Effective Product Presentation Begins With Customer Protection

Effective Product Presentation Begins With Customer Protection

Some brands have truly iconic product packaging. I’m thinking of a certain luxury jewelry house whose packaging is instantly recognizable and integral to the customer experience.

Like a matryoshka doll, it begins with a signature robin’s-egg blue paper shopping bag. Nestled inside is a matching blue cardboard box, its lid secured by a white satin ribbon tied into the perfect bow. Tucked underneath is a small white envelope containing a personalized gift card. Untie the bow and lift the lid to reveal a robin’s-egg blue fabric pouch. On other occasions, it’s a navy hinged box with velvet exterior and satin lining.

When the packaging protects both the product and the consumer, it is more likely to protect the brand too.

Either way, inside is the final “doll” as it were, that special piece of jewelry, yours to have and to hold, to love and to cherish from this day forward.

The iconic packaging and all the steps involved in unboxing turn an otherwise ordinary process into an extraordinary one.

What if when you opened the shopping bag you noticed a subtle, rose-like fragrance?

“I must be imagining things,” you think.

When you remove the box from the bag, the scent gets stronger. You take off the lid. The fragrance is impossible to resist.

Then you proceed to take out the jewelry. It reflects the light spectacularly, glistening as you hold it at different angles. As you lift the piece to your eyes for closer inspection, the scent lingers. It’s like a ray of sunshine brightening the experience even more.

Your mind wanders, excitedly.

“What is that gorgeous fragrance?”

“Will it transfer to the jewelry?’”

“How long will it last?”

“Will anyone else notice it? I hope so!”

Then your inner shopaholic comes out to play: “I wonder if they sell this separately as a perfume? I need to get some.”

Your excitement has been truly heightened.

Now, imagine that the product is not jewelry but something more intimate — a vibrator.

As soon as you unbox the toy you’re greeted by an undeniably seductive scent. The average consumer would probably describe it as a heady blend of musk and vanilla.

You know the smell can’t be coming from the toy itself — this manufacturer uses only pure medical-grade silicone. No fillers mean no odors, and that was a significant influence on your decision to purchase.

It’s also not the cardboard box.

Instead, it’s a scented perfume card with attached vial for you to sample. Even better, it’s infused with pheromones. The latest vibrator plus a fragrance you love that will also make you more attractive to others — perfect!

Sure, this scenario is exaggerated for effect, but the point is to illustrate how the packaging or little extras can complement the high-quality materials used to make a product.

This is not to imply that adult toy manufacturers should move to scented packaging or include sex life-enhancing perfume samples. It simply highlights the potential to capitalize on our sense of smell.

Can you imagine if when you unboxed a toy, the packaging had an unpleasant odor? Surely, manufacturers would not want the packaging to be their undoing, leading a consumer to incorrectly assume it has affected the toy in some way.

Serve and Protect

If the odor of product packaging could raise customer concerns, what are manufacturers to do?

Should manufacturers change the packaging? They could try to source a similarly priced solution to the problem, or find themselves at this crossroad: choose an inexpensive option that risks “cheapening” the presentation, or a dearer alternative that increases costs, which if passed on, may decrease sales.

If manufacturers continue to use packaging that may be perceived as suspect, should they issue warnings that it may have a distinctive odor, but this does not affect product safety? What a turn-off.

Then again, many materials known to have distinctive odors remain among the most common — think real-feel toys and latex, to name just two examples — and they are widely enjoyed without incident. Such items perform well for online stores that publish information about product materials and brick-and-mortar retailers with samples available to inspect.

Nevertheless, in deciding how to package or otherwise present products, manufacturers should consider whether it serves the best interests of the end-user.

When the packaging protects both the product and the consumer, it is more likely to protect the brand too, building its reputation as a safe and trustworthy option among an ever-expanding number.

Pay attention to more than the look and feel of packaging. Sure, these matter — hugely — but also consider the smell and, in some instances, sounds that packaging makes. For every manufacturer who does not, there will be a customer who will.

Why invest in product development, only to be let down by the packaging?

Vanessa Rose is content lead and in-house product expert at Wild Secrets, Australia and New Zealand’s largest online retailer of adult goods. She is also a qualified personal trainer.


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