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Retail & E-commerce

How to Build Customer Loyalty with Your Packaging

Written by 
Brad Davis
September 27, 2020

When looking to build customer loyalty with your packaging, there are a few key components at play. But first things first:

What do products like Toblerone, Pringles and Chupa Chups have in common? Okay, yes – they are all delicious… But that’s not what I’m talking about.

All three of these products can be easily identified from their unique packaging alone.

Brands like Nike, Shell, Target, Apple and Starbucks are instantly recognised in every corner of the globe for their iconic logos. However, a keen snacker will spot a Toblerone, Pringles can or Chupa Chup on the shelf from a mile away, purely from its standout packaging.

While creating your own distinctive packaging can do wonders for brand recognition, there is another motive – building customer loyalty.

It may come as a surprise, but packaging is up there with customer service and the quality of the product itself, when it comes to retaining customers. This is especially true for ecommerce, which of course has boomed this year.

According to Dotcom Distribution’s 2016 study, Driving Customer Loyalty with Fast Delivery and Quality Packaging, 40% of consumers are likely to make a repeat purchase from an ecommerce business that delivers its product in premium packaging.

build brand loyalty with product packaging
Product packaging adds to a brand's personality

Meanwhile, a 2018 study by packaging solutions provider Keenpac found that premium packaging leads nearly two-thirds of consumers to perceive the brand as more upscale.

Whether it’s a birthday gift from a friend, or something you ordered online, we all love the thrill that comes with “unwrapping”, “unboxing” or “opening” a packaged product – even if we already know exactly what’s inside.

All you need to do is Google “unboxing” to see how much value consumers place on the unpackaging process – and how much user-generated content they are prepared to create around the subject.

And this brings us to our first tip for building customer loyalty with your packaging…

Know your audience, so you can make your packaging “Insta-worthy”

person opening product packaging on bed
Make you packaging "Insta-worthy"

The better you know your audience, the better you can make your packaging exciting for them, and thus motivate them to post about your branding on their social media channels – not just the product itself.

So for instance, if your business sells home-made soy candles online, you can safely assume that the vast majority of your customers are passionate about home décor, and care about sustainability.

Therefore, using eco-friendly packaging and including a card with a list of things that customers can repurpose their candle jar for once the wax is all used up, is very likely to be a hit amongst your first-time customers.

With any luck, they might even post about it on their social media platforms, and it will certainly help convert first-time customers into repeat customers.

Use your packaging to ask for feedback and reviews

At Stamp Me Loyalty Solutions, we’re big believers in rewarding customers for creating user-generated content – be it Instagram pics and YouTube videos (as mentioned above) or product reviews and customer service feedback.

“UGC is a highly effective way to use your existing customers to attain new ones,” said Stamp Me's, Michaela Ward. “It also provides businesses with a wealth of data, which you can use to personalize each customer’s experience and accommodate their unique preferences.”

The packaging that you send your products in is the perfect channel for encouraging customers to write reviews, leave feedback and generally have their say. Customers like to be heard – by making it clear that your business is willing to listen, you will rapidly build brand loyalty among your existing customers.

Include a Thank You card, or a little something “extra” for the customer

thank you card
A thank you card included in product packaging

How much time, effort and money does it take to include a nice little “thank you” card inside your packaging? Not much… and yet, this small gesture can do wonders for strengthening a customer’s emotional connection with your brand.

Of course, stronger emotional connection = stronger customer loyalty.

Another tried and tested approach is to include a free sample of another product within the packaging of the customer’s order, in an effort to cross-sell or upsell the customer for next time.

For example, a cosmetics brand might include a small sample of a newly released product in the packaging of current orders, to tempt existing customers into trying something new. This will (hopefully!) convert them to this new product, and reinforce their brand loyalty.

Promote your loyalty program on your product packaging

Of course, the key to increasing customer retention and building brand loyalty lies with a highly engaging rewards program. If your business does not yet have one, here are some tips for how to create a loyalty rewards app.

If you already have an amazing loyalty program and you want every single customer (including your online shoppers) to know about it, your packaging is the ideal channel for boosting signups.

Rather than simply printing promotional material on your product packaging, we encourage you to use a unique QR code or receipt scan technology to allow customers to immediately join your loyalty program via digital rewards app.

Put simply, the customer sees the packaging, downloads the app, scans the receipt or unique QR code in order to redeem loyalty points for their purchase. These points might provide them with a discount on their next purchase, or perhaps entitle them to some future VIP treatment like free shipping.

smells like forest candle packaging
Introducing your loyalty program on your product packaging

Again, this method for validating loyalty points also provides your business with valuable insights into consumer behaviours and preferences, allowing increased personalisation.

What’s the takeaway? Use your packaging to leave a lasting impression

Let’s circle back to Toblerone, Pringles and Chupa Chups…

These brands have managed to link their identity with the unique packaging they sell their products in. Similarly, products purchased through Amazon Prime come in all shapes and sizes, but the iconic curved arrow is hard to miss.

For those of you looking to step up your game with some exceptional product packaging to stand out from the crowd, Stamp Me’s prime picks include Fantastapack, Arka, Refine Packaging and Box Geek.

Once you are satisfied with your product packaging, you can combine tools like unique QR code stickers or receipt scan technology with a digital loyalty app for an invincible customer loyalty strategy that wins people over before they have even opened the product!

Stamp Me provides loyalty solutions to businesses large and small, from our own Stamp Me Loyalty App to fully customised loyalty and rewards programs for enterprises and brands.

Contact us if you would like to discuss a loyalty or rewards solution for your business or brand.

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