How Packlane Transformed B2B with an Engaged Brand Community

October 31, 2018
Packlane Transform B2B Feature

In the world of commerce, business-to-business (B2B) relationships tend to be transactional by nature. Understood as “businesses doing business” with each other, it’s easy to forget that you’re not just dealing with a faceless brand.

Packlane understood that each of these interactions are still with people, and decided to use this realization as the fuel for their business.

Packlane homepage

Self-described as the solution for dull packaging experiences, Packlane saw a gap in the B2B customer experience that they knew they could fill. They want every experience to be beautiful, regardless of whether you’re the end customer or not.

“Packlane started because we saw a need to make every customer interaction — whether it’s the box it’s shipped in or the product itself — as beautiful as possible. Our community is made up of people willing to make anything and everything beautiful, and we see ourselves as the partners to help them achieve that.”

As a result, they decided to commit to to intentionally fostering relationships with each of their customers, but the question was how exactly to do that. Packlane knew that they needed to tap into deeper, emotional connections with their customers in order to build a beautiful brand experience and had heard that rewards might be the solution.

 

Questioning the power of rewards for B2B

However, while their customers had expressed interest in this type of experience, the success stories the Packlane team had read were from business-to-customer (B2C) brands that didn’t experience the same types of pain points as B2B brands.

“Just like everyone else, we were concerned about whether it was actually going to work for us. We’ve got pretty thin margins and lean operations, which led us to wonder if this could sustainably actually make our experience better. There was also the fact that we exist in the B2B space and most people traditionally don’t think of loyalty programs in that area.”

With thinner margins and no other B2B examples to learn from, Packlane decided to try other tactics, including working with affiliates and paid advocates. Unfortunately, these were also not the answer.

“We had tried affiliate programs in the past and they just didn’t work. The relationships just felt too transactional. We believe that loyalty is an emotion, so we wanted to find a solution that allowed us to build stronger ties with our members and really dig into those relationships.”

Driven by a passion for investing in truly emotional connections with their customers, Packlane decided to revisit the idea of building a brand community through rewards. Inspired by their “daredevil” customers, they took the risk and invested in rewards in the hopes of dramatically improving their connections with customers.

Thankfully, their fears about starting a program were completely unnecessary. Lindsey Wilson (Content Manager at Packlane) commented that their customers were actually more set up to benefit from a rewards program than they thought.

Packlane quote information

"We quickly realized that a lot of our small business merchants are actually spending their own money. Sure, some of the big guys won’t necessarily care about saving a couple dollars here or there, but a lot of our smaller customers — the ones who have been there since the beginning — are happy to save even that much more."

In just a few short months Packlane started to see incredible results from their program, reassuring them that a rewards program is the perfect tool for growth and that their leaner margins would in no way limit their success.

 

Turning B2B customers into repeat purchasers

From the very beginning, Packlane’s customers were excited about the opportunity to be rewarded for their business — especially referrals.

"We actually had a lot of customers asking for it. They’d come to us and say 'hey, I actually have a bunch of friends I’d love to refer you to, can I get anything for that?'"

By introducing valuable incentives for every successful referral, they were able to see an increase in their word-of-mouth marketing that allowed them to keep an even better lock on their thin margins and lean operations.

In addition, customers responded very positively to each of the social engagement rewards they introduced. From sharing and liking on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, Wilson noticed that their customers quickly got on board.

"We have some merchants that will engage with us literally every day, just to earn a couple more points, which we did not expect."

For a brand that specializes in making experiences beautiful and appealing, these are incredibly beneficial actions. Not only do they significantly improve the brand’s visibility, but they also create a brand community that is conditioned to join, engage, and keep engaging over time. Getting customers to join is one thing, but being able to incentivize this type of ongoing engagement is another — one that’s much more valuable.

 

Making every engagement exciting with Smile

After making the decision to work with rewards, Packlane found themselves looking for a solution that would not only help them build their dream program but also provide the most beautiful experience for their customers.

A huge part of this was being able to experiment with and iterate on their program quickly and easily. Packlane’s hunch that their B2B customers are looking for deeper connections was correct, and they wanted to be able to play around with how they build their community and use rewards in a space that’s not as cut and dry as people might have once thought.

"The simple act of interacting and getting rewarded with points for completing an action has been really fun for our members, and has really made working on our program a fun and exciting challenge."

With an emphasis on discovering the fun in simple actions, Packlane went looking for a platform that would help them make every interaction exciting, engaging, and valuable for both their team and their merchants. This desire is what ultimately led them to Smile.

"They were really willing to work with us early on, and helped us through some normal growing pains and bumps along the way."

Packlane PackPerks Panel

Building their PackPerks program was incredibly easy with Smile. As soon as the two teams connected, it became clear that they had a shared value for creating beautiful experiences and emotional connections. These priorities made it the perfect fit for continued growth and development, including a significant surge in new members and an incredible repeat customer rate of 28.36%.

Packlane Merchant Results

Each of these successes are closely tied to what Packlane already knew: their customers were looking for valuable ways to engage in their community. With more incentives powering every action, new and returning customers alike are seeing the benefits of officially joining the Packlane community and continue to experience the positive effects being a member brings.

“We’ve always believed that the world can be beautiful, and that it should be. Packlane started because we saw a need to make every customer interaction — whether it’s the box it’s shipped in or the product itself — as beautiful as possible.”

Indeed, Packlane’s commitment to beautiful experiences are evident in every part of their PackPerks program. From the seamless design of their Launcher to the luxurious tier names, Packlane has built a customer experience that is as rewarding as it is beautiful.