A personal touch. A splash of color. A note of thanks. These are things that people innately enjoy, and so it should be incorporated in various parts of the business. When you blend these elements with packaging, you get what is being called the “unboxing experience.” For many e-commerce brands, the unboxing experience is a great way to get user-generated content, word of mouth advertising, and much more.
But how do you create the ultimate unboxing experience? Is it even worth it to invest in customized packaging for your brand? We are going to discuss this and much more, so keep on reading!
What Is The Unboxing Experience?
The unboxing experience has been part of the puzzle for many years, but it has been overlooked for a couple of years. Now, with dozens of “unboxing” videos being launched online and more influencers adding to the excitement of opening a new box, the unboxing experience has once again been cast into the limelight.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, then here’s how it is defined: As the act of opening a package and letting the world see what is on the inside. This puts a lot of pressure on companies to come up with fascinating ideas for this moment because the suspense is part of the whole process.
Why Is The Unboxing Experience So Important?
Humans love the unboxing experience. Think about it for a moment: Christmas day. Your birthday. The moment you see someone with a present meant for you, you get excited. What’s in the box? What does it look like? Even the way the gift looks will make you excited. Even if you know what’s inside the box, there is still something fun about opening the package to get a glimpse at the contents.
That is why mystery grab bags and other similar promotional items are so popular. Anything with a “surprise inside,” like cereal boxes or a toy hidden at the bottom of a fast-food kids meal, is bound to make people buy.
But beyond our human fascination with the unknown and suspense, here are some other reasons the unboxing experience is important:
E-commerce has changed the way humans exchange things, especially in the customer-seller relationship. Usually, your customers are not seeing the real product until it arrives, so they don’t know what they are getting until the moment the items are delivered to their doorstep. In other words, that is the true point of exchange. The moment when they receive the box is another first impression; they see the way the package is presented and wonder, “Was this worth it?”
You want your customers to keep smiling from the moment they see the packaging to the point when they see your products. Use the unboxing experience as a way to enhance the product and their impression of your business.
Gorgeous packaging can decrease product returns. This is called “value proposition,” where a beautifully packaged item can enhance the item and make it feel like it was a worthy purchase, even if the contents themselves are not. This is not to say you can send poorly manufactured goods. But if everything looks amazing, then the overall perceived value will automatically increase, so customers feel less buyer’s remorse.
Telling Your Story
This is a chance to increase brand loyalty by letting people know what you are all about. By including extras, such as a personalized note, a brief ‘about us,’ or even information on how the product was made or what materials were used in the package can establish a connection between you and the consumer.
Many companies that have incredible unboxing experiences have stories drafted up by influencers, bloggers, and other user-generated content. Invite your customers to post their own reactions to the unboxing experience then use their joy to your advantage.
Another reason you want to create a perfect unboxing experience is that you can transmit your message to a lot more people than you think. Sure, beautiful packaging might only be enjoyed by a single person; but people will share enjoyable experiences with others and will show off things they love.
That is why unboxing experience videos are so common.
Even if your customers aren’t the kind of people to do videos or blogs, they probably have friends and family that they will show impressive packaging to. They will describe the experience, too. In other words, you get free marketing through video, blogging, and word of mouth. For the cost of the packaging for one shipment, you can potentially reach hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
How To Create The Ultimate Unboxing Experience
Here is how you build the ultimate unboxing experience, one step at a time:
Define Your Brand Goals
When you start laying out the plans for your brand’s unboxing experience, you need to do one thing first: assess your goals. What are you delivering? What is the purpose of the item? How can you present those goods in the best way possible to the recipient?
To do this, you look at your business. If you are a sustainable company, you wouldn’t use packaging that isn’t eco-friendly. If you are a health and beauty company, you probably wouldn’t go for minimalism but instead, focus on the aesthetics. Think about your customers and what would appeal to them.
Think About The Building Blocks
Everything about the product and the packaging should serve a purpose. A strong, functional package is going to speak volumes to the customer. The primary purpose of the package is, of course, to protect the items inside during shipping and handling. If the goods arrive in less than ideal conditions, then you have failed the whole unboxing experience.
