A strong e-commerce brand is about a myriad of things: a great product, memorable marketing, a striking brand, and so on. But one aspect that’s often neglected is your packaging.
Your packaging is the first thing your customers see before they see your products. And when the first taste is with the eyes, it’s important to make it delicious.
If you want to up your packaging game but you’re struggling for inspiration, it’s worth looking to the experts. Read on to discover 5 e-commerce brands with really great packaging that you can learn from today.
Subscription boxes are a popular niche that a variety of businesses are jumping on. From shaving products to pet treats, customers can get their hands on virtually anything they desire in a nice monthly package.
Birchbox is one such business that has nailed its niche. Specializing in beauty and makeup, it offers a personalized selection of cosmetic products that are tailored to the customer’s personal tastes.
But what really sets Birchbox apart from its competitors — indeed, what arguably gives the brand its edge — is its unique packaging.
Each box of goodies is covered in a gorgeous design, featuring everything from floral patterns to Aztec prints. Each month, the brand offers a specific theme for their designs, helping tie them all together and making the arrival of each box an exciting experience in itself.
And as if that wasn’t enough, each and every box is unique — you won’t find any duplicates anywhere. Birchbox, whatever you’re paying your graphic designers, it’s not enough.
Good packaging is about making a splash before your customers have even opened the box. Indeed, it’s an integral part of the unboxing experience, especially for subscription boxes. Strive for beautiful packaging wherever possible — it all goes towards a memorable experience that your customers will love.
And it’s not just nice to look at either. Attractive packaging is Instagrammable and it’ll encourage your customers to show some love to your brand on social. It’s good for your customers and it’s good for your brand too.
Seventh Generation is an online cleaning product brand with a difference. It’s making waves in the industry by providing 100% ethical and sustainable soaps, detergents, and other cleaning products.
Seventh Generation’s products are completely free from toxic chemicals, which helps both the environment and keeps us safe when we clean too — it’s a double win!
But Seventh Generation’s eco-commitments don’t end with its products. Even its packaging is good for the planet. The brand uses entirely recycled and plant-based materials in its packaging, refraining from adding any unnecessary chemicals in the process.
Add to that the fact that Seventh Generation’s packaging is also completely biodegradable or recyclable, and you’ve got some packaging that talks the talk and walks the walk. Nice!
We’re living in the age of climate change, and every brand as a responsibility to do their bit for the planet.
Packaging generates huge amounts of waste, but with so many eco-friendly options available, it’s easy to do for your own brand.
Remember to look beyond your actual packaging. Inks have a huge impact on the planet, but there are plenty of organic inks available to use — you can even buy algae-based inks!
If you’re a style-conscious parent (or a baby with a taste for the finer things in life), then you’ve probably heard of Joolz.
Joolz specializes in baby strollers and accessories that are a far cry from the usual generic products on the market. Its strollers are high-quality and multipurpose, offering storage and all-terrain transportation. They can even convert into high chairs!
Like Seventh Generation, Joolz is also eco-conscious and sustainability-centric. But it takes a rather different tact with its packaging by letting its customers create something useful out of it.
All of Joolz’s packaging can be unpacked and transformed into a play object. With a little bit of cardboard origami, you can create animals, puppets theatres, hot air balloons, and even real birdhouses. Not only does it get a second life out of what would otherwise be trash, but it’s also a nice project for parents to do with their children.
And if you get tired of your cardboard snail? No problem — simply pop it in the recycling.
Joolz gives sustainable packaging a new meaning — and we like it.
Making your packaging recyclable is a great idea — it’s good for the planet and it’s good for your branding, so it’s a win-win. Check out eco-friendly packaging specialists like Ecoenclose for an idea of the best materials to switch to (and how much it might set you back).
As well as saving the trees, letting your customers have a little fun with your packaging really takes its value to the next level. While not all brands have the technological ability to create cardboard origami, you can add this sense of playfulness to your packaging too. Packaging that you can color in or turn into a dollhouse with a few snips is achievable and will bring a smile to your customers’ faces.
Socks are a prosaic thing to sell. Exactly how excited can you get your customers about the arrival of a new pair of socks? For Happy Socks, that’s a challenge it’s willing to accept — and it succeeds.
Happy Socks sells colorful, patterned socks that, while they admittedly do look good, aren’t unique. Sure, they’re lively and eye-catching, but socks are an increasingly popular fashion item that many brands now offer in a variety of styles.
But what really sets Happy Socks apart is (you guessed it) its packaging. The boxes its socks arrive in are often brightly-colored and featuring curious designs, such as this multicolored camouflage print:
As well as injecting a little liveliness into what could easily be dull packaging, Happy Socks also diversifies its packaging. Some are cardboard boxes like the example above, while others are delicate paper-made constructions.
But Happy Socks don’t prioritize aesthetics over function. The boxes’ shape and size make them perfect for storage — some even have a clear window to display the socks in your drawer.
It’s a perfect blend of looks and functionality. And as an added bonus, every time the customer goes to get their socks, they’re reminded where they purchased from, boosting the chances of buying again in the future.
When it comes to socks packaging, Happy Socks is a clear winner.
In an age in which unnecessary waste is increasingly under the spotlight, functional packaging is almost a necessity. While Joolz opts for more entertaining packaging, Happy Socks shows that even the most basic function has merit.
Look at your packaging and consider how it could be re-used in your customer’s home. Beyond storage, you might consider using biodegradable packaging to be used in a compost bin. Alternatively, you could even use fabric packaging that has a second life as gift wrapping — the ideas are virtually limitless.
John’s Crazy Socks
Another sock brand (I told you they’re a popular trend right now) but with a difference, John’s Crazy Socks has one mission: “We want to spread happiness”.
John’s Crazy Socks is a genuine bootstrapped business. Created using the accessible Shopify store builder and launched by father-and-son duo Mark and John Cronin, it sells a range of cute, quirky, and crazy socks that, as promised, bring a smile to anyone’s face.
While John’s socks are certainly unique, that’s not what earned John’s Crazy Socks its place on this list. In fact, it’s not even technically its packaging that got them here either. It’s what’s inside the packaging that really earns John’s Crazy Socks its accolade.
Each package is accompanied by a handwritten note from John thanking the customer for their purchase. And as if that wasn’t enough, John and Mark also throw a bag of candy in there too — nice.
John’s Crazy Socks’ customers love it, often sharing snaps of their package on social media — as a result, it’s great for the brand too.
You might not have the time or resources to put a handwritten note in every package. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve the same customer love with your products (although admittedly not on that scale).
Select a few packages at random each month and write a thank-you note to place in each. This shows them some love and boosts your branding into the bargain. Ramp this up by picking customers who are active on social media to increase your chances of them re-sharing your thank-you note — it’s a quick hack but with great engagement potential.
Your packaging is integral to your brand. It speaks depths about what you are like as a business. Follow the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful, memorable packaging that delights your customers time and again.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a writer and small business owner at Micro Startups. She is an expert in all things content, freelance, marketing, and commercial strategy.