Autoresponder Software, Low Cost Web Hosting, Small Business March 20th. 2010, 6:01am
A recurring theme in success manuals—for life, for online business, for traditional business, for anything—is that appearances matter. You can attach a value judgment to this statement, and insist that it’s not fair and it’s not right (and it isn’t), but there it is: appearances matter. It’s something that seems to be hard-wired into human nature. And that means it can affect your sales in ways you may not be aware of.
However highly evolved people may be, or how removed from crass, worldly concerns they may be, they care about appearances. They may deny this wholeheartedly, or even angrily, but they do care. It may only be subconscious, but they care. All other things being equal, people will choose to buy from the businesses they find most attractive. –Even if only unconsciously.
This is why web design is so important. You’ll find that even a cheap host offers the tools you need to create a beautiful and welcoming website. And the importance of good design extends, naturally, to your marketing. Everything that goes out through your email autoresponder software should be pleasing to the eye as well as to the pocketbook.
But if you’re selling a product that gets shipped to your customer, you have one more opportunity to be impressive: the packaging.
I have purchased several things online that I have looked forward to receiving very much. When I got some of them, they were a mess! In what, I assume, was an attempt to save money, the seller had packaged them in, well, trash.
Instead of a proper box, I have received things in stray pieces of cardboard from packing containers pieced together with duct tape. Instead of bubble wrap or packing peanuts, I have found shredded newspapers or even paper towels.
When I had dug through these unpleasant materials, I sometimes found the item in its original packaging from the manufacturer. But the manufacturer’s packaging would be scratched, torn, or crushed on the edges and corners. Sticky labels would have been added or torn off, leaving a gash in the glossy veneer.
The product would always be fine. Perfect, in fact. Just what I ordered, in great condition, sold at a great price and speedily delivered. But something was missing. Some of the fun of getting a new toy had been removed from the experience. Although I knew that I had the product I wanted, some part of me still felt like I had spent good money on a box of trash. I couldn’t wait to carry the packaging out to the recycling bin and get it out of my house!
Shallow? Entirely. But people often are.
I have spoken with people who defend this practice as “green”. That is, the avoidance of bubble wrap and packing peanuts, and the re-use of cardboard instead of putting everything in a new box, is a good way to recycle. And it probably is.
But if you are re-using materials for your packaging, don’t leave it up to your customers to figure that out. Instead, you should flaunt it! Put it right on your web page. At the point of purchase, include a banner or sidebar proclaiming that, out of love for the planet, you’ll be using earth-friendly, recycled materials as your packaging.
And remember that you still must pack with care. A box assembled from other boxes can still be nicely squared off at the corners and attractively put together. After all, there’s probably very little that’s environmental about duct tape!