There’s something very Christmassy about the first few days in November, don’t you think?
It’s that time of the year when Tesco wheels out the chocolate selection boxes, and Boots starts charging £3 extra to cram the most disappointing products in to the most appealing shaped packaging. You know, the kind that looks ‘appropriate’ under a Christmas tree?
We both realise you could have saved money buying your victim’s Lynx and shower gel from the Pound Shop. But no, in the spirit of Christmas, you chose to fuck yourself in the wallet by spending more for the same shit in a ‘gift box’.
Maybe it’s because there isn’t a productive human being on the planet who enjoys wrapping awkwardly shaped presents.
It’s obvious that squares and rectangles are the way forward, guys. Anything too circular, or too pointy, and I end up celotaping myself to the mantlepiece, or punching holes in the wrapping like some kind of angry bull.
Selection boxes are an even bigger piss-take.
But they are, without any shadow of a doubt, the perfect present for that distant fourth cousin you only see once a year. The selection box says “Hey, I didn’t have to buy you this shit. I could have picked up four Curly Wurlies for the price of two on Tesco Special Offer and given them to you in a tramp’s paper bag. But no, I bought you a present. Do you know how you can tell that it’s a present? Because it’s in a fucking box. Take it.”
When I cool down to assess the situation logically, I can’t help but tip my hat to the effectiveness of it all. Selection boxes and gift sets are the perfect way to boost sales during a time where consumers are extremely conscious of their purchases.
In that moment of shopfloor gift hunting madness, I would never dream of picking out a can of deodorant and then some shower gel from a different aisle, with the intention of wrapping them together and passing it off as a gift. The idea of unwrapping a single can of Lynx is actually bordering on the offensive.
But package them together in a festive boxset and it’s as if by magic, Boots has made the can and bottle infinitely more appealing. How does that work? When you strip away the cardboard, what you have left is a tour de force in product re-positioning.
Desperation breeds opportunity… for scumbags like us
I know lots of people start their festive shopping early (I believe they’re called females), but I am personally the kind of guy who can be found sweating his tits off at 8.59am on Christmas Eve, desperately mapping his way around the town center and preparing to pillage whatever’s left for goods that can be passed off as gifts.
It’s a habit of mine that plays in to the hands of retailers and their tendency to box the living crap out of everything. The high pressure environment – there’s no escaping the hoards of other husbands, fathers and boyfriends suffering last minute meltdown – makes us highly suggestible to marketing that appears to solve our problems.
The examples above are perfect illustrations of how and why consumers will pay more – and will hand over their money faster – when you solve a legitimate problem for them.
Desperation is an interesting force for marketers to exploit. But what really should be taken from the gift packaging craze is that, sometimes, it’s not the product you’re selling, but the solution you’re offering that counts.
If you’re wondering how to boost sales and leads in the run up to December 25th, here’s a simple tip. Take whatever you’re selling, charge a little extra, and offer a re-packaged version that is suitable to be given away as a gift. Whack it on your homepage, ‘drop shadow’ it with tinsel and scream to anybody who will listen… “The Perfect Festive Gift, now comes in a square box…”
You’ll often find that your price is totally irrelevant at this point. You could charge a thousand bullions of gold and some red-faced panting husband will still take you up on the offer. Such is the power that Christmas exerts on us mortal souls.
So… will I listen to my own concerns and start shopping earlier in 2011? Of course I fucking won’t.
I make the same mistake every year.
In the same way that I’ll regret paying £69.95 plus £10 delivery for a sheet of plastic that works as a Halloween outfit, you will find me scouring Westfields on December 24th wishing I’d listened to these words.
Recommended This Week
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