How to create a better unboxing experience

How to create a better unboxing experience

For ecommerce businesses, the shipped box represents your first point of contact with the customer, it also happens to be an under-used advertising opportunity.

When was the last time you thought about your unboxing experience? Packaging in the e-commerce industry is mostly seen as a necessity for protecting the contents of the order. In any case, as e-commerce evolves further and as consumer habits change, delivering the ultimate brand experience will require extending beyond the product itself and into the whole experience.

In this post, you’ll learn precisely how critical a branded unboxing experience is along with all the instruments and assets you need to deliver that ‘wow’ to your customers.

What is a branded packaging experience?

A branded packaging experience is a thoughtful selection of your custom packaging design, the shipping materials, and the presentation of your products. Its purpose is to give extra value to your customers, as well as your make your product and business memorable.

In e-commerce, you have fewer touch points compared to physical retail, to impress and walk your customers through your offerings. That’s why it’s all the more critical that you use every touch point to your advantage, and make sure that the first physical touch point is one to remember.

Instead of choosing a plain brown corrugated box, opt to use a custom printed box that resembles and accentuates your brand, to make the unboxing more meaningful.

Why should you (and your business) care about a branded packaging experience?

An important part of building a long-term, sustainable brand is to have customers return time and time again. It’s always cheaper to get a past/current customer to purchase again than it is to get a new customer.

In a recent survey from Dotcom Distribution they found that 52 percent of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from an online merchant that delivers premium packaging.

In that same study, Dotcom also found that nearly 4 in 10 consumers would share an image of a delivery via social media if it came in a unique package.

"The value of premium packaging extends far beyond the customer experience into residual marketing effects. The experience goes beyond the online order to when the customer opens the beautifully wrapped package and shares that experience across social networks. That act of online and social recommendations drives loyalty from your customers and promotes brand awareness." - Maria Haggerty, CEO of Dotcom Distribution

The conclusion, is that people like sharing great experiences. If you search “brand unboxing” on Google, you’ll find thousands of blogs, images, and videos. Each of these posts were created by a customer, further helping the brand get their name out there, along with valuable back links to help improve their SEO (i.e., how easily/quickly others can find the brand).

What should you consider as you think about creating a memorable custom packaging experience for your customers?

There are several elements of a well-designed branded packaging and unboxing experience. You don’t need to include every single one, however, looking at each option can help you decide which one works best  for your business and delivers the ultimate experience.

Here are some options you may want to consider:

  • Box- Traditionally, white and brown corrugated packaging options ruled the world as they are cheap, and get the job done. However, the shipping box represents the biggest opportunity to begin creating that wow experience.

  • Tissue Paper- Wrapping your products in tissue paper adds an extra level of mystery and excitement for the unboxing experience.

  • Sticker- Stickers can be used in several ways. If you use tissue paper, a branded sticker can be used to seal the tissue paper together or it can also be used on the box itself. 

  • Promotional Material/Business Card- A business card doesn’t have to be a business card in the traditional sense of displaying your company information. Business cards represent a very inexpensive way of adding small branded promo pieces to your package. For example, you can add a card that gives the recipient a discount on their next order or, consider adding an additional one that they can give to their friend for some extra word-of-mouth marketing. Maybe you want to consider using the space for a note or instructions. The possibilities are endless and inexpensive.

  • Custom Note- It may be difficult to scale, however, especially if you are a startup, a lot can be said for including a handwritten note to customers. It provides that personal touch that makes people aware that there are real people behind the brand.

  • Sample- Based on your customer profile you may also want to consider including a sample that is likely to cross-sell the customer by introducing them to new products.


“At the end of the day, you’re not building an e-commerce company, you’re building a brand that has e-commerce as its core distribution channel.”

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