Custom packaging: it’s one of the biggest steps you can take as a subscription business, but it can also feel incredibly daunting. From the design process to the costs you face with custom plates and dies (the tools for making boxes, which can run in the thousands), many first time business owners are tempted to put off the cost or simply make due with standard boxes, perhaps using ink pads and stamping boxes as part of the packing process.
While this can shield you from a process and expense for a short time, custom packaging ultimately will reinforce your brand, increase conversion rates on your website, and provide for a more superior customer experience. In the medium-long run, custom packaging is a no brainer, and we suggest you make the commitment sooner rather than later.
What is Custom Subscription Box Printing & Packaging?
Custom packaging used in this context relates to the physical box used for your subscription business. This is the box you ship your items in – whether thats a single shipping box, a shipping box and custom interior box, or both custom shipping and customer interior box. In all these cases, custom packaging is directly part of the customer experience – this is what your subscribers have in their hands when the mail finally arrives.
Without getting into the design process itself, here are four areas to focus on when developing your custom packaging. Because of the costs and labor behind getting custom packaging, it’s critical to spend ample time developing the core ideas, concepts, and call to actions on your packaging. Make your box iconic!
1. Reinforce Branding
At the foundational level, be sure to create a clear, cohesive relationship between your box and your overall branding. This should include colors, fonts, and standard design elements you use on a regular basis. While not all of these need to be incorporated, artfully weave a connection between the branding your subscribers see on a regular basis (like on social media or in marketing) and the branding displayed on your boxes.
2. Having Multiple Call to Actions
Part of the beauty of a physical delivery is that with packaging, you’re able to capture attention for greater lengths of time. That means you can include more than one “call to action” to subscribers.
First, encourage subscribers to connect with you on social media, and depending on the size of your box, you can likely include both social icons and whole urls, such as “facebook.com/yourcompany.” Dedicate some box space to this and make the call to action clear: “Join our community” or “Follow us on…”. Remember that the more connection your community has with your brand, the better and more loyal the relationship is.
Next, consider leveraging the box in a contest or giveaway, perhaps by requiring subscribers to share “unboxing” photos with #yourcompany on social media. This adds to customer experience by contributing value to the subscription and it’s great for creating customer evangelists who generate content around your brand. Whether its lifetime subscriptions or whole vacations, a monthly contest that uses your box as the medium or “ticket” engages subscribers in a unique call to action.
3. Foster Authenticity
Custom packaging also allows for the opportunity to display authenticity; it can be a place for a mission statement, iconography of standards, and commitments by your company. For example, if you exclusively source from small businesses, only use products that are vegan, or donate 1% of our profits, consider explaining or showing that on your packaging. Maybe have a message from your founders on why the business was created. Your packaging is a great opportunity to make a deeper connection with customers.
4. Put the Box Itself to Work
Depending on your niche, you may be able to use the box in some unique way, creating a more visceral experience for customers. Perhaps the cardboard is used as a canvas or you encourage subscribers to reuse the box as a ready made planter because you use vegetable based inks. This could connect with your giveaway, or could remain as a stand alone feature of your box. Ask yourself: How can you give your packaging an interesting afterlife?
Custom Packaging a Worthy Investment
With well-thought out, well executed packaging, you’re able to connect and inspire subscribers on new levels. You’re also able to develop and produce more compelling marketing content and create a more cohesive brand experience for customers. While the costs can be steep up front, inquire with manufacturers about spreading the costs overtimes. Just with the slight increase in conversion rates on marketing and slight decrease in churn (due to better customer experience), you may find that custom packaging pays off quickly!