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INTERVIEW Why retail needs to bring their online service in-line with the instore experience

Rober Lockyer: luxury packaging key to standing out in ecommerce

As 21.7% of the world’s population – that’s 2.14 billion people – are expected to buy online by 2021, the CEO of a global luxury packaging company tells InternetRetailing and Retail X Growth 2000 editor Paul Skeldon, that there needs to be a ‘synergy’ between eCommerce and in-store packaging if brands want to keep consumers loyal

Robert Lockyer spearheads the hugely successful Delta Global, which has designed and implemented sustainable packaging solutions for designer heavyweights such as Tom Ford, Coach and Fortnum & Mason. 

Online and in-store packaging taking equal consideration is something that often divides a room, but for Robert, it’s a no brainer. He believes brands should be creating the same attention to detail with their online packaging as they would with their in-store offering. 

“In store experiences provide that all-important human-to-human interaction which goes towards maintaining customer loyalty, and that’s unfortunately something that online can’t match,” he says. 

In Lockyer’s view: “Some brands though, are using that as a reason to neglect their online packaging, opting instead for a cheaper, less thought-out solution. This ‘what we can’t see won’t hurt us’ approach is in actual fact damaging these brands’ chances of maintaining brand loyalty, because the importance of ‘consumer experience’ online is becoming imperative now more than ever.”

Consumers treat their own ‘customer experience’ as a top priority when deciding who to shop with – a recent study revealed that 72% of American consumers say that packaging alone influences their purchasing decisions.

“Ever consumer should be made to feel like they are the most important person to a retailer and be given a service that makes them want to come back,” Lockyer says. “The right packaging can open a brand up to a massive audience – from the delivery driver who carries it to the door, to colleagues in the office when it lands on your desk, plus the word of mouth that follows that.”

“If you’ve cleverly designed a packaging solution that can be transferred into their home as an interior or bag for life – this new life will showcase your brand for years to come,” he says. “You wouldn’t expect to go into a designer store, spend hundreds of pounds and walk away with your product in an unappealing, poorly designed plastic bags for example.  So when someone is shopping with that same brand online, the same level of care and attention-to-detail must be paid.”

A large part of Delta Global’s work is helping its clients introduce eCommerce packaging designs that are built in-line with its other branding collateral. And Lockyer is able to identify some brands that are already leading the way in eCommerce packaging.  

 “An example, I always refer to when speaking about brands that have got their online and in-store crossover on point is Ted Baker,” he explains. “The quality of their packaging reflects the quality of their products. Whether in-store or online you receive your product inside their statement recyclable boxes which perfectly replicates the in store experience. It has expertly tailored their online packaging to create a unique experience for their customers too. For example, when ordering jewellery, you receive a free branded gift box and material keepsake jewellery bag.”

He continues: “Ted Baker, and other trailblazers such as Matches, Burberry and Radley, openly recognise that they can’t personally welcome their customers online like they can in-store but find other ways to do it instead.”

Lockyer is all too aware of the hurdles that are standing in the way of brands investing into their online packaging though.  “There’s a resistance to paying extra to make eco-friendly, well designed and experiential packaging,” he says. “The daunting process of re-vamping your procedures and investing in better quality materials, to even selecting a better courier, all to gain the best experience for the customer, can put brands off.”

“But,” says Lockyer, “these brands are forgetting that though it may cost a little more initially, getting packaging right and providing a ‘theatre’ behind the unwrapping process will actually increase their profitability long term through customer loyalty. From retaining and gaining new custom in an eco-focussed age, to less damages and returns and even eliminating elements of the supply chain – a better packaged item will inevitably increase your revenue in the long run.”

Image: Entirely Midlands

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