Global retail online sales have increased steadily since 2010, and 2016 was a year of all-time records, with a reported 1.4 billion people shopping online. Today China, the US and the UK together account for 68% of total global online retail turnover.
In the UK, the average online consumer spent the equivalent of $4,000 online on goods and/or services, putting the country at the top of the league table in terms of average spending per shopper.
Black Friday shopping
In 2016 online sales for the Black Friday hit a new record with $3.34 billion in purchases, up 21.6% on the previous year. Over $1 billion of these were mobile transactions, making Black Friday the first day in retail history to drive such revenue in mobile devices.
Opinions are divided as to what the future holds for online retail. Some analysts and experts believe that 2017 will mark an important stage in the sector development with clear signs that the e-commerce market is reaching maturity.
There’s one thing on which all pundits agree: whether your business is online, in physical stores, or both, all retailers and brands face similar challenges. Shoppers now expect products to be available when they want them, easily ordered and paid for, delivered to where they want them, and all in a matter of hours.
For the most part, e-retailers seem to be doing a good job of satisfying this unending appetite. It’s no secret that some packaging has been subject to criticism, making it a real and pressing challenge for a good number of brands.
packaging in the age of social media
As with any other route to the customer, there are two distinct roles for packaging: to preserve and protect, as well as to sell and inform. However, are online shoppers different from conventional / offline ones? Do online shoppers care about the external look and feel of packaging in the same way that bricks-&-mortar shoppers do? How much does packaging in the age of social media influence a purchasing decision?
We know that packaging is capable not only of inspiring a purchase by the targeted consumer, but also of creating a ripple effect. Take unboxing – a phenomenon that has exploded on social media where shoppers upload YouTube videos of themselves unwrapping of their latest purchase, or share snaps of their most recent find on Instagram or Pinterest with the sole purpose of make viewers drool.
“Packaging was routinely mentioned in the comments, and is likely one of the few things you’ll remember about the video after two days. It was an important component of the overall experience.” Packaging Digest
As an animated reel of product reviews, these unscripted clips and candid photographs have become the modern day version of word of mouth, leaving a lasting imprint in the mind of the consumer and reaching millions of potential shoppers around the world.
E-commerce packaging that sells
Our experience in working with global brands with online presence has taught us that there are four elements which need to be considered when designing packaging for e-commerce:
- Go all-out on robust engineering: e-commerce requires packaging that is more robust, where interior components are held more firmly to reduce shifting or damage during delivery.
- Pay special attention to closures: designing packaging that delivers a sensual opening experience is only half the story. Many items that are bought online are destined to be returned by the customer. Is your beautifully engineered product packaging suitable for the returns process?
- Ensure they look good on camera: does your gift-pack look good on video? Is the colour palette of your design photogenic enough?
- Make them gift-ready: it’s very easy to come up with unique shapes and sizes, but is the shopper going to have a hard time gift-wrapping your beautiful creations?
With 2.5 billion people connected to the Internet and online shopping set to become an established trend in the retail world, more brands are investing in creating a memorable product experience which leaves their online customers delighted and keen to share via their favourite social networks.
So if your goal is to reach new segments of your market via e-commerce, then why not give us a call to discuss how we can help you get the packaging right.