Dealing with an oversized package can be tough. Although all of us have dealt with this situation at some point or another in our lives, it can be difficult to empathize with someone who is currently going through that process. Sadly, that process often involves searching for the product they ordered in a sea of bubble wrap and packing peanuts.
Empathy can be especially difficult if the person in question is one of your customers.
It is with this in mind that we present to you the 5 stages a customer goes through when receiving an oversized package.
As a case study, we will be using photos of a baby changing pad that was sent to the office for one of our coworkers who is pregnant with her first child. The online retailer shall remain unnamed.
[Warning: Smart phone pics not taken by a professional photographer incoming]
Stage 1: Denial
We don’t have a photo of this stage, but it’s that moment when you see a large box on your porch and can’t help but wonder:
“Did I order that? It looks too big to be that changing pad I ordered…it does have my name on it though….”
Stage 2: Confusion
It’s at this moment your customer wonders, “Is there a product in there? I can’t tell—there’s all this ugly paper in the way.”
When one of your customers has your products shipped to them, you never want this to be the first thing they see when they open the box.
Stage 3: Anger
It’s at this moment when the customer realizes that they have been shipped a product really inefficiently, and that they will have to deal with disposing of lots of wasted packing materials. The customer may not understand the complexities of your supply chain or the packaging solutions you’ve employed, but they do know they could have done a better job packaging the product themselves.
They may wonder, “Why does a cardboard box need to be inside a much larger cardboard box? We’re shipping products here, not building Russian nesting dolls! Now I’m going to have to make room in my trash bin for all that paper and corrugated cardboard.”
Stage 4: Transitioning
It’s at this point that your customer’s feelings will go one of two ways: relief that the product arrived, or depressed because the product arrived damaged. Damaged products are more likely to happen when there is unnecessary empty space in a package, and can cause extremely strong feelings towards your brand that may not be repairable.
“Well at least the product is here in one piece.”
Stage 5: Acceptance
Acceptance is often confused with being “all right” with receiving an oversized package. This is not the case. Depending on how egregious the packaging was, your customer may have permanent negative feelings towards your packaging system and your brand as a whole.