Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Retail Ethics Matter to Consumers

Historically, the shopping cart was filled based on a simple process of determining the quality and the appropriate price. Today, it's a more complicated process as consumers become increasingly aware and concerned about how ethically products are made.

In a recent survey of 1,000 UK shoppers, Morgan Stanley Research found that, "While ethical concerns don’t dominate shopping habits—prices and quality still rank highest—they have gained prominence since 2010, particularly with the critical younger consumer demographic."

Of all items in the survey, the nine percentage point increase regarding the importance of ethics was the largest. It points to the reality that the next generation of consumers believes that there is value in protecting both the workers and the environment involved in manufacturing and production.

Several major retailers have already recognized the benefit in providing transparency to their customers. Gap recently released a list of all of the factories that provide it and it's six companies (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta, and Intermix) with product. Given the nature of the modern consumer's relationship with retailers, it's fair to say that having an ethically sound business model will reap rewards that far outweigh the costs.

As Paul Daulerio of the CT Post notes, "Businesses focusing on encouraging ethical practices are commonly viewed with respect by employees, stakeholders and the community. The ethical philosophy of a business can thus affect it in many ways including its reputation, productivity and profitability."

Championing your business's commitment to sustainability is a move that will cause consumers to connect your brand with a sense of respectability. This can be done with something as simple as eco-friendly packaging that demonstrates to them your priorities. Contact us today to discuss packaging options for your business that will send the right message to your customers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Why The Physical Storefront Still Matters

The reality of retail is one that includes omni-channel purchasing, virtual realities, and even artificial intelligence. As with so many other industries, in retail, tech is king. Despite that though, what the numbers show is that the traditional storefront still matters, and it matters a great deal. 

A new report shows that while we are indeed entrenched in the digital age, the foundation of retail remains the storefront. The study found that:

  • 95% of sales acquired, are done so by retailers who have a physical location.
  • Two-thirds of the shoppers who make an online purchase, either already have or will visit the brick-and-mortar store location.
  • Physical storefronts boost online sales; this is not a game of either or, but rather it's a meshing of both realities. Retailers who are succeeding recognize that both the digital realm, as well as the physical one matter to customers. 

One of the mightiest online retailers of today, Amazon, has recognized that there is strength in providing consumers with a physical location. Thus, they're planning on opening dozens of pop-up stores in malls across the US in the year to come. This news following the opening of several brick-and-mortar book stores. If even Amazon is feeling the pull of the storefront, it is a sure sign of the value they hold for consumers.

As the Sales Head of Europe at Mindtree, a technology services company, Anil Gandharve says, “Physical stores are now more than stores — they are bridges between the consumers and brands.”

Sure, technology has moved in to the world of retail in an impressive way, but retailers would do well to remember the emotional connection that people, and thus consumers, have to the physical. Given that reality, as online sales rise, it is a prudent choice to ensure that the physical experience online shoppers do have, is a positive one.

At Action Bag, we specialize in promoting your brand's image by utilizing our years of experience to create packaging options that will stay with your customer long after the product arrives. Contact us today, so that you can feel confident that your in-store and e-commerce packaging will go the extra mile on behalf of you and your business. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What Small Retail Websites Can Learn From Big Retail Websites

Most large retailers have a website - and have figured out how to run it well. Many top retailers are in the news for spending millions of dollars trying to make their websites a good customer experience. As such, we have come up with three lessons from the big retailers about making their website a success. Small retailers can apply these same ideas to their websites to increase their own online sales.

1. Online Buyers are Often Afraid  

Many online buyers are wary that they will not receive the product that they ordered, and they are particularly afraid that thieves will steal their credit card information. Large online retailers combat this by prominently displaying the company's satisfaction guarantee.  They also highlight the company's privacy policy and display a security badge.  Small retail company websites can easily do the same.

2. Online Buyers Do Not Like to Pay for Shipping
In fact, 35% of shoppers abandon their online shopping cart because of high shipping charges.   Top retailers have learned that fewer shipping charges and particularly free shipping translate into more sales.   Small retailers cannot always absorb the costs of free shipping, but absorbing a part of the shipping costs so that shoppers do not have "shipping charges shock" at checkout can help boost sales.

