A strategic packaging operation is key to small business success. Have you taken the necessary steps to get yours up and running?
With U.S. ecommerce sales in the first quarter of 2018 surpassing $123 billion, there’s never been a better time for businesses to invest in their digital retail offerings. Getting an small business operation off the ground, however, comes with its own set of challenges.
For example, designing, sourcing, and coordinating effective packaging at scale may involve a significant learning curve for companies that have primarily operated brick-and-mortar locations. But with the right guidance — and the right materials — your business can offer premium packaging to accompany all of your ecommerce sales. Here’s how to get started.
1) Determine Your Needs
Are you shipping perishable items or fragile ceramics? Start with your basic packaging needs and work from there. Consider the dimensions and characteristics of your products to determine proper box sizes, as well as the type of quality cushioning products your items will need to be packaged in to arrive in mint condition.
2) Observe Your Competitors
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so don’t be afraid to check out what your competitors are doing to package and ship similar products. Maybe you’re curious how others are using mailing tubes, or you’re wondering about what type of shredded fill to invest in. While you certainly shouldn’t replicate these tactics directly, it’s worth noting how others are getting around similar packaging dilemmas — and applying these insights to your unique needs.
3) Hone Your Branded Aesthetic
Once you have an idea of what you need to accomplish and what others are doing, it’s time to bring your brand aesthetic into the picture. Pinpoint how you want customers to relate to your business, and look for packaging that serves your short- and long-term marketing goals.
For example, custom bags, labels, and boxes can all contribute to a memorable branded experience for your customers. Think about what you’re trying to convey with your packaging — that is, what you want customers to feel when they unbox their purchases — and select a shape, color scheme, and concept that enhance your overall mission.
4) Pick Your Packaging Supplies
Once you understand your packaging needs and have determined your branding strategy, it’s time to actually source your packaging supplies. Find a vendor whose products fit your needs and your budget. Determine if you want to buy individually or wholesale, and consider which vendors offer competitive discounts for repeat or bulk purchases.
When you’ve landed on the right business to purchase your packaging materials from, it’s time to step back and assess your final presentation. Does that bow fit the aesthetic you imagined? Is the colorful mailing box paired with on-brand tissue paper delivering that “wow” factor to customers? It may take a bit of trial and error before you find the packaging combo that checks all your boxes.
5) Get to Work and Invite Feedback
With everything in place, it’s time to start shipping. Even if things go well, consider how you can improve your presentation based on customer feedback. Utilize surveys to find out if your packaging is holding up in transit and meeting (or exceeding) customer expectations. Most importantly, listen. Find out what worked, what didn’t, and be open to changing your packaging strategy so that you can get even better results in the future.
Did you find this helpful? Stay tuned to our blog all year long for more packaging tips for your small business!