As a small business owner, you spend a lot of time creating products or services you want people to love. So you’re always working to make your thing better. But sometimes, it’s not your thing that needs work, it’s your packaging. In today’s competitive market, the wrapper matters more than you think.
A brand that gets it
I ordered a Simple Modern insulated water bottle from Amazon recently. It got good reviews and was the right price. Two days later, it was on my front porch.
Pretty average experience so far.
The reason I’m telling this story is because of what happened when I opened the box containing the water bottle. I was very pleasantly surprised.
The outside of the box was beautifully printed, and the box itself was very sturdy, much sturdier than it needed to be. The box felt expensive. Upon opening the box, I noticed how perfectly the water bottle fit inside. And then as I was removing the water bottle, it reminded me of the care and detail that Apple puts into its product packaging.
I didn’t know what to expect from Simple Modern, but I was pretty blown away by the attention to detail they put into their packaging.
I know it’s just a water bottle, but that experience stuck with me and lifted their brand up in my mind. Simple Modern gets it, the wrapper matters.
And one that doesn’t
A few years ago, I ordered some business cards for a client. At the time, I was having trouble finding a printer that could do square business cards (they’re pretty common today) at a reasonable price.
Their online ordering process was a bit clunky. I wasn’t sure I had successfully placed the order, so I had to email customer service a few times. They assured me that the order had been placed properly and that the cards would be delivered soon.
About a week later, a rather large box arrived at my client’s house. It was like 14″ x 16″ or something close to that. Pretty large for business cards, we thought.
When she opened the box, she found her 500 printed business cards, loose in the box. No smaller boxes containing her cards, not even a rubber band holding them together. They were just all loosey-goosey floating around in a strangely large box.
The cards looked great, but the packaging was a hot mess.
I have never done business with them again. This print company doesn’t get it. They don’t think that the wrapper matters.
Why the wrapper matters
The hard truth is that these are competitive times we’re living in. There are a lot of businesses doing what you’re doing, offering the same kinds of products or services, and some even do it better than you (gasp!). Just having a great product won’t cut it. It also has to be presented in a way that feels good to the customer.
The product you’re selling might be unique and functional, but if the package is shoddy, no one’s ever going to pick it up off the shelf.
The service you provide might be top-notch, but if it’s presented by a bitter chainsmoking complainer, you will never see a repeat customer or a referral.
I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but we do it all the time. We’ve been trained to think that if it looks crappy on the outside, it’s probably crap on the inside too.
The bottom line is this: If the wrapper doesn’t matter to you, you won’t matter to your customer.If the wrapper doesn't matter to you, you won't matter to your customer. Click To Tweet
Wrappers to consider
The two stories I shared are about physical product packaging and shipped goods, but there are all kinds of wrappers that you use in your business, and they all matter.
Here are a few other types of wrappers you might want to start thinking about:
Website. The content of your website is more important than its design, but the design still matters. A lot. People are turned off by bad website design all the time. It doesn’t have to be this way! There are some amazing resources for getting a beautiful website design at an affordable price. For example, StudioPress Sites offers beautiful WordPress themes and scalable websites with a built-in marketing platform. There’s just no excuse for bad website design these days.
Presentations and demos. If you do presentations, workshops, seminars or offer product demos, there are a number of ways you can make the wrapper matter. If your participants are expected to attend your all-day workshop, provide a nice lunch. Make sure your slides are well-designed and appealing. Be radically generous with your content. Make sure your demo works as expected, you don’t want to be showing off your new product only to have it fail like Steve Jobs’ famously bad iPhone 4 demo.
Signup or ordering process. If you sell online, what’s the shopping cart experience like for the customer? Is it easy for them to checkout and pay with a credit card? What about your sign up or contact form? Is it clear and simple? Have you thought about how many fields your customer is willing to fill out before they just abandon the whole process?
Consulting service. If you provide consulting services, how do you show up for the work? Are you generous and positive? Do you treat your clients as partners or do you talk down to them? Can you walk them through your proposal, line-by-line, so they fully understand what they’re getting?
Physical space. How clean and organized is your office, restaurant, shop, or store? Hs your space been designed by a professional? Is the décor tasteful? Do your guests feel comfortable? What’s the temperature, how does it smell? Are the restrooms clean?
Videos or podcast. If you’re producing marketing videos, are you using good lighting? Is the background pleasing or jarring? Is the quality and size of the video appropriate for the platform (e.g. YouTube, Facebook, IGTV). If you’re a podcaster, are you using a professional microphone? How’s the sound quality? Has your cover art been professionally designed?
Personal appearance. This should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. You have to look nice. And “nice” doesn’t mean you have to wear a dress and heels. But do your makeup, fix your hair, at least take a shower for god’s sake. I’m most comfortable in a pair of jeans and a dress shirt, my clothes are always washed and ironed. I feel like this one gets missed a lot, but oftentimes, we are the wrapper that matters.
How are you packing up your products or services? What’s the wrapper you use and how can you make it matter more? Share your thoughts in a comment here or in our Facebook group.