The last time you received your ecommerce order, did you get excited? If you didn’t, it’s probably due to poor packaging, perhaps in an all black poly mailer bag, squashed and taped up into a bundle. Poor packing does not inspire any smiles, or repeat sales, and it gives a bad impression of your professionalism. Read on to discover the secrets of proper packing (and packaging), and how it can not only reduce return rates but also boost sales.

Start From Inside Out

Let’s get the boring bits out of the way first…Packing Materials. Whether your product survives the journey from warehouse to door in pristine condition depends on the materials used to protect it, and how it’s packed.

Bubble Wrap…the lowest cost material one can use. But it does not protect products from damage as well as you think, unless you use lots of it. Standard bubble wrap has poor filling power, you need three layers for adequate protection. 

Air Pillows, a cost effective material with huge filling power that does the job well. It’s not a one size fits all solution, you need to stock various pillow sizes, and a dedicated machine to fill air into the materials.

Packing materials cost money, and poor packing methods can grossly inflate your shipping cost when the final package becomes much bigger than the product itself. It takes some experience to pack it right, using adequate materials yet minimizing volumetric size.

Why packing materials are essential? Damaged products means higher return rate, loss of sales, a long tedious refund process, and bad customer experience. More importantly, how your ecommerce orders are packed determine the final outcome.

The ‘Unboxing’ Experience

The first impression creates the biggest visual impact and a good experience that can win you repeat sales if you do it right. Beyond brown carton boxes and black mailer bags, you can brand your packaging with a few simple tricks.

Use Attractive Poly Mailer Bags

Instead of boring black or white poly mailer bags, colour or pattern poly mailer bags can be purchased off the shelf with certain minimum order quantities. Your package will certainly be received with a smile and your shop etched in memory.

Use Your Brand Label Stickers

Spice up plain carton boxes with ‘your brand’ label stickers. This is an effective and low cost way to up your game and stand out from the crowd. Most local printing houses offer design, and production services for label stickers. The bigger the sticker, the bigger the visual impact.

Use Your Brand Wrapping Tissue

Add a touch of luxury with branded wrapping tissue. Put your brand front and center with custom printed wrapping tissue…like how Louis Vuitton, Gucci, package their leather products.  It’s low cost material that can go a long way to increase your brand recognition.

Boost Your Ratings

The success of any ecommerce business is built on customer ratings and reviews. Positive validation builds confidence for new customers to buy from you. Most people order, receive and forget, unless there is an incentive to leave a positive rating or review.

Say Thank You

A simple thank you card shows you care about your customers. It’s a light personal touch and a form of communication from seller to buyer. Do invest a little to print these cards like a business card, or print nicely designed stickers with honest messages.

Customer Service

Give customers a way to reach you by including an email address or fan page. This provides an avenue for you to address customer issues before negative feedback. Don’t hide behind e-marketplace customer service as it’s often slow and frustrating for customers.

Incentives & Rewards

Offer incentives for your customers to leave a rating or review. Encourage your customers to share a photo of your product and hashtag #yourbrand on social media. Most sellers offer e-marketplace points, discount codes, or targeted offers to reward customers.

Win Repeat Sales

The cost of marketing to reach new customers is high and conversion rates for every dollar spent is low. Instantly increase your sales by giving your customers a reason to buy from you again. It will cost you less to incentivize existing customers than paying Google or Facebook to find another.

Free Samples

An effective way to encourage trial of different products across your offering is to provide free samples with orders shipped. Delight your customers with free samples while you up sell and cross sell your way to their next purchase with you.

Discount Codes & Vouchers

Everybody loves discounts. And you want repeat sales. Marry a good offer with reasonable terms and great products, you will soon see an increase in sales. Remember, customers are risk adverse…most will purchase again from the same seller if they are satisfied with the product, price, order processing and delivery time.

Time for Professional Ecommerce Packing?

The benefits of packing your ecommerce orders right is clear. Your products wrapped with your brand wrapping tissue, protected with the right materials, thank you cards and vouchers inserted, packed in right way with a choide of packaging materials, and finally labeled with your brand stickers – it’s more work than you think.

It can be simple if you are dealing with a small range of products, using the same sized packaging materials. With a wide range of products, you will need to stock a wider range of materials to accommodate various order sizes. For example, Amazon FBA stocks a grand total of 88 different carton box sizes, and that’s just carton boxes, not polybags, tapes, and more.

If your return rate is more than 5 percent, and your repeat sales is low, perhaps it’s time to use a professional vendor to process, pick and pack your ecommerce orders. And why would you do that? You don’t want to invest your time to do this, nor pay for fix labour, nor struggle with freelance labour, nor supervise a team of people. Focus on sales, grow your business, and that is going to pay you dividends.