How to Improve Your Company’s Unboxing Experience

By: phase1
February 18, 2021

How to Improve Your Company's Unboxing Experience - Post Header image

When consumers buy a product online, they can never be sure how that product will look and feel in person. As they wait for their new purchase to arrive, they’re hoping for a pleasant tactile experience and a fulfilling product. The anticipation breeds excitement, which comes to a peak when the package arrives on their doorstep. Opening a package for the first time leads to either a feeling of gratification or disappointment — it’s your company’s job to make sure the experience is positive.

You can keep the excitement high and promote a strong first impression by improving your unboxing experience. Packaging, product placement and extra inserts all contribute to the adventure of unboxing. It’s easy enough to ship out your products in plain cardboard boxes, surrounded by colorless bubble wrap — but you’ll make a much stronger impression with branded packaging and personalization. If you put some effort into your packaging, you might earn better reviews, free publicity, and customer loyalty. Learn all about unboxing — what it is, why it’s important and how you can improve it for your brand.

YouTube watch-time infographic

What Is Unboxing?

As the name suggests, unboxing refers to opening packages for the first time. In a world of increasing e-commerce, consumers have started to share their unboxing experiences on social media, posting videos and pictures as they unveil their new purchases. In these videos, the host showcases the packaging and the product. In most cases, the host narrates their thoughts, feelings and impressions. They interact with the product and test it out, turning on gadgets, trying on clothes or tasting foods. In that way, these videos also serve as product reviews.

Many consumers are interested in watching others open packages. Unboxing videos are a popular genre on YouTube. By 2017, YouTube users spent enough time viewing unboxing videos on their phones to watch “Love Actually” 20 million times. The YouTubers who make these videos amass huge followings. The channel “Unbox Therapy” has more than 17 million subscribers. It’s a genre anyone can enjoy, depending on the products they’re interested in.

Kids watch videos of other kids opening new toys. Gamers watch videos of other gamers opening computers and consoles. Tech-heads watch videos of other tech-heads opening the latest gadgets. So many product unboxing videos are available that anyone can find something interesting to them. Some of these videos are thinly veiled advertisements, with the host offering nothing but praise for the product, but consumers can still form their own impressions as they watch.

Though these videos have entertainment value, they also help consumers make purchasing decisions. Unboxing videos and pictures eliminate some of the uncertainty surrounding online purchases. After watching someone unbox a product, a consumer feels better informed. Remember that anyone can share pictures and videos as they open new products, not just famous YouTubers.

Why It’s Important

The unboxing phenomenon presents a unique opportunity for product-based companies. A great unboxing experience can become a significant marketing moment. If you’re shipping your products in standard cardboard boxes, you might want to consider upgrading your product packaging. You’re bound to improve your memorability. If you focus some of your efforts on improving your unboxing experience, here are some of the ways you can benefit.

Sets You Apart From Competitors

Consumers notice the best e-commerce packaging. Imagine you ordered three products online from three different retailers, and they’ve all arrived on the same day. If you open your door to find two boring brown boxes and one colorful, unique box, which would draw your attention first? When companies put a little extra into their packaging, they stand apart from competitors.

First Impression

Unique packaging and a fun unboxing experience set you up for success. You’re bound to make a positive first impression on your buyers, and those feelings of excitement and joy are likely to affect their opinion of your product and company. Consider the alternative: If you struggle to open a plain cardboard box, you might lose your initial excitement and find yourself underwhelmed. But if you’re intrigued while opening a new product, your adrenaline and eagerness will stay high, helping to cultivate a better first impression.

US Customer base infographic

Brand Loyalty

That positive first impression lends itself to repeat customers. Brand loyalty is important for several reasons. Loyal consumers will recommend your brand to others and accept price increases for your products. They’ll also be less susceptible to your competitor’s marketing. On average, U.S. companies lose half their customers every five years, so inspiring brand loyalty should be a top priority.

Free Marketing

One of the obvious benefits of a memorable unboxing experience is the free marketing it can encourage. Everyone likes to share unique, exciting moments with others. In the age of social media, people can share their experiences with hundreds, thousands, even millions of others. Your consumers need not be “influencers” with several million followers to help promote your brand. The average Instagram account has about 150 followers. If your average consumer shares a picture of your product, that’s free advertising to 150 people.

How to Improve Your Unboxing Experience

Now that you know how meaningful an unboxing experience can be, you might be wondering how you can improve it for your products. If you’ve put little thought into your packaging, you’re missing vital opportunities for your company. Rethink your packaging with the unboxing experience at the forefront of your attention. Here are some strategies and ideas to consider.

External packing example - Luxury tequila in it's black box with silver artwork

Use Branded Packaging

The external packaging is the first thing the consumer will see. This presents an opportunity to grab attention and build anticipation. One of the most important ways to create a stronger first impression is to use branded packaging. Depending on your products’ size, shape, and fragility, you might choose to invest in customized brand boxes. Even if you ship small products, a branded box for postage will help protect your merchandise and add to the unboxing experience. Within your shipping boxes, you might enclose your products in unique, durable bags.

