The marketing power of product packaging

The marketing power of product packaging

Packaging design is a marketing game-changer. But it’s often a missed opportunity, especially for smaller DTC brands

You’ve heard not to judge a book by its cover. But when you’re shopping, you’ve got little else to go on. 

The cover shares all kinds of information to help readers decide if they’re interested — a plot teaser, beautiful cover art, and plenty of five-star reviews. 

Product packaging is a bit like that, too. Packaging is your customer’s first physical point of contact with the product. It’s a chance to strengthen your brand and engage customers from the first moment they hold the product in their hands. 

And yet, packaging is often an afterthought in the quality conversation. Savvy e-commerce brands try to make quality control (QC) a priority but completely overlook the role of packaging as a component of delivering quality products. That’s why Factored Quality partnered with Arka to help brands address this gap with a fully customizable and eco-friendly solution.

High-quality packaging is a golden opportunity to boost customer retention, brand reputation, and sales. Brands should take just as much care with packing quality as the product itself. 

The untapped potential of packaging in e-commerce

Good packaging protects your products. It makes sure they reach customers in the same great condition as when they left the factory. 

For example, custom-fit Styrofoam packaging materials can protect products from damage, since they’re not rattling around in an empty box. 

And for ambitious brands who want to get creative, great packaging can do more than protect your product — it can enhance it. For many consumers, unboxing is the most exciting part of making a purchase. They’ve been waiting on that package for days, anticipating the moment when it will finally arrive. When it does, your packaging is the very first thing they see. 

Don’t waste that moment of high engagement. Packaging sets the tone for a memorable experience — and a lasting brand relationship — from the first interaction customers have with your product. 

Product packaging helps customers get to know you better. It answers questions like:

  • Who is this brand, and what are their values?
  • Is this a high-quality product? 
  • What makes this product special?
  • Should they order from this brand again?

Fortunately, there are many ways for e-commerce brands to create beautiful packaging — and an unforgettable unboxing experience. 

High-quality or sustainable packaging implies that a brand is eco-conscious and cares about quality, too. Thoughtful design tells a story and communicates brand identity, while clear labeling educates shoppers. And with technology like QR codes and augmented reality, brands can engage customers in interesting and unique ways.

Brand storytelling through packaging: Creative bliss

With interactive candle-making kits, Creative Bliss promises customers fun and inspiration. 

Owner Teresa Williams wanted her packaging to live up to that mission. She also needed to protect her products —  since they’re made from glass and natural materials, Teresa’s candles can be fragile. But she didn’t want to spend hours assembling packaging herself, or compromise Creative Bliss’ emphasis on sustainability. 

The solution? Arka’s custom, sustainable packaging solutions. 

The new packaging elevates Creative Bliss’s product presentation, makes sure every candle arrives intact, and enhances the unboxing experience — all while adhering to environmental standards. 

6 ways to build brand identity with custom packaging

Packaging design isn’t just about beautiful colors and fun fonts. Brands should use these elements as tools, helping them create a unique identity that resonates with their target market.

Whether you’re selling eco-friendly skincare or video game accessories, packaging can help tell your brand’s story. From sustainability to augmented reality, the options are endless.

  1. Product labeling compliance

Labeling regulations aren’t exciting but they reveal the most important information to include on your packaging. To ensure compliance with federal regulations, it’s crucial for brands to know what they’re required to include on their product’s label.

In the United States, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) regulates how hazardous substances, labeling, and waste requirements should be declared on packaging. It also requires brands to declare how much of the product is in the package, by weight, mass, or quantity. 

The European Union also has its own requirements for product labeling. All information must be easy to understand, easily visible, clearly legible and indelible, and appear in the official language(s) of the country where the product is marketed.

Compliant labeling isn’t just about avoiding risk. It also shows customers that you’re trustworthy and transparent about your products, so they can be comfortable purchasing from you. 

  1. Fonts, colors, and materials

Investing in packaging design is money well spent. Other than the product itself, it’s essentially your only chance to boost desirability by proving your dedication to quality. 

In packaging design, fonts, colors, and materials reveal a brand’s identity and quality standards. Every aspect of the product’s packaging should feel intentionally designed, on-brand, and relevant to the brand’s price point and target market. 

