Monthly Archives: September 2014

Custom Cardboard Boxes Can Hold More Value Than You Probably Think

Custom cardboard boxes can hold a whole lot more than you probably think. How much, you ask? Nearly a ton, according to recent reports, and you can even still get free shipping on something that heavy. One of the most popular online retailers is willing to ship items this weighty, and with the right packaging they will make sure it reaches your front door without a single S&H charge. This kind of shipping takes a special kind of box, with very special attention and care taken during the packaging process. Fortunately, custom box makers are prepared to design packages for nearly any kind of product, big or small. Maybe one day someone will actually order something this heavy to be delivered to their door, but for now we can only speculate and marvel at the wonders of modern packaging and shipping.

It All Started With Free Shipping
Most packages that are delivered to online customers’ doors are fairly nondescript and don’t weigh much more than, say, 50 pounds. Normally anything heavier than this would come with a hefty fee, but anyone who shops online at Amazon knows that the company offers free shipping on most products as long as you shop within their guidelines. This applies to customers who either use the Super Saver shipping (which may take several weeks) or pay the Amazon Prime annual membership fee (which allows you to select express shipping free of charge). Also, anyone who shops online at Amazon is probably very familiar with the logo that appears on every Amazon box.

A Newspaper Puts Free Shipping to the Test
The folks at Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch went on a mission to test how committed Amazon truly is to giving their customers free shipping, and along the way they proved just how big of a box a shipper might want and need to make a customer’s wish come true. The journal did its research and found that the heaviest product Amazon is willing to package and ship is the CO54 Commander Series Premium 90 Minute Fire Safe by Cannon Safe. This 6-foot-tall safe weighs more than 1,500 pounds (before packaging), costs nearly $3,500 and is capable of holding as many as 48 guns. It may not be fun for the Amazon employees who have to package it, or the FedEx employees who have to transport it, but you can have this behemoth delivered to your front door, in custom packaging, without paying a single penny in shipping and handling.

Shipping Boxes for Heavy Products

One may wonder how Amazon can afford to have custom cardboard boxes produced and pay the shipping costs for massive items like this, since they could potentially lose money on such endeavors. With so many customers willing to pay extra to have a product shipped overnight or within a few days, though, the retailer still manages to come out on top. And with the free advertising they get every time a customer orders something that’s delivered in their signature designed box, it’s all worthwhile in the end.

Lessons to Learn From Apple, the Leader in Tech-Product Packaging

You might not think that corrugated boxes and other common packaging mediums are very exciting. But think for a second about how packaging can contribute to the overall retail experience and even justify spending more on a premium product, and your view might change. One of the best possible examples of this excitement over a simple box is the overwhelming success of Apple products over the last decade or so.

Apple iPhone Shipping Box - Branded Box

If you don’t see the connection yet, all you need to do is watch someone opening up a box containing one of those precious computing devices. For the millions of people who purchase Apple products each year, from iPods to iPhones to iPads and more, the un-packaging experience is often one of the most exciting parts of bringing the new “toy” home. It seems there’s a lot for other companies to learn from this retail packaging guru, including the following valuable lessons.

Research is the Only Way to Create the Perfect Box
Packaging gurus like the experts at Apple take the time to perform careful research in order to create a fever pitch of retail bliss for consumers. According to Adam Lashinsky, author of Inside Apple, the company operates a top-secret packaging room at its headquarters where this research takes place.

Packaging Perfection Requires Dedicated Manpower
Apple’s packaging can serve as inspiration to other companies in virtually any commercial market. And this certainly isn’t by mistake. In fact, Apple even employs a full-time designer with the sole purpose of perfecting its packaging. This designer is one of the few people allowed into the company’s packaging room, with the singular purpose of opening boxes.

It Takes Hundreds of Prototypes to Get It Right
The designers at Apple have developed hundreds of prototypes that fill up the packaging room for months before they hone in on the perfect box, say insiders like Lashinsky. The goal is to create a very specific emotional experience for customers who purchase one of the products contained in these boxes. And they don’t rest until they get it right.

A Box is Much More Than Just a Box
While it may seem silly to spend so much time on a box when what really matters is the product inside, there is no denying the success of companies like Apple that create a memorable un-packaging experience for their customers. Everything from the text and arrows to colors and shapes to the tiny tabs that customers pull off to release a sticker when opening the box are carefully designed. The end result is a packaging experience that says as much about the brand, if not more, than the product itself.

The main lesson to be learned here is that simply having a good product is no longer enough to succeed in the modern marketplace. But with the right custom box features carefully chosen colors, designs, logos and other packaging details, it’s possible to sell a state of mind that exists completely separate from the product itself.

