Convenience is King in an ‘Effortless’ Economy

More customers are demanding and actively seeking renewable and reusable, fiber-based packaging materials Image courtesy of Filtrona Tapes.

How Packaging Choices Shape the Customer Experience

By Christopher Morgan, Global Sales Director at Filtrona Tapes

Seamless, frictionless customer journeys are not a fad that’s “here today and gone tomorrow;” they’re more “here today and here to stay.”

For retail success — now and in the future — convenience is the new currency. To meet consumers’ expectations for “always-on” and “effortless,” retailers must meet their customers wherever they want to shop and on the terms they wish to purchase.

Retail executives intuitively know that while price remains important, consumers now prioritize a convenient online shopping experience. They seek out and stay loyal to retailers who are easy to shop with. They require retail services to fit around their busy lifestyles, and that means, above all else, shopping online must be effortless from start to finish.

As we enter this post-store era, the brands that will succeed will break these boundaries and make commerce as easily evocable as possible by customers, wherever they are and in the moments that matter.

From media, creative and customer relationship management (CRM), all the way to how the supply chain is managed to compete on fulfillment and delivery, brands need to apply a commerce mindset in every area of their operations and make as much of their output as immediately and conveniently shoppable as possible to minimize the friction buyers may experience throughout their journey.

Every moment matters

Taking commerce beyond the store and evolving it from a moment into a relationship requires injecting an understanding of human motivations, needs and actions into every aspect of how a brand expresses its differentiation, how it generates interest, how it operates its business and how it enables customer experiences through people and technology.

While there are many things you should do to make your business more customer-focused, few are more important than maximizing the convenience you can offer to consumers — especially right now. In the long run, convenience may decide your ability to grow your business.

Ease of opening has long been a packaging concern for many consumers. Any discerning pack specifier or brand will know that packaging should never be a frustrating barrier to a product. Even when opening a special occasion gift or an exciting online order, the initial buzz can quickly turn to exasperation with a seemingly impenetrable package.

That’s why having the right packaging that provides easy consumer access and durability is essential to the modern e-commerce experience.

Next to your product, your packaging is the most important part of your brand. It takes a lot of time to build relationships with suppliers, tailor your packaging to suit your product, factor in sales channels, design your brand image, review prototypes and schedule line time with manufacturers. Using good quality, well-designed and easy-to-use packaging that ensures goods get from A to B and back again, by whatever circuitous route, can greatly reduce the damaging impact of returns on business and the environment.

Whether you’re shipping mailers or corrugate boxes, there are two features you can build into them to make opening and returns easy: A sealing tape that allows quick and easy access without the need for tools or knives or risking damaging the product; and liners that enable customers to reuse your mailer for returns.

Packaging tape can reduce waste, enhance product protection, contribute to an easy opening experience and simplify returns. Image courtesy of Filtrona Tapes.

Convenience by design

Balancing the needs of the business with the needs of the people creates a “culture of convenience,” which allows your consumers to have a convenient experience when they buy goods or services from your company.

With only a middling level of affluence, online service has rewired our brains to believe everything needs no trouble. Today, we are still in a retail dynamic where all efforts and investments are funneled into making that first sale. Little investment and responsibility are taken for what happens after that.

Consider, too, the challenges our convenience culture is placing on our environment. Shoppers are now used to the convenience of endless choices, speedy deliveries and seamless returns, all of which previously came at a high environmental cost.

Circularity is primarily a consequence of the decisions made at the packaging design stage. Waste and pollution should be seen through the lens of design flaws rather than an inevitable result of manufacturing. Replacing the problem plastics in packaging with completely renewable fiber-based materials is the sustainable alternative consumers are both demanding and actively seeking. By circulating material over and over, we can keep materials in use, design out waste and regenerate natural systems by reducing pressure on forests.

For now, though, another question surpasses all other considerations. How do we join the dots between seemingly disparate customer demands, sustainability, functionality and value?

Achieving this requires a careful approach to product selection. Choosing the right secondary packaging that balances brands’ environmental goals while providing customers with more circular curbside recyclable packaging options will show which companies are truly worth their sustainable salt.

Innovation in convenience

Retailers must create a new customer proposition centered on sustainability to move away from a throwaway culture. The good news is that consumers — particularly those from younger generations — proactively want to shop with brands dedicated to embedding sustainable practices into their operations. And the personal touches of an unforgettable unboxing experience can provide a great customer experience and grow repeat conversions.

Your website, store pages, social channels and ads will only reach a certain number of people. The trick to growing beyond that boundary and increasing conversions is turning to another source of photos, kind words and shared posts. A source of user-generated content. An unforgettable unboxing experience.

When creating your unboxing experience, try putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. You sell your product and know it better than anyone, but how should the customer feel when it finally arrives?

When your product arrives in a pristine box, perfectly designed to slide open with your product sitting pretty inside — don’t underestimate the impact that can have on your brand.

As an online business, you’ll likely never meet your customers, and your only real connection is your product arriving at their door. By creating something unique, you help bridge that gap and help customers enjoy a more memorable experience.

If you’ve taken the time and effort to tailor your product and packaging, your customers will see and value this, creating loyal customers who shout about what you’ve sent. And it doesn’t need to cost the earth to create your unboxing experience. A selection as simple as choosing a tape can enhance brand communication and protection, bolster consumer convenience and contribute to an unforgettable opening experience.

Delivering convenience requires a proactive mindset that anticipates your customers’ changing needs. You can eliminate friction points by ensuring that your entire team is fully engaged in improving the customer experience. A more enjoyable and streamlined process will ultimately benefit everyone, making life easier for your customers while reducing your workload.

Post-click operations should seamlessly deliver your brand message with a strong alignment between marketing and operational components to support frictionless execution. Retailers today need to win at this idea of delivering an effortless economy and providing a seamless omnichannel journey and a competitive customer experience.

Whether your brand is premium or value-led, it stands to significantly benefit from return-ready, memorable, true-to-brand packaging solutions that drive sales and improve recall.

About The Author

Christopher Morgan is a results-driven and customer-focused packaging executive with extensive experience in building thriving and profitable relationships with recognized consumer product companies and printers. Morgan has broad-based general management experience with strengths in sales management, international sales, customer service, quality management, manufacturing operations and overall company/facility P/L responsibility. Learn more at www.filtrona.com/tapes.

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