Everybody loves receiving a well-wrapped gift at Christmas or on their birthday. The wrapping paper enhances the style and premium feel of the gift, and the love and attention lavished on the act of wrapping makes the recipient feel even more important and appreciated.
This basic psychology of gift giving and receiving has important implications for e-commerce retailers – as much as it does for individuals wondering whether or not to bother wrapping their Christmas gifts this year.
Do people prefer well-wrapped items to unwrapped gifts?
To underline this, a Guardian article from 2010 cited a 1992 study that tested the response of participants to well-wrapped gift items – finding that people who received a nicely wrapped gift demonstrated a more favourable attitude towards the item itself.
For brands, therefore, investing in high quality gift packaging and besp
oke wrapping could have a beneficial impact on the chance of securing repeat business and social media recommendations, as well as increased brand reputation.
It genuinely does appear that ‘it’s the thought that counts’, with packaging for making a good impression on customers and gift recipients. Why is this?
The psychology of gift wrapping
Gift wrapping is associated with happy events in a person's life, such as birthdays, holidays, and weddings. Receiving a wrapped gift, therefore, can cue a positive mood in the giftee by association, which in turn makes them more likely to view the contents of the package favourably. This is especially true if the wrapping is done skilfully and tastefully. A beautiful custom wrapped item conveys thoughtfulness and care, two qualities that customers always appreciate.
So, whether you're commissioning bespoke gift wrapping for customers or wrapping presents for your own loved ones, there are a few key things to keep in mind if you want your gift packaging to make the right impression.
First, don’t scrimp on quality. High-quality gift wrapping should include premium (and recyclable) wrapping paper, tape, ribbon, or other brand-appropriate decorations. Second, take your time and don't rush the process, or outsource the process to a specialist e-commerce packaging and gift-wrapping service if you don’t have the resources in house. Rushing will only result in wonky wrinkles and sloppy corners, which could make a negative impression on recipients. And third, try to use coordinating colours and patterns for an elegant and polished look to your gift items. Remember that less is more in modern gift wrapping. Gaudy packaging may detract from your product and dilute your brand identity during the unboxing process.
Gift giving is an age-old Christmas tradition that shows no signs of slowing down – regardless of the ups and downs of economic uncertainty. For UK online retailers, it's important to be aware of the psychological role that gift wrapping can play in influencing customer perceptions of items that they purchase as gifts for others, and those that they receive themselves.