A retailer’s Instagram-worthy packaging creates social buzz and sales

Photos: Instagram/@supermoonbakehous
Mar 08, 2018

Supermoon Bakehouse has won rave reviews for its doughnuts, croissants and cruffins (croissants baked in the shape of a muffin) since opening in lower Manhattan in October 2017. And the bakery is making the most of its popularity with bright iridescent boxes and witty slogans, demonstrating that great packaging can help businesses succeed — and even become viral phenomena.

Here are a few reasons why Supermoon’s unique packaging has been such a boon to business:

1. It’s flashy (literally), and instantly recognizable.

The right packaging can boost brand awareness in a major way. Take Tiffany’s robin’s-egg-blue box: It’s arguably as iconic as the jewelry itself. Packaging doesn’t just protect your product — it communicates your brand’s ethos and creates allure surrounding your offerings, encouraging customers to become a part of a like-minded community of patrons. Supermoon’s holographic boxes have succeeded because they tell the brand’s story at a glance: bold, fun and out-of-the-box (metaphorically speaking).


2. It’s Instagram-worthy and encourages social media sharing.

It’s de rigeur these days — especially with Millennials — to snap pictures or videos of food, decor and clothing that can be shared across social media platforms. Eye-catching and photogenic, Supermoon reaches the foodie Instagram accounts and fashion bloggers.


3. It’s cheeky!

“Bite Me, NYC.” — That’s the message emblazoned across the front of Supermoon’s boxes. Not only does the clever play on words make the boxes shareable, it conveys Supermoon’s edgy, playful brand identity. Their website channels the same vibe — funny, relatable and sarcastic in all the right ways.

4. It’s useful — in-store or on the go.

Since their customers usually eat on the go, Supermoon’s packaging doubles as a plate for pastries. Retailers looking to mimic this approach might try reusable, multi-purpose containers such as wooden trays, metal tins or glass jars to package their goods.


5. It protects a product made with care.

The pastries taste as good as the iridescent boxes they come in look, and that’s the reason why people line up around the corner (and even around the block) to get a piece of the pie.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Can you think of other retailers or brands where packaging has been crucial to success? Should the goal of packaging be to help a retailer/brand go viral?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"If you want consumers to share their experience with your brand socially, give them the tools to make sure your brand looks good while they do it."
"Having a presentation that people want to share and post about organically is such a smart growth strategy."
"Product packaging is EVERYTHING. Many supermarket product packages cost more to produce than the products inside them."

Join the Discussion!

15 Comments on "A retailer’s Instagram-worthy packaging creates social buzz and sales"

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Art Suriano

What’s on the box is always a great way to attract attention. Whether it’s a gift wrapped that comes exclusively from Apple or an item professionally wrapped in paper and bows, that’s where the fun begins. Supermoon has captured that experience. Not every retailer can do the same or take the same approach but indeed, retailers that offer their own branded items or a unique shopping opportunity can enhance the experience by how they package the item. Any way to attract awareness is worth pursuing because it will help grow your business.

Chris Petersen, PhD.

Doing more of the same gets you — more of the same. What a great post to stimulate retailers of all sizes to think outside of the box. Whether the retailer is a bakery or a small specialty shop, there are a host of ways to customize packaging to engage customers and bystanders after the sale. Starbucks baristas often write personalized messages on the cups of their frequent customers. Stores can cost-effectively print “green” bags with a message versus plastic sacks. The only limitation for retailers is the mindset to do something different. We live in an age of social media — the best “advertising” you can get is a positive post (especially a photo) and advocacy from your customers.

Nikki Baird
StitchFix has a great unboxing look. You feel like you’re getting unexpected gifts from the person who knows you best. I think this is an area where many retailers are overlooking the impact on the customer experience. Watch any of Macy’s beauty box unboxings and you’ll see right away where they’re missing out — here are beauty bloggers unwrapping and talking about products that Macy’s selected for them, and they’re dumping a bag out of an empty (no packing) cardboard box that looks ugly. They’re forced to cut a lot of their videos because the samples are tucked so tightly in the bag they can’t get them out “live.” They can’t unwrap the tissue the samples are wrapped in easily, so they cut that too, and then the bloggers are stuck surrounded by a pile of tissue. There is no Macy’s branding in sight, it’s all very unattractive and a totally missed opportunity. The bottom line is, if you want consumers to share their experience with your brand socially, you better give them the tools… Read more »
Tom Dougherty

Apple’s packaging make a big difference.

When I lecture on branding, I often ask the audience if they own any Apple products. Ninety-five percent or so raise their hands. Then I ask them, “how many of you have saved the boxes?”

About half the group sheepishly raise their hands. The reason is that Apple recognizes that the packaging needs to reflect the brand itself.

As a result, everything they sell comes packaged in a way that you can see they cared. it almost looks like a present.

Don’t believe me? Go look in your own closet.

Lisa Goller

Depending on the product, Instagram-worthy packaging can make strategic sense.

