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We can all remember the childhood delight of opening presents can’t we? In fact, it never really goes away. It’s a powerful memory for many of us – and in this lies a powerful lesson for brands. If you can create a memorable unboxing experience, you can build brand loyalty and lodge your brand in your customer’s memory.

Here’s how to create the ultimate unboxing experience for your brand.

As you’ll be aware one of the most important touchpoints is when your customer receives their package.

Unfortunately, many brands don’t treat this as a moment to be celebrated. Making this touchpoint memorable (in a good way) can yield multiple benefits for your brand from customer satisfaction and loyalty to word-of-mouth marketing and repeat purchases.

But before we elaborate further, let’s define what an unboxing experience actually is.

What is an unboxing experience?

Put simply, an unboxing experience is the act of opening a box or package. But like so many things that sound simple, there’s a whole lot more to an unboxing experience than the ‘opening’ part.

‘Like what?’ you might ask. 

Well, for one, an unboxing experience differs from a regular delivery. 

With a regular delivery a brand will simply send their product in basic packaging and… that’s about it. Whereas, with an unboxing experience, a brand puts a great deal of thought, care and attention into making the opening and unpacking process a memorable and enjoyable one.

Unboxing experiences are performances that involve your customers. The unboxing experience is as much a part of the purchase as the product itself. 

Think of all those videos you see on YouTube of people unboxing their latest purchases (and we’re fairly confident you will have seen one of these videos – according to Google one in five consumers has watched an unboxing video). 

With unboxing experiences defined, let’s look at how you can create the ultimate unboxing experience for your customers.

How to create a memorable unboxing experience for your customers

There’s a lot to think about when you’re attempting to create a memorable unboxing experience for your customers, so we’ll take you through each step below. Some of these may be suitable for your business, whilst others may not – but we want to make you aware of the ‘best practice’ unboxing tips so you can create a process that works for you and your brand.

Use branded packaging

This may seem like an obvious one, but there’s nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of a customer quite like their package turning up in a tatty, plain, boring cardboard box or envelope.

No matter what sort of packaging you’re using for your products, make sure your customer will recognise that it’s from you as soon as they lay their eyes on it.

This’ll mean making an investment, but it’s one that will certainly pay off. 

When looking at branded packaging you should be as consistent as possible. Draw up some brand guidelines specifically for packaging – you want to ensure that the customer experiences your brand in the same way across all of your different touchpoints. Your website, packaging and other marketing materials should all feel like they’re part of the same brand. 

Every step of a customer’s purchase journey should tell your brand story.

Use unique and interesting packing materials

Packing peanuts and bubble wrap might be fun for kids to play with, but they don’t exactly exude quality or brand alignment. Instead, give some thought to the alternative materials you could use – especially if you can link them in some way to your brand.

There’s also something else to consider when it comes to packing materials; sustainability. 

Sustainability has risen up the ladder of consumer concerns in recent years, so many people won’t take too kindly to discovering that their product has been packed with plastics or other non-recyclable materials. Again, you need to think about using packing materials that align with your brand.

Packing materials that you could consider include cork, jute, corrugated bubble wrap or even more exotic materials such as mycelium (mushroom) and seaweed!

Apple is perhaps the best known example of a brand that provides a memorable unboxing experience

Present your product in an appealing way

We realise we’re getting detailed here, but even the way your product is presented within the package can have an impact upon the unboxing experience. No one wants to feel like their purchase has just been chucked into a box.

Instead, think of the beautiful elegant way in which Apple products are presented within their packages; elaborate tabs unravel the device, lifting it gently from its sitting place. (There’s a good reason Apple employs an entire team of designers just to focus on packaging – in fact, they also have a dedicated team who simply spend months opening boxes…)

You want to create a sensory experience for your customer when they’re unboxing their purchase. To do this, think carefully about the dimensions of your product and how they relate to, and interact with, the dimensions of your packaging. 

Although this may add some additional costs, it also adds additional excitement to the unboxing experience. Imagine the excitement building in your customer as they slowly unwrap layer after layer, revealing their purchase.

Include a free gift

Everyone loves a nice surprise. You can do that by including a free gift in your packaging. It doesn’t have to be of enormous value – in fact, the more thoughtful you can make it, the better.

