It?s often said that packaging is as much a part of the product as what is inside. This has never been truer than in e-commerce, where the customer is not visiting a physical location and so has fewer touchpoints with a brand and its products, unlike a high street shopper.In e-commerce gifting, this is even more heightened because the gift recipient (unlike the gift giver) hasn?t visited the retailer?s physical store, nor website or app. First impressions become even more crucial, so it?s little wonder that online gifting companies obsess (or at least should obsess) over their packaging. After all, it is what sets them off on the right foot with a brand new and potentially highly valuable customer: the recipient of the gift. At Bloom & Wild, we invest a huge amount of care and attention into both the emotional and functional experience of our packaging, and it?s something that our customers and recipients comment on nearly as frequently as they mention our flowers themselves. Emotionally, we understand that receiving flowers should be a serendipitous moment, and so we are obsessed with making the recipient feel special, through touches like poetry in our boxes, and bespoke netting around the heads of the flowers, to ensure that they arrive in the best possible condition. When a gift-giver has trusted a new and little-known company with making someone?s day, it is crucial for companies to respect that trust in the experience delivered to the gift recipient. A number of other gifting focused brands similarly invest in emotional design touches ? just think how ubiquitously known the Tiffany green box and the emotion that it inspires are. Equally important to the brand experience is the functional aspect of packaging. This has been a major consideration for us, where we have invested significantly in inventing bespoke packaging that enables flowers to be delivered through a standard UK letterbox. This goes a long way to intensify the feeling of surprise as recipients delight in the novelty of receiving flowers in unconventional packaging. Peak-end ?Peak-end? is an important concept in brand and product design ? namely that people?s memory of a product or brand experience is based on two moments: the peak of their experience and the end of it. In a category like flowers, the end of the product experience (the flowers dying) is rarely the highlight, so it?s all the more important for e-tailers to invest in the peak (the package arriving). Adding a ?wow factor? to the manner in which a product or gift is delivered to the customer has a huge impact on their impression and recall of the product and brand. Think of Graze.com, who have built their business around the shape of their letterbox-friendly snack packaging ? this is what people often remember them for, ahead of a particular flavour of snack. As much as brands and retailers will go out of their way to invest in product quality, to distinguish themselves from their competitors, ensuring strict selection, testing and quality control processes for the product they send out, the raw materials are often similar. This is especially true in categories such as bottled water, confectionary, and indeed flowers. Yet people consistently buy Evian over a supermarket own brand bottled water (or even tap water). Proving that consumers connect to the brand packaging and what it stands for ? if it?s true for water, the most basic of products, then it must be true for everything. Aron Gelbard is co-founder and CEO of online florist Bloom & Wild.
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