6 valuable points that e-Commerce Directors and Managers throughout the UK are taking note of; read on to find out what is changing and be one of the leaders in differentiating your eCommerce strategy.
One of the problems with eCommerce is physical evidence (or lack of) and as a customer we need tangible evidence to give us confidence to purchase. We have all hesitated over the 'proceed to check out' button online and wondered 'is this even a legitimate company?’; the digital age has made it all too easy for someone in front of a computer to design a fabulous looking website and start collecting orders.
Ok...there's nothing wrong with that...but how does an established company differentiate themselves and provide their customers with confidence that they aren't just one of 'the crowd'?
Well let’s take the cue from House of Fraser, John Lewis, and a growing number of other brick and mortar stores that are investing in the tangible delivery of their online sector:
- 1. Focus on the Unboxing Process:
With unboxing videos starting to trend more on social media it is vital to review the unboxing/unwrapping experience. Making it easy to open is vital, sit back and think about what tools your customer has to open the parcel (remember they are most likely unwrapping this in their living room), would they have access to a safe option? If in doubt try it out yourself, go and get a kitchen knife and try cutting your parcel open, only don’t do this at work because I can almost guarantee you’ll be breaking health & safety rules! If in doubt add in a quick easy and convenient tear opening strip.
Also think about taking your customer on a journey through the packaging, consider a series of cardboard flaps each printed with a message hide the product from view until the last flap is raised. It will set the mood of excitement and add that bit extra to your brand that sets it apart from the rest.
- 2. Match your Packaging to your Online Brand:
Take a few moments to review your online brand; bold images, catchy headlines, and carefully planned customer journeys all created by gifted designers. But how does this compare with the tangible product delivery?
A few months ago one of my sisters got married and her bridesmaid, as they do, splashed out a little on a dress which (subject to individual preference) was quite nice. After ordering it online and paying £800 she sat and waited impatiently for three days for the delivery to come. Sometime around midweek during the afternoon a battered looking bag arrived with mucky scuff marks and a tear in the corner, a rather apprehensive ‘bridesmaid to be’ tore open the top of the bag and looked down to an £800 order screwed up in the bottom of the bag.
Was that expected? No…the tangible delivery was a far cry from the glamour of the online brand and she was flabbergasted. So ask yourself, ‘is there consistency between my online brand and the physical delivery of my products?’
- 3. Remember Printing Technology has now reached the Digital Age!
Did you know full colour high impact images and multi-version prints are being jetted on corrugated cardboard at fantastic speeds with no origination costs? Digital print is an enabler of point 2 above, allowing you to create high impact packaging at a fraction of the cost of old methods.
Break out into the world of digitally printed packaging that offers unique flexibility and creativity never before experienced in the printed packaging market. This new shift in printing methods also allows multiple versions to be printed in the same run; now you can surprise your customers with a fresh new look packaging every time they order!
- 4. Interact with your Customer by using Messages:
Look for opportunities to write your customer a message that strengthens your brand and creates a happy mood, remember your customer is going to be excited at their latest delivery and your tone needs to reflect this. Even just a ‘Thank You’, ‘Happy Easter’, or ‘Have a Great Holiday’ message can strengthen the customer experience and include the company brand in their excitement.
Remember with digital printing you can change your message throughout the year to respond to public holidays, seasons, and even the latest news.
- 5. Interact using Social Media links and tags:
Think about opportunities for social media sharing, could you use a branded hashtag which ties into your wider marketing strategies/initiatives? What about driving higher shares with a competition or prize draw? Does sharing mean the customer gets to be featured somewhere on site or in a hall of fame etc?
The physical delivery of the product is the optimum point to recruit ambassadors for your brand, they are hyped up, excited and think their new purchase is great, it only takes a small push in the right direction to get them sharing this experience with their friends.
- 6. Add Value to Online Delivery Packaging
There are many opportunities to add value to your branded packaging, designing them as a reusable gift box not only makes them more environmentally friendly but also keeps your brand in the limelight for months after. Reversible gift packaging is a great low cost option that your customer can turn inside out and use instead of messing around with wrapping paper and sticky tape. Box bags are ideal for Click and Collect, they incorporate a handle just like a carrier bag to make them easy to carry around with other shopping.
Take a few minutes to have a think and jot down a few ideas that would help your customer do something easier in their lives, then try and incorporate that into your packaging.
The UK eCommerce market is fast becoming saturated by low cost competition and it’s time to make that change that will set you apart, just like brick and mortar stores that sprung up to compete with door to door salesmen so eCommerce needs to evolve to develop a great customer experience at the point of physical delivery.