Apple is known for some of the most iconic product packaging ever. The sturdy cardboard boxes, fitted with custom components, hold Apple’s gadgets so snugly they’ll never arrive broken or damaged.

But Apple’s packaging isn’t just about function. Every aspect of these sleek white boxes reinforces Apple’s brand identity — luxurious, minimal, and effortless to use. That’s why YouTube boasts millions of Apple unboxing videos, and so many consumers hang onto this packaging long after receiving their product. 

  1. Sustainability

Making sustainability part of your brand is a win-win. Not only are you reducing your ecological footprint, but you’re giving eco-minded consumers a reason to choose your product over a competitor’s — even if it costs more.

Research shows that customers are putting their money where their values are. Up to 80% of consumers report that they’d consider buying products in refillable packaging to reduce their environmental impact. Another 82% of consumers across age demographics showed willingness to pay more for a product in sustainable packaging.

  1. Social media integration

Magic happens when brands combine the real and digital worlds. Designing packaging with social media in mind encourages customer engagement, creates shareable experiences, and builds buzz online. 

Social media is a powerful tool for selling — 76% of consumers have purchased a product they saw in a brand’s social media post. User-generated content is even more powerful, driving organic reach and offering social proof. 

For irresistibly shareable products, brands can: 

  • Include hashtags and social accounts on packaging
  • Encourage customers to share unboxing videos
  • Run contests that can be entered by sharing packaging on social
  • Design packaging that’s as beautiful and eye-catching as possible
  • Offer ideas to reuse packaging in creative, shareable ways
@skincarebesti So thankful for this amazing @tatcha package!! Seriously a dream come true ✨ #skincare #skintok #Tatcha #tatchaskincare #unboxing ♬ hot ppl use this sound - 🧟

Source: @skincarebesti

Japanese-inspired skincare brand Tatcha has become beloved for its gorgeous, brand-focused packaging. 

Tatcha’s packaging ticks all the boxes:

  • High-quality shipping materials keep premium products safe
  • Beautiful designs make every box a delight to open 
  • Inserts customized with the customer’s name share product information and tell a story 

The result? An unboxing experience as luxurious as the products themselves. 

  1. Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) in packaging is no longer futuristic—it’s here, and it's making waves in the e-commerce industry. 

AR allows you to enhance your packaging with digital content, such as graphics, animations, and videos. Imagine a customer pointing their phone at the packaging and seeing its design move and expand on their screen. 

Beyond entertaining customers and creating a unique shopping experience, AR packaging can offer expanded brand and product information. Companies can provide in-depth product details like instructions and care tips in an interactive format.

Transforming a simple unboxing into a more dynamic experience offers new ways for customers to engage with your brand and create lasting memories. This innovative approach not only captures customers’ attention but also positions a brand as a forward-thinking leader in any industry.

Herbal Essences brought together AR and sustainability with their Waves of Change campaign. When customers scan the bottle, an interactive beach landscape pops up, featuring a video about the ecological impacts of plastic waste. 

The AR animations were designed around key brand stories. They spotlighted plastic waste to draw attention to the shampoo’s recycled packaging, and included facts about the plants behind its botanical ingredients. 

  1. Product cross-promotion

Everyone loves getting something for free. To pique customer interest and drive repeat purchases, try incorporating product teasers or samples of new products into the packaging. 

Teasers build hype and curiosity around new launches, let customers see if they like a product before buying, and can even introduce them to entirely new product categories. 

If you’re a digital-first brand, chances to interact physically with customers are rare. The moment they receive a package is one of your only chances to let them experience another product they might like, too. 

Invest in an innovative future with Arka and Factored Quality

Proving your brand’s reputation requires ongoing dedication to product quality. That includes top-tier partners to support you along the way.

Arka and Factored Quality work together to guarantee your product quality throughout the manufacturing process. 

  • FQ’s quality control platform streamlines your global quality and compliance operations, bringing ops teams, labs, and inspectors into communication. 
  • Arka uses AI to auto-replenish your packaging inventory — while our custom, sustainable packaging delights end customers.

Never take chances with your product quality again. FQ controls your product’s quality throughout manufacturing, while Arka’s packaging protects its quality — and supports brand identity — all the way to the customer’s door.

Design your custom packaging from Arka today and book a demo to see how FQ can unify your quality control and compliance operations.

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