Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Business Chat - Packaging

So you made a fabulous necklace, it's gorgeous! It's stunning! It's beautiful! It's expensive!

Scene A: You've shot a series of fabulous photos, listed it online for a lot of money and wham, it sells! Oh boy! You celebrate the sale, dawdle around and a few days later remember to mail it out. You shove the necklace in a bubble mailer and send it.

Scene B: You've taken it to a craft show and put it on your table, someone has fallen madly in love with it (and you!) and given you money for it! You take the money (oh boy, someone has paid real money for your work!) and you pop the necklace in a ziploc baggy and hand it to her.

In scene B since you're present for the sale you'll be able to see her face fall. In scene A, when the customer opens her mailbox, grabs the envelope, you aren't around to see her disappointment when she opens the package.

Your customer isn't disappointed in the necklace, however, she may love it a little less (and love you a little less) because the fabulousness of the work has not been continued. You have missed a golden opportunity to make the customer feel special. Packaging says something about you, your product and your business. It is one of the best opportunities you have to communicate with your customers and remind them why they should be shopping with you instead of somewhere else. Offering outstanding packaging can promote repeat business for your shop.

The most important aspect of packaging is to make sure that it is consistent with your brand. This means that it has to look like your work. Since you've sold an expensive necklace in this example, your package should reflect this. A ziploc baggy doesn't say oh, this is definitely worth a lot of money, it says cheap, quick, couldn't be bothered doing anything else and don't care. If you're making $10 hemp/wooden bead necklaces then sure, a ziploc would be okay. Although I would add a sticker to the bag first with my company name on it.

Speaking of stickers and company names, you should ALWAYS include your company name and contact information in the package. Make it easy for the customer to find you again and buy more. If this is given as a gift, can the recipient find you? A business card will do or you can get more creative. For online orders a lot of businesses send a small freebie.

A "freebie" is a small item that you include with a package at no additional cost. Freebies aren't something that is required to make your packaging outstanding, but they sure can help your buyer get excited about their shipment and remember their overall experience shopping with you. Think about including freebies with your packages like a promo button, a mini sample of something else you sell, a coupon or two that encourages them to come shopping with you again (or get their friends to check you out), or something small and useful that they can use again.

When mailing a package you should always include a handwritten note, even 2 little words, Thank You! This small touch shows that you are a real person and you care. You can also tell them any additional information about the item, such as care instructions. Including a note is another chance to get creative with details, so think about how well it fits with the overall look of your package.

Let's talk about what your package should look like. It should look like you. If you were buying your necklace, what would you like to see? If the necklace is a classic, conservative and expensive then a chinese take-out box (cute as they are) isn't a good fit. If you're making less expensive work, then a gold box with gilt ribbon isn't a good fit. Play with lots of different packages. Add ribbons, use confetti, use rubber stamps, try making your own evelopes out of recycled comics (if that fits, and hey, it's green and cheap!). Make your packaging as truly unique as you, your products and your business are.

Packaging supplies can be found just about anywhere. Here's a few of the bigger suppliers online, it's by no means all of them, just ones that have been recommended to me. If you have a good source of creative packaging, pass it on and add it as a comment. If you have fantastic packaging that you're super proud of why not show it off? Blog about it and then add a link here as a comment. Show it off people, you work hard at this stuff!

  • Dollar stores
  • For shipping supplies such as bubble mailers -

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