E-commerce packaging and giftwrapping tips

ecommerce-packagingPackaging is vital for e-commerce businesses.  Not only does it protect the product, it’s an integral part of the product and brand experience for the consumer.  In fact, it’s the first physical touchpoint you have with most consumers.

So how can you make your packaging work overtime for you?

Here’s a few ideas.


Focus on ‘unwrapping a present’ rather than ‘unpacking a box’

I may have ordered for myself, but even so, someone rings my doorbell and hands me a package. There’s a moment of anticipation, a sensation that I have a gift.  If your packaging can make that sensation last, it’s a great value-add for your brand.

Attractive internal packaging can help increase the ‘gift’ feeling.

How about unfolding layers of tissue paper (possibly branded with your company logo) to reach the product inside?

For some categories, like beauty products or teas, you might be able to include a sample of a different product as a surprise gift.  If that’s not feasible, consider a discount or offer voucher for a future purchase.

Branding opportunities

Include your logo on the outside of your packaging and you’ll increase brand awareness not just with the recipient but with others who handle your shipments on the way to them.

If you’re a start-up and don’t want to pay for branded boxes, how about branded stickers which can be put on them?

This example from One Kings Laneecommerce-packaging-thank-you-sticker has a thank-you note stuck across the package where you need to open it.  What better way to get your branding noticed?

You can also brand internal wrapping materials like tissue paper or protective bags.

Consider relevant branded giveaways too.  You may need to limit these to orders above a certain value, but they can provide lasting value.  A mini-booklet with advice on caring for your jewelry or clothes.  Beauty or health tips.  A USB storage device with electronics purchases. Product samples as mentioned above.

What about actual gifts?

UK research shows that over 90% of us have bought gifts online, mostly for Christmas and birthdays.  A quarter of those were bought less than a week in advance, which means they were probably delivered direct to the recipient rather than to the purchaser.  If your e-commerce packaging options include some kind of giftwrap, you’re more likely to capture this market.

What giftwrapping options should I offer?

A Micros report in late 2013 indicated that 15% of online stores offered some kind of gift-wrapping.  In sectors like health and beauty, toys, games, clothing and accessories, where online gift purchase is most popular, gift-wrapping appears more common.

Only time and experience will tell what your customers want, but there’s a range of options for gift shipments:

  • Wrap the items for delivery to the gift recipient.
  • Include a card with personalised message.  Make sure you let customers know how long the message can be and still print effectively.  You may also want to give them some ideas for messages if they don’t know what to say.
  • Ship the goods unwrapped but with wrapping materials attached.  The purchaser still has to wrap the goods, but they save time on shipping for wrapping materials.  It’s also useful if someone is buying multiple gifts for different people.  They can see which is which.

Should I charge for giftwrapping?

The answer to this depends on your individual business.

If your business model allows for ‘luxury’ packaging (printed boxes, tissue paper and so on) as a standard, then giftwrapping probably won’t cost that much more.  You may need to do no more than print and include a personalised message.  On the other hand, if you’re using very basic packaging, you may not have enough margin to include giftwrapping for free.

Other questions to consider include:

  • Do gifts make up a large proportion of sales?
  • What do my competitors offer?
  • Have I got sufficient margin to absorb the cost of giftwrapping?

One interesting idea we’ve come across is to offer a basic gift-wrapping for a low additional cost, plus an expensive VIP gift service option, which includes luxury wrapping, a personalised hand-written message and next day delivery.  Almost no one will choose the VIP gift service, but it will make the basic gift-wrapping seem much more affordable.

Other thoughts

Remember, any shipment sent to someone other than the purchaser is an opportunity to convert a new customer.  Encourage the recipient to interact with you.  Consider a voucher, or a leaflet with special offers, or you could ask them to provide feedback on their new gift and collect an email address.

The giver may not want to disclose how much they spent on the gift.  Are you able to remove pricing information from the shipping documentation?

Gift recipients don’t get to choose their gift in advance.  They may be more likely than normal to want a return or exchange.  Does your paperwork tell them how to do that? This previous post gives a great example of how to communicate about returns.

Should your giftwrap be branded?  Should it reflect the seasonal gift-giving occasion?  Does it matter if it is tailored to one gender?

Too many e-commerce packaging options may confuse your customers.  Be careful how many options you give them, unless you’re sure they really want them!

Contact Xpadite today to discuss how our fulfilment services can use standard and gift packaging to develop your brand and increase customer loyalty, repurchase and overall value.


You may like these other articles from the Xpadite blog:

Subscription Service Models for Online Retail

Make the Most of your Despatch Note

E-Commerce Growth in 2014