Dutch bicycle manufacturer VanMoof makes high-quality electric bicycles for urban markets. Already a hit back home, in 2015 they began shipping their bikes to the U.S., and ran into a problem: "A lot of them were arriving to their new customers damaged," the company writes. "Annoying for them and expensive for us. We couldn't say for certain, but US handlers didn't seem to take as much care as we'd hoped."
The design team talked the problem through: Should they design sturdier boxes, or come up with better packaging materials, or try different shipping companies out? Then company co-founder Ties Carlier had a clever idea:
Our boxes are about the same size as a really big, expensive, flat-screen television. So we put an image of one on every box. We assumed handlers would care a little more about that. And we were right.
That small tweak had an outsized impact. Overnight our shipping damages dropped by 70-80%. We sell 80% of our bicycles online, which means we still print TVs on our boxes. More than 60,000 of them have now been shipped directly to our riders worldwide.