(Packaging) Appearances Matter

Given my occupation, I pay attention to packaging.  I watch how items are portrayed in advertisements.  I look at items on store shelves.  I pay attention to how items are shipped.

My wife recently ordered pillows and blankets from a high-end retailer.  The package arrived at our house looking like it was meant to go in the garbage.  I know freight companies are notorious for damaging and then repacking packages.  That was not the case in this situation.  The box and tape identified the retailer and it was clear it was not repackaged.  Whoever filled the order (the retailer or its fulfillment company) tried to put too much stuff in one box.  Fortunately, it was pillows and blankets, so nothing was damaged.  Unfortunately, the retailer is more known for its kitchen wares (figure it out yet?).  Do you think we will order plates or other breakable items from this retailer? 

In most businesses, packaging and shipping are treated as cost centers that need to be minimized.  In the age of e-commerce, they are often the only physical point of contact many customers have with a brand or retailer.  I know the world obsesses over hard dollar costs.  The extra few dollars the box would have cost pales in comparison with the lost sales dollars this retailer just experienced.  I believe the old expression is, “Penny wise and pound foolish.”  That statement defines how most companies treat packaging and shipping. 

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