The Case for Simple Packaging

“Packaging doesn’t make customers return to us. The first ride on a pair of RedWhites do”

It is commonplace these days for product designers to focus on the “unboxing experience”. It’s essentially the experience a customer gets when peeling back packaging to get their hands on their latest purchase from a brand. The idea is that by creating a fantastic first impression, the customer’s loyalty is gained and it is more likely for the customer to recommend said brand to his social circle.

We happen to think that this is not accurate.

Though beautiful packaging is nice, it’s the experience of actually using the product that makes the customer remain loyal to a particular brand. Not even the prettiest of packaging nor the most well thought out unboxing experience can take away the bitter taste of a poorly designed product.

It is also interesting to note that beautiful packaging isn’t always the most environmentally or cost effective method to delight our customers. Unless made in massive bulk, the per-unit cost of bespoke packaging can represent a chunky percentage of the actual manufacturing cost of a product.

A RedWhite BibShort is packed in a plain polyethylene transparent ziplock bag. We ship this product around the world in standard off-the-shelf plain white polyethylene mailer bags. We took the savings we made from choosing this simple packaging, and we invested into our product (RedWhite bibshorts use threads from Cucirini RAMA of Italy that costs the same as a high-end packaging would — per unit).

Our customers love the little messages on their plain mailer bags

We go the extra mile for our customers by writing little notes directly onto the plain packaging. Rather than waste precious paper or cardboard on creating customised “thank you” cards, a swirl of the marker on plastic to create a personalised message works very well for us, minimising wastage at the same time.

Our biggest motivation for choosing simple packaging was trust in our customers. Trust that they will value the experience of actually using a fantastically built and designed product, rather than the fanciful packaging it comes in. With bibshorts shipped to over 20 countries over 15 months, this trust was a wise choice with reviews such as the one below :

Originally published at on January 24, 2016.

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