In Part 1, I talked about the functional aspect of shipping roasted coffee beans. Here, I’ve written about the formative aspect of shipping your beans. Formative because if you sell online and deliver through the mail (or any delivery service), the way your product arrives will determine how your customers form their opinion about the quality of the product in the package and the professionalism of the company who sent it.
Formative. There is a cliche that says form follows function. It’s cliche for a reason- it’s true. No matter how pretty your packaging looks, if it doesn’t do its job of protecting the contents inside, it’s useless. Having said that, let’s talk about what your consumers expect when they order roasted coffee for you. If I order something from Etsy, I know I’m getting something hand-crafted, not corporate. My standard is a little bit lower for how ‘clean’ the product looks and is delivered. You’re not expecting hang tags, barcodes, super nice printed boxes, or things like that. You’d expect maybe some hand-stamped branding, maybe hand colored notes or logos, and other touch-points like that.
When you order from Amazon, you expect minimalist packaging with their smile on the side. You expect Amazon’s smile on a brown box. And you expect to get it fast. If you ordered from an ‘earth-friendly, organic, recycle please’ company, you’d expect the packaging to reflect that theme. But what you always expect is professionalism. You expect the package to be shipped on time, and delivered in a timely fashion. Most of us expect tacking numbers and things like that as well, but this is more about how it looks and feels when you get it.
You expect the packaging to match the theme of the brand. I also think this is the opportunity to cement your brand in the hearts and minds of your customers and every one else who comes across your package. Johnny Cupcakes once famously said: “Great packaging doesn’t get thrown away.” Well, eventually, it will get thrown away. In our case, hopefully it will get recycled. But until it does, this is your chance to send a little billboard bearing your brand across the country. Think of it. Mail carriers come into contact with it. Potential customers see it. Your customer’s friends and family members will see it. What do you want them to see?
A USPS branded envelope? A blank cushioned envelope? What if they could see your brand, in all it’s glory, as sleek as you can possible make it, with a budget, that leaves them saying: “Wow, that’s cool.” Be honest with me- who’s doing that? When you got your mail today, how many of you thought you were opening a Christmas present, even though you knew what was inside? What price would you pay for producing that emotion, that feeling, inside your customers? Even with small operations, great boxes that fit your product perfectly only cost $2 or $3.
Yes. 12 ounces of roasted coffee will fit (depending on your bags) into a 4x6x3 or 5x5x3 box, perfectly, and only cost you a few bucks. Blue Bottle does it. Onyx does it. Onyx actually goes all out and does much more, but you get the idea. Invest in your brand to make a positive emotional connection with your customers that they will relate to your great tasting coffee. They will look forward to the entire sensory experience of receiving your coffee in the mail.
P.S. I use Packlane and love them. You use whatever you have to. Need to go cheaper? Try Uline or somebody similar, get a custom stamp made, and then go stamp happy with Staz-On permanent ink and some colored Sharpies. Will you please send me some pictures of the great things you’re doing? Better yet, let me know and I’ll order some coffee from you.