It is that time of year.  Online retailers are already flooding consumers with offers of free shipping, discounts, and a variety of special offers.  It is estimated that about half of us will shop online in the coming weeks … up from about a third of us last year.

Many of us will be turning to our laptops to avoid the hassle of crowded malls and shipping. You may be one of those who can remember Johnny Carson warning his viewers to, “Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas.”  

A recent WSJ article noted a growing trend of online retailers to recognize the power they have to wow the customer TWICE.  Once while shopping and a second time when the purchase arrives.  It turns out that you can box up an experience.

How can you “box up” an Experience? Levenger has been doing this for years.  Open the plain brown box and each of their leather goods is nestled inside its own signature box with a ribbon or elastic tie.  Crate & Barrel makes sure the first thing you see when opening their packing box is a card reading “Big Thanks.”  Anthropologie uses colorful tissue and a decorative envelope for your packing slip.

Online retailers face the challenge of keeping the exterior packing box neutral to avoid theft while pumping up the experience once the seal is opened.  “When you get something in the mail, it should feel like a present, whether you bought it yourself or not,” says Carolyn Keer of Anthropologie.  Watch for more of this type of thinking this season.

Your business may not ship its products, but chances are good you deliver something to your guests or customers. It may be as simple as an invoice or receipt.  I have a colleague in the events business who delivers his final invoice to the client with an iBook capturing the key moments from the event his business just staged.  He claims this simple re-thinking of the invoice-opening experience has brought him more repeat businesses than anything else he has done to enhance his client’s experience.

  • What do your customers open from your business?
  • How can you box-up an experience and make it more of a wow?