This extract is from Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash’s latest eBook “The Brick-and-Mortar Arms Race: Omnichannel expectations that are shaping the storefront.”
In a world where the seamless end-to-end customer journey is at the forefront of a successful retail business, it’s clear that packaging is far more than just poly mailers and cardboard cutouts protecting products.
Check out this example of an unboxing video below or look up the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit.
This e-commerce fulfillment strategy is known as fulfillment marketing, and besides the potential for more impressions and influencer deals, there’s more to a customized packaging strategy than meets the eye.
By using the right hashtags on social media platforms, brands can achieve an unbelievable amount of exposure for their products—and how they are packaged. The famous TikTok hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has racked up over 6.6 billion views on the app, making it a powerful tool to drive brand discovery.
In a traditional retail setting, a trip to a brick-and-mortar store is full of anticipation and delight. There’s the moment of walking through the entrance and being surrounded by hundreds of products, as well as friendly sales associates, signage and visuals to help pave the path to purchase.
In e-commerce, it isn’t as easy to provide such a tangible experience for consumers who are ordering products directly to their homes. But with fulfillment marketing, brands can bridge that ‘experience gap’ in a way that brings the essence of brick-and-mortar storytelling to D2C fulfillment.
So, what does bridging the gap between online and in-store experiences look like?
But none of these strategies are isolated to e-commerce or the storefront. Product samples are no longer reserved for customers meandering through store aisles but can be added to customer orders based on their purchasing history. And while custom packaging is typically thought of within the context of home delivery, it can take pride of place within the in-store experience. Think of branded shopping bags, custom tissue, and free samples to enjoy at home.
Fulfillment marketing is one of the most powerful ways to get ahead in the brick-and-mortar arms race. No matter whether a customer sets foot in a physical store or purchases a product via Instagram, well-thought-out packaging and collateral make the experience feel more personal and cohesive—like a close friend giving a gift, rather than that distant relative who knows nothing about you.
For emerging brands, custom packaging can be a significant investment and tricky to implement into the fulfillment process independently. Without the expertise of a 3PL who specializes in value-added services and custom fulfillment, orders may end up looking worse off than they did before.
To create a hassle-free implementation, brands need to have all of their ducks in a row before jumping into the fulfillment marketing space. This means developing a clear goal for customized packaging and providing the appropriate assets to their 3PL or retail partners.
When done well, fulfillment marketing can quickly become a merchant’s greatest superpower. Unboxing is, after all, the only guaranteed interaction in the post-purchase space.
Enjoyed this extract? Check out the rest of our eBook on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped consumer expectations for fluid retail journeys: