Packaging Inserts: 6 Ideas to Delight Your Customers

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Packaging inserts are additional items that ecommerce merchants add to shipments before sending them out to customers.

They’re a great way of boosting your shipment and unboxing experience, and are the ideal way of generating goodwill and building a relationship with your customers.

If you’re thinking about adding packaging inserts to your packages but you’re unsure where to start then you’re in the right place! Read on to find out why packaging inserts are a useful marketing tool for ecommerce businesses and discover some ideas that are sure to delight your customers. 

Why Are Packaging Inserts Important For Your Online Store?

Packaging inserts are small items, often a postcard or pamphlet, that ecommerce business owners add to customers’ packages.

They are small and lightweight so add no extra shipping costs and are usually a pleasant surprise for customers when they unbox their items. 

Packaging inserts are low-cost but can have a great return on investment (ROI) if implemented correctly. They are the ideal way of building a relationship with your customers, which in turn will encourage brand loyalty and repeat purchases. 

There are no additional costs for delivering the inserts since you’re already covering the shipping fees. This makes inserts perfect for encouraging targeted and personalized cross-selling marketing.

Packaging inserts are pretty simple – it’s just a case of adding a flyer or small gift to each parcel, right? 

Well, yes, but there are multiple different types of inserts you can opt for. Here, we’ve put together six ideas for packaging inserts that will help to delight your customers…

Thank You Cards and Personal Notes

Thank you cards and handwritten notes are by far the most personalized packaging insert you can add to your shipments.

A simple, personalized thank you note, thanking the customer for their purchase, is a simple way of building a relationship and highlighting how much you value their loyalty and custom.

Often used by smaller businesses, they’re a great option when your ecommerce business is first finding its feet. 

Personalized packaging notes
Personalized notes thanking customers for placing their orders help to boost your relationship.

Handwritten, personalized thank you cards simply aren’t an option for large-scale businesses that are fulfilling hundreds of orders each day. But, they are perfect for merchants who are operating on a smaller scale.

If you opt to add personalized thank you notes, our top tips are:

  • Use quality stationery.
  • Always address the customer with their first name.
  • Be specific about the items included within the order.

Discount Offers Or Coupons

Everyone loves a discount or money-off coupon, and these are super simple packaging inserts that you can easily add to your shipments.

Including a special discount within the packaging ensures your offers aren’t getting lost in spam folders or within social media feeds.

Common discounts you can offer with a packaging insert include free shipping on the customer’s next order, a specific amount of money off their next order, or a percentage discount. 

You can also set requirements for the discount such as “spend $50 on your next order to receive 20% off with this code”.

Discount offer packaging inserts are a great way of encouraging repeat purchases and targeting customers when they are still within your ecosystem, giving them no chance to forget about your brand.

Our top tips for a discount offer or coupon packaging inserts are:

  • Use business card size inserts to promote your discount codes.
  • Consider including two discounts within each package, one for the customer and one for them to refer a friend.
  • Try out different discounts and offers with different customers to see which ones prove the most successful in generating repeat business.

Referral Cards

Referral schemes are a clever way of encouraging both repeat purchases and attracting new customers to your online store.

Referral schemes work by providing existing customers with an incentive to refer a friend to your store. Once the friend makes their first purchase, both they and the original customer will receive their reward – often a discount or money-off code.

Referral cards are the ideal packaging insert for small businesses that are looking to expand their customer base. By giving customers an incentive you’re much more likely to convince them to recommend your online store to a friend.

If you think referral cards are the right packaging insert for you, then our top tips are:

  • Present the referral card like an invitation, helping your customers to feel like a VIP.
  • Use a business card or bookmark format.
  • Make it clear what the customer (and their friend) has to do in order to receive their reward. 

Product Review/Social Share Request

Once a customer receives their package, this will usually mark the end of their customer journey (until they return to make another order of course). This means that it’s the ideal time to ask for a review.

Their opinion of the item is never fresher than when they have just received it, making it the perfect time for them to head online and leave you a review.

Including your social media platforms and any specific marketing hashtags is also a great idea. 

