Let’s assume your products come to you pre-packaged in poly-bags from the manufacture, and let’s further assume Amazon always re-boxes your items in Amazon’s own shipping boxes. Is it worth it for you to use your own custom printed branded box? That’s the question we are going to tackle here — using custom printed boxes vs poly bag — and our questions revolve around the effectiveness of branding and marketing on shipping bags vs shipping boxes. Is any of it worth the expense and why?

This is a question that comes up from time to time and budding e-commerce sellers along some of the more seasoned business veterans. It can be difficult to track and evaluate marketing expenses especially when it comes to printed materials. While in-house A-B testing can help us evaluate marketing strategies, testing one’s branding  is a different story. Branding involves a much larger process of interrelated parts — from where your products are made, to customer service, to packaging, to your products themselves, it all comes together to form your brand.

In the end this is a question of whether creating a “branded packaging experience” and is worth the effort and expense.  This is a question we’ve looked at in some detail in previous posts and we think there’s a very strong case for creating a “branded experience.” In our last post we covered the question: Why Market to Existing Customers, which includes statistics and studies published in the Harvard Business Review (that’s a post worth reading if you’re looking hard at the value using of custom boxes, strictly in terms of return on investment).

In the last post we looked at metrics such as customer retention where “increasing customer retention by 5% increased profits by 25% to 95%.” In this post we are going to look at how branding your shipping boxes can affect your digital marketing strategy.

How can my shipping boxes affect my digital strategy?

The relationship between the cardboard box and the internet becomes more clear when you consider that for most Amazon sellers, customers will only directly experience your physical presence through your shipping boxes and your products. They won’t see your store, they won’t meet any sales staff. Their first impression of you is either going to be from plastic bag a corrugated cardboard box.

Let’s consider Amazon the process of Amazon reviews for instance. Amazon frequently asks customers to rate their experience with sellers; let’s say a customer gains confidence in your business through a seamless shipping and packaging experience and enjoys your product as well. When they are rating you as the seller, they might not think of your box in particular, but it will mostly likely influence their perception of you.

Brand Strategy & The Edge of Chaos

While the difference between plastic or cardboard may seem trivial, it’s important to remember that when it comes to complex systems like a company’s brand or identity, the smallest changes can have large, far-reaching consequences. For example, something as simple as the colour of your box and print can have a dramatic unintended influence; let’s say it matches the colours of a popular political party in your customer’s country, or it’s a lucky colour in their culture, or something else that you may have never considered. The idea here is using symbolic references and associations to help your brand form a positive feedback loop. Sometimes it only takes a few good reviews in the right place and time for a brand strategy to emerge and become self-reinforcing.

One Sure Thing

This is why the branded packaging experience even for cardboard shipping boxes is so important: it’s one of the only marketing tools in your kit that you know for sure will be directly in your customer’s hands. While a plastic poly bag may be cheaper at the outset, the cost of poly vs custom printed boxes has to be weighed in respect to your overall marketing strategy.

Buying Wholesale Shipping Boxes Direct

If you are considering getting custom printed shipping boxes for your eCommerce business, it often helps to find a wholesale box manufacture that’s in your region and buy direct. If you have any questions on pricing and which services we can provide your business, give Racer Boxes in Vancouver B.C. a call at (604) 270 – 8205 .

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