3. Online Shoppers Want Payment Options  
Top retailers often offer a variety of credit cards (Discover and American Express in addition to Visa and MasterCard) as well as PayPal, Google Wallet, Bill Me Later and others. Wal-Mart even offers cash payments online. A small retailer might not accept online cash payments or as many bank credit cards, but accepting PayPal as a payment option is easy and costs about the same as accepting credit cards.  

Big retailers are constantly tweaking their websites, finding the best ways to improve customer experience and increase revenue.  Small retailers can do the same. Contact us for all of your retail packaging needs, now and as your sales continue to increase.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dollar Shave Club Sells for $1B

What makes Dollar Shave Club so profitable and valuable enough for Unilever to want it?

People like subscriptions. No one wants to run out of certain products, like razors or toilet paper. Amazon has offered subscription service on consumables for years. Busy customers like knowing that certain products will be on hand without having to remember to pick them up at their local store. Cosmetics fans look forward to finding out what will arrive in subscriptions like Beauty Box. Even kids and dogs get in on the fun with Little Passports and Bark Box!

Discounts are powerful. Dollar Shave Club offers a great deal on both razors and other products like shaving creams and lotions. Other subscriptions also offer discounts and will point out how much more your items would cost if purchased separately. By “locking in” to a subscription, consumers get better, “bulk” pricing, and the business gets solid, recurring revenue.

So how can your business get in on subscription services? Look at your product line. Are there items that people need or want to buy regularly, like personal care products? Cosmetics and beauty stores would make strong contenders in this space! 

And what about hair and nail salons, or spas, that offer mostly services versus physical products? You can still offer regular customers discounts for scheduling monthly or quarterly appointments in advance. Or, for every appointment you can offer a certain percentage in discounts (4 appointments per year gets you 10% off while 12 appointments per year gets your 25% off!). You can also start a preferred customer club that offers previews and special access to new products before they are available to the rest of your customers.

Whether you are running a salon or spa, or a brick-and-mortar or online cosmetics business, you need branded packaging that conveys the importance and elegance of your products and services. We want to help you develop that brand and get your products into your customers' hands. Contact us to find out how.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How Are You Promoting Your Brand?

Branding is intended to generate a response. The feelings and thoughts that the consumer connects with a brand's image will ultimately influence that brand's ability to prosper. It is vital that people associate the right things with your business. What follows are four of the most important things that you can do to bolster your store or brand's image and reputation.

1.) Customer service. Customer service is one thing that will never go out of style. Most retailers make commitments, but not all follow through. In an effort to make sure that your customers have the type of experiences that will promote loyalty, make the most of each opportunity to provide the best in customer service.

2.) Utilize your online presence. The web allows for unparalleled marketing potential. Social media is a place where you can showcase your promotions and products, and you can connect with customers and respond to their feedback. Don't waste the opportunity afforded.

3.) The drive behind the brand. It's important to determine what the driving force of your brand is. What is your goal? Your purpose? Your mission? Customers are experts at understanding whether or not a company has like-minded priorities and intentions.

4.) Be smart about brand placement. How does one do that? It's straightforward: the more your brand in seen, the more people will recognize it and will feel comfortable with it. That means committing to consistent visual elements that will bring to mind your company's strengths. 

We can help you create and accentuate your brand in a way that highlights your company every time the customer sees it. Contact us today so that you can begin utilizing our vast array of package branding options.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Craft Cosmetics Packaging Trends

According to an industry analysis conducted by Grand View Research, the craft cosmetics industry is on pace to become a $16 billion industry by 2020.  This trend represents an opportunity for small retailers to capitalize on the hot concept of "seasonal and local" when sourcing products for both brick-and-mortar and online specialty sales. To better understand the opportunity at hand, let's take a closer look at some of the forces shaping this trend.

  • Organic and local: Green is queen in the world of women's marketing, especially in the health and beauty sector. According to WomensMarketing.com, research shows that 54% of women prefer organic skin products and plan to purchase them in the future.  Greater awareness of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly used in the production of such products leads to an "if you can't eat it, don't wear it" mentality. In addition, the reliance of mass-produced cosmetics on petroleum by-products flies in the face of efforts to reduce production of fossil fuels.   
  • Cultural marketing: Local craft make-up brands capitalize on another current market force, popular specifically among millennials: cultural marketing.  In the past, cosmetic branding downplayed cultural and ethnic differences and promoted a more generic beauty ideal.  Now, new brands emphasize and value differences between Caucasian, Latino, African-American, Asian and blended-ethnicity customers.
  • Indie brands: With the rise of social media as a marketing platform, indie brands offer the unique points-of-view and intriguing brand "voices" that motivate today's women.  The hottest brands tell a story and create a sense of community through their philosophy, their marketing strategy, and even their ingredients.
An enormous opportunity exists for retailers who can leverage the trend of craft cosmetics in innovative ways.  One simple strategy, the packaging of cosmetics according to themes that resonate with a "seasonal and local" ethos, can be used to showcase the unique selling points of products in both brick-and-mortar and online settings. Reusable packaging, including tree-free, linen pouches, and zippered vinyl make-up bags, conveys an overall philosophy of sustainability while allowing for customization in merchandising (think a mix-and-match of products along seasonal, local and/or cultural lines).  

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you find the perfect packaging for your cosmetic items. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Warning From Sears

Many department stores have been in the news lately, struggling to keep their doors open. Sears, in particular, has been in the news after announcing in February that they would be closing another 50 stores over the course of the year, after having closed 360 stores and 160 K-Mart stores (owned by Sears) in the last five years.

What happened? Sears, like many other department stores that are struggling, did not change with the times. Over the past few years, Sears has stated that it would become more digitally oriented, it would begin taking up less physical space and it would become more focused on membership. None of these things came to fruition. In fact, the situation is so bad at Sears that female shoppers prefer the clothing selection at Goodwill, rather than the women's clothing department in Sears. 

In the midst of the department store doom and gloom, smaller stores can learn from their mistakes! Consumers are no longer willing to shop the way that they did 20 years ago, and they expect a completely different shopping experience. In the three ways that Sears neglected to move forward, smaller stores should take initiative and use them to create more profitability and better customer satisfaction. Also, just like with ships – smaller ones are able to change course faster!

1.      First, a digital presence is necessary. This means a mobile-friendly website and a firm social media presence.
2.      Second, take up less brick and mortar space and move to a more online medium. Consumers want to browse in-store, but also be able to shop from the comfort of their home--allow them to do this.
3.      Third, create a connection with customers. While Sears was going to do this through a membership program, it can also be done through more intimate contact on social media and a more personalized touch with every interaction the company has with a customer. 

Observing the moves and mistakes of large retailers can help small retailers of all kinds to not just stay afloat, but grow and succeed. Branding is always an important part of growth for any company, so be sure to contact us for advice and options on your branded retail packaging.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Day Devoted to Customers Brings Big Haul to Amazon

Certainly most businesses could learn a lesson or two from Amazon.com, whose massive multi-billion dollar website has been hailed as a leader in customer service and satisfaction. This e-commerce giant had its second annual Prime Day on July 12th, not only offering amazing deals to its Prime subscribers, but also enticed many to sign up for the free 30-day trial that converts to a yearly membership status if not cancelled. According to CNBC news, last year more than 179 million visitors logged on and has now established Amazon Prime Day as the fourth busiest shopping event behind Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and Black Friday.

Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) can also set apart a day of special discounts to loyal customers. Instigating a customer appreciation program is a great way to thank your loyal customers while increasing your customer base. Try one of these quirky concepts:
  • Hold a learning day to offer free tips on the use of your product line.
  • Offer one lucky customer an over-the-top experience they will share with others.
  • Have a book give-away particularly tailored to your product or services.
  • Start your own VIP rewards program with a discount on the customer's anniversary.
  • Feature customers on your businesses website for a personal touch.
  • Everyone loves receiving gifts; mail your customers something special.
  • Offer a day of upgraded services for your customers.
  • Throw an in-store party, maybe a wine tasting or appetizers.

