The Unboxing Experience: What Ecommerce Brands Need to Know

The Unboxing Experience: What Ecommerce Brands Need to Know

All of us remember the experience of opening presents on Christmas day.

It’s the excitement and anticipation of not knowing what is inside, and wanting to savor the moment.

In recent years, unboxing has gone from being a seasonal pleasure to an online fad, to a powerful e-commerce marketing tool.

In fact, unboxing has become such an expected experience in the industry, that Instagram accounts report out on how products are package and round that up into the overall customer and venture capital review of any e-commerce company.

If you want to make a lasting impression on your customers, your packaging and presentation is a vital ingredient.

Does the Unboxing Experience Matter?

This boils down to a pretty simple question.

If you were a customer who ordered something online, which is going to make you feel more valued: your purchase arrives in a generic cardboard box, or in attractive, bespoke packaging?

The product within is exactly the same, but the perception between these two examples couldn’t be more different.

In the former, it is just a ‘thing’.

In the latter, it takes on the positive attributes of the brand itself; attention to detail, high value, and a great service experience. This is what turns customers into repeat business.

A study from 2013 found that attractive packaging stimulates the reward-seeking areas of the brain that are associated with impulse purchasing.

Plain packaging, on the other hand, garners very little response.

In sum, making a positive impact on your customers’ purchasing decisions is impossible without considering product presentation.

What a Great Unboxing Experience Can Do For Your Brand:

1. It helps your brand tell its story.

If you aren’t leveraging your brand’s unboxing experience to the fullest, you’re missing out on a brilliant opportunity to express yourself.

Your narrative is integral to communicating successfully why customers should choose you over alternatives.

This is about emotion as much as what your product or service offers.

Simply listing the selling points of your offering isn’t going to make you interesting or exciting.

Your brand narrative is effectively the answer to the question “Why should I care?”

A great brand story includes:

  • How your brand got to where it is today.
  • What you are aiming to become.
  • What makes you different from everyone else in your industry.
  • What you guarantee your customers.

Refining your unboxing experience will go a long way to helping you craft a powerful brand narrative.

Instead of just words, you are giving customers tangible proof of your values.

You already have your customer’s money, so anything extra you give them falls into that all-important ‘value-added’ category.

It shows that you value your customers and your interactions with them, which breeds trust and belief in your ethos.

2. It drives customer loyalty.

In e-commerce, customer loyalty drives business success. ‘Last’ impressions are just as important as first impressions.

From an economic perspective, long-term customer relationships are much more profitable than having to spend resources attracting them from scratch.

But building these partnerships isn’t as easy as it sounds; according to a study by Bain & Company, between 60% to 80% of customers don’t return to the same company from a product or service, even if they were previously satisfied.

This is because brand loyalty isn’t simply about whether the product or service is ‘good’.

In an increasingly competitive retail market, there are a dozen brands who are probably making as ‘good’ a product as you.

What brings your customers back is when you offer that extra ‘wow factor’ that sets you apart from the crowd.

You might have an excellent product that your customers are happy with, but it’s very difficult to capitalize on this if you don’t give them an experience that is unique.

3. The opportunity to go viral.

Let’s face it, putting together a great unboxing experience can get expensive.

But what if your efforts had the potential to be seen by a virtually limitless audience?

In the world of Social Media, this potential is very real.

Social Media and unboxing are virtual bread and butter.

‘Unboxing’ has become its own genre with a cult following on sites such as YouTube.

Some specially dedicated channels develop huge followings, with views that reach into the millions.

Why? Because we love to live vicariously through those who are engaging with our greatest desires.

It could be the latest iPhone or Adidas sneakers, or even just the pleasure of the unboxing itself.

It engages with those primal consumer desires that brands have to tap into in order to be successful.

This makes it an incredibly friendly way to get your brand out there.

An image or video of someone ‘unboxing’ your product can allow your brand to reach entirely new markets, which may have been difficult to reach or discover otherwise.

4. It gets influencers excited.

Influencers have quickly become a vital weapon in the arsenal of marketing strategy.

Consumers have become increasingly mistrustful of traditional advertising techniques, which are commonly misleading.

Because it’s effectively a modern version of ‘word of mouth’ marketing, you need to pull out all the stops to ensure you make a favorable impression.

It’s important to remember that influencers are not the same as a celebrity ‘endorsing’ a product.

There are overlaps, but influencers are for the most part ordinary people who build their large followings and business from being perceived as trustworthy.

This means they are unlikely to promote a product that they don’t believe in.

As we previously mentioned, content based on the unboxing format also has the potential to get your brand a lot of exposure.

If this is applied in the context of influencer marketing, then you have a powerful formula that is highly beneficial to your brand.

Creating the Perfect Unboxing Experience

1. Use branded boxes.

To create a successful unboxing experience, the box can’t simply be an ordinary box.

It has to be YOUR box.

2. Use unique packing material.

Branding your internal materials will help to tie together your design.

However, this isn’t just about aesthetics; if you have fragile products that run the risk of getting damaged, this is your most important consideration.

Using materials that are not recyclable could cause your brand to be regarded as ‘wasteful’, and customers may share their unboxing experience for the wrong reasons.

In the reverse, using sustainable products will go a long way to helping your brand to cultivate an image of strong ethics and social responsibility.

3. Think about product presentation.

Your presentation inside the box is just as important as the outside!

Chucking your product in the corner of the box isn’t going to build a curated image.

This requires thinking about the size and shape of the product, and of the boxes, you are using.

Remember: a great unboxing experience is one that your customer will be dying to share online.

To get some inspiration, consider looking up keywords such as #flatlay or #unboxing on Instagram to see which layouts have gotten the most attention.

4. Consider giving a free sample.

As mentioned near the start of this article, it’s a ‘value-added’ perception that you need to cultivate for a great unboxing.

Those little extra touches are some of the most important.

Reciprocity is a powerful instinct, so as well as making your customer feel valued, it helps to re-activate the love of your brand that led them to that initial purchase.

5. Add a touch of personalization.

Placing them inside your packages is one of the best ways to get across just how much you value their patronage because it’s a clear investment of time.

Additionally, offering unique customization options is a creative way to make your customer’s unboxing experience feel more like Christmas.

Although this time investment is seen as the reason why only small businesses can engage in this activity, this doesn’t have to be the case.

So-called ‘big’ businesses who engage in ‘small’ business activities of this kind can win themselves a great reputation.

6. Include important inserts.

For example, you could email customers a 15% off coupon in thanks for their purchase, but it’s far more likely to be used if you give them a physical invitation in a more personalized setting.

Other fun additions, such as branded stickers or new product brochures, are a great way to keep your brand in your customer’s sights after the sale has been completed.

To wrap up: The unboxing experience that you offer your customers says much more about your brand’s ethos than you might think.

For e-commerce brands, success is dependent upon giving your customers a memorable experience that will keep them coming back.

How you choose to present your product can be the difference between offering something unique or something that can be bought anywhere.

If you want to be the latter, reviewing your unboxing offering is a great place to start.

Looking for a reliable fulfillment provider? Try 1Fulfillment for FREE

Share this post