In this day and age, taking an Amazon-like approach to online retail makes your brand more easily forgettable. Customer expectations are high when it comes to the experience you’re delivering, so there’s no better way to rise to the occasion than through a great unboxing.
An unboxing experience is pretty self explanatory: the act of a customer unpacking or unwrapping a package. But what separates it from a regular ecommerce delivery is the time and care a brand has taken to craft this experience, post-purchase.
When done well, an unboxing experience is a marketing tool that can showcase the story of your brand effectively, leading to greater customer love and loyalty.
This is because while the online space is crowded with many businesses competing for people’s attention, an unboxing is unique in the sense that it’s a one-on-one in-person experience with a captive audience.
Why are unboxing experiences so popular with customers?
1. Unboxing or unwrapping a product is linked to the ritual of gift giving (aka birthdays and holidays) which taps into that child-like anticipation we feel when we get excited about something shiny and new. As well as this, customers love feeling like they’re having an experience that’s unique and special to them.
Personalized unboxing → delight
The more personalized the unboxing experience is (versus a generic brown box, for example) the higher the chance of delighting the person on the receiving end.
2. Unboxing is also content that people like to share because it resonates with their online communities. According to Dotcom Distribution, 40% of online shoppers would share an image of their purchase on social media if it came in branded packaging. It makes sense that if something surprised and delighted you, you’d want to share it widely with friends and family.
Delight → Sharing
Alongside showcasing the beauty or excitement of an item, unboxing experiences are actually helpful content as they’re a genuine review that provides an informative look at a product for others, which in turn helps speed up purchasing decisions.
Just how popular are unboxing experiences? According to Google, the amount of time people have spent watching unboxing videos just on their phones is the equivalent of watching the movie Love Actually more than 20 million times.
Clearly, an unboxing is a pretty effective tool when it comes to engaging your customer.
However, it’s difficult to separate the phenomenon from custom packaging that puts your brand front and center – the two must go hand-in-hand to transform your product into an immersive retail experience. Not sure where to start on this journey? Then follow our steps below.
Five steps to elevate your unboxing experience
1. Get clear on what you want to accomplish out of this marketing strategy.
This is a strategic decision you’re making for your business, so first you need to ask yourself what you want to achieve out of your unboxing experience. Is it more brand recognition as a new business, social media shares and user generated content you can leverage for your own channels, or an experience that feels hyper-personalized and intimate to that customer? Whatever the case, being clear on your intention will help you craft the right experience. This will be subject to change over time, too, so keep in mind that you want a packaging provider who offers low minimum order quantities (MOQ) so you’re not left with excess stock to work through.
2. Decide on the packaging elements that will help you achieve this.
This is where a plain brown shipping box isn’t going to cut it, regardless of your aim! Adding custom packaging materials shows you’ve taken time and care to curate an unforgettable unboxing experience, while also helping with product presentation. There are a tonne of packaging options available on the market now, from compostable mailers to tissue paper or custom tape. Weigh up which of these would best for your strategy (and your budget!) and what features you want included, like eco-friendly materials or a custom design.
If you’re looking for greater brand recognition, custom-branded packaging with your name and/or logo on it is a must. If you’re an environmentally conscious company, your customers will be wary of packaging that isn’t aligned with your values so it’s best to go down the sustainable route.
3. Get creative with how you’re going to tell this story visually.
Great design is integral to a high-quality unboxing experience. The colors, branding and illustrations you use will set your product apart from the competition, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box of what visual cues will tell your brand’s story. Is it through typography, product presentation, an illustration, your logo, compelling copy or all of the above?
If design isn’t your strongpoint, there’s always room to bring in a design or copywriting expert if you need a little help. Keep an eye out for packaging providers who have the option of connecting you with one or offer a user friendly design platform for the not-so-design-inclined.
4. Think about how your product will be presented the moment your customer opens the package
Once you have your strategy, packaging materials and design aligned, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your customer once they receive your package. How would they be likely to open it and what would they see first? How do the items spill out the bag or box? Is the key information visible? Make sure you get the positioning of these various elements right so the unboxing experience looks carefully arranged, rather than messy.
Packaging can also be used strategically to help with presentation: tissue paper can fill up empty space, make a box feel fuller and hold the positioning of products in place. If you’ve using a compostable mailer, including a card instructing the customer on how to compost it at the top of the package will make sure they know how to dispose of it properly right from the outset.
5. Make the experience feel as personalized as possible.
Once everything is in place, it’s time to think about how you can go the extra mile with any additional touches to really personalize this moment. We already know that customers love experiences that feel unique and tailored to them, so an easy answer to this in an unboxing experience is including a freebie, a personalized card or an insert with a discount coupon within your parcel.
You could even go as far leaving a space where you can handwrite their name onto the print product (such as a custom card) so they will be reminded of the human on the other end of this exchange, instead of them feeling like the product came straight off a production line.
This is one way to impress your customer and develop a deeper relationship that will last the test of time.
So there you have it: a great unboxing experience isn’t rocket science, but it is something that’s worth putting time and energy into crafting.
There’s no achieving one without the help of custom packaging, so putting thoughtful consideration into each step of the process means you will elevate your unboxing experience and in turn, engage your customer and win their loyalty.
This is a guest post by Elly Strang, digital editor at noissue. Do you need help creating custom packaging for your unboxing experience? noissue lets you design your own branded tissue paper, stickers, and tapes. Simply upload your design, logo, or illustration, and we'll do the rest. Learn more about their personalizable packaging options here.