So, your main objective of building awesome packaging is to go back to the basics and eliminate anything superfluous. Here are the main items to include:
- Card and/or thank you note
- Business card
- Promotional coupons, booklets, or loyalty program offers
- Tissue paper or other fillers/cushions
- Invoice or receipt
Are all of these required? No. Can you get creative with how you include them? Of course. For example, you might want to include a description of how your items are made or where the ingredients are sourced, so you add a QR code to the outside of the box that takes the customer to a web page with all that information.
Use Unique Packing Materials
Once you decide the essentials to your packages, such as the box, fillers, and a thank you note, you can start figuring out how to make the entire experience unique to your brand. There are infinite possibles, and so we can’t list them all. But there are a few trends in packing materials that you shouldn’t overlook.
First, consumers are more eco-conscious than ever. This means that you should nix all non-recyclable materials from your unboxing experience. Otherwise, your brand will be seen as wasteful. Such harmful practices may even damage your brand’s reputation. If you opt for reusable and environmentally-friendly materials, like cork, jute, cotton, or canvas, your brand’s image and reputation will be boosted.
Another way to do this is to be you. Make the packaging bold. Add a logo to the exterior of the box. Create a unique design, such as a pattern or texture. Think about the fillers and how you can layout the items. How will you design the extras, such as booklets, invoices, business cards, or any else included?
Think About What You Are Shipping
The one mistake a lot of businesses make is that they forget what they are shipping. No one wants to open a box where their goods are crushed beneath heavier items or where something with a fragrance has leaked into fabrics. No one wants their delivered package looking busted up or broken either.
When you think about your unique packing materials, you also need to consider the weaknesses of said materials. For instance, if your box is too large, items will get jostled and broken up. You might decide to use air pillows, but then you remember that your items can leak and that air cushions are not the most eco-friendly choice. So you swap in crinkle paper, a great replacement for other fillers that can also soak up some moisture.
Present The Product
Now for the third element to the whole unboxing experience: the overall presentation. You have made the effort to decide what you are including in the package and how the exterior is going to look. You may even decide on the materials. The next part is what happens when the recipient opens the box.
Simply dumping the items they ordered inside isn’t going to make your customer feel valued; it’s also a terrible way to present a product you take pride in. This means you need to think about the size of the goods, how they fit into the box and the fragility of the goods.
Should you include tissue paper? Crinkle paper? Do you need dividers? What will look best with the exterior? Will the interior match the exterior? Don’t forget to ask yourself these questions when planning the unboxing experience.
An excellent example of this is a company that sells hand creams. The outside of the package is stamped with their logo, and the tape features their logo in color. Once the customer opens the box, they find that the lotions and other beauty products are all individually wrapped in eco-friendly tissue paper and sealed with stickers. They find a note the says the logo, tape, and tissue paper are all printed with soy ink.
The last thing you need to consider is impressing upon the customer your appreciation. You know that feeling you get when you receive a handwritten letter or card from a friend or loved one? It’s the same for your customers. A personalized message to the customer will go a long way.
It might take a little time to write out messages to every single buyer, but the investment of your time is worth it. Not only does it show how much you care, but it also lets the customer know you value their patronage.
You can include these notes on the invoice or packing slip or you can add a business card and notecard with a branded paper clip. Again, you can be as creative as you wish with this step.
You can even take into consideration the customer’s unique purchase and throw in some free samples that you think they would like. Optionally, you can send them coupons based on their order. There are plenty of ways to show you care, but the one thing to take away from this is that a “thank you” is priceless.
It’s true: a delightful unboxing experience can do a lot of your brand and business. Knowing how to create the perfect unboxing experience is one step to pleasing your customers, seeing an increase in interest, and even getting some valuable user-generated content. While a negative unboxing experience can sink your sales, a positive one will help you exponentially increase your reach.
Just keep in mind that you need to include a personal touch, the correct materials, and make the whole unboxing process as pleasing and worthwhile as possible. Do that, and you will have a lot of happy customers.
Looking for the perfect packaging materials for your unboxing experience? Check out our products. And if you want more information and ideas for packaging and shipping, be sure to fill out the contact form.