How packaging can enhance customer experience to help high street retailers

Adding a little luxury to packaging can help to bring shoppers back to high streets as e-commerce booms

E-commerce has boomed in recent years. Accelerated through the pandemic, as shops were forced to shut their doors, e-commerce now makes up more than a quarter (27.6%) of the UK’s retail sales, according to the ONS. 

The ease and convenience online shopping offers means it retained a strong share of the market even as lockdowns were lifted and shops reopened. Now traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers need to compete, in the face of fast-rising overheads and changing consumer habits. For many, offering their customers experiential shopping is key to this. Packaging can play an important, and valuable, part in this.

Understanding the purpose of packaging

The purpose and benefits of packaging extend far beyond simply protecting goods. It can also contribute to the customer experience, enhance marketing messages or demonstrate the retailer’s values and environmental commitments, such as through recycled or recyclable packaging

Technology, fashion and beauty brands are increasingly turning to one of the same tactics long used by luxury brands – high-end packaging. 

Going from products thrown into a generic bag, to products wrapped and packaged in sturdy, branded bags not only extends a brands visibility, but shows shoppers their custom is valued. It extends and enhances the customer service, and gives shoppers a greater feeling of value for money.

Where e-commerce has been supported by the huge growth in social media usage, in-person retail can also translate back to social media sharing. Just as e-commerce brands position their products and offer immediate access to their shops via social platforms and influencers, bricks and mortar retailers can use packaging to encourage buyers to ‘unbox’ and share their purchases on socials.

Of course, branded packaging is also important for e-commerce purchases too. And it arguably has to work harder here, delivering enhanced product protection for the delivery process.

Retailers across a range of sectors are also creating a point of difference through reusable packaging. Refillable packaging is allowing retailers and consumers alike to reduce their resource usage, as well as making it essential for shoppers to visit stores in-person. This is being used for everything from coffee beans in supermarkets to luxury brand lipsticks in department stores.

Developing packaging that delivers a range of benefits – both for protecting products, promoting brands and supporting customer experience – will help retailers to keep customers coming back for more.

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