Not Another Brown Box!

…Ignite brand loyalty with powerful, positive postal packaging

Although most shops are now open again, increased online shopping is a seed change that’s likely to stay. With this in mind, we’re highlighting some influencing factors brands should consider when creating their postal packaging. These steps can help to imprint a positive brand experience, leaving customers wanting more.

If you have existing postal packaging, now is a great time to refresh it, to stay ahead of new competitors entering your category, and in response to consumers’ heightened sensitivity around product safety.


Outer packaging can be part of the overall brand experience and used as a way to extend joy and excitement. What scope is there for personalising your packaging?

Even if your box is brown, there’s still lots of opportunity to include design features on the outer, as well as inner packaging. Subtle, or not so subtle details and messaging can be great way of expressing your brand and communicating values.

Easy to open

Does the recipient have to open their parcel in a particular way? How can the design communicate this clearly, or intuitively lead them to it?

Easy-open perforated strips and seals can minimise frustration when a package arrives. We all know that having to get the scissors out can be annoying!

There are also some clever design tricks that make fulfilment quick and easy, such as allowing space on outer packaging for address labels to be put straight onto a box etc.

Emotionally connected

Great packaging makes an emotional connection with your customer. What is the first thing they see, and how will they feel when they open their package? Does it delight, intrigue, surprise?

Consider including: vouchers, promotions, mini-brochures, time-limited offers or reward customers with free samples and unexpected mini-gifts.

A great postal experience is addictive. It leaves the customer wanting more, and looking forward to placing their next order.

Where relevant to your brand, you may want to align with a charity or worthy cause so customers’ feel like they’re doing good or paying back. How can this be communicated through your packaging?

The theatre around ‘opening’ a parcel will be more appropriate for high value items and premium brands.

Budget items, or brands with a sustainable basis may need to ensure they don’t go overboard on the amount of packaging, or additional materials as this could conflict with their values and have a negative brand impact.

Eagerly anticipated

Online shopping can be as exciting, if not more so than in-store shopping as it builds anticipation. Scientific research has proven that dopamine is released when our brain receives a reward. This same reaction is also triggered when we anticipate receiving a reward (e.g. after we have placed an order online and then have to wait for it to arrive). Great communication can harness and build upon this anticipation and excitement.

Contact with customers, as part of the ordering process is also an opportunity to reinforce core brand values.

Use multiple, relevant communication channels such as: email, SMS messaging, or maybe even phone calls for high value items where a more personal touch is required.

Good communications strengthen brand loyalty. Being friendly, honest and keeping your customer updated exceeds expectations rather than leaving them in the dark about when they can expect their delivery. This is particularly important now, when lead times could be longer than normal, due to the pandemic affecting supply chains and delivery services.

Robust & perceived ‘safe’

It goes without saying that packaging should be fit for purpose i.e. it should contain and transport your goods safely. Robustness should be ‘designed’ in to packaging, where appropriate. If you’re selling products online for the first time, this may mean re-thinking and investing more in your packaging to minimise the possibility of damage occurring during transit.

The pandemic has also heightened awareness of product safety. Although this mindset may not stick around long term, product packaging in the meantime should offer reassurances it is at low-risk from contamination, and product/s are being handled minimally.

Sensitively sustainable

Sensitivity around sustainable packaging has become inbuilt into our national syce and should be considered, particularly for brands with a strong sustainability ethos. Although there is a temporary need to balance this with consumers’ increased desire for perceived ‘safe’ packaging!

Clever design can reduce unnecessary packaging and there are a wide range of sustainable materials and options to choose from, for all types of packaging. Good design takes into consideration materials used and what this will communicate about your brand.

Reliably delivered

The experience of receiving and opening your product/s should echo your core brand values.

Who you pick to deliver your goods is an important consideration, as delivery is part of the overall customer experience.

You can’t account for the odd rogue individual who mis-handles your products. But packaging should be designed to be robust and offer adequate protection during transit.

Pay attention to online reviews in terms of receipt and delivery services as well as product satisfaction, if parcels are frequently going missing, or damaged upon delivery then consider switching your delivery/courier partner. Although you can’t control the actions of third parties they will still be perceived as part of the overall shopping experience and is therefore are a brand touch point, by default.

Consider how you deal efficiently with complaints and non-deliveries. If you are cutting out wholesalers and handling distribution for the first time, you should be geared up to deal with all customer queries relating to your delivery services.

All wrapped up

A customer experiences your brand from the moment they first come into contact with your products (online), to receiving them. So whether it’s their first, multiple or last purchase from you; making the right impression throughout the online delivery process it critical.

Their experience, be it a positive or negative, will have an onward effect i.e. how they feel, talk about and endorse your products to friends, family and colleagues. Consider how you can shift your customers’ mindset to seeing your delivery as exciting, and not just another brown box!

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