- Businesses that focus on creating a memorable unboxing experience can help customers form an emotional attachment to their brand.
- When done correctly, a satisfying and engaging unboxing experience can be the difference between attracting profitable and loyal clients and attracting customers who are shopping based on price alone.
- When buyers experience inconsistency between the positioning of a product and its package, this can create doubt about what should be expected from the company.
By Karen Kimerer
E-commerce has become a convenient and popular way to shop. By clicking a few buttons, you can have almost anything delivered right to your doorstep. Although this method of shopping was first popularized by Amazon, its appeal only intensified during the height of the pandemic when shopping needed to be done from a distance. Even today, though, the shift toward e-commerce shows no signs of slowing. Savvy marketers have come to realize the power of transforming a mundane package or box into a brand event, and many are focusing on delivering a unique unboxing experience.
The unboxing experience is one of the most important factors in any modern business transaction. In addition to providing customers with the first glimpse of the product they’ve been waiting for, it sets the tone for their entire experience with the brand. Anyone who has purchased an item online knows that opening the package can be as exciting as opening a present from a loved one. There’s something to be said about the ritual of removing the wrapping paper and ribbons to reveal the gift inside, because it’s a physical reminder that someone cares about you and took the time to wrap your gift appropriately. In the same way, a nicely presented package can suggest that the sender truly appreciates your relationship. If a delivered package only serves as physical protection for the product inside, the experience of opening the box becomes compulsory and forgettable. In turn, the product inside is just another thing.
Businesses that focus on creating a memorable unboxing experience can help customers form an emotional attachment to their brand. The package becomes an opportunity to tell the story behind the product and demonstrates the value that the sender assigns to every customer interaction.
Engaging Customers and Fostering Loyalty
With the number of packages appearing on the doorsteps of today’s buyers, there are countless examples of unboxing experiences—but not all are created equal! Consider a florist that delivers a bouquet to your door in a standard packaging box. There will certainly be some joy in receiving the flowers, yet the brand that delivered them will be underserved and underrepresented. Compare that to a florist that packages the flowers in a protective yet decorative box with their name on the outside. This will immediately create a level of anticipation—who sent the flowers, and what will they look and smell like? When you open the box, you’ll discover well-protected flowers that might include a small package of plant food and a nicely printed instruction card with instructions on how to extend the life of the arrangement. The sender could also include a beautiful color pamphlet that tells the story of its business in a warm, personal way, as well as information on how to contact them in the event of a problem. This is just one example of how a brand can engage with a customer even from a distance. A satisfied and engaged customer will be more likely to recommend you to others, and that same customer will likely call you the next time they want to order flowers themselves!
As it relates to our industry, brand loyalty is one of the most important initiatives that is being tackled today. When done correctly, a satisfying and engaging unboxing experience can be the difference between attracting profitable and loyal clients and attracting customers who are shopping based on price alone.
Delivering on Expectations
With every good intention, there’s a risk of falling short. Suppose a print buyer orders a set of high-quality brochures that are embellished with foil and intricate finishing. They then add various pieces of exclusive branded merchandise to their order. It’s likely that buyer will be disappointed to receive the order in a plain brown box that is solely designed to protect their purchase, because they will expect a premium experience that aligns with their premium purchase.
It's more important than ever for today’s brands to share who they are and what they stand for, because leaving things open to interpretation can easily disappoint even the most loyal customer. When buyers experience inconsistency between the positioning of a product and its package, this can create doubt about what should be expected from the company. Particularly for those customers who invest in premium products, it’s crucial to deliver what those buyers will likely expect. A consistent narrative from the website to product packaging also creates an opportunity for customers to connect with your brand on a deeper level.
In our industry, the good news is that well-executed unboxing experiences can always include print. If you’re not sure what to include in a box to improve the overall experience, here are a few ideas:
- Branded stickers or tape on the outside of the box
- A printed thank you card
- A card with a QR code that enables the customer to obtain more information, contact the seller, or leave a review
- A pamphlet or brochure that describes how to get the most out of the items in the box
- A discount code for a future purchase
Some brands go so far as to include a small complimentary gift in their packages. Others may invite their customers record their unboxing experiences and share them on social media. If you’re wondering where to start, make sure that the packages you deliver to customers are engaging. Demonstrate the value that print delivers and highlight how it can influence the customer experience. Creating an unboxing experience means offering the recipient them a more comprehensive solution.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, a brand should be remembered for all the right reasons. A box that is delivered to a customer is often one of the last impressions in the overall customer journey. Packaging is a frequently underutilized yet powerful tool that can help a business increase loyalty and gain customer trust. If you’re seeking new ways to deliver added value to the brands and customers you serve, consider thinking outside—and inside—the box!
Karen Kimerer of Keypoint Intelligence has experienced the many challenges of expanding current market opportunities and securing new business. She has developed a systematic approach to these opportunities, addressing the unique requirements of becoming a leader in our changing industry. She is well-versed in 1:1 marketing, web-to-print, direct mail, book publishing, supply chain management, data segmentation, channel integration, and photo products.