There are so many ways to show your customers how much you value their business and also how your business cares about their satisfaction. For all of your everyday packaging needs, as well as any special promotional events you might run, be sure to contact us to discuss your packaging options! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Brick & Mortar Struggling, Online Sales Soaring

The global economic insecurities of the past decade are still rattling retailers. But maybe the Great Recession is getting too much of the blame. Rebounding, even surging, sales from online giants such as Amazon indicate that more and more consumers are turning to the web for their shopping.

Major retailers are definitely rattled, though. A June 8th article from CNNMoney reported an announcement from Ralph Lauren saying the company "was looking to cut about 1,200 jobs -- 8% of its full-time workforce." Ralph Lauren isn't the only retail giant taking a beating. Nordstrom, Macy's, and Walmart also announced layoffs.

The ecommerce industry growth at the expense of retail stores isn't just an American problem. An article in Forbes magazine shows that the British retail sector is behaving almost identically to the American retail sector, the trend toward online shopping for apparel indisputable, rising 18.5% while the in-store sales dropped 1.9%.

The growth of ecommerce is directly related to the ease, especially for the technologically savvy millennials. With a smartphone and five minutes, you can check dozens of reviews, compare prices at ten different stores, and order a new sweater. All while you wait for your coffee.

The Takeaway

The retail sector is increasingly overshadowed by online shopping. A strong online presence is a must. With it you'll need a robust shipping system and branded e-commerce packaging. For help with any of your packaging needs, please contact us.

Friday, June 24, 2016

10 Jewelry Trends for Fall

As we head into the hot summer months, it's time to think about how to stock our stores for the fall and important holiday shopping seasons. JCK fashion magazine recently reviewed the fall runway shows and offered 10 jewelry trends that retailers should be prepared for:

  • Choker and collar necklaces: This trend hangs on for the fall and the daring fashionistas will pair them with longer necklaces.
  • Mismatched earrings: This European trend could be finding its way Stateside.
  • Safety pins, locks and hardware: This edgy trend is enjoying a moment, but you'll know if your customers want to go this far.
  • Yellow gold: To pair with the 1970s and '80s styles that are making a comeback.
  • Long pendant necklaces: These also are swinging from the '70s trend and can be one piece in a layered look.
  • Chains and bow: Combining the hard chain look with the softer bows and ribbons makes a dynamic pairing.
  • Oversize earrings: A carryover trend from the spring so you can have another chance to clear out your showcases.
  • Pearls: Pearls are creeping out of their traditional mode, but what's hot are big baroque and colorful pearls.
  • Layered necklaces: One is never enough! Think up-selling!
  • Long drop earrings: Fashions are trending long and the earrings need to hang with them.

Jewelry isn't just for high-end or boutique jewelry stores. Hair and nail salons, spas, and cosmetics retailers, as well as clothing and gift stores can also grab some of this lucrative business for a small investment and nice mark-up - your cash register area is the perfect place to grab these sales! 

As you think about stocking these hot items for fall, don't forget to make sure you have the appropriate packaging on hand as well. Contact us today to get the right size packaging and trendy bags to promote your store.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Boutique Bakeries - Goodness Inside And Out Of The Package

Boutique bakeries and confection shops are swiftly emerging everywhere. From the heart of metropolis to small cities and towns, these culinary gems are in demand. After all, who doesn't love fresh-baked cupcakes?

Boutique bakeries, as well as other specialty shops, depend on the unique talents of their chefs. You don't have to be a cupcake connoisseur to know that these deserve appreciation! The culinary skill of these home-grown chefs is refined, creative and experienced. Presentation is an important hint to prospective customers though. It tells them to give it a try.

The confections trend is growing, but it's still a niche market. Distinguishability is key, which is one of the beauties of cooking! Just like these baked goodies, there are countless ingredients and combinations that go into a branded parcel. 

Look for different elements that can create something new, but something that gets the taste buds tingling too... Shapes that reflect or invoke how the product feels are viscerally and visually attractive. Size also allows for bountiful options in packaging. Boxes, bags and wrappers can all be specially tailored to signify these exceptional and eccentric foods; creating more possibilities for design.

