Packaging and delivery: How it can help you delight, attract, and retain shoppers

Image of parcel for packaging and delivery

By: Amy Bulsara

The growth of internet shopping offers fresh opportunities, but you’ve probably found that it also creates new delivery challenges.

But you also know that far from being a purely functional link in the online retail chain, the delivery (and packaging) experience can actively please the recipient.

This article offers some ideas on how your packaging and delivery could help you delight, attract, and retain online retail shoppers.

Online retail today

The latest report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed nearly a quarter of all non-food purchases were made online in the run-up to Christmas in 2017.

Online purchases are easy and fast to make, allowing many of us to get what we need without leaving the house. It’s convenient especially for those lacking the time to shop in stores or wanting to avoid long checkout queues.

Many retailers offer a wider range of sizes, colours and styles online than they do in stores, giving customers a greater choice and often at a discounted rate. 

No wonder online retail sales in the UK are expected to reach £76.41 bn in 2018! This is £5.66 bn more than predicted for 2017, according to Statista.

We put together a few suggestions to help you stay on top of things in 2018. 


Packaging plays a vital role in protecting your products but it also serves an important function when it comes to enhancing customer experience.

A recent study by Sealed Air has revealed that 66% of respondents believe the packaging of their shipment shows how much retailers care about them and their order.

Nevertheless, 38% of parcels assessed in the Macfarlane Packaging unboxing research had no branding on the pack and a staggering 30% didn’t reflect the value of the brand. 

Personalised packaging can increase brand awareness through adding your logo and company name to the pack, you can include “thank you” messages inside the box or add social media icons to encourage feedback.

Some retailers go even further by adding short, personalised videos inside the box or sending their products in scented packaging. This is such a great way to surprise your customers with something a bit different, making their unboxing experience extra special.

A study shows that nearly 40% of customers are likely to share photos of packaging on social media if they find the packaging interesting or unique.


Packages that arrive crumpled or damaged can result in dissatisfied customers and increased costs for your business. Make sure you always use packaging that is suitable for its purpose and avoid using excess materials. Overflowing packages will not look aesthetically pleasing neither will they provide adequate product protection as they can simply burst in transit!

Image of gift for packaging and delivery

Consider placing tissue or shredded paper inside your packaging to lift your product presentation to the next level. This is such a minor but effective solution to elevate customer experience with your brand.

The 2013 Ecommerce Packaging Survey by DotCom Distribution reveals that 71% of shoppers expect high-quality packaging when ordering expensive products online. Over half of online consumers are more likely to repurchase from the same retailer if they receive products in premium packaging.

Easy opening

Apart from looks, it is also important to ensure that your parcel is easy to open. Even the most beautiful box will not quite deliver that desired WOW factor if your customers have to wrestle with packaging to get to their items.

The increased level of frustration which results from the inability to open packaging is often referred to as…’Wrap Rage’, and it may successfully discourage customers from choosing your brand again.

A customer’s frustration will certainly increase if they accidentally damage the contents while battling difficult packaging – easily done by cutting through a box with scissors or other sharp objects!

Packaging solutions such as boxes with peel & seal closures come with a simple tear strip, which makes them easy to open. As the box is self-sealing, there is no need for ugly packing tape, which dramatically improves the look of your package.

There is also a great tamper evidence benefit. Once removed from the box, the tear strap cannot be reapplied, which helps to protect your products while reassuring customers that nobody has opened their parcels before they receive them.


British customers are growing more concerned for the environment and sustainability. Research shows customers want to be able to recycle packaging easily and are willing to pay more for products that come in recyclable packaging (or packaging made from recyclable materials).

Disposing of packaging is not always simple especially if the pack consists of multiple materials that need to be split before throwing away. You can make life easier for your customers by providing clear recycling information on your packaging, avoiding excess packaging and switching to sustainable packaging or all-in-one solutions made from the same material.

Easy returns

Online shopping is easy and convenient but it’s not completely challenge-free; buying clothes can be tricky as customers are unable to try them on. It is hard to judge product material colour just by looking at an image. All this increases the likelihood of products being returned.

Image of heart for packaging and delivery

Clear Returns estimates that online returns are costing retailers around £20bn each year. Sending your products in returnable packaging will reduce the likelihood of product damage in transit and please your customers as they don’t need to find alternatives to send unwanted items back.

Flexible delivery

Customers like to have options when it comes to product delivery. Ensure you offer Click & Collect as well as next day delivery to increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

With the rise of Click & Collect, it is important to make sure your customers receive a positive experience, whichever route they choose to take in collecting their items. Bags and boxes that come with handles, make it much easier for the customer to walk away from a store with their items. This also eliminates the need for repacking in retail bags, ultimately reducing the amount of packaging waste.

If you use couriers or send products by post, make sure your parcels fit through the letterbox the first time, every time to spare your customers the disappointment of receiving “sorry we missed you” cards.

And remember, packaging should be fit for purpose to the chosen location and delivery method.


By: Amy Bulsara, Marketing Manager, Retail, Macfarlane Packaging

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