A few days ago I posted the following question in the Etsy forums:
"I've seen several posts advising people to use pretty packaging with ribbons, fabric bags, etc. I've also read that one should include pictures of their packaging in the listing...So, what do you think? Does pretty packaging make you want to buy again? Is it worth the extra cost to you? Also, as a buyer, do you care about seeing pictures of packaging in the listings?"
There were over 100 responses to this post, and the results caused me to rethink my own packaging strategy. Fifty people stated that attractive packaging was very important to them; thirty-one stated that it wasn’t important to them, and twenty people stated that pretty packaging was nice, but not really necessary.
For the most part, the "not important" and "nice" responses sited concerns over reducing waste and expense. Not surprisingly, everyone agrees that pretty packaging is worthless if the items are not well protected. All of the ribbons in the world won't make up for receiving something that was damaged en route.
I also found that nearly everyone believes that some sellers go overboard with the pretty packaging. One poster complained of having her purchase wrapped in so many ribbons and tape that she struggled to get it open.
A reoccurring theme throughout the thread was that packaging should be minimal, but pretty, elegant, or colorful. Many people expressed a preference for environmentally-friendly ("green") packaging – if it can be green and pretty, even better.
Many people who showed a strong preference for pretty packaging stated that it would influence their decision to purchase from a shop again. Even several of the "nice but not necessary" responses showed an inclination to buy again from a shop with nicer packaging. One poster (lovelymuch) summed it up nicely, "I'd like to say I don't care that much about packaging because I try to be eco-friendly however, to be honest, if I found 2 necklaces I liked from different sellers and one had pretty packaging and the other didn't, I'd opt for the pretty one."
Very few people commented on the practice of showing pictures of one's packaging in their Etsy listing, but all of those who did said it was not necessary. Apparently people would prefer to see another shot of the item they were buying instead of packaging.
Another interesting point that was made repeatedly in this thread is that different products require different levels of packaging. Large, fragile, and/or more utilitarian items simply need to be packed carefully, neatly, and safely in clean materials. Jewelry and other luxury items require a higher level of packaging. Throwing a pair of earrings into a bubble envelope is not acceptable; and the more expensive the jewelry, the nicer the packaging should be.
Finally, one poster pointed out that several studies have shown that packaging has a strong influence on a buyer's perceived value of the product. Basically, customers are willing to pay more for products with nicer packaging. (This whole concept is incredibly interesting and will be the subject of a later blog post from yours truly.)
So, to sum up, here is what I gleaned from that thread:
- It is worth my time to create attractive packaging for my items.
- This packaging needs to be simple, green, and inexpensive, yet elegant.(Being reusable is a nice plus.)
- A handwritten thank you note is essential (I have always included this anyway).
- Extra little gifts are not necessary.
- I do not need to include a picture of the packaging in my Etsy listing; although I will be describing it in my shop policies, to let people know how much of my packaging is recycled, upcycled, and green.
Thank you to everyone who commented on that thread, I found it interesting and very useful. More to come on the packaging issue…