Sourceful Blog

How to create a memorable unboxing experience

Ali Straessle · Dec 22nd, 2021 · 9 min read

The unboxing experience is the interaction a customer has with your brand as they unbox your product. It's a chance to create a unique experience for your customer that leaves them with a positive lasting impression of your brand. This is mostly done by adding thoughtful surprises to your packaging, such as innovative artwork or a handwritten note. A memorable unboxing can entice customers to share their experience online.

In this article, we'll explore the unboxing experience, why it's important and how to make it memorable.

Why is the unboxing experience important?

Packaging is the first physical touchpoint a customer has with your brand. So you need to make sure it's appealing and engaging enough for them to re-purchase and recommend you to others. That's why the unboxing experience is important, it's a powerful post-purchase marketing opportunity. And putting in the effort to make it unique and memorable can lead to benefits for your business.

Share your brand story

Unboxing is a vital opportunity for brand storytelling. It's one of the few moments when you have your customers' undivided attention. Through packaging design and the marketing materials you include, you can offer customers tangible proof of your values and reiterate why they should choose you over alternatives. This isn't about simply listing your selling points, but answering the question “Why should I care?" A good brand story should include how you got to where you are today, what you're aiming to become, what makes you different and what you guarantee your customers.

Reach a wider audience

If you provide customers with an exciting packaging experience, they're more likely to share it. Customers who create and share unboxing videos — online videos of people unboxing products — can gain thousands, sometimes millions of views. This user-generated content can spread brand awareness and help you to gain more customers. Customers today actively seek out content on unboxing experiences. In fact, 55% of people use videos to help make purchasing decisions. So the more visible you are online, the wider your reach.

Increase your perceived value

By providing customers with the best unboxing experience before they can see or physically touch your product, you also validate your product's worth. Tiffany & Co. has designed one of the most successful unboxing experiences. Their Tiffany blue jewellery boxes are just as iconic as their engagement rings, with the colour itself being trademarked. The box alone has become a representation of luxury and exclusivity worldwide. And today it has its own product page and can even be bought as a sterling silver charm. This is the power of unboxing: when the experience becomes just as valuable as the product itself.

So how can you create a memorable unboxing experience for your brand?

Unboxing can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but here are four key elements to help you get started.

Use branded packaging

Your packaging is the first thing a customer sees when their delivery arrives so the unboxing experience begins before they even open it. They've ordered your product and have been waiting for its arrival so the anticipation is already there. So you need to make it clear who this package is from by ensuring your logo or company name is visible. Adding an eye-catching design to your packaging will help to make your brand instantly recognisable.

Custom printing provides many design options and can be used for both the inside and outside of your packaging. Printing inside of your branded box is a great way to add to the customer experience. For example, Haus, an alcohol brand, includes different messages inside each of their packages for customers on arrival.

Haus box with wine bottle

Credit: Haus

For a more cost-effective approach, you can use custom packaging tape and stickers to decorate the exterior and interior of your box. Stitch Fix, a personal styling service, uses a combination of both custom printing and custom tape for their packaging. Their logo is printed on one edge of a plain mailer box and is then sealed using custom tape printed with their company name. Although a simple design, their box is instantly recognisable on arrival.

Photo: Stitch Fix

Make it sustainable

Your packaging is a reflection of your brand values. So if you're a sustainable business, sell sustainable products, or are simply looking to be more sustainable, this should be reflected in the packaging you create. Try to make your unboxing experience as eco-friendly as possible. When you use sustainable packaging, communicate it to your customers. Educate them on why you chose that packaging material and how to dispose of it with minimal impact on the environment. Use illustrations on your packaging to show your sustainable values and make sustainability part of their experience. A great example of this is innocent, who include fun, conversational disposal instructions on their drinks explaining how to dispose of the bottle and what that means for the planet.

Photo: innocent

Another option is to give your packaging a second life as part of the unboxing experience. For example, encouraging customers to reuse their packaging for refills or sharing tips with them on how to upcycle their packaging.

When customers order a Samsung Lifestyle TV, they don't just receive a product. They receive eco-packaging that is specifically designed to be upcycled into various household items, such as a cat house or a bookshelf. Samsung then challenge their customers to share their packaging creations online, which makes for a memorable unboxing experience.


Add a personal touch

Personalising your packaging can make a customer feel valued. Something as simple as a handwritten thank you note, for example, can reinforce a human connection with your brand. Your customer now knows someone personally put together their order before packing and sending it.

A handwritten note, however, isn't always scalable so creating printed personalised notes may be a more accessible option for your business. Alternatively, you could choose to only include handwritten notes for limited edition or high value items to provide an added touch of luxury.

Another way to personalise your packaging is to include a free gift, sample or discount code for other products. The golden rule with this is that it needs to complement the product your customer has ordered. For example, if you're a skincare business and your customer orders a grapefruit body soap, include a body cream sample of the same scent. This shows your customer you've paid attention to their preferences and might lead them to purchase the regular version in their next order.

Keep the customer in mind

Consider your customer as you put together their unboxing experience. Is your packaging easy to open? Will the contents of your packaging remain intact during delivery? Is the unboxing experience you've created easy to follow? Think about what will help your customer get the most out of their interaction with your brand and feel truly satisfied.

Your packaging should be user-friendly. Make sure your customer is able to open their parcel without destroying it, or your product, in the process. And if you're shipping a product that has multiple parts, consider the best way to present these. When items aren't packaged securely, they can fall apart or look untidy to the customer on arrival. Which leads to a messy unboxing and a disjointed narrative of your brand.

This was the case for Fenton, a B Corp luxury jewellery brand, who were sending customers their ring box, provenance documents and a brochure in one gift box. They realised their unboxing experience needed to be more in line with their luxury brand and so decided to overhaul their packaging. Fenton partnered with Sourceful, and together they tested multiple iterations before creating a moulded pulp insert to bring together all the packaging components. This was then placed in a redesigned gift box. Today, everything they ship arrives as a single unified package, dramatically improving the unboxing experience for their customers.

Photo: Fenton

Conclusion

The unboxing experience says a lot about your brand. It's an opportunity to build a connection with your customer and to add more value to their experience than anticipated.