5 Ways to Turn Your Product Packaging into Your Most Loyal Brand Ambassador

This article is presented in partnership with Arka, a Shopify app that lets you design and sell custom packaging in minutes — with low minimums, best prices, and eco-friendly materials. With Arka's 3D box design tool, dedicated designer to proof your designs before printing, and quick batching organization process, it only takes about 2 weeks to get your boxes. Need more packaging recommendations? Reach out to support@arka.com.

And remember, Voodoo is more than happy to stock custom packaging for all of your orders. To learn more about this service, reach out to accounts@voodoomfg.com.

The importance of packaging

Your product packaging is an often underrated, and underexploited, opportunity to really wow your customers.

The entire buying process culminates in the moment your customer receives their package and is ready to open it. The pinnacle of the buying experience, this is very possibly the most important touchpoint with your customer.

So how do you make the most of it?

Here are 5 strategies that have proven themselves, over and over again. As product packaging manufacturers, we know, and we've seen it all. Here are our main tips on turning your packaging into your most effective brand ambassador.

  • 1. Make it more than packaging

  • It's not just packaging, it's an opportunity to foster delight. Arka has found that with branded packaging, company retention rates rise. Honestly, Arka wouldn’t be in business if branded packaging wasn’t in such high demand.

    Just think, receiving a package is akin to opening a gift on Christmas morning. All the fun is in unwrapping it - the bows, the paper.

    Why not expand that excitement by making your unboxing experience memorable? And more importantly - associated with your brand.

    There are three ways you can do that:

  • Add insert cards to your packaging

  • These are essentially marketing materials that can range widely. From simple “thank you” cards, to cards with a discount code on them for the customer's next purchase.

    Print on the inside of the box

    They'll never expect it, and it's a chance to surprise your customer, and further your branding.

    Genecie, the sustainable wallet, prints on the inside of their box, which is only visible once opened.

    Add free samples 

    The best way to generate enthusiasm is by adding more goods for the customer to explore. Everyone loves free things, right? So why not free things, that might lead to the recipient getting hooked on your other products?

    Madara, the organic cosmetics brand, does this well. For every one of their sent packages, they insert samples of their most recent product. Combine that with a discount code, and they're setting themselves up for additional sales.

  • 2. Make use of the social sharing trend

  • In the age of social media, unboxing has become an object of interest.

    For well-designed, social-friendly packaging, this is a great opportunity. By having your unboxing moment shared to social media, you're making use of one of the most valuable and efficient types of marketing - word of mouth marketing.

    People will see their peers using your service, and they will therefore not only possibly learn about it (thereby getting your brand under more eyes), but also be more likely to make the purchase. With 84% of consumers saying they trust peer recommendations over all other sources of advertisement, this is a platform that has the potential to impact your bottom line the most.

    Be aware — for brands who don't take their packaging seriously, the social era may be their downfall.

    Particularly unthoughtful packaging risks being tagged with the hashtag #packagingfail, which on Instagram alone has already amassed over 2,500 posts (compared to the not nearly as popular #packagingwin, with over 500 posts).

    Packaging companies have been routinely made fun of for packaging their products inefficiently. This is the kind of attention you don't want your brand to have.

  • 3. Design your packaging with care

  • Packaging, besides delivering delight and branding, also has to make sure it fulfills its primary requirements — delivering the package from point A to point B, and keeping its contents safe.

    Here are a few tips to make sure your packaging is thoughtfully and practically designed:

  • Keep size to the absolute minimum

  • By keeping size down, you ensure a few things:

    • The least possible shipping price (thanks to the minimal size and weight of the packaging)
    • Lowers waste
    • Keeps you off the #packagingfail list
    • Protects your products from the jostle
    • Keeps filler costs down

    Protect your products

    There's nothing worse than following up on the enthusiasm of receiving a package in the mail with realizing that the product is broken.

    There are a few ways you can protect your products:

    • As previously mentioned, keep the size to a minimum, so that your product doesn't get as jostled around
    • Add elements on the packaging to instruct careful packaging handling
    • Add inserts to the packaging to keep your items in place

    There are two kinds of packing inserts:

    • Filler: the kind that fill up the empty space
    • Inserts: the kind that hold your product in place so they can't move

    Both are legitimate ways to protect your products as they travel to their destination.

    The kind that fills up empty space is called filler, and there can be different kinds. They can be pouches of air, styrofoam peanuts, crinkle paper, bubble wrap, paper, and more.

    The kind that hold your product in place, called inserts, have the benefit of not only keeping your products secure, but also lets you control the process of how the customer discovers their newly received products. Be that right-side-up, equally space, vertically lined up, horizontally lined up, stacked - the options are limitless.

  • 4. Keep your brand values in mind

  • The most important element to keep in mind when considering your product packaging, is making sure it conveys your brand values. Branding is not limited only to digital identity - ideally it should stretch all the way through the customer's experience with the brand - that includes the packagings.

    For example:

    • If you're a brand that advocates eco-friendliness, make sure your packaging is recyclable and biodegradable.
    • If your brand exudes youthfulness, make sure to include modernizations on basic packaging.
    • If your brand is bold and colorful, have those colors echoed on your packaging.

    When in doubt, talk to your packaging provider to understand the options available for customization, and how you can best reflect your brand in your packaging.

  • 5. Include custom packaging even with print on demand and dropshipping

  • If you’re one of the many online sellers using the print on demand or dropshipping business model, you know how easy it can be to design or curate a successful e-commerce brand.

    You also know how hard it can be to extend that branding to packages that ship directly from your supplier —  and how frustrating it is when your hand-picked products arrive at your customer’s doorstep with boring boilerplate packaging.

    To make sure your packaging matches the ethos of your print on demand or dropshipping business, you might consider a print on demand and fulfillment service like Voodoo.

    With Voodoo, you can choose from a growing catalog of customizable 3D products to use as a blank canvas for your brand. Just as importantly, Voodoo’s packaging is also a blank canvas for your brand.

    Voodoo’s fulfillment team will work with you to stock custom branded packaging inserts, packing materials, and packing slips to make sure your brand is conveyed in every single order.

    If you're ready to build your brand with custom packaging, reach out to support@arka.com.