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How to Build Customer Loyalty with Your Packaging

Written by 
Brad Davis
September 27, 2020
Brand Loyalty
Customer Retention

How to Build Customer Loyalty with Branded Packaging

One thing is for sure: a brand’s packaging and boxing is an extension of the brand image and it has a huge influence on how people interact and remember a business. However, this packaging should also be forward-thinking, expressing what is memorable about the product. The right packaging design and implementation can go a long way in engaging customers, retaining them, and building a loyal base. 

Brands like Nike, Target, and Apple are instantly recognizable no matter where you’re standing for their iconic logos. Yet, brands like Toblerone, Pringles and Campbell’s soup can be spotted on the shelf instantly, purely from its standout packaging. 

The Importance of Brand Packaging in Building Customer Loyalty

While creating your own distinctive packaging can improve brand recognition, it can significantly enhance customer loyalty. 

When it comes to retaining customers, packaging is up there with customer service and the quality of the product itself. This is especially true for ecommerce, which has risen significantly in popularity in recent years. With a competitive market, comes an even greater need to create a distinctive look. 

The shift to online shopping and sharing means that brands who get their looks right, become known for it. Brands that provide high quality packaging designs and experiences are recognized not just for their product offering, but the packaging and opening experience that a customer has. 

Australia’s very own Adore Beauty’s packaging strategy is a prime example: the brand’s deliveries have surged on social media as a result of every box coming with a free Tim Tam. The monetary value behind a single Tim Tam is not high – but it has become one of the reasons that customers continue to come back for more (and share it online).

According to a recent survey, 81% of consumers agreed that packaging design influences their purchasing decisions. This is further supported by the fact that the Dotcom Distribution survey found that 40% of consumers share images of their packaging on social media when the packaging design is unique and branded. 

Whether it’s a birthday gift from a friend, or something you ordered online, the “unboxing” of a packaged product is an exciting experience (even if we already know what’s inside). 

Across all platforms, sharing is caring: Instagram and Youtube are packed with “unboxing” videos. Whether it’s an e-commerce fashion haul or a simple grocery haul, consumers are captivated by the unpackaging process, resulting in a significant growth in user-generated content on this topic. 

This leads us to our first tip on building customer loyalty with your packaging. 

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

How to Build Customer Loyalty Through Your Packaging

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

Getting to know your audience and what they might expect from your packaging is the necessary first step. Building customer loyalty is all about understanding your customers and meeting their expectations. 

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

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

For example, 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 ways that customers can repurpose their candle jar once the wax is all used up, is very likely to be a hit amongst your first-time customers.

This will incentivize them to post about it on their social media platforms, which will certainly convert first-time customers into long-time ones. 

2. Use your packaging to ask for feedback and reviews

At Stamp Me Loyalty Solutions, we believe in rewarding customers for creating user-generated content – such as 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 share their opinions on all aspects of your brand’s look and feel. Customers like to engage with a brand and feel heard – 77% of consumers say they favor brands that ask for and accept customer feedback. By making it clear that your business is willing to listen, you will rapidly build brand loyalty among your existing customers. 

3. Include a little something “extra” for the customer

thank you card
A thank you card included in product packaging

A small gesture can do wonders for strengthening a customer’s emotional connection with your brand. Appealing to the emotional is a necessary part of customer loyalty, as it builds a bond between the consumer and the business, beyond the transactional. 

Of course, stronger emotional connection equals stronger customer loyalty.

A simple “thank you” card can go a long way, but you can always take it farther. Including a free sample of another product within the packaging of the customer’s order makes for a more memorable shopping experience. Not only will this make your packaging stand out, but it will also work to cross-sell or upsell the customer for the next time they purchase with your business.

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 convert them to this new product and reinforce their brand loyalty.

4. Promote your loyalty program on your product packaging

Of course, the key to increasing customer retention and building brand loyalty in retail 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.

This is how it works: the customer sees the packaging, will download the app, and can scan 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.

Again, this method for validating loyalty points also provides your business with valuable insights into consumer behaviours and preferences, allowing increased personalization. In our opinion, this is one of the best ways to get your brand’s packaging to work for you, building a loyal customer base.

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

The big takeaway: use your packaging to leave a lasting impression

Let’s circle back to Toblerone, Pringles and Campbell’s soup to close this out. 

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. 

It is clear that packaging design plays an important role in how your customers interact with your brand and product. Rather than viewing your brand’s packaging design as just a logistical problem to solve, make it a creative extension of your brand’s message and another reason why your customers keep coming back for more. 

For those of you looking to improve your product packaging look and 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 captures your customer’s attention even before they open your product, setting you apart from the competition. 

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