A Custom Box from Amazon and Nissan Caused a Stir in Madison

The possibilities of custom boxes are virtually endless in this day and age. There are few limitations when it comes to the size, shape, design and concept of a product’s packaging, and retailers are now capable of creating as much excitement with a box as with the product itself. In fact, the anticipation created by one smartly designed package can even sometimes be more compelling than the contents of the box. One box created just this kind of excitement when Nissan teamed up with Amazon earlier this year to deliver a special package to a lucky new owner in Madison, Wisconsin, that came with some very special treats. The big box created quite a stir as it was in transit, and proved just how much buzz and excitement a single box can cause.

Amazon and Nissan Create a Mystery Box
Back in the first week of January, residents of Madison, Wisconsin, saw a huge Amazon package on the back of a truck driving through the streets of their city. And this box wasn’t just big. It was massive. Bigger than anything that the average person had ever seen delivered to their home from this popular online retailer. Some thought it was a hoax, but within days the recipient of the special delivery responded to the rampant speculation with a very real explanation. It turns out the giant package actually held a brand new 2014 Nissan Versa Note. And this wasn’t the only new Nissan Versa Note delivered to a lucky recipient in one of these huge Amazon boxes.

Promotional Partnership Takes Packaging to New Heights
Most people purchase new cars from dealership lots, but when Nissan teamed up with Amazon their promotional campaign set a new precedent while creating a buzz for both of their brands with some very conspicuous packaging delivered on highly visible trucks. It all started back in September of 2013, when the two companies launched a campaign on the Amazon website that was directed at prospective new car buyers. The online advertisements targeted people who were already interested in buying a Nissan Versa with an offer to fill out a special contact form to see if they could get a deal on their purchase. Any buyer who purchased a new Versa Note within a month of being contacted by a Nissan dealer in their area would be treated to a $1,000 Amazon gift card. Three lucky buyers also got their new car in a very special package, delivered straight to their door in a custom box from the people at Amazon.

Amazon and Nissan wanted to cause a stir with their packaging stunt and it looks as though they succeeded. With all the attention this delivery in Madison got, it seems as if a box can do much more than hold an object. Custom boxes like the car-sized ones from Amazon can hold viewers’ attention and create a great deal of excitement about what’s inside. Retailers can certainly learn a thing or two from this promotion.

The Perfect Custom Box Leads Domino’s Fastest Box Folder into History

With custom shipping boxes that are big enough to hold a car and product packages that are designed to create a jaw-dropping unveiling experience for consumers once they leave the store, boxes are much more than just simple pieces of cardboard in today’s consumer market. And the excitement around the now seemingly limitless possibilities of a carefully designed cardboard box have even reached the pizza industry. While virtually every person who hasn’t been living under a rock their entire life has eaten from or at least seen a pizza box, few of us have likely given the box much thought. And it’s even less likely that many among us have given much thought to who folded our pizza box or how fast they folded it. Until now, that is.

“Fastest Box Folder” Gains TV and Internet Fame
Getting your food delivered faster than the competitors has been the goal of many pizza chains for many years. This requires a carefully choreographed dance that begins with the ordering of the food, which then makes its way through the assembly line, ending with the finished pizza(s) being boxed up and delivered within moments of coming out of the oven. Some pizza chains are encouraging more customers to carry out their orders instead of ordering delivery, though, by offering special carryout deals. A recent promotion at Domino’s, for example, offers customers the chance to get a large two-topping pizza for under $6 if they carry out instead of having it delivered. As part of the advertising campaign, Domino’s Pizza brought in its “fastest box folder,” Dale Lamoureux, as an example of how they’re keeping up with the demand.

Advertisements featuring his lightning fast pizza-box folding skills have been aired across television stations as well as on the internet. As it turns out, folding and delivering boxes can even be elevated to the level of a competitive sport, making the box itself a tool of the game.

What This Means for Retailers Outside the Restaurant Biz
Retailers outside of the restaurant business might not think there are lessons to be learned from this box-folding ad campaign, but with so much buzz about a box it should be taken as a hint that packaging matters. The “un-packaging experience” of a product, whether it’s a pizza or a high-tech toy or a diamond ring, has become part of what customers pay for in this day and age. Packaging can create excitement and a memory, rather than just being discarded in an instant to get to what’s inside. Domino’s pizza boxes have become part of their branding, with their logo along with various unique and timely designs gracing every corner of the cardboard. So whether you use custom shipping boxes to deliver products to your customers’ door or boxes for items to sell right in the store, you could probably learn a thing or two from this food service stunt. The importance of product packaging as part of the consumer experience simply cannot be ignored.