You've heard the saying "don't judge a book by its cover" about a million times throughout your life and it certainly rings true in most situations. Just because the cover (or package) is plain and uninspiring on the outside, doesn't mean the contents on the inside aren't revolutionary!

Well, true or not, this is not a lesson that most consumers adhere to.

WestRock surveyed over 3,000 consumers and found that 64 percent will sometimes buy a product off the shelf (without prior knowledge or research) simply because they're drawn by the packaging. 72 percent of consumers rarely use a mobile device to research a certain product as they are shopping. The firm's study went on to say that packaging was ranked as one of the highest drivers of repeat purchase.

Heck, I know a guy that says he has to go to Dunkin Donuts every morning to get coffee...it's not enough to make the same brand of coffee at home. He says it has to be in their cup – it's all about the "experience." Because of his subconscious obsession with the packaging of the coffee, that man spends nearly $800 a year on his morning cup of joe. That's a small example of the power of packaging at work.

The founders of Chococurb understood the need for world-class packaging from the get-go. This subscription-based business procures the best chocolate from around the world and delivers new products to your door every month. The product is good on its own, but is made all the more sweet by the care put into the packaging.

The functional design includes a thick blue outer box, with a sleek, but playful logo, which opens to reveal a smaller white box. Inside, under blue tissue paper with the company seal, five elaborate chocolates are carefully arranged over a hidden cold pack, to ensure they arrive in top condition. Opening this box makes you feel a bit like the Queen of England.

"We knew we wanted to spend just as much time and put in the effort to give our customers an extraordinarily luxurious and exciting experience," says Chococurb co-founder Kamran Amir Ali.

In the early days of the company, he and his partner, Roger Ling, conducted market research by ordering the most popular subscription boxes on the market. The duo were not impressed with most packages. Some were cheap and flimsy, while others simply didn't look appealing. Expanding outside the industry, they looked at some of their favorite and most successful companies and saw how much time they devoted to creating their packaging.

After thinking about the functionality (e.g. using two boxes helps protect the chocolate and provides insulation), they spent weeks upon weeks tinkering with the design. Not only did their packaging need to function well, it had to look and feel like luxury too. "After all, it's the first thing a customer sees and definitely part of the entire experience," says Kamran.

The team went through and ordered prototype after prototype, going through countless samples that had variations in color, finish (e.g. matte or glossy), thickness, size, and any other combination of attributes one could think of.

Finally, after taking a few months, we thought they had perfected our packaging. But there was one issue--the interior box was too snug. Though it would've been easy to say, "it's OK, the customer can deal with it," that just wasn't going to be OK with Roger and Kamran.

So instead, they took some time, reduced the length of the interior box by a few millimeters, then ordered thousands more to start. "These days, when a customer receives a Chococurb box, we want him or her to feel excited, happy, hopeful, and curious," explains Kamran. "Those who already know what to expect will hopefully be filled with excitement, as they anticipate what type of chocolate they're getting inside."

For those of you who are deciding on packaging or think you might need a facelift on what you have currently--be brutal and meticulous. If something about the design or functionality is bugging you even a little, don't live with it. If you notice it, the consumers surely will. It's worth it to take a little extra time (and money) to create perfect packaging that make your customers feel special. If you can achieve this, chances are--they'll keep coming back.

Published on: Aug 11, 2015