According to recent research, a lot can happen in a couple seconds. It takes the average shopper about 2.5 seconds to decide whether or not to make a purchase. The reality is, if you wait to start influencing customers until they walk into your shop and start browsing through your racks and shelves, you’re simply not being as efficient or effective as you could be. Online shopping has made instant gratification (minus the wait for delivery time) the name of the retail game—so how can brick-and-mortar stores compete? By providing a unique, fun, and focused in-store experience that, no matter what you’re selling, just can’t be found online.
One way to up the retail experience? By packaging your products in customized shopping bags.
Let us tell you a story: You’ve spent hours curating your shop. You’ve got the right vendors, the best employees, and you’re incredibly proud of the awesome logo your graphic design team put together. You’ve got your own hashtag, social media accounts, and your word-of-mouth promotions aren’t doing too bad, either. Someone steps into your shop, excited about all the great things they’ve heard from friends and have seen while stalking you on social media. They know the sweater they want to buy…it’s the one you just did that super cool shoot for and posted on Instagram, the one that got over 200 likes. The customer, Gina, tries on the sweater and it looks awesome on her! She’s obviously going to take it. Thrilled, you ring her up as she tells you how she picked up extra shifts to be able to afford the sweater, because she just wanted it that badly. She’s planning to wear the sweater to dinner on a first (blind, ack!) date, and she wants to look and feel her best. Simply put, Gina has big plans, and has made sacrifices, for this sweater. You swipe her card, toss the sweater, unwrapped, in a clear plastic bag, and twist the handles to tie them into knots. Gina’s face falls. What’s wrong with this picture?
But Wait—It Gets Worse
Gina gets home, easily rips open the clear plastic bag, and snaps a photo to upload on her Instagram. The caption:
Seriously??? Two weeks of saving for this and they give it to me in the same bag I pick up my Chinese Food in? #fail #nevershoppinghereagain
Oh, and don’t worry—she’s tagged your store. Turns out Gina has over 3k Instagram followers and is a popular fashion blogger in town. She’s also on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and all her accounts are linked, meaning that, just like that, your not-so-great photo is plastered across multiple accounts. Soon, the comments from her followers start pouring in:
What a joke.
Seems like they don’t care about their customers at all.
Definitely won’t be shopping there!
Thanks for helping me dodge what’s obviously a major bullet!
The fear creeps in…and you begin to wonder: do you have to worry about your quarterly profits because of this?
How to Avoid a Story Like This One
So, what went wrong? Simply put, Gina respected your store and your items enough to shop and spend her hard-earned money there—and she thought, from the posts you line up on social media, that you would respect her as a customer. If you’re tossing a sweater in a cheap, ugly bag, you’re basically saying that you think of all your customers as simple transactions, as ways to clear out inventory. If they wanted that, they would have shopped online, probably paid less, and waited three days for their item to arrive.
As the story of Gina clearly illustrates, sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference. And in the Internet age, no store or boutique can afford to be the subject of an inflammatory or unflattering hashtag or tweet. You know that saying no press is bad press? It’s a lie.
You’re selling more than just your products—you’re selling an experience. As a brick-and-mortar store, you’re up against some stiff, and probably cheaper, competition. And custom shopping bags are a part of the experience you can offer your customers. When Gina uploaded that snap? Having your store’s custom shopping bags with logo prints probably could have gotten you tons of new customers. And printing bags with your company’s social media account handles can help people who like your products connect with one another. You could have easily, and completely, monetized Gina’s experience, as she was initially super excited about the sweater and your store. It was basically free advertising, and it could have potentially really taken off. Instead, now Gina shops elsewhere and trashes your store around town.
Don’t lose out to the competition just because you didn’t invest in customized shopping bags. Customers often interpret your packaging as representative of how much you care about your brand. Build your brand and take pride in what you’re selling—show your customers that you think enough of your brand to give them an experience with their purchase. And you can do this with your bags and packaging. Let us show you how.