brand experience

Sephora Play Box Packaging | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on October 4, 2017

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

It’s been some time since I’ve reviewed order packaging, which was previously a symptom of not having ordered from new retailers. However, I recently signed up to receive the Sephora Play Box, and the packaging is so excellent that I felt compelled to share it.

Sephora packaging is mostly great to begin with, but they have taken advantage of the opportunity to create something that will be the same size every month, so it is highly customized. Let’s take a look.

Customized and striking!

OK, this is what REALLY sold me. The tape on the box is custom tape, so that you can barely see it. This wasn’t necessary but is AMAZING. I can’t tell you how happy this tape makes me as someone who is highly invested in commerce.

They are clearly committed to the black, white, and red color palette for the outer packaging. You receive this card to get 50 extra points if you go into the store, and the backing folds open to give you details on each product in the bag!

Not only is this super cute, but this is an item in the box that you can use again. (The premise of the box is that you receive a number of deluxe beauty product samples each month.)

Little touches like an extra mention of the Play URL are not necessary, but create a pop of color in the bottom of the box, and are informative. When this box is being reprinted, I would like to see something here prompting the customer to leave a review of the box online, including a URL of where to do that.

Here are the samples included in this month’s box. I was impressed by the size of the liquid lipstick and the brow gel. These will actually last a while, and I think that the box might be well worth the price.

However, for this inaugural box in my subscription, the packaging is what really made my day. Congratulations to Sephora for recognizing the value in impressive, customized packaging.

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Today’s email topic is one that I’ve wanted to talk about for some time, and a recent email that I received from Peter Thomas Roth was the perfect jumping off point.

Let’s take a look:

It is a nice message, apologizing for website issues, and offering a special free gift with any purchase to make amends.

Here’s where I get into the email marketing conspiracy theory. Did the website really have issues? I have received enough of these emails that I don’t necessarily think that these are real issues every time.

I absolutely understand the struggle of increasing engagement with promotional emails, with seeing your emails getting lost in inboxes, never to be opened or clicked on. In response to the current online environment of people (unfortunately) looking to pounce on anything that someone has done “wrong,” perhaps the open rates on emails admitting fault are impressive and worth the potential risk of someone thinking you should not have had an issue in the first place.

I see a few different scenarios in which people open this email:

  • “Ooh, what did they screw up?” (see above)
  • “Ooh, they’re sorry about something, will I get something out of it?”
  • A genuine responder who had an issue related to the content of the email
  • The rare individual who opens all emails from a specific company

Is the “sorry” email a sad development in the evolution of email marketing? I’d love to know what you think. Let’s chat on Twitter.

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I have written about Parabo Press products in the past. I have tried out two different companies to have Instagram prints done, and this one has a lovely product. I received a message about a free set of prints (I paid for the shipping), and placed an order. I received the following email alerting me to my Parabo Press shipment.

The content of this email is good – I love the reference to the obsessive tracking that some of us definitely do while waiting for online orders. Where it goes wrong for me is significant though, because this is a shipping confirmation email.

The tracking link is under “Square Prints” in a larger, bold font. It isn’t immediately obvious that this is the link to my tracking information. I would MUCH prefer that this link said something different, even a “click here to track your order” would be fine. In addition, there needs to be some spacing between the listing of the item I bought and the link for my shipping.

Another strange addition is “if you are not going to be present leave a note with your signature so we can leave your order.” I don’t remember ever getting this kind of messaging from any other company, and while I appreciate the warning that I might have a FedEx door sticker in my future, it is in no way clear or helpful.

Here’s how I would change this email:

Once I clicked the link in this email, I was taken to the Parabo Press Aftership page. Aftership is another company that e-commerce companies can use to better present their shipping information to customers. I do not know if my problems with the shipping page is specific to Aftership, or if my issue is with how Parabo Press is customizing the Aftership page.

Let’s look at the page I see when I click the shipping link:

It’s a very simple page, as you can see. I have more issues here:

  • The tracking number is not a link to the tracking information available via FedEx.com. I understand that part of the point of using Aftership as a service is to translate tracking into a single page that better aligns with your brand, but I don’t see an issue with having this link open a new tab.
  • The “view tracking history” is a link to expand the page, but it isn’t very clear! It isn’t underlined, it doesn’t feature an arrow or another symbol that would indicate clearly and prominently that all of the information from FedEx is being translated into this Aftership page.

Here’s how I would update this page.

Why have such a service in place if you aren’t going to utilize it in a way that is clear and easy to use?

I would love to know more about the decisions made by companies with regard to things like this. Is “good enough” really good enough? It just isn’t impressive or surprising, and Parabo Press makes a lovely product. To me, it is disappointing that a company would have good focus on their product quality, but don’t necessarily have the same commitment to a quality experience throughout the purchase process.

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I’ve been very into emails for Brand Experience posts lately. Mostly, I managed to review the shopping and purchase experience of many of my go-to online stores, and I’m not currently interested in making purchases of things that I don’t need right now, so I will hold off on the full experience reviews until I try a new retailer.

In the meantime, I received another incredibly transparent email from a retailer that was unexpected and impressive, this time from eShakti. You can read a previous post about eShakti here.

Read the email and keep scrolling for my thoughts:

I could not get over this email when I received it. The majority of companies would quietly raise the prices and hope that it would just go by without issue. eShakti is even in the position of having a rotational offering of items, and so they could have absolutely gotten away with saying nothing. However, their CEO sends an email laying out the issues that face their business, and lets you know exactly what they are doing in order to keep their business in business.

I can attest to the shipping delays mentioned in this email, and after this email was sent, I found myself being more than mildly annoyed that not only was my item delayed, but I didn’t receive any sort of update on the timing.

However, this post is meant to highlight this email in particular, and I don’t want to take too much away from what I think is a great example of honest and straightforward communication with customers.

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Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I read Refinery29 articles often. They bark up my tree most of the time and come up in my feeds a lot.

Today, I caught a live video they were broadcasting on Facebook. I don’t know exactly how long they had been going, but there were already over 2,000 comments on the video. It was a bunch of balloons, and they were popping them to reveal a “major announcement.”

Here’s a screenshot from when I watched, definitely read those comments.

Instead of a steady stream of popping the balloons, they kept cutting to the women with the pins, making faces at the camera and miming something to suggest “which one should we pop next?” It was aggravating to say the least. You can see all of the angry faces along the bottom. In addition to the comments here, I saw someone else say that they were interested in the reveal but that the video was draining their phone of battery and their mobile plan of data.

Click here to watch the full video, if you want to spend 30 minutes on a bizarre balloon-popping situation.

I commented after someone else commented to “fire whoever’s idea this was” that I thought the idea was good, but the execution was terrible. There was NO reason to pop balloons slowly for 30 minutes to announce an upcoming event. The video could have been 3 minutes long and it would have been just fine. The comments on this video are pretty brutal, and funny, because that’s how the internet is, but they are all about the insane length of the video.

It is 2017. There are countless videos available to view online, and thousands if not millions being added each day. In addition, attention spans for content that isn’t engaging and concise are nonexistent. Refinery29 is too big and too successful to not have known this before this live broadcast started.

I would really love to know who at Refinery29 decided to create a 30-minute reveal, and what the brainstorming process was that led to an unfortunate decision.

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