Five ways you can use product packaging as a marketing strategy

Looking for clever ideas to attract more attention and boost sales of your products? Discover five ways your product packaging can help!

If you produce physical products, how much thought have you given to your packaging? Do you simply see it as something functional – just there to get your product safely in the hands of your customer? Or do you treat it as an extension of your brand, ensuring it looks just right?

Have you ever considered your packaging as an extension of your sales team? If it’s sold in-store, your packaging needs to attract attention and give potential buyers all the information they need to make a purchase (including liking the look of your brand).

If you’re an online retailer, packaging can help to break down the physical barriers between the customer and your brand – and help them to feel more connected with you.

Five ways you can use product packaging as a marketing strategy

So how can you use your packaging as an opportunity to boost your marketing strategy (and encourage more sales) – without spending a fortune? Here are five ways brands are redefining what it means to think ‘outside the box’ (sorry!).

1) Be ‘Insta-worthy’

Doing something that stands out from the competition can motivate your customers to market your products for you naturally through their social media channels and blogs.

For example, online retailer of luxury eco-friendly beauty products, Reina Organics, uses packaging that makes it feel as though your parcel is actually a present.

Similarly, deliveries from The White T-Shirt Co arrive in a sleek, slim-line format which hints at their ethical standards, and which customers feel proud to share with their networks.

2) Go eco-friendly

If any aspect of your business has an eco-friendly angle to it, it’s well worth sourcing biodegradable, minimal or reusable packaging to support and champion that fact.

Not only is this a great selling point to the growing number of people who disagree with plastic and other types of waste, it’s another reason for customers to share their purchases (and your credentials) with their connections.

For example, Bodhi and Birch’s box stuffing can be reused as mulch, and the brand has been careful to ensure the shredded material is attractive enough for social sharing.

Bonus points to brands who engage with customers by liking, replying to and reposting their endorsements.

Viridian, an ethical vitamins company, uses glass bottles which you can return for recycling in exchange for a partial refund. Alongside all of the other ethical plus points featured on the packaging, customers are not only happy to purchase the product, but readily show their love for the brand on social media too.

3) Take ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ to the next level

Even if consumers make the time to separate your packaging for recycling, the process still uses valuable energy and resources on some perfectly good boxes and filling materials.

Every employee orders products online, so why not pool together and gather up packaging you’ve all received from other businesses and make a point of reusing it wherever possible?

For example, reusable products brand Wrap Revolution helps to reduce their use of resources, their carbon footprint and their costs by truly living and breathing their brand values, gaining exposure in the process.

4) Get timely

Brainstorm some creative ways to shake up your packaging to give old products a makeover and renew customer interest.

Novelty appeal like seasonal, or otherwise limited edition packaging, is a great way to do this – as Pai Skincare did for one of its bestselling products in Christmas 2015.

5) Think smart

For mail orders you can use custom packaging to reduce or even completely eliminate the need for promotional inserts.

For example, retailers like The Detox Market print some of their key USPs directly onto the inside of their box lids. They even use this space to provide their web address.

You could consider taking this one step further and print a discount code here to encourage repeat purchases, or run exclusive competitions where entrants have to share an image of their order to be eligible to win.

How can you use packaging as a marketing strategy?

So how can you use packaging to turbocharge your marketing strategy? Here are some ideas:

  • Make it so beautiful your customers will want to photograph and share it.
  • Choose packaging that fits (and reflects) your business or ecological values.
  • Encourage customers to re-use your packaging – giving more exposure to your branding.
  • Use your packaging as an opportunity to convey important messages.
  • Make your packaging more special by changing it for important occasions.

If you really want to be clever, you’ll test and track the effectiveness of different types of packaging so, over time, you can learn what your customers respond to best.

To do this, use website landing pages, or even telephone numbers which are unique to your packaging, and track their engagement and conversion rates using Google Analytics and call tracking software from providers like Mediahawk.

Not only can you re-engage existing customers and drive additional sales using these methods, you can fully attribute your leads and figure out what works best at driving repeat sales and marketing reach.