Fancy cupcakes are often taken to parties as gifts – so if you want your customers spreading your brand for you – make sure to contact us to discuss cupcake box options, as well as branded bags, tissue, labels, and more. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bring Summer Color Trends From the Runway to Your Store

Every year fashion shows from Milan to London to New York will set the pace for new summer color trends to spark designer's imaginations and grace the racks of retail and online fashionista websites. Runway designer fashions may be practical and affordable only for pop culture artists and entertainers, but the colors, patterns and general shapes and lengths will translate into ready to wear clothing for the average consumer. For retail store, salon, and spa owners – keeping your eye on the new summer colors can add fresh ideas to your product line and in-store design!

This summer, look for a more saturated color palette that will distinguish summer fashion from the soft pastels commonly worn in the spring. Coral, a pink with salmon colored undertones, will be a popular bright spot in retail this summer. Persimmon has the same pink hue, yet with a tinge of orange to make a dramatic color splash. Pairings of Coral and Persimmon shades with golds, greens and browns will make your space, products, or packaging pop.

Lemon Chiffon and Periwinkle Blue are the new blue and yellow this summer, especially for masculine products, clothing, and environments. However, muted colors will always be “in” for men. Who can forget Kanye West's revealing of his second Yeezy collection which featured only neutral color clothing? Use the beige color palette when in doubt! A natural colored bag with a ribbon, bow, or tissue of a vibrant trendy color will never go out of style!

Dark Teal and Burgundy are two super saturated colors that were popular on the 80's fashion scene and are making a dramatic comeback. The darker the hue, the more bold and elegant of a statement will be made. While these colors have traditionally been reserved for fall and winter fashions, you won't go wrong with these colors this summer – whether in retail design or packaging.

Contact us to learn how incorporating new, trending colors into your brand packaging and accessories can add a refreshing new look to your business!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Importance of Un-packaging

Are your online shoppers getting the same treatment as your in-store shoppers? Social media is abuzz with pictures of people showing off products they bought online; YouTube especially has many "Unpackaging" or "Unboxing" videos, where one not only talks about a particular product on camera but also opens the box it comes in.

According to an article in Ecommerce Platforms which discusses the 2015 Dotcom Distribution Packaging Report:

"Unboxing videos are becoming more and more popular, and 35% of the survey respondents actually stated that they had [watched] an unboxing video in the past, and of those 55% said they ended up purchasing the product because of this video."

However, your products will not end up on a viral YouTube video if you don’t add some flare to that e-commerce packaging! We suggest the following:
  • Ditch the plain cardboard box. While you might want to remain discreet with standard cardboard on the outside, print the inside of the box or insert an wrapped gift box within the shipping box.
  • Tie it up. Add a ribbon or bow to the inside package. Or, include marketing materials or promotions in the package, and tie them up in a flattering way with the products.
  • Stuff It. There are many economical (i.e. light) fill options for boxes, including shred or tissue, that help not only protect your merchandise, but also add an extra hue of color and excitement.

Beautify your packaging and see the love for your product rise. Contactus for more information on ecommerce packaging.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lightning Fast Delivery - Just What Small Business Needs!

Amazon, ever the innovator, is changing the way retail delivery works once again. Back in 2005, when Amazon started its premium “Prime” service that offered two-day delivery, many found themselves asking if it was really “necessary”. In the last 11 years, though, consumers have shown that the question isn't whether or not speedy delivery is necessary, it's whether or not consumers are willing to pay for it. In 2014, the same debate started again when Amazon launched its even-more-premium “Prime Now” service that offers delivery as quick as one-hour. The service began limited to Manhattan, but has since expanded to include most major cities in the United States, and some beyond.

Other companies, like Macy's partner Deliv and Uber's UberRUSH and UberEAT, have seen the potential of getting consumers their goods as soon as possible, and have gotten on board with the new delivery trend. Companies like Instacart and DoorDash, services that deliver groceries and ready-made meals, respectively, are also beginning to branch out into the arena of same-day retail delivery.

