Optimizing holiday packaging for seasonal success

3 minute read

Let’s get to the point. This is going to be a uniquely challenging holiday season. Because of COVID-19, it is unlikely we’re all going to gather the way we want to. However, life goes on, and with it, so does holiday shopping.

Whether you’re a business owner, shopper, or just mailing a candle to your Aunt Gladys, the work that goes on behind the scenes is going to be a little more frantic than in years past. A lot of times, e-commerce is spoken of in “now more than ever” terms. And 2020 has sharply increased that trend.

As we navigate this holiday season with all of its roadblocks and challenges, it’s important to remember the power of good branding. This is true for increasing customer satisfaction and strengthening your customer base, but it also lets you create a moment of joy for someone that likely won’t be spending the holidays with all their friends and family. If that joy does lead to better customer reviews and more orders, then let’s call that a win-win.

These are some steps to keep in mind as we approach the holiday season:

Create an unboxing experience

The unboxing experience is always an excellent way to engage buyers and can create long-term customers. But it is especially important in a world of social distancing. Opening a taped-up brown shipping box can be a little underwhelming compared to receiving a wrapped present. According to a survey conducted by Dotcom Distribution, 61 percent of online shoppers reported that branded packaging made them feel more excited to open their parcel. An engaging unboxing experience can be memorable, and shareable, potentially garnering more positive attention and good word of mouth for your brand.

For more insights into how your packaging strategy can enhance your customers’ shopping and receiving experiences, read our blog.

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Remind customers mailing parcels is safe

As many merchants have likely discovered, COVID-19 has brought out some new fears in people. Namely, people have become concerned about whether their parcels are contaminated with the COVID-19 virus.

A brown box sits on a front stoop.

Concerned customers should know that the possibility of contamination is extremely unlikely. If you are selling from your own website, let your customers know that they are safe ordering from you. If you have set up any safe workplace practices, highlight that! Due to the large shift online, there are more opportunities to connect with customers than before. Any insight into your warehouse can be something to make a customer committed to your business.

Offer gift wrapping and gift cards

Because families are less likely to be gathering this holiday season, it may be up to merchants to fill in on some of the gift-giving experience. Gift wrapping or a gift box upgrade is a common selling point for e-commerce. But if you have the resources, including a greeting card with an option to provide a note to the customer, it can be a unique touch that increases cart conversion. Many platforms offer this type of option in checkout.

Use custom tissue paper

Custom tissue paper from companies like Noissue is a great way to create a powerful, branded unboxing experience that can have additional advantages.

A woman holds an open box from Slow Down Studios, revealing their customized wrapping paper from Noissue that reads "slow down".

A woman holds an open box from Slow Down Studios, revealing their customized wrapping paper from Noissue that reads “slow down”.

Remember that most shipping insurance claims can be lost if the outside packaging advertises what’s inside, which explains why companies like Apple ship everything in nondescript white packaging. But when you open the box, it’s a nice surprise when the packaging feels curated. This can also generate more social posts from customers giving your brand a shout out – easily creating more organic traffic to your site.

Order supplies NOW!

As for “these uncertain times,” global supply chains have been hit hard – as have e-commerce and shipping carriers. The sooner you can buy your boxes, custom tapes, die-cut inserts, etc. the better. There is no telling how busy this season will be for e-commerce merchants, and vendors are going to be stretched thinner than in years prior too.

One last thing

When you design your packaging for the holidays, maintain your brand’s look. You want your holiday season customers to be able to recognize your company year-round. Be creative yet consistent.

Strengthen customer relationships.

Download ShipStation’s free e-book, Brand Your Shipping: How to Overcome the Brand Dead Zone.

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James Messer
James is a copywriter at ShipStation, a leading provider of shipping software for e-commerce fulfillment.Read more by James Messer