Packaging sells productsThe latest smartphone from Nokia might just sell. Not because it is brilliant – it might be for all I know – but because it is brightly coloured. Most mobile phones are the same colour – sort of grey, silver, black combinations. The white iPhone was massively attractive, of course – and you can buy pink phones. But coloured phones are not “normal”. Nokia, though, is launching new phones in a variety of colours. Technically the phones are not that advanced, so concentrating on how they are packaged could well be the trick needed to get Nokia back on the smartphone map.

People are easily fooled by packaging. Online when buying digital products we are much more likely to buy a product where the sales page has images of the “product box”. If it looks like you are buying something in a box you are much more likely to buy it – even though you know that you are only downloading something and that you will never get a boxed item. There are video products you can download which look like they are in several DVD cases. You see a pile of DVD cases on the sales page, but all you are actually getting is a dozen videos of around 10 minutes each you download in a zip file. But the image of a pile of DVD cases makes it all the more desirable.

This is now confirmed in new research on our vulnerability to eating sweets. It turns out that we eat more sweets when they are individually wrapped. The study also shows that the more information on the packaging, the fancier it all is, the more likely it is we eat more sweets. The problem for people trying to limit their calorie intake is that small, individually wrapped sweets make us consume more than if we had one big bar of chocolate. It is just another study which confirms the fallibility of humans when it comes to packaging. We love a good box…!

So, online you need to convey your products are packaged. And if you have a service, can you “box it up”? For example, if you are a lawyer who provides will writing, could you have a “will in a box” which includes your normal service, plus advice on trust fund administration and a booklet on inheritance tax. Then that “product” can have a box designed for it. All of this makes it more likely you will sell your will writing online – the only other option is price competition against non-lawyers who provide cheap, off the shelf wills. Packaging works. Indeed, you could even have a proper box produced with the final will in it, with the booklets inside as well. All wrapped up nicely.

If you are in the world of physical products, then packaging is something you probably think about anyway. But online how do you convey your product is packaged? We are suckers for a nice box; perhaps your website needs to show your customers you provide them.

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