And while giants like Amazon and Macy's are spearheading the practice of lightning fast delivery, this is an opportunity that seems tailor-made for small, local businesses. The problems that detractors frequently point out for behemoths like Amazon, specifically that near-instant delivery can become a logistical nightmare that would prove prohibitively expensive to expand beyond urban centers, is not an issue for smaller businesses with a narrower focus. Beyond that, as these businesses grow, they can keep same-day delivery in mind while building their infrastructure so as to avoid the same problems that other companies experience while expanding.

Given the trend in, especially millennials, favoring local businesses, this kind of hyper quick delivery could prove to be exactly the edge a brick and mortar operation needs to separate itself from the pack.

With the move toward quicker delivery, small business will also need eye-catching packaging to further set themselves apart. That's where we come into play. For top quality shipping materials, think Action Bag. For more information, feel free to contact us.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Study Shows Young Shoppers Want Brick and Mortar Shopping Experiences

While much of the current hype we are exposed to in the news revolves around the virtues of online shopping, research shows that brick-and-mortar shopping experiences are still highly desirable options, particularly for younger consumers. This research, conducted by iModerate, indicates that Generation Z and Millennial shoppers are more than ten percent as likely as their predecessors (Generation X and Boomers) to feel that a physical location is an important element of their shopping encounter.

The study noted that brand perception for all consumers is differentiated by key factors that are unavailable to the online shopper:
  • Convenience
  • Store Layout
  • Personnel
Although these factors can present either a better or worse perception of brick-and-mortar brands, their existence provides:
  • Reassurance that styles and sizes are right, and decreases the chance that items may be returned. Generation Z gravitates towards samples and demonstrations to perfect their product selections.
  • Efficiency - Although online navigation provides ease at the click of a mouse, Millennials require frequent forays into shopping venues to find everyday items. Growing families and expanding employment options draw these young consumers to the one-stop shop.
  • Discovery and Escape is what drives Generation X into physical shopping venues. They are looking for newness and adventure in their shopping experiences.
  • Comfort in the form of low sensory experiences, such as calm music and light fragrance is the goal of Boomers, who also value seating and space.

Physical retailers can take a cue from these revelations, to lure buyers into their establishments by tweaking their in-store merchandising and marketing strategies. Contact us to choose retail packaging that sends the right message to your target demographic and compliments your product and brand.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Spring Into Growth!

Is the arrival of spring inspiring you to think of ways to grow your business, as well as flowers? Below are some tips and ideas that will take hard work, sweat, and maybe some tears – but significantly less digging in the ground!

  1. Brand It! One of the best tips for a small retailer in the beauty, cosmetics, salon, or spa verticals to get more easily recognized is to work on branding the company on a larger scale. People may know you after they have had a service provided and spread your reputation by word of mouth, but make sure they leave with a good visual of your logo and/or slogan. Brand recognition travels just as far as word of mouth.
  2. Market It! Once you have an established brand, you have to ensure you stay “front of mind” at all times – make sure your website it up to date and has solid SEO behind it, and send out weekly or monthly emails with relevant content to your audience. Don’t overdo it, but make sure you touch your audience enough so your brand is recognized.
  3. Package It! Everyone knows the best “impulse” sell is at the cash register. Even if your small boutique focuses on hair, nail, or spa services, always be sure to have items at the register for purchase – and make sure those purchases leave with the customer in a well-branded bag or box! Our talented team can help design your packaging today!
If you want to find out more ways of branding your beauty boutique, salon, or spa, contact us for more information. In this season of renewal and growth, now is the best time to update, upgrade, or refresh your packaging!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Salons & Spas: Keep 'Em Coming Back!