To emphasize transparency, German smoothie supplier True Fruits uses recyclable glass bottles and labels to clearly show the proportion of each fruit so consumers can visualize the ingredients. As the health and wellness lifestyle continues to boom, True Fruits has attracted more than 100,000 Instagram followers.

Unboxing also comes to mind. Fans of brands like Apple, Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club have created more than a million (!) YouTube videos of them unboxing their products, and have earned billions of views.

Clearly packaging does more than protect a product — it can spark powerful word-of-mouth through social sharing. Packaging is now an increasingly important part of the product.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)

An element of packaging is the expression of pride in product on the part of the maker or retailer. When this is transposed to the consumer, good promotional value helps build brand equity.

Joel Goldstein

Whether you want your product to move off the shelf or off the website it’s all about perception of value and impulse. With the new insta-craving where there’s a new fad or trend every Tuesday it is hard for a brick-and-mortar retailer to keep up. However, as many know that are in the retail industry, when you try to follow a trend these days it’s often gone before the product hits the ground … Flashy packaging is not a new concept, however with unboxing videos and Instagram influencers receiving more views, it’s become much more important.

Meaghan Brophy
Meaghan Brophy
Senior Retail Writer
4 years 5 months ago

The “unboxing” process has become so essential for startup and breakout brands today. Having a presentation that people want to share and post about organically is such a smart growth strategy. The beauty industry, in particular, has really embraced the concept of creating Instagram-worthy packaging. Glossier is a startup that has had huge success over the past few years, largely due to their packaging. Kylie Cosmetics is another beauty brand that took over Instagram.

Sky Rota
4 years 5 months ago

I honestly can’t think of any packaging that wows me. Forget viral, how about just trying to making it post-worthy? Something that looks awesome that we can share proudly. Viral today isn’t 1 million hits, it’s like 5 million. If I’m a retailer I’m thrilled with a few hundred thousand hits, which most never get.

In my book Gen Z Answer Key I have a chapter dedicated to this topic, “judge a brand by its packaging.” I mention what a visual generation we are and how your packaging represents you so make it fantastic! Remember, customers are going to post your brand’s items/packaging regardless of how it looks. The difference is, do you want to be in a good post or a bad post? Keep in mind, bad posts get shared 50 times more than good ones! Just sayin’.

Ralph Jacobson

Product packaging is EVERYTHING. Many supermarket product packages cost more to produce than the products inside them. And packaging impact goes into virtually every product line. Think mobile phones. They’re pretty, however they don’t always function properly. Think cars. Pretty, right? But how many times have you taken that hunk of junk to the repair shop?

Bottom line (same as the top line): Packaging is EVERYTHING.

Celeste C. Giampetro

Two high-end online shoe brands come to mind immediately: Tieks has fantastic packaging for a high-end fantastic product. As does M.Gemi. Both feel very personalized to the individual consumer — and the product quality matches the thoughtfulness of the packaging. M.Gemi writes your name on a personal card on the inside of the shoe box so you feel like these shoes were made expressly for you. Is the goal to help them go viral? I highly doubt it. The goal is to live the value of the product through every possible touchpoint, including delivery of that product.

Cate Trotter

As with everything, if you try to deliberately create something to go viral it’ll probably fail. People can sniff out inauthenticity and brands “trying too hard” in an instant. What designers should be doing it designing their packaging so it’s an extension of the brand. That should be the goal. Supermoon’s products are a bit different to the average bakery, a bit more modern and unusual, and its packaging reflects that. If what was in the box didn’t live up to the pretty designs, then the packaging wouldn’t be worth much.

Seth Nagle

In the fragrance industry, it’s almost impossible to find a brand that doesn’t try this approach, however, trying and executing are two completely different things.

With this model, the thing that sticks out most is originality. Retailers and brands that succeed with this approach can have a difficult time replicating their success in new markets if they try to cookie cutter their brand as shopper demographics vary market to market.

Although this creates more work for a brand to grow, in the end it’s better for retail.

Min-Jee Hwang

In any saturated market, points of differentiation matter. Providing a great experience in modern retail often means inspiring a customer to post about it on social media. The goal of packaging should first be functional, then once that is accomplished — to delight the customer. Going viral would be a nice side effect of effective packaging, but what’s in the box matters even more. Customers will get used to the packaging over time and if the product and service they receive “wows” them, then they will keep coming back.

Kai Clarke

Many retailers have special packaging that have been crucial to helping their brands succeed. Green and white Starbucks cups, Dunkin’ Donut boxes, Amazon delivery boxes, KFC Buckets, just to name a few. They are everywhere we go, and on many things we see. The larger, more established packaging/brands are less noticed, but are still unique. Packaging should be memorable, rather than trying to become viral. Becoming viral is a hit or miss proposition, yet becoming memorable can be created, planned and implemented as a goal for any good business. First become memorable, then try to become viral.

"If you want consumers to share their experience with your brand socially, give them the tools to make sure your brand looks good while they do it."
"Having a presentation that people want to share and post about organically is such a smart growth strategy."
"Product packaging is EVERYTHING. Many supermarket product packages cost more to produce than the products inside them."

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