Use your packing insert to encourage customers to share their purchases on their social media channels in order to help raise your brand awareness and build your online community. 

Our top tips for including product review/social share request packaging inserts are:

  • Be specific. Tell your customers where to leave a review or which accounts and hashtags to use on social media.
  • Use your packaging insert to encourage customers to follow you on social media or sign up for your email list.
  • Ask your customers questions about their order that they can answer in their review.

Product Samples

A popular packaging insert that can deliver great results is product samples.

Including small samples of other products helps to introduce customers to your wider product range and helps to cross-sell customers, highlighting other items they may like.

If a customer has been thinking about trying another product or hasn’t yet discovered your new range, including a product sample within their order is a great way of opening up more of your brand to them. 

Samples are only small, meaning they won’t take up valuable space and weight within the package, and they’re a great way of showcasing brand-new or best-selling items. 

If you decide to include product samples within your packages then our top tips are:

  • Only include one or two samples in order to keep your customers’ attention on the specific items.
  • Depending on the type of products you sell, speak to your suppliers to see if they offer samples for free.
  • Consider including a sample of the same product the customer has bought for them to share with a friend.

Small Gifts

Small gifts are similar to samples in that they’re a great way of surprising your customers without it feeling like you’re trying to convince them to make another purchase.

The gifts don’t need to be expensive and it’s best to keep them lightweight and small so that they can fit in any package size. You don’t want your additional gift to be bigger than the item the customer has actually paid for!

Packaging gifts
Clothing brand Lucy and Yak cleverly wrap their items in fabric bags before packaging and sending them to customers, which can be reused in various ways.

The additional gift helps to make your customers feel special – after all, everybody loves to receive an unexpected gift, and this builds up the loyalty and relationship between you.

Small gifts can help to trigger customers into wanting to return the favor, thus leading them directly back to your ecommerce store to make another purchase. 

Customers will be much more likely to remember you favorably if you include a small gift as a packaging insert.

Our top tips for including small gifts as packaging inserts are:

  • Ensure the gift is relevant to your brand and the original item the customer bought.
  • Use the opportunity to create branded gifts to help boost brand awareness.
  • Include a note that explains what the gift is – you don’t want customers to think they have received the wrong order!

Packaging Inserts: Summary

Packaging inserts are certainly not an essential part of running a successful ecommerce business, but they are a great way of providing additional value to your customers.

Often unexpected, packaging inserts can help to boost trust and brand loyalty, while encouraging customers to not only make another purchase, but to also refer your store to friends and family. 

To recap, some of the best ideas for packaging inserts:

  • Personalized thank you notes.
  • Discounts or special offers.
  • Referral cards.
  • Product review and/or social share requests.
  • Product samples.
  • Small gifts.

In order to find out which packaging insert works best for you, try out a few of these ideas in order to discover which one has the best impact on your marketing, sales, and profit margins.

For more insider tips and tricks from our team of ecommerce experts, be sure to check out our articles on how to build a brand online, and how to created branded packaging. If you want to start building your website, we have a well-researched list of the best ecommerce website builders all ready for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Packaging inserts can provide your ecommerce store with a load of different benefits, including increasing brand loyalty and awareness, helping to build a relationship between your brand and your customer, widening your customer base, and encouraging repeat orders.
There are various different types of packaging inserts from small cards and leaflets outlining information such as social sharing and discount codes, right through to small product samples and branded gifts.
Packing inserts can be utilized by ecommerce businesses of all shapes and sizes. Things such as handwritten, personalized thank you notes are useful for small businesses who have fewer orders to contend with, while larger businesses with bigger budgets benefit from including branded gifts and samples within their packages.
Written by:
Black and white headshot of Lucy Nixon smiling at the camera
I’ve been a content writer for Website Builder Expert since 2021. Through almost a decade in the digital marketing industry, I’ve built up knowledge on everything from growing ecommerce businesses to building websites. I love breaking down tricky topics into digestible and engaging content for readers. Breaking down the jargon and uncovering the best platforms, tools, and strategies, I’m a meticulous researcher who’s committed to providing our readers with tips and advice that’s tried and tested.

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