Thinking Outside the “Box”: How to Optimize Buyer Retention with Improved Packaging

Phil Forbes
October 25, 2018 ·
Thinking Outside the “Box”: How to Optimize Buyer Retention with Improved Packaging

Buyer retention has always been an overlooked part of marketing.

And it’s probably where your business is missing out.

Anyone that’s done any kind of marketing can tell you that most strategies are focused on getting new customers.

Find a customer that has a problem, put your solution in front of them, and let them do the rest.

PPC advertisements, retargeting, SEO, content marketing, it all focuses on getting the attention of someone that’s never heard of you.

All too often though, retailers overlook some of the lowest hanging fruit – figuratively speaking.

The fact is that people who have bought from you in the past are 27% more likely to buy from you again.

Not only will they buy from you again, it’s easier to get them to do so, and they spend on average 67% more than first time buyers.

What’s not to love about that?!

But these buyers will only buy from again if you’ve provided them with a buying experience that’s out of this world.

And the first way to do that is with product packaging.

Wait..product packaging?

If reactivating buyers for a second purchase is often overlooked, using quality packaging to improve buyer retention is unheard of.

using quality packaging

So, consider this for a moment:

Product packaging is the only piece of marketing space that reaches 100% of your customers.

This means that every single person that buys from you will touch, see, feel hold and interact with your product packaging.

They’ll do this before even seeing what they paid for.

Whether you’re selling on your own website, drop shipping or have your own bricks and mortar store, product packaging sets the stage for your customer’s experience.

By using custom branded packaging, you do a number of things:

  • Increase the perceived value of your product
  • Ensure your brand name stays in your customer’s mind
  • Activate your customer to stay engaged with your brand

There are many more benefits to using custom packaging, but these points go a long way in making your buyer stay loyal to your brand.

And when a customer is loyal, they buy from you again.

But let’s take a deeper look at how improved packaging can keep customers buying from you again and again.

Custom packaging increases your branding strength.

We’ve all had those cheap, impulsive one-off eBay or Amazon buys, only for the product to arrive in a plain cardboard box and wrapped in bubble wrap.

Fragile packaging

Do you remember the name of that company?

Of course you don’t.

Their branding isn’t strong. It’s pretty much non-existent, to be honest.

Do you remember your last good experience through Tiffany or Nordstrom?

Of course you do.

Because their branding is strong. Their logos are everywhere, tone of voice is consistent and the visual design is engaging.

Brands like these echo their branding on to their product packaging and the result is a consistent buying experience.

When you buy a pair of Nike shoes from a store, you get the shoes, with a logo on them.

Inside the shoe, you can see a tag with the size – and a logo.

Hanging on the side of the shoe is another tag with the logo.

Inside the box is tissue paper with a logo.

On the shoe box are even more logos.

And as you walk out of the Nike store (with the logo above the entrance) you’re carrying your new purchase inside a plastic bag with a logo.

Nike store

The branding is strong and the brand experience is consistent. What’s in the middle of this branding experience?

The branded product packaging. The box and the bag.

But a consistent brand experience is more than just throwing logos on everything.

Product packaging and the user experience

Custom packaging increases the perceived value of your product.

The value of your product is not the same as your product price.

Imagine your customer has 2 instances of your product. One in a branded box, one in a plain cardboard box.

Which one is your customer going to feel is worth more?

Your customer would (more than likely) put a higher value on the one with the custom packaging.


It’s unexpected, and it makes them feel important. Your customer see’s that you care about your brand and that you’ve gone the extra mile.

If you’re out to delight your customer (and you should be), you can do that by making them feel special. For example, sending them a handwritten ‘thank you for your purchase’ note.

Your customer will also be delighted when they feel they got a bargain.


By making your product feel more expensive than what your customer paid, you delight them. Plus, you make them more confident that choosing your product over your competitors was the best option.

This, in turn, increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you again.

Product reviews & unboxing videos

88% of online buyers do their research before buying something online.

These online buyers will base their decisions according to many other user reviews, but also unboxing videos.

More and more YouTubers, influencers and vloggers are using ‘unboxing videos’ as a way to showcase not just a product, but the initial product experience.

And what since front and centre in an unboxing video?

The box.

If you’re using influencer marketing as a way to get your product seen, then branded boxes should be high on your priority list.

Product reviews & unboxing videos

Imagine a customer buys a product from you on the recommendation of an influencer.

Straight away, that customer is already more experienced with your brand than, say, a customer that found you via a Google search.

This person has seen your unboxing video and, as a result, is more aware of what buying from you should be like.

If you’re able to provide that same buying experience to that customer that you provided to your influencer, you’ll have made a loyal follower.

So what does good product packaging look like?

Good product packaging comes in many shapes and forms. Obviously, form must follow function.

Good product packaging

There’s no point using a certain kind of packaging for aesthetic purposes if it doesn’t hold your product secure.

Once you’ve overcome that hurdle, take a look at your:

Design assets & branding

If you’ve already got strong branding and access to your design elements, you’re halfway there. Be sure to use these assets in your packaging design.

Design assets & branding

Brand image & morals

Does your brand focus on sustainability or slow living? Keep it simple and use a plain cardboard box with your custom design printed in black.

Product dimensions

This echoes the ‘form follows function’ principle. Make sure your packaging does the job it’s designed to do, first. Only then think about design. If you’re reselling shoes that are already in a box, consider something like a branded poly mailer bag.

branded poly mailer bag

Over to you

Competition is fierce, you don’t need to be reminded about that.

One way to stand out, be seen and remembered, is to use custom product packaging to add value to your products.

As you’ve seen, using branded packaging will not only add value, but it will ensure that your name stays in your customers head long after the transaction is complete.

To focus on product packaging means keeping your customers loyal, and having them buy from you time and time again.

With a few dozen, hundred, or even thousands of loyal brand advocates, you can sit back and enjoy the benefits marketing that almost takes care of itself!

If you’re interested in designing your own product packaging, there’s nothing stopping you.

Use Packhelp’s custom packaging designer to create product packaging that your customers will remember you buy!

Originally published October 25, 2018 - Updated January 18, 2023
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Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes Phil Forbes is a bearded Australian living in Warsaw, Poland. Marketer for Shoplo, who enjoys helping and watching small ventures start, learn, grow and thrive.

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