By the end of this year, e-commerce sales are expected to make up 18% of all retail purchases in the UK, with mobile e-commerce alone projected to facilitate 29 billion pounds worth of transactions. This growth is putting increased pressure on traditional brick and mortar stores to up their game and not get left behind. It isn’t easy to beat the ease and convenience offered by online shopping, so this means giving your customers an experience they can’t get from the comfort of their home.

Naturally, running a physical store usually means very high overheads. This can feel difficult to justify, as more and more brands are proving that it’s possible to be successful with an e-commerce and social media presence alone. However, this is where you can leverage your in-store experience to your advantage.

Product packaging is just one element that you can use as a tool to give your store a point of difference. Once a fairly neglected marketing tool used only by luxury brands, the affordances of branded packaging are gaining greater currency across all levels of retail. The reason? It’s an invaluable method for showing customers how much you value their patronage. It gives them that little something extra on top of what they are purchasing, which has been proven to help foster brand loyalty and customer retention rates.

While ‘unboxing’ receives a lot of attention in an e-commerce setting, it’s discussed much less in relation to traditional retail. However, it arguably has even more of an effect. Rather than being a substitute for the personal interaction that online retail cannot easily give, packaging in-store is an addition to the service a customer receives right up to the moment of purchasing. Here, the packaging process can be the icing atop the proverbial cake; after taking the customer through the sale process, you have the opportunity to ‘close the sale’ on a really positive note by how you present them with that final product.

Ask yourself this question: will hastily throwing the product into a generic plastic bag and handing it over give your customer a unique experience and great impression of your band? Most likely not, as this can be perceived as showing little care and consideration for your own product. What about wrapping your product in bespoke paper, and using sturdy bags branded with your name and logo? This isn’t only fantastic marketing for when your customer leaves the store; it’s a tangible presentation of your brand’s ethos and how it likes to do business. In a time when so many brands are competing for our attention, creating this impression is invaluable.