Clients are the most important aspect of every business. When customers are satisfied, they are 70 percent more likely to tell others about your business. Research has shown that loyal customers spend more money on the business than the average customer. As you can see, customer loyalty is important. Here are some ways that salons & spas can keep their customers coming back.
  1. Create a Loyalty Program – Considering most businesses already have loyalty programs, you need to think of one that clients will love. Maybe a loyalty program that includes a free manicure, discounts, or even a spa treatment for two after a specific number of points or referrals. Put yourself in the customer's shoes and ask yourself, “what rewards would show that I’m valued?”
  2. Listen – Some customers will be happy with their service, while some won't. Be sure to listen and use this feedback to your advantage. Apologize and fix the issue if you can, or offer a complimentary service to smooth over the dissatisfaction until the issue is resolved. Also, being at a spa and salon, people love to talk. It gives them a chance to unwind and let things out. Make your customers feel welcome and comfortable by communicating with them. If customers feel ignored, they won't come back. If you treat your loyal customers like a good friend, they'll return.
  3. Create a Monthly Newsletter – In order to remind your customers that you're still around while they are away, send them a monthly newsletter. Use this newsletter to announce special offers, coupons, new products, customer surveys, etc. Ongoing communication with customers shows them that you value their contribution to your business.
  4. Encourage Re-booking – After providing the customer with his/her service, offer to re-book the next visit. A busy client might not remember to book ahead unless you ask!
  5. Stand-Out – With over 19,000 spas and salons in the U.S. today, competition is high. One way to stand apart is to offer competitive prices. Another is to offer exclusive products that are only available at your salon or spa. However, one of the best ways to stand out is to offer professional services for people with hard to handle hair and skin textures. If you can provide excellent service to people who have a hard time receiving it, you are almost guaranteed a loyal customer.
Make sure when customers leave your salon with goodies, they take them in branded packaging. Contact us to discuss new, exciting products today!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Keep Up With The Spring 2016 Color Trends

Keeping up with color trends can give you a competitive advantage in business. Color trends are based on psychographics and societal changes, so knowing how the world is evolving gives you greater insight into how to attract customers to your business.

For the first time, Pantone, a world-renowned company that specializes in color communication, came out with two “colors of the year” – Rose Quartz, a light pastel pink, and Serenity, a light yet deep blue. They also recently revealed what the spring 2016 color trends will be, with these two colors at the top of the list:
  1. Rose quartz
  2. Serenity
  3. Peach echo
  4. Snorkel blue
  5. Buttercup
  6. Limpet shell
  7. Lilac gray
  8. Fiesta
  9. Iced coffee
  10. Green flash
The color trends for spring 2016 are perfect for a spa/salon business because they encourage relaxation, curiosity, and exploration. In Leatrice Eiseman's words, the executive director of Pantone:

Colors this season transport us to a happier, sunnier place where we feel free to express a wittier version of our real selves. With our culture still surrounded by so much uncertainty, we are continuing to yearn for those softer shades that offer a sense of calm and relaxation.
Pantone also explained that the trending colors for spring 2016 are influenced by the desire to disconnect from technology and the world of art. Top designers were inspired by the differences between lush vegetation and urban design. As a result, unexpected color combinations of these trending colors will be popular during spring 2016. Designers are aiming to inspire reflection and playful escapism.

All types of businesses can benefit from using the 2016 spring color trends in their packaging or marketing materials. Think about how the meaning behind the color trends relates to your business and then apply it to marketing campaigns, store design, or your retail packaging.

Contact us for creative packaging and branding ideas that use the top 10 color trends of spring 2016. How you package goods influences a person's opinion of your brand. Let us help you make that a positive perception.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Help Every Visitor Fall in Love with Your Business This Valentine’s Day!