A branded packaging experience is memorable. It also allows you to showcase your logo and express your goals and values. Your consumer will see this, as will anyone who handles and transports the package. You’re bound to increase brand awareness and recognition. You’ll also be able to evoke emotions with your color, font and design choices.

Use Memorable Materials

You might not think twice about the materials you use for packaging. Many consumers still expect to see cardboard, plastic and bubble wrap when they open a new product. However, you can set your brand apart by using unique materials. More and more consumers are concerned about sustainability and the environmental impact of their purchases.

You can do a favor for both the Earth and your brand by using recycled or reusable materials for packaging. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel on your own. Sustainable packaging is already available in many forms. With a little research, you can find plenty of sustainable ways to package your products.

Unexpected packaging materials will support your brand’s memorability. In addition to using sustainable materials, incorporate on-brand colors, designs and textures. For instance, you might choose to use glossy raised lettering on your packaging to enhance the tactile experience. Every aspect of your packaging materials, down to the adhesive, ribbon and protective inserts, should match your brand. The finest details accumulate into a powerful overall impact. Whether you secure products into place with twine, twist-ties or clear plastic says something about your brand. What do your packaging materials imply about your company?

Consider Presentation

When consumers open a package, they expect to see their brand-new product on display, preserved and protected. If the product is lying crooked, upside down among loose styrofoam peanuts, they might feel disappointed. Consider ways you can keep the product aligned and centered. You might want to include some dividers or extra cushioning. In terms of presentation, it’s a great idea to go the extra mile. Be clever and novel. Think of ways you can represent your brand’s personality and goals through creative packaging ideas.

Surprise Customers

Show your customers your appreciation — surprises, no matter how small, make consumers feel appreciated and valued. People love free things, so consider including a small surprise gift in your packaging. There’s no need to break the bank when adding freebies. It’s the gesture that makes the impact, not the monetary value.

Wondering what gifts to add? You can include small samples of similar products. This also serves as a form of promotion and increases your odds of winning a repeat customer. Many companies include on-brand stickers. Depending on how your customers use their stickers, this could result in free advertisement.

Think About Personalization

In the age of mass-production, personal touches inspire a welcome nostalgia. Add a thank-you note — all the better if it’s hand-written and includes the customer’s first name. Another way to personalize the experience is to add something unique to each product. Think of the fun facts on Snapple lids. Each one is different, and customers are eager to open the bottles to reveal their fun facts.

You can achieve a similar effect in your packaging — include a unique inspirational quote, illustration or tidbit in each package. This feels like a personal touch but requires no actual personalization since it’s not specific to each customer. Shareable inserts like these can help your customer feel special and make the unboxing experience more fun.

Use It as an Opportunity to Encourage Repeat Business

Among your small gifts, you might consider including promotions or coupons for further purchases. It always helps to encourage customer loyalty. A fun, unique and personalized unboxing experience promises to generate repeat business. You can reward customers who choose to purchase again by offering specials, discounts and loyalty programs. Include vouchers in your packaging. This will add to the excitement of unboxing. Another way to encourage repeat business is to include brochures or ads for new products.

Crossed lower legs in gray sneakers

Test It Out

Before you roll out your new packaging, give it a test run! Order some prototypes of your packaging design and put it all together. Invite a focus group to unbox your products and share their thoughts. Plan a few questions to ask, such as:

  • How would you feel if this package were on your doorstep?
  • What is your favorite element included in the package?
  • Would you be inspired to post photos or videos on social media as you unbox this package?
  • Is there anything you’d like to see added or any other gifts you’d appreciate?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Imagine the visual and tactile experience your packaging elicits. As an exercise, pretend to be one of your customers. Unbox one of your products. As you do, imagine you’re seeing everything for the first time. What would stand out? What would be surprising? How might the experience be more exciting? Jot down your thoughts to help inspire improvements in your packaging. As you make changes, you can order new prototypes to fit your evolving ideas.

Bring Packaging Designs to Life With Phase 1 Prototypes

When consumers walk into a store and walk out with products, they know exactly what they’re getting. They can feel the texture of blankets, smell the fragrance of candles and see the intricate details of a wall art piece. This is not the case for online purchases. Every time a consumer buys a product online, they’re accepting a degree of uncertainty, even taking a gamble. On the other hand, opening a package to reveal a new product can feel like Christmas morning. The sense of mystery can add to the intrigue. With thoughtful packaging, you can harness and accentuate the excitement.

Attention to detail can make all the difference. Never underestimate the value of presentation. For the best unboxing experience, use branded packaging, include surprise gifts and tie it together with personalized touches. Stay true to your brand with every detail. Use colors, materials and textures that represent the character of your brand.

Once you’ve brainstormed packaging design ideas, use prototypes to test and workshop them. At Phase 1 Prototypes, we offer free quotes within 24 hours and accept orders of any size. You can expect a quick turnaround time, allowing you to get your products on the market as soon as possible. For more information about packaging prototypes, contact Phase 1 Prototypes today.


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