The promotional potential in packaging and shipping a product can be immense, when materials are utilized correctly. PlumberSurplus.com used to offer each of our suppliers branded packing tape. Each package they shipped for us, they would use our tape, with our logo on it. It was a great selling point, suppliers loved it, and we got our name plastered on thousands of shipments that went to the United States and Canada. Sounds like a win–win situation right?
Let me recap for you the problems we ran into. First, we started growing so quickly that we could hardly keep our suppliers stocked with enough tape. We seemed to continuously have boxes of branded tape on order from our vendor. Second, what had been purposed as a several hundred dollar promotional opportunity quickly became a several thousand dollar promotional opportunity. We were willing to keep supplying the tape, and did, in fact, for a few years until we started monitoring returns. This was the third and final problem. We began to notice that our returns were coming back, not with our branded tape used as a seal across the box, appropriate for branding our name on the box, but it was being used to hold boxes together! Any promotional aspect went right out the window when the tape was so overlaid that you could not read the text. We began to closely monitor returns for “tape abuse” and found that many suppliers were taking advantage of the branded tape. We decided to pull the branded tape from suppliers, and instead asked that they use the traditional clear packing tape that they use on the rest of their shipments.
Now, this is not to say that if you have only a couple facilities that make up your shipping departments, that you cannot control the use of the branded tape in such a way that it holds promotional value. In fact, in our infancy the branded tape was a great feature for us to utilize.
Anthony Abram has written several articles on, and or related to, packing tape, and its promotional benefits. I would recommend reading them before making your decision.
In his article “Packing Tape Facilitates Commerce” Anthony strongly emphasizes the use of tape over other box sealants, and branded tape over clear packing tape. I would agree with him on all points, until the promotional value becomes mute due to abuse. He even explains how the packages are prime real-estate for your logo.
So, how does PlumberSurplus.com take advantage of the prime real-estate we have from shipping thousands of products around the country? We have began investigating the use of branded stickers, much like you already see on boxes. Kohler uses an embossed foil sticker, UPS utilizes colored stickers to designate different levels of services, and many other manufacturers use branded stickers to complete their packaging. A sticker offers the same promotional potential as tape. You can put your logo, contact information, slogan, etc. on the sticker, and you can better monitor their use by instructing that suppliers are to put one sticker on the top of each package. You can even monitor their use, down to the sticker by tracking how many stickers each supplier is sent, how many orders they have processed and the number of boxes used per order. In this example, you would be able to tell when a supplier is running low because you will be able to see that you sent 500 stickers, and they have shipped 450 orders, with one box used per order.
As far as cost goes, from our research, the difference between the cost of tape on a box, and the cost of a sticker per box is miniscule. If you are questioning the promotional potential for your company in branded tape, the main factors to analyze are cost and who is going to be using it. If you have control over the output, branded tape is a great promotional avenue.