When I started out in the packaging industry back in 2006, it really felt like an ageing industry. All sales were dictated by which wholesaler had the lowest price. There was very little innovation in how businesses bought packaging and creativity wasn’t even part of the conversation.
As someone familiar with the internet and e-commerce, I was pretty alone in my views of making packaging easier to purchase by moving it online. Many owners of established packaging businesses did not understand why I wanted to start a website and my vision for getting customers their packaging faster and cheaper. Overtime that question has answered itself; but the question of why I’ve always kept a phone nearby, even when I was packing goods by hand in the warehouse, still seems to confuse people. The answer is, I like to be contactable, I like talking to my customers.
During a recent hiring spree, I spoke to our newest team members about how innovation and creativity are part of our DNA, however traditional values like being accessible to our customers are as important as ever. Here are some of those reasons:
1) My ideas are (usually) based on your ideas
Henry Ford said that if he’d asked people what they wanted in the first car, they’d have asked for a faster horse, implying that the market cannot voice what kind of innovation they want. I view it quite differently. It was talking to customers that inspired CarrierBagShop.co.uk, because retailers were short on time and packaging was often a low priority. Once I covered the site basics, all future improvements and ideas have come from our customers generous feedback, combined with our background tinkering to make the website faster and more user friendly. Essentially, our customers are our biggest inspiration and that’s a channel I never want to switch off.
2) I love learning
My desk at Carrier Bag shop office could easily double up as a technology museum, all stemming from my passion and curiosity for computers, mobiles, tablets and more. There were no smartphones when we launched the first Carrier Bag Shop website in 2006 and so as new technology came about, we had to understand the benefits to our customers and the opportunity for our business. I’m always keen to hear how our customers, staff and society are engaging with technology because all it takes is one “aha” moment and then we’re ready to work on our next solution. For 2015, it will be the Carrier Bag Shop mobile app to buy packaging that pushes our customer experience forward.
3) Other people aren’t doing it
Of course this is biased, but it still leaves me flabbergasted as to how difficult it can be to contact the top brass of companies your business spends money with. Over the years, we have built a phenomenal customer service team as well as sales and operations, all of whom speak to many customers daily. However, I’m still very much in the mix and some of the best conversations I’ve had stem from customers, suppliers and community members reaching out to me directly. I think suppliers that don’t do this are really missing a trick as it is always beneficial to talk to the people that keep you in business.
As such, you can always tweet me @CarrierBagShop or follow my personal twitter @SujanShah. Alternatively you can comment below or call the office on 0203 002 9960. Wishing you the best for 2015 and always happy to hear from you.