I recently received a product by mail from a small family business. The owner had no better sense than to ask for my feedback. The thoughts I shared may prove useful to anyone who fulfills product orders via the U.S. Mail or other package delivery service.
Mail-order deliveries usually find a customer in one of two mindsets: either the customer has eagerly awaited the package, or has forgotten about it so that its arrival is something of a pleasant surprise. In either case, the customer opens the box with a sense of anticipation. Do not let your customer be unimpressed upon opening the box. You want your customer to open the box and see your product presented in a way that makes him or her exclaim, “Ahh.”
This is especially true for a food product, which this happened to be. Appearance affects perceived taste. If you don’t believe me, try serving — or drinking — milk that has been colored blue. Or consider myriad tests in which wine experts were certain they were drinking red wine when in reality they were served a white that was dyed red.
As for me, I was in eager anticipation mode when the package arrived. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold back a wrinkled-up nose reaction upon getting the box opened. The product was swaddled in opaque pink bubble wrap that brought to mind Pepto Bismal—not the best initial association in any case, and especially for food. The Pepto cocoon sat by itself in an otherwise starkly empty box. Plus, the darned thing was taped together so tightly that, well, it was a good thing I had an Xacto knife on hand.
No one is better at mail-order food presentation than Harry & David’s. I’d recommend ordering a thing or two from them to see just how good they are at evoking that “ahh.”
Finally, some mail-order tips. You should enclose literature (again, professionally written and designed) that makes it easy to re-order and to buy other products. Include a coupon with an expiration date. A signed letter thanking the customer and telling a bit of the company story is always a good idea. Enclose a flier that suggests the stuff as a gift for family and friends.
Be sure every customer’s name goes into a database so you can mail or email them future offers. Note: the best time to get someone to make a purchase is right on the heels of their prior purchase.