E-Commerce Businesses

How E-Commerce Businesses Can Boost Brand Marketing

Even in a thriving digital economy, print still plays a big role in brand marketing. For e-commerce businesses that ship goods directly to customers, printed add-ons are a tactful way to dramatically enhance the unboxing experience. Small online businesses know that customers appreciate and remember finding thoughtful extras in their packages, so they invest time and effort to produce creative yet cost-effective gifts to help establish customer loyalty to the brand.

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

Mini brochures or catalogs

Your website locked in that first sale, but to keep customers interested in your products, they need to have a tangible reminder of your brand and their experience with your business. With a whole lot of other products to show off, why not put them all together in a small catalog and toss it in the box?

Take StampinUp, for example. Their catalogs are such a hit that those who order from StampinUp.com are just as excited to find them in the package as they are their actual orders. The visual and physical appeal of direct mail catalogs alone is a successful driver of web traffic, so it’s undeniable that combining this appeal with the excitement of unboxing can result in a very powerful branding experience. Not only will catalogs open up the potential for inspiration, but it also allows the opportunity for upselling directly to the most exciting part of an e-commerce buy: when your package arrives!


Who doesn’t love stickers? Toms and Apple are two brands that have famously included stickers with every product they sell for years. It’s not uncommon to see these stickers on cars these days, since they act as an identity badge for product enthusiasts who want to show others on the road their product sensibilities. If someone likes your brand and wants to associate themselves with your product, stickers are a great way to show that off without spending too much of your budget.

Also on StartupNation.com: Anatomy of an E-Commerce Store [Infographic]


People don’t always receive thoughtful postcards with a handwritten note, so finding one in the box makes the transaction memorable. Customers value a personal experience even when shopping online, so why not extend it to what happens offline? Apart from adding a personalized touch to your package, postcards can also end up on the fridge serving as tangible reminders of your business long after the purchase has been completed.

Exclusive access codes

Do you have any exclusive downloads, cool content, or members’ only discount deals you want your customers to know more about? One of the best ways to spread the word is by tossing an info card with a special promo code in the box when they ship. Not only does it put your offer right in the hands of your customers—rather than tucked along a sidebar or clickable pop-up on your site—but it also gives them that information in a way that feels like finding a hidden prize. One way of thinking about it: record labels that sell vinyl will often include a small card that gives buyers access to a download code, thereby doubling the listening experience. This principle can lead buyers to cool video, blog content, flash sales and more.

Note cards and stationery

Looking to thank new customers in a unique way, high-end home decor retailers One Kings Lane started shipping its products with quality engraved thank you notes and envelopes when they placed their first order. The cards themselves were high quality goods, and could have cost the company quite a bit of money if the campaign didn’t connect with their customers. However, they found that customers who received the cards returned for a second purchase at a 25 percent higher rate than other first time buyers, which gave them enough return on investment (ROI) incentive to expand the thank you card program by 15 percent the following year, according to BurdgeCooper. This goes to show that sometimes going the extra mile when it comes to packaging inserts can pay off.

Gift tags and labels

Including customizable gift tags or labels on your packaging is another creative way to give customers a memorable experience with your brand. You can even change up the type of gift tags you include in your packaging based on the season. Knowing that your customers will be reminded of your brand every time they use the tags makes the effort of adding them to your packaging worth it.

Something to selfie and share

Unboxing has become something of a phenomena, thanks to social media. A decade ago, opening up a new product was not a communal experience, but nowadays people become famous unboxing new things for a wide audience of enthusiasts. When packing up your box, include a card that reminds folks to post their experience on social media. As the good folks at Shopify note, the unique coffee-based body scrub brand Frank Body has this digital community building down to a science, thanks to an enthusiastic customer base and smart branding.

Every e-commerce brand strives to make their pre-buying web experience fun, but only the next level marketers strive to make the post-purchase experience fun and engaging as well. With a little creativity and thoughtfulness, there are several ways you can utilize printed media to make the experience of shopping with your brand stand out amongst your competitors.

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