Choosing your packaging can be such a joyful experience, but it can be equally as daunting. We recently rebranded, and so we wanted to update our packaging, to reflect our new style. We also wanted our packaging to reflect our values, our overall client experience and most importantly the way we wanted to make our clients feel when receiving one of our parcels in the mail.
I knew that we had to be intentional in the experience we were trying to create, so instead of heading over to Pinterest for beautiful inspiration images, I started to jot down our values, the connection we were trying to create with our packaging, and as I mentioned the feeling we aimed to invoke during the unboxing experience.
At the start, I was a bit overwhelmed with the possibilities, everything looked beautiful and inspiring but pretty soon I started to feel confused and overwhelmed with the possibilities. From different cardstocks, to finishing techniques - you might also be feeling a bit confused and unsure what will truly represent your brand.
TIP: View our printing guide to see some beautiful paper options, we also explore different print finishes, their advantages & disadvantages and their price points.
Here are five steps you need to take when creating packaging for your online store:
WHAT IS YOUR INTENTION
Let me start by saying that this is a vital step when choosing your packaging. There are no rules to say that you have to have branded stickers or a thank you note. If you choose to include these things in your packaging make sure that there is intention behind it.
You need to start with your customer - why do you think they have purchased your product? Is it to make them feel good, look good? How can your packaging further enhance this connection? For example, if you sell beautiful hand poured candles,what do you think the reason is behind your customers' purchase? Perhaps it's to help them slow down after a busy day, to enjoy a hot bath or a moment of solitude. How can you create packaging that further enhances their experience. Perhaps the packaging could be beautifully tactile, so that your customer stops to feel the texture, connecting to more of her senses. Perhaps you could include an illustration or ritual idea, reminding her to take time for herself and put her self care at the top of her priority list.
Every piece of packaging included in your final delivery should have a purpose. Whether that's to create a connection, tell your brand story, explain your process behind the products you make and how to take care of them. It’s important that these intentions are defined before choosing your packaging.
This is an example of our thank you cards - we like to send our clients positive words of encouragement, so we foil beautiful messages on the front of our thank you cards. Normally our clients keep these and put them up in their office. This offers them encouragement, and keeps us front of mind.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO MAKE YOUR CUSTOMER FEEL
Write down a list of five emotions you would like your customer to feel when receiving a parcel from you? This could be Joy, Excitement, or peaceful, relaxed and calm. Now you can design your packaging around these emotions.
For example if you want your clients to feel excitement & joy you could create something with a bold pattern, whitty messaging or build in an element of surprise.
If on the other hand, you want your client to feel calm and relaxed, you would choose more natural soothing tones. Have lots of textured materials, long messaging to give your customer the time to read more about their products, how they were made and how they can be used.
Write down your five emotions - and then write five creative ways you could include this is your packaging. Here is an example of ours:
- we wanted to make our clients feel appreciated, which is why we have a very personal message at the back of our thank you card. We also individually wrap each and every item by hand, with a beautifully foiled sticker.
- We wanted to help them feel empowered. We do this by including a powerful message or quote that can be kept, framed and looked at in times of darkness.
- We wanted to make our clients feel valued - which is why each of our items are so meticulously wrapped. We want to show how each and every item is handmade from the heart and is packed with love and the utmost attention to detail.
- We wanted to show our clients we care about the environment and sustainability - which is why all of our packaging is plastic free, and made from recycled and recyclable materials.
- We wanted them to feel connected - our packaging creates an intimate and special experience, one that often leads our clients to share their unboxing experience online. This helps us get amazing feedback from our clients, and continues the conversation long after their order has been sent.
HOW CAN THIS CREATING A LASTING CONNECTION
Think of ways you can create a connection in the hearts and minds of your customers. In a noisy digital world it can be so hard to create a tangible connection with others. Your packaging allows you to create a strong tangible connection with your clients. This is a very helpful tool for introverted business owners who may feel uncomfortable creating connections online and feel much more at ease creating connection through packaging and print.
If you give your clients a positive experience when receiving your product, they will be more likely to purchase from you again and become loyal supporters of your business and brand.
IS THIS NECESSARY / WASTEFUL
While we believe packaging has a purpose, we by no means feel that it should ever be wasteful. If the packaging items does not serve a purpose, or have a specific intention behind it simply don't include it! We firmly believe in less is more, so rather than having 5 packaging insert cards, think of ways that you can solidify your brand messaging and objective. Always find ways to make things reusable. For example a beautiful organic cotton bag can have many other purposes. Or a small jewellery pouch can be reused as a travel jewellery pouch. Always ask yourself is this truly necessary!
DOES THIS TELL A STORY
At the heart of good packaging is a story - lift the curtain back, be a bit vulnerable and allow your customers to see the heart, soul and beauty behind your brand.
Here are some of our favourite packaging items to include, for online stores:
- Shipping Boxes
Don’t ever underestimate the power of a quality shipping box. If you are starting out, or a photographer that sends out a small number of parcels, we have tons of ways you can personalize your shipping boxes.
Always be sure to choose the right size so you avoid unnecessary fillers and higher shipping costs.
Take a look at these boxes we personalized for Rodo Creative.
Tags are a great way to brand your products. Not only can they provide your client with additional care information, but they can also add a more luxurious and memorable packaging experience.
We have done so many beautiful tags recently, but one of our favourites must be these swing tags done for Eleanor Bowmer.
Another simple and cost effective way to brand your products & packaging. We love these rose gold stickers we did for Journeys Bound. Which are extremely versatile and can be used in many different ways.
- Thank You Cards
Personally if there is one packaging item I would define as essential, it should be your thank you card. A thank you card shows your clients that you care, and that you really appreciate them shopping small and supporting your small business dream.
Our quote cards are a very popular choice amount our loyal customers:
Ribbons are a great way to add subtle branding to your packaging. Our Chiffon ribbons have soft delicate frayed edges, and are perfect for branding shoots, small bespoke products and to wrap your prints.
Look at these gorgeous ribbons we did for Siobhan Beals Photography.
- Cotton Bags
Another multipurpose packaging option are cotton bags. They come in a variety of sizes. We do small cotton bags that are perfect for jewelers and photographers.
We love the natural and organic feel of these natural cotton bags done for Agnes Black Photography
Are you looking for small scale artisanal packaging to enhance your brand? Get in touch, we would love to help communicate your brand value & aesthetic through our intentional packaging products.