Marketing Through Shipping Article #3 – Increase Sales Using In Box Marketing Materials

June 23, 2015


In the ecommerce world, customers don’t walk into your store, grab a cup of complimentary coffee or tea, and leisurely browse the items for sale. The closest thing you can offer them to physically experiencing your products and brand is the shipping box and what’s inside of it.

We’ve written about the importance of branded shipping boxes. You can check out our most recent article here. In addition, in-box marketing materials are a terrific way to communicate with your very valuable existing customers.

In a report from Adobe, The ROI from Marketing to Existing Online Customers, the amount of sales opportunity from existing customers is astounding. Key findings of the study include:

  • 40 percent of U.S. online retail sales come from returning (shopped at a site once) or repeat (shopped at a site more than once) shoppers who collectively represent just 8 percent of total ecommerce site traffic.
  • Returning and repeat customers spend more per order than new customers. Adobe points out that a returning shopper will spend three times as much as a new customer on a per order basis, and a repeat customer will spend about five times as much as a new customer, again on a per order basis.

This information means that the time and money you spend marketing to existing customers will disproportionately increase your sales. The good news is that in box marketing materials are generally inexpensive. Here are some ideas:

  1. Packing Slips

If you include a packing slip in your shipping box, you can easily add some information that makes it a marketing tool. Here are some options:

  • Include a coupon at the bottom
  • Include a pre-written or hand-written thank you
  • Suggest that the buyer write a testimonial or follow you on social media

Here is an example of the packing slip that ShipStation customer Moss Love terrariums includes in its shipping boxes:

Moss Love packing list

ShipStation customers can easily customize Packing Slips. You can learn how, here.

  1. Care Instructions / Helpful Hints

If you sell shirts, you probably don’t need to include “How to Use” instructions. But for some products, it’s helpful to include them. Of course, this information is generally on your website, but buyers appreciate having the information immediately in hand when they want to use the product they just pulled out of a box. In addition, this may eliminate the number of returns you receive.

Moss Love terrariums, mentioned in the packing slip example above, also includes an “unpacking / care instructions” sheet and mini spray bottle in the shipping box:

Moss Love instructions sheet

For her in-box materials, Moss Love owner Jacie Anderson-Coovert says, “I make sure to use friendly, fun language and speak in the style that I would in person. It’s a nice way to introduce yourself and your business’ attitude.”

  1. Thank You Notes

As Dale Carnegie said, the sweetest and most important sound in any language is a person’s name. We’re pretty sure that “Thank You” is in the Top Five sounds.

Many sellers include hand-written thank you notes. If you don’t have the time, you can enclose printed Thank Yous. Here is an example from stain removal company Stain Rx®:


Using a printed postcard does double duty here (and helps save money). On one side is the Thank You, and on the other side are Helpful Hints.

The Bottom Line

Very rarely is there such an obvious, exponential way to increase online sales for a small amount of time and money. So get started on this today. And keep us posted on how in box marketing materials are helping your sales.