With a summer of celebrations, limited-edition packaging has been filling the high street with brands such as Harvey Nichols, Sainsbury’s and Kellogg’s all embracing the trend. However, bespoke seasonal packaging isn’t just for multinationals and luxury brands. With cataloguers and online retailers turning their attention to Christmas, this could be the perfect time to see what bespoke seasonal packaging could do for your brand.
For marketing managers, the advantages of limited-edition packaging may be fairly obvious: it’s a fantastic way of capitalising on the all-important “feel good factor”, making your brand more memorable and ensuring customers associate their purchases with this special time of year.
A missed opportunity?
However, smart packaging can go much further; high quality packaging increases the perceived value of the content and reassures consumers that they have made the right choice--vital for the Christmas gift market.
In addition, mailing packaging is the perfect space to promote brand messages or social-media activity, although sadly it is often overlooked by marketers. A particular benefit of limited-edition packaging is its potential to promote time-sensitive messages to already receptive customers. For example, Christmas packaging can advertise forthcoming sales, while the addition of a QR code is an effective way of driving direct online interaction.
Managing the logistics
While the advantages may be clear for marketers, there are also logistical considerations that should be taken into account. After all, who wants to contend with a stockroom full of Christmas packaging on 1st January? To avoid this scenario, it is advisable to work closely with the forecasting team so Christmas packaging is available for the full six-week Christmas shopping period, which runs from the start of November until Christmas Eve.
In addition, good manufacturers should have a mechanism in place to help their clients actively manage stock levels. To ensure retailers don’t run out of packaging or have cash tied up in excess stock, they need to work with suppliers that are able to keep up and adjust for peaks and troughs in demand.
One concern occasionally brought up by retailers is the notion that limited-edition packaging may attract the attention of thieves, however the reality is that postal thefts, although relatively rare, are usually the product of opportunism rather than a targeted campaign. Courier companies have also increased the security of their services in recent years, with timed delivery slots chosen at the customer’s convenience, text message alerts and signed-for services now commonplace. In other words, the days of simply leaving a parcel on the doorstep or in a "safe place" where it may be vulnerable to theft are long gone.
While the factors mention above highlight that limited edition packaging may bring certain logistical challenges, it should be remembered that it can bring real advantages. Returns and inclement weather are both big issues for e-retailers at Christmas and both can be at least partially addressed by well-designed packaging: consumers associate high-quality packaging with high-quality product, while damaged packaging leads to an assumption of low quality.
With the practicalities taken care of, it’s clear that bespoke seasonal packaging, and all the advantages it can bring are no longer the preserve of those with large marketing budgets. With a little planning it can offer brands of all shapes and sizes a real competitive advantage in the crucial Christmas trading period, and in the current economic climate, few brands can afford to ignore this.
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