When Sears and its subsidiary brand, Kmart, announced they were closing 150 stores this year, not too many people were surprised. After all, there hasn’t been much good news for the retailer in many years. But did you expect the same from Macy’s and CVS? In fact, Business Insider reports that “nearly every major department store, including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Walmart, and Sears, have collectively closed hundreds of stores over the last couple years to try and stem losses from unprofitable stores and the rise of ecommerce,” before going on to predict “A Giant Wave of Store Closures Is About the Hit The U.S.”
The eCommerce Effect
eCommerce giants like Amazon have left slimmer and slimmer margins for giant retail companies that have invested in a lot of real estate, infrastructure and labor. In response, many large retailers have shifted heavily to online shopping, where they find cheaper prices and a larger selection than in-store and get the bonus of free shipping. It hasn’t been a magic bullet though. In fact, Amazon accounted for about a 37% share of online holiday sales in 2016 (compared to the second place finisher Best Buy with 4%).
This is good news for eCom providers. Yet there will always be space for brick and mortar shopping experiences. And while some legendary brands may take a tumble, other brands are expanding . Places like REI, Costco, IKEA and Trader Joe’s are growing because they offer something better. They offer an experience. And according to Aisle 9 Group President and CEO and Ernest Packaging Solutions partner, Greg Feinberg, “Experiential retail is what it is all about.”
Feinberg continues, “Consumers don’t just want a product, they want an experience. They want to have something that they believe in or that connects them with their ideal self. Some big box stores experience only offers doom and gloom. That isn’t a good sign for their long-term health.”
The Packaging Play in Retail
On the packaging side, our side, the same lessons can be learned on how you present your product. If you are sending packaging into retail stores, make sure your package speaks volumes. Consider what might invite the consumer to stop and notice a stylish package that also conveys sustainability (through recycling or upcycling). Knowing what your customers value and delivering that in packaging creates an experience that is shareable and memorable.
In short, never stop giving your company a sense of purpose and use your packaging to convey that message with the world. A good story that is never told serves no one. So find your story and use every avenue, including your mobile billboard that is packaging, to tell it over and over again. If you’re not sure what we mean, take a peek at the unboxing video phenomenon.
Need help? You’ve come to the right place. Ernest Packaging Solutions is here to assist your custom packaging needs in any way—from design to delivery and scalability of process. Give us a call today to learn more before you miss another chance to create an experiential packaging moment with your customers.