analytics expertise to address customers issues posted online. It also requires eCommerce players and retailers to be equipped with logistics data management expertise to support their online efforts and adopt digital technology platforms.
So, what’s the takeaway?
Time has come when brands should stand up and notice the changing consumer behavior. This will help them reinvent and implement packaging model changes designed especially to support ever changing customer mindset of where and how they buy. However fast we move from retail to online, the convenience of tomorrow has the power to make the customers skip the selection all together. To keep the customer forever, drive the digital customer experience and loyalty – today. together. To keep the customer forever, drive the digital customer experience and loyalty – today.