Ecommerce has changed a lot of things about the way we shop. One thing that has stayed the same though is that sometimes we like to try before we buy.
While this is a simple enough process in a physical store, trying out a product you brought online has spawned a number of new business models. There are now numerous brands built around sending you goods to try on at home where you only pay for what you keep. It’s not enough for these items to just turn up in a basic box or envelope though. Presentation is an important part of the process and a big part of that is the packaging.
Here are 10 leading try-at-home packaging designs that nail everything from aesthetics to functionality:
- Warby Parker
The online eyewear brand has sparked a lot of imitators, but its Home-Try-On programme is still one of the best. Customers can choose five different frames from the company’s website, which are they shipped out for them to try at home for five days for free. The packaging has been specifically designed to safely transport the frames. The box is internally divided into five compartments. When the customer opens it, they immediately see all the frames attractively laid out. It’s a great example of useful, but attractive packaging design.
- Stitch Fix
Stitch Fix is one of the biggest online personal styling services out there. Customers sign up online and create a profile, which a personal shopper then uses to curate a box of five different items of clothing, shoes and accessories. These are shipped out for the customer to try at home. As customers don’t know what they’re getting in each box, the element of surprise is heightened by the packaging. Inside the box, the clothes are wrapped in paper, so customers have to ‘break the seal’ to get in. The inside of the box is printed with information from the brand, such as a thank you message, which makes it feel a bit more special.
- Trunk Club
Trunk Club is another personal styling leader. Owned by Nordstrom, it pairs customers with personal stylists who pull together pieces based on their tastes and budgets. These are then posted out for them to try at home. In keeping with the brand’s name, the cardboard box packaging represents a traditional suitcase or trunk – complete with handle. It’s a nice aesthetic choice that sets it apart from the normal online packaging options. Inside the items are neatly folded, like in a suitcase, so you can see everything at a glance.
Rocksbox is a subscription service for designer jewellery. Customers pay a monthly fee to receive three pieces of jewellery at a time that they can wear and keep for as long as they like. When they want a change, they send them back – or if they love a piece, they can pay to keep it. Customers can choose the specific pieces they want to try or have a personal stylist select pieces based on their profile. The chosen jewellery comes packaged in a high-end looking blue box tied with a ribbon, which is reminiscent of buying jewellery in a luxury store. There’s a nice tactile moment when you pull the ribbon to see what’s inside.
ThirdLove is working to reinvent the bra. From innovative designs to half-cup sizes, it wants to make it easy for every woman to get a perfect fitting bra. Understanding that customers want to be sure about the fit, ThirdLove offers a try before you buy option. Customers only pay for the shipping and they get to wear and even wash the bra for up to 30 days. If they’re happy with it, they can buy it or they can send it back. The bras come packaged in cardboard boxes that open out to reveal a delicate pink colour inside. The actual products are wrapped in tissue paper, which again speaks of a more luxurious in-store experience. It’s a simple, but effective step that elevates the buying process.
AUrate is a New York-based jewellery company. While you can just buy its products out right, the company also offers a free home try-on service called Curate. Customers fill in a survey and the brand’s stylists use the information to pick five AUrate pieces that fit their taste and budget. They get to try them at home for seven days for free. The pieces come in a pink box that when the lid is removed reveals the products laid out like they’re in a jewellery box. It’s a really attractive way of showcasing the products, while at the same time keeping them nice and safe during transport.
Casper is one of a number of online-grown mattress brands. Having begun life with no physical presence, the brand not only had to overcome the challenge of getting people to spend money on a mattress they’d never seen or touched – but also getting it to them. As such, Casper lets customers try their mattress at home for up to 100 nights and still be eligible for a free refund if they’re not satisfied. The brand has also overcome the delivery challenge that traditional mattresses have by cleverly rolling its products up into boxes. It adds an unboxing element to the purchase and makes it easier to move about logistically.
The try at home movement has even extended to second-hand clothing with ThredUp’s Goody Box. Again, customers share their style preferences which a stylist then uses to pick 10 items for them to try.
The items are shipped in a carboard box as with many other services, but ThredUp stamps its personality on it in the form of turquoise polka dots. It does this further by using fun slogans to engage with customers. Inside, the colour scheme continues right through to the tissue paper used to wrap the clothes in, which makes it a strong piece of branding.
Unlike a lot of other personal stylist services, professional workwear leader MM.LaFleur only deals with its own brand products. Customers share their information with their stylist who then curates a ‘Bento Box’ for them to try at home for free. While the carboard box the items are shipped in is fairly ordinary, we love the interior detail. There is a top tray with product information and accessories that is lifted out to reveal the clothes underneath, which are beautifully wrapped in ribbon. The two-level design is reminiscent of the traditional bento box that the service gets it name from.
- Rockets of Awesome
Children’s clothing brand Rockets of Awesome brings the personal stylist service to kids. Each season a box of curated items is sent out for a small styling fee. Given the target audience it makes sense that Rockets of Awesome has adopted bright colours and graphics for its packaging. The box also comes with a handle which makes it easy for kids to carry their goodies around. Inside the box is lined with fun graphics and comics to engage kids further.
By Cate Trotter, Head of Trends, Insider Trends, London