The Valentine's Day gifting season is fast approaching, and with it, myriad publications offering tips admonishing consumers to spend less to love more. While cost-conscious customers should not be ignored, the fact remains that "Americans spent almost $150 per person for Valentine's Day gifts" in 2015. By making Valentine's Day special for everyone who sets foot inside your store, you can make prospective customers fall in love with the idea of shopping for Valentine's Day gifts! 
Below are three ways any business can put visitors in the mood for shopping:
  1. Gift with Purchase: Rather than offering a token item, businesses can enjoy substantial conversion rates by offering a truly giftable item with a high perceived value to clients who make specific purchases. A spa, for example, might offer a gift certificate for a complimentary manicure with the purchase of a more expensive facial treatment. By allowing customers to treat themselves as well as walk away with some Valentine's Day shopping done, businesses can tap into consumers' desires to save time and money.
  2. Market Gifts to a Variety of Recipients: It's no secret that many people see Valentine's Day as an occasion to lay it on thick with romantic treats and tasty sweets for a significant other. However, there are those that may not have a spouse or significant other to share the day with. By marketing certain pre-selected gifts to these recipients, businesses can enjoy profits from customers who may not have a sweetheart to shop for, but are looking for items for their close friends, family members, children, neighbors, etc. Additionally, if the seed is planted, even those consumers who are shopping for a Valentine's Day gift for a spouse may be encouraged to purchase even more gifts for other people as well.
  3.  Host an Event: Holding an event on or near Valentine's Day can serve as an out-of-the-box marketing opportunity. A jewelry store might offer a workshop aimed at "Finding the Right Engagement Ring for Your Proposal" and offer champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, as well as their standard expert advice, and perhaps an added discount for attendees who purchase a ring that day. A specialty cooking supplies shop, on the other hand, might charge a fee for an evening of couples cooking lessons that comes with a gift basket of everything needed to make the meal at home.
The ideas are endless but the time frame is short! To talk more about any of these ideas or how to make the gift packaging at any business worth celebrating on any holiday, please contact us.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Investing In Your Business

A recent study showed that 71 percent of business owners expect to grow their businesses in 2016, which is up from 56 percent in 2015. This vote of confidence in the New Year is no surprise, given economic indicators and pent-up demand following the recovery from the Great Recession. However, expanding your business requires investment and that requires weighing all the factors before taking the leap.

Here are some indicators that 2016 is the year to expand your business:

  • Labor - The unemployment rate in the U.S. is a complex issue; however, one thing is clear: as the rate falls, businesses have to compete harder for qualified applicants. With rates estimated to fall below 5 percent by the end of 2016, now is the time to hit the labor market and bulk up for personnel to handle your expansion. 
    • Also, there is a rising trend in the labor market toward contract or freelance workers. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, over 40% of the U.S. workforce is made up of these so-called "contingent workers," and this trend is expected to grow. Businesses can take advantage of this trend as they test the waters of expansion by hiring contract workers before committing to full-time employees.
  • Interest Rates - On December 16 the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 0.25 percent, the first increase since 2006. Predictions are that the Fed will slowly raise rates a few more times in 2016 and 2017. If you are looking to finance growth, now is the time to act before rates move higher. This article in Forbes suggests that the rate increase may help banks expand small business lending.
    • If you plan to expand in 2016, now is a good time to revisit forecasts and growth plans to see how raising interest rates might affect those plans.  Plus look at current loans and lines of credit to see if they are the best option for you in a rising rate environment. If you have a solid credit history, explore refinancing to lower your interest rate and put you in a better position for expansion.
  • Marketing Innovations - In the past few years, ways to reach your target audience have increased exponentially. Promoting your business isn't limited to expensive advertising that you're never sure really works anyway or costly direct mail. There are so many other types of promotions that are less expensive and much more easily tracked for ROI. Social media, inbound marketing, and content marketing, to name a few, are excellent means to reach your target audience and expand your business.
    • Any expansion plan should include a careful review of your website. You don't have to be a large multi-national conglomerate to have a successful website that can attract and convert customers.
A successful company is one that is continually seeking ways to improve and grow. Contact us for more help with expanding your business in 2016 and beyond.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Keep the Holiday Momentum Going in January!

With the holidays over, small retailers might experience a slowdown in sales. While some might welcome the break, below are a few tips to keep the momentum going in January:
  • Offer a special coupon (good for January). Offer current customers (in store or via email) a coupon that they can use in January or Q1. This will bring them back to at least browse and contemplate using the coupon!
  • Offer free gifts, just for buying in January. People love deals. If you prefer not to go the coupon route, offer a free gift for any purchases in January.
  • Launch a new product or service. One way to get more people into your store is to launch a new product. This can also be a way to introduce your brand to a whole new market segment!
  • Contact people who have abandoned items in their shopping carts. Run a campaign to figure out why people are abandoning their carts – offer promotions to get them to come back and purchase what is in there.

It can be hard to get sales in January but with some clever marketing tactics, you can make January a good month. And, of course, if you find yourself in need of a brand upgrade, contact us for some updated branded packaging!

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