In addition to being the pinnacle of convenience, eCommerce offers brands a potentially advantageous touch point that often eludes the brick-and-mortar shopping experience: the package. What many businesses miss out on is an opportunity to create a singular customer experience, instead opting to ship orders in plain brown boxes, polybags and other sufficient, yet unremarkable packaging. According to Dotcom Distribution, 40% of shoppers would make repeat purchases from a brand that uses premium packaging. The bottom line? Well, that’s precisely what’s likely to improve; upgrading to branded tissue paper can attract more customers and spur sales.
A key benefit of branded, premier packaging is that it plays into the unboxing video trend, where people record themselves opening a package and share the process with friends and followers. NOVA Next reported that the number of YouTube videos with the word “unboxing” in the title increased 871% from 2010 to 2017. This strong-growing trend presents an opportunity for brands to extend their reach. By upgrading the look and feel of the unboxing process, brands can further incentivize customers to share the experience, while adding branded elements to the packaging ensures that any emotional responses are attached to your business.
To further quantify the specific benefits of adding decorative tissue paper to eCommerce packaging, Seaman Paper enlisted the help of Package InSight—the experts on all things packaging—to evaluate the effects of certain types of materials. By examining the emotional responses of 120 Clemson University enthusiasts, this study sought to determine if decorative tissue paper in eCommerce packaging creates a premium brand identity and memorable consumer experience.
In the first phase of the study, participants were given a package with the same handmade Clemson Tiger Paw. Participants were recruited from the community surrounding Clemson University, so the item was specially curated to appeal to Clemson enthusiasts, ensuring that the product inside the box elicited the same emotional response, so as not to interfere with the data. The variable in this study was the interior packaging elements. Each participant received one of the following:
Upon opening the package, emotion-mapping software was used to evaluate responses, ultimately determining the differences in the participants’ reactions depending on what type of packaging they received.
For the second phase, Package InSight contacted the participants over the course of three months to gauge how their feelings about their experience evolved. Each person was asked several brief questions surrounding their opinions on the brand based on what they remembered about opening the package after 30, 60 or 90 days had passed. Results were then compared to see which materials were more memorable after these time periods.
The final results of the study determined that branded tissue paper yielded a more positive emotional response and better retention than other packaging materials. Participants who received a tissue-clad tiger paw also perceived it as being of higher quality and holding more value than those who received the paw secured with air pillows or Kraft void-fill.
Tissue paper packaging caused the most positive emotions for the longest amount of time. Branded tiger paw tissue elicited 47% more positive emotions than its nearest competitor at the moment participants opened the packages, proving that this form of packaging is ideal when the goal is to immediately “wow” customers. Analysis using the emotion-mapping software revealed that customers who received packages with tiger paw tissue felt the most joy (63%), and those received white tissue paper felt the most surprise (14%). This means that both kinds of tissue paper – branded and solid white – are more likely to create positive emotions during the entire interaction than Kraft void-fill or air pillows. In light of these results, it’s clear that brands interested in exciting their customers are served well to include tissue paper in their interior packaging.
While tissue paper causes people to experience more positive emotions, it also leads to better retention of the package and its contents. Like a fine wine, tissue paper got better with age, as respondents who received tissue-clad products were able to describe their packages more accurately. They also recalled more positive emotions after 60 and 90 days than those who received air pillows and void-fill.
In the age of social media, consumers can instantly share their experiences and opinions of brands to multitudes of followers, and the right packaging can compel them to do so. Two of three respondents said they’d be more likely to share pictures of products wrapped in tissue paper on social media, proving how much appearance factor into a package’s “shareworthiness.”
Branded or not, in this study, tissue paper created a perception of higher quality than other materials. In fact, most respondents in the void fill groups reported that the material had no effect on their overall experience. Eighty-six percent (86%) of participants said their overall impression of a brand was increased when package contents were wrapped in tissue paper, as it gave the impression that the brand cares. In this regard, tissue paper can serve an important role, as an integral part of maintaining customer satisfaction is keeping their trust. Something as simple as wrapping items in branded tissue paper—as opposed to stuffing packages with air pillows or void fill—can mean the difference between scoring a one-time buyer and securing a repeat customer.
When it comes to consumer purchases, regardless of industry, value is a key determinant of where people decide to spend their money. Understanding this, and knowing that participants in this study believed the package contents wrapped in tissue paper to be of higher value than those who received other materials—a 24% higher price estimation, on average, in fact—upgrading should be a no-brainer. For those who need more convincing, branded tissue paper was emphasized as a positive factor in the unboxing experience two-to-four times as much as other materials. Unsurprisingly, respondents who received tissue-clad packages were more likely to gift the item to friends and family than the void-fill groups did.
In today’s competitive online shopping climate, with just a few key strokes, consumers can gain access to almost any information they want about a brand, frequently from previous customers. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of shoppers follow this research process before making a purchase, which is why it’s vital to do everything in your power to ensure the information being shared is positive. By upgrading eCommerce packaging, retailers can create an exciting, memorable experience, reinforcing a brand image that results in positive recommendations and repeat purchases from satisfied customers.