How do you dress up clothing in the right packaging? Apparel packaging requires the right aesthetic to really bring home the style message of your brand. After all, your customers are using your apparel for self-expression. Make sure your packaging enhances the way your target customer identifies with your product.
The truth is that the apparel market is a highly competitive space. You’re directly competing with many bigger, flashier brands for buyers. These brands have potentially poured millions of dollars into marketing. They know what’s inside the psyche of the average consumer. While a smaller brand may not have the capital to invest millions into customer research, it can still tap into the branding power of packaging to connect with customers. Are you wondering how to make your apparel packaging aesthetically appealing in a market where your competitors have potentially been influencing style trends for decades? Take a look at the core steps to syncing customer identification with brand identification using your packaging.
Design Packaging for Product Requirements
Brands can’t be dreamers when it comes to apparel packaging. You truly need to design packaging for the product you’re selling. Here are the questions to ask when setting requirements based on your apparel pieces:
- What is the primary mode of purchasing? Will customers be receiving packaged products in the mail after completing online orders? Will customers be interacting with packaged products on in-store racks?
- Do the fabrics used in our apparel need any special considerations when being stored or shipped?
- Is our apparel expensive enough to need extra security against theft?
- Is our apparel delicate enough to need specialty packaging?
- How are our direct competitors handling packaging?
- What are the practical considerations for packaging in terms of weight and dimensions?
It really takes knowing your product to determine which type of packaging is ideal. When selling apparel, most brands find that mailer envelopes provide the best fit. However, choosing plain mailers over protected bubble mailers may leave your products vulnerable to damage during transport. This can also create a “cheap” impression in the eyes of customers. If you’re shipping delicate, high-end items with features like beading or embroidery, it may be worth the extra cost and effort to ship products using boxes that offer protection. This can also generate an impression of elegance for the customer on the receiving end.
Of course, packaging isn’t just about getting a product to a customer unscathed. It’s also important to be intentional about the experience being created for customers. Creating joyful suspense leading up to the point where the item is revealed can be part of the satisfaction your customers get from ordering from you. When a box is the preferred choice based on the specifics of a product, it’s important to source boxes that hit the points of being both durable and lightweight to ensure that you’re not throwing away money on shipping.
Use Packaging to Provide Information
When customers order from a brand, the moment that the product lands in their hands is just one part of the brand-customer interaction even though it’s the main focal point.
Packaging that encourages communication between brand and customer is effective for creating a bond. When brands use custom packaging for apparel orders, they’re able to share important marketing messaging with their buyers. Some examples of what type of information can be added to apparel packaging include:
- Brand name.
- Brand slogan.
- Brand philosophy.
- Brand website.
- Brand social media handles.
- Product name/model number.
- Important return information.
- Prompt to leave a review.
Customers like seeing this brand-specific, product-specific information because it helps them to feel like they are “part of something” instead of just a consumer. In fact, this is becoming more important than ever as so many online retailers flood marketplaces with drop-shipped products that don’t belong to any real “brand.” Unmarked, generic packaging is a telltale sign that a product is a cheap product that was sold by a bulk retailer online. These types of purchases don’t leave consumers feeling confident. In fact, the rise of online scams involving counterfeit products has many consumers concerned about getting inferior products when making purchases online.
Use Creativity to Reinforce Brand Value
Packaging is often boring. What’s more, many people who order from the same “mega-retailers” over and over again are used to only seeing the same bland designs over and over again. Make sure they see just how animated things can get when they order from your brand! Using your apparel packaging to deliver bold, creative designs will make your product stand out from 99% of the purchases that arrive at a customer’s door. Your customers will remember that “thrill” of getting a package that looks more like an experience that arrived in the mail instead of just a plain box.
Focus on Usability
Packaging that works intuitively for your customers is always highly appreciated. It also shows a level of attention to detail that will subconsciously cause your customers to assume that your brand dedicates more time and effort to products than other brands. Packaging that has been designed to open “smoothly” is always appreciated. Strive to make opening your packaging feel like sliding an invitation out of a gilded envelope. The process should be smooth, easy, and enjoyable for the senses instead of causing confusion and frustration the way that so many packages do. Be the brand that focuses on functionality and beauty because these are the qualities that your customers want to see reflected in themselves.
Invest in Sustainability
Consumers cite sustainability and eco-friendly qualities as important factors when making purchasing decisions. While most consumers are already purchasing more eco-friendly products than they did five years ago, almost all consumers plan to focus on buying more eco-friendly products going forward. Today’s consumers identify strongly with principles of sustainability. As a result, they identify with brands that prioritize sustainability. What does that mean for your brand?
Brands today should put time into eliminating product waste in packaging. In many cases, this means eliminating unnecessary plastic components that can be replaced with low-impact, recycled materials. In some cases, it means switching to a new base packaging material. An example would be going from plastic garment wrappings to reusable totes. Consumers want eco-friendly packaging that’s also useful. This is why something like a fabric tote can be such a great investment. When totes are branded, brands are basically signing up for free advertising every time a tote leaves the house with a customer. While the initial cost for this can be higher than traditional options, many brands find that investing in creating sustainability more than pays for itself through brand loyalty and recognition.
Spend Time Doing a Solid Cost Analysis
Creating an appealing packaging plan for apparel requires brands to invest time and money into finding the right solutions. It’s essential to review all of the different materials that are available today. Fortunately, packaging has moved from bulky, potentially wasteful materials to streamlined, lightweight, and eco-friendly materials very strongly in recent years. In fact, materials that offer the greatest amount of durability with the smallest footprint possible are really dominating the packaging industry at the moment. That means that a new apparel brand will have no trouble finding options that meet all of its aesthetic and practical needs.
Pricing also needs to be realistic. While investing in eye-catching, brand-reinforcing packaging is important, brands also need to calculate how much any packaging option breaks down on a per-shipment basis. Some brands find that the effectiveness of good packaging allows them to reduce marketing costs across other channels to keep their budgets under control. Of course, a repeat sale caused by a positive packaging experience represents an incredible return on investment that would be hard to recreate using cold marketing practices.
Get Help Designing Your Apparel Packaging
Apparel packaging comes with some very unique considerations. That’s why any new apparel brand or vendor needs the help of experienced packaging experts when it comes to covering all the right categories for security, aesthetics, and costs. Mid-Atlantic Packaging has been helping apparel retailers ship their products in cost-effective, brand-enhancing packaging for years. Arrange your custom packaging quote with Mid-Atlantic Packaging to try some possibilities on for size!