Packaging, Packaging, Packaging: 7 Tips

Recently I did a micro-experiment in marketing for work. Basically I'm helping with a charity drive and to that end ran a small "mystery gift" event. I took dollar-store gifts, wrapped them, put a bow on them and "sold" them for a contribution of the donor's choice. The following observed behaviors taught me a great deal about the importance of packaging:

1) First brand, then color: When people did not know what was inside the box, they looked at the box itself. They picked wrapping paper with Snoopy on it versus other brightly colored papers. The black wrapping paper iwth a design was the leaset popular.

2) Shaking the package: I hadn't seen this one before but at least three people actually picked the various packages up and shook them to determine what could be inside. (Two of them were right.)

3) Irregular shape: People tended to pick up the odd, irregularly shaped packages versus the simple, symmetrical ones.

4) Relationship marketing: Sales picked up when I engaged with the "customers" rather than just sitting back and letting them choose something. They liked having a conversation about what could be inside, how they could use it, what the purpose of the event was, etc.

5) Everyone wants a deal: All the gifts were relatively worthless, but I told every customer that I would give them a special "deal," or that certain gifts were better than others, and that very much moved the merchandise.

6) Pay-what-you-want: The policy of letting people pay what they wanted yielded twice the value of the outlay for the gifts.

7) But you must pay: If it's not clear - either from the signage or from the collection pot or from the conversation - that you must pay something, people will walk off with something.