Free gifts could include stickers, a free sample of a related product, a discount code for money off their next order, or even just a small bag of sweets. The type of free gift you choose to include will in many ways be determined by your brand. 

Like the branded packaging mentioned above, free gifts should ‘fit’ with your brand. For example, if you’re a fitness brand, you obviously wouldn’t want to include free sweets with your orders.

Use personalisation

Including a personal touch can transform the way a customer views your brand. Sometimes brands can seem cold and impersonal – a situation which is particularly hard to overcome if your business is wholly online. But, including something like a hand written note in the box can help you build a personal connection with your customers.

Adding a personal touch such as a note also demonstrates to your customers that you are willing to invest extra time to connect with them – they’re not ‘just another customer’.

Don’t forget the essentials!

Although you’re trying to make your unboxing experience memorable, you don’t want to make it memorable in a bad way – by forgetting essential items such as packing slips, invoices and delivery notes. 

It can be easy to forget the essentials when you’re focused on making the unboxing experience as good as possible.

However, just because the essentials are things like invoices doesn’t mean they have to be boring! Have some fun with the design and layout of these documents, bring them in line with your brand and try out some playful conversational copy to add some fun and personality to them.

Promote yourself

If you make the boxing experience enjoyable enough then your customer won’t mind if you engage in some self promotion. In fact, if your customer has enjoyed the unboxing experience enough they’ll be particularly receptive to reading your latest brochure or leaflet – so don’t forget to include these.

Put all of these things into practice and you’ll create an unboxing experience that captures the imagination and enthusiasm of your customers, building their loyalty towards your brand and improving the likelihood of them making future purchases.

There are many things you can do to provide a memorable unboxing experience from packaging to personalisation

The benefits of creating a memorable unboxing experience

We’ve told you how to create a memorable unboxing experience for your customers, but we thought we’d provide a little more detail on the benefits of doing so. After all, it seems like a lot of effort to go to – but trust us, as you’re about to read, it’s well worth creating a memorable unboxing experience.

It makes a brilliant first impression

It’s a saying that’s become a bit of a cliche, but that’s because it’s true – first impressions matter.

If your customer receives their purchase in uninspired, boring packaging they’re not going to get a great first impression of your brand. If you’re an eCommerce business then you’ll know that you have far fewer customer touchpoints than traditional high street retailers. 

The only time your customers get to handle your products is (generally) when they first receive it through the post. Therefore, it’s vital that that first interaction is a good one – with a beautiful, branded package.

You wouldn’t display your products in a shop in plain boring packaging, so you shouldn’t send out your products in boring packaging either.

It increases perceived value

Perception is reality. If someone perceives your product as being quality and of high value, they’ll value it as such.

Many businesses offer commoditised products (that is, their products are not hugely different from their competitors’ products) so a memorable unboxing experience can not only help set you apart, but also potentially improve the price point at which you can sell your products.

It creates free marketing

As we mentioned earlier, unboxing videos have definitely become a ‘thing’ on YouTube. In fact, there are entire channels completely dedicated to unboxing things. It’s a trend which has grown remarkably in recent years as the chart below demonstrates:

Consumer interest in unboxing has grown considerably in recent years

Create an unboxing experience which is impressive enough and you could find your product showcased to millions of people across the world on YouTube. 

The free marketing potential is not confined solely to YouTube though. 

Memorable unboxing experiences are shareable. People like to talk about their latest purchases and if opening that purchase was a delight, they’ll talk about that too. So, you can benefit from free word of mouth advertising. 

That’s not all. In today’s content hungry environment, consumers are eager for things to share on social media. Instagram is awash with people sharing posts of their latest purchases (along with the packaging it came in). Take advantage of this by creating a postable/Insta worthy unboxing experience.

It can improve customer retention

According to Yotpo, 37% of customers say it takes at least five purchases before they consider themselves loyal to a brand.

By creating a memorable unboxing experience you can increase the likelihood of further purchases. Being able to post about the unboxing experience also gives customers that ‘influencer experience’, increasing their engagement with your brand.

Is it time for your brand to create memorable unboxing experiences for your customers?

Want to find out more ways to gain a competitive advantage for your business? Contact 3PL today for some friendly advice and support.

Find more advice for your eCommerce business on the 3PL blog

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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is Marketing Manager at 3PL. He researches and writes everything you need to know about eCommerce fulfilment and logistics.