Selling Successfully (Your One-Stop Resource for Setting Up, Managing and Marketing)

Tips for Branding Your Packages

You've been waiting with anticipation for an item you purchased online for your best friend. It is a special gift - she has been your friend for as long as you can remember. You're a little wary because this is the first time you've ordered online but your friends and coworkers convinced you to give it try. According to them you won't have to battle crazy drivers to get to the mall, no driving in circles once you get there to find a parking spot within a mile of the shops, no pushing and shoving your way through the crowds to get to the store where you want to shop (which is all the way to the other end of the mall from where you were 'gifted' with a parking spot); and no standing in long lines that are out the door, around the bend, and end in the food court, to pay for the item. Avoiding any one of these situations was incentive enough to give this whole 'shop online' a try.

Oh, oh, you hear a truck, maybe it is UPS. Yes, it is. You're excited. You sign for the package and prepare to tear into the box, although the box is a bit torn and tattered already, but that is OK, recycling is good. Before opening it you check the return label. It has a person's name on it you've never heard of, and oh, how cute, a picture of Fido. Fido? Wait, you didn't order a pet item, you don't have a dog, and your friend is allergic. Your shoulders sag a bit, maybe it isn't the gift after all, but it is addressed to you so you open it. There are some scrunched up and smelly old newspapers stuffed around whatever it is in the box and a few of what you believe to be dog hairs - your shoulders sag a little more. You pull off the packing and there it is, the 'gift'. You remove it from the box, it is perfect, your friend will love it. You perk up. Yes, yes, yes, your friends were right, this is great - shop and never leave home. Cool. You love the gift so much you want to return to the shop to see what else they might have. However, you will request they leave out Fido's hair this time. You dig around in the box looking for an invoice or a packing slip, but there isn't one. Oh, gosh, now you have to remember where you bought it. You know it was from an online mall called Ruby Lane because the name stuck with you, but if you remember correctly it was a bunch of independent shops. Oh, goodness, you hope you can find it again. Perhaps the name will come to you when you least expect it. Maybe or maybe not. Your shoulders sag again.

As a shop owner you were just as thrilled to receive the order. It's too bad you didn't take the opportunity to communicate who you are, what you sell, and that you give great service with respect to packaging; all of which brand your business and highlight the key differences between you and the competition. With too few opportunities for personal contact with the customer it is important to take advantage of each one. You want the customer to return again and to spread the word; something they can't do if they don't know or remember who you are, or what type of business you are in, or where your business is located.

Here are easy tips for making a good impression, strengthening your relationship with a customer, and brand your business to guarantee a buyer will return again to shop your shop.

  • Make sure to use address labels that include your business name, your logo, and shop URL. If your logo doesn't communicate who you are and what you sell, then it is time for a new one.
  • Add a memorable jingle or tag line to your shop name, a message that communicates something positive or noteworthy about your business, and use it every chance you get.
  • Use clean packaging materials. Recycling is good but make sure the materials are worthy of the item purchased.
  • ALWAYS include an invoice that shows your shop logo and provides contact information and your shop URL.
  • Add additional inserts, such as a post card, a thank you card, instructions for cleaning or any one of a number of informative written materials or promotional items.
  • For special holidays: affix inexpensive, festive stickers to the outside of the packaging.
  • An announcement of an upcoming sale or promotion
  • A business card - You can order Ruby Lane business cards customized with your shop name and contact information at
  • Include a Ruby Lane flyer customized with your shop name and URL. Visit