The value of packaging

tiffanyWith the holiday season here, I’ve been doing my fair share of gift shopping for friends and family members. One theme I’ve been noticing, particularly this year, is just how few retailers care about the entire retail experience. I can get why a discount retailer, or some sale site may not believe it’s worthwhile to spend a couple extra bucks on ensuring the little details are attended to, but I cannot understand just how many companies—many of them not value brands by any means—completely overlook the experience after purchase.

Nearly every store I visited this year were “out of boxes” (which I believe more accurately translates to “we don’t actually order any boxes for customers because we don’t want to be bothered with the extra expense, especially when we give them out for free”). And because none of them stand out in this regard, each misses out on a major opportunity to create a better experience for their customer. Consumers spend money for a lot of reasons. But customer loyalty serves to differentiate and adds value to a purchase. This value translates into increased revenues.

Tiffany’s diamonds are the same diamonds sold at Costco. But Tiffany’s is selling an experience: a memory. They wrap this memory into a package that people will pay 2 or 3 times the amount of a diamond sold elsewhere. But what if you have a better product but a customer’s interaction with it is inferior? Despite the product’s superiority, most customers will devalue it. You don’t want your product devalued. It has a direct correlation to your brand.

Closely watch someone open a delicately wrapped gift you give them this year. There’s drama to it. There’s excitement. There is anticipation. That feeling is worth something. It’s worth getting it right.

Perhaps this is just me frustrated that I need to find about a dozen boxes for gifts this year. But if a store doesn’t care about ensuring my gifts elicit an emotional experience, however fleeting, why should I be loyal to them?

(Photo by atl10trader)

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