Friday, August 20, 2010

The tragic tale of the luxurious shoe box

When we originally launched Shoes of Prey we launched with relatively simple, black or white shoe boxes that our supplier provided to us.

Once our volume picked up we decided to design our own shoe boxes and spend the money to order the shoe box factories minimum of 2,000 boxes. The design we came up with, I think is stunning. The box is made from a high quality, heavy black cardboard. It acts as a drawer and inside is foam covered in silk creating a luxurious bed for your shoes, and helping protect them when we ship your shoes to you.

Since we've introduced the new shoe box, our refund rate has doubled! From what we can work out the reason is because the luxurious shoe box now forms part of the product, and if the shoe box is damaged during shipping customer's are disappointed. The image below is of a shoe box that has been shipped twice, they weren't normally damaged this badly, but they've often had a few dents on them. When our old shoe boxes were damaged during shipping our customers didn't mind as they considered these a throwaway box.

So we're going to develop a new, simple shoe box that sits in between the cheap ones provided by our suppliers and our luxuriously designed boxes. We'll keep the left over luxurious boxes for when we ocean freight a large number of shoes and we can be sure they won't be damaged in transit.

I would never have guessed that increasing the quality of our shoe boxes would be a bad move.


  1. I have similar experiences... Retail is a weird beast... :)

    Maybe you can offer the luxury boxes as a separate product line? Give people the option to purchase "luxury shoe boxes" for their shoe collection.

    I mean, I've seen those cheap plastic flat-packed shoe boxes for sale in shoe shops. So, I don't see why luxury shoe buyers would not want the upgraded version.


  2. Another suggestion would be to clearly (and I mean clearly as each mail sorter/delivery person will literally glance at your item for 2 seconds before flicking it on in the sorting process)label the wrapping of the boxes with fragile stickers so that the mail handlers are aware that they are dealing with a delicate good. For example, Australia Post does not officially offer a fragile item delivery service but often certificates or wine glasses etc are marked with "do not bend" or "careful - glass inside" stickers and thus receive special attention at no extra cost. I don't believe the above idea will totally stop the problem of your shoe boxes getting damaged in the mail but it should help reduce the number of damaged boxes being returned to you.

  3. Both great suggestions, thanks guys.

  4. You live and learn, hey.

  5. This is a very interesting post and the results really do seem counter-intuitive. So many businesses list the packaging as one of the secrets of their success, it seems like an essential aspect of a luxury brand. You guys have probably come across this but this article is about net-a-porter and the hallmark black box. I think a similar article was repeated in the Age and SMH paper over the weekend. (

    I actually really like your first box, from the picture, it actually looks sturdier to me. Is it possible that while the second box is a more luxurious design, the first box is actually harder and tougher and is less likely to get wrecked in the mail? It seems like it has protected the shoes and thus served its purpose?

    Good luck solving the mystery, and once again, thanks for sharing!

  6. I like that suggestion by Anonymous..!! Maybe we should all stick "Glass Inside - FRAGILE" stickers on all our parcels going out...

    Australia Post is going to be suss about why so many people are sending glass around the place. LOL :)

  7. freight sorters dont care about the stickers...I see it happen all the time