Tell me if this sounds familiar – you’re watching a video online, and it starts with someone unboxing something given to the host by a sponsor. Or perhaps the pre-roll ad shows someone unboxing something they just “bought.” Or perhaps you’re one of the 1 in 5 consumers who has searched for and watched a video entirely dedicated to the unboxing of some consumer product you want.
Unboxing is a huge phenomenon, and it has been for several years. It’s not going anywhere.
And why would it? Unboxing videos are a great way for consumers to see exactly what they’re buying before they do so. It’s also a great way to see real, unvarnished reviews from other buyers.
That’s not all – there is, of course, there’s the vicarious thrill that comes from seeing someone get something new even if you haven’t yet (or can’t). It’s the consumer product equivalent of looking at houses you don’t intend to buy on Zillow.
Any way you look at it, unboxing matters, and understanding how to create an excellent unboxing experience can be great for your business.
Why Unboxing Experience Matters
It’s one thing to understand why randos on the internet would want to watch an unboxing video. But it’s another thing entirely to understand why it matters to your business. Here are four things to keep in mind.
1. Customer retention is more important than customer acquisition.
If you played a game of “Fulfillrite blog bingo”, mentioning customer retention would be the free space. We talk about it all the time because it costs 5 to 25 times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. All else equal, retaining customers will help your business grow faster than acquiring new ones.
Now get this – smart packaging design increases customer retention. As many as 52% of consumers will buy from you again if they are offered orders with premium packaging. They’re more likely to remember your brand unprompted, which increases your odds of making additional sales. In fact, even long after the purchase, about 90% of people will reuse a branded box that they find attractive.
Bear in mind that perception of what constitutes a premium experience is greatly influenced by first impressions – that is, unboxing.
2. Shoppers will forget about you by default. It’s your job to change that.
Seventy percent of your customers will visit you once and never return. When you combine this with the fact that customer acquisition is much more expensive than customer retention, this is a very alarming fact!
There are so many brands out there, and customers are exposed to so many that odds are good that you’ll be lost in the shuffle. To make matters worse, many people experience shopping through megastores or megasites like Walmart or Amazon. Faced with such an unpleasant fact, it’s clear that you have to find a way to stand out.
When your products are sitting in the living room, waiting to be unpackaged, that’s your perfect chance to make a lasting impression.
3. It gives people a reason to talk about your products.
Around 37% of consumers watched unboxing videos in 2017, and that percentage has doubtlessly increased since then. Many really enjoying watching unboxing videos for their own sake, and that’s why unboxing videos tend to go viral with little effort.
By making your product packaging and unboxing experience attractive, you tilt the odds of being talked about in your favor. There are entire media outlets dedicated to unboxing things all day, everyday. Make something worth their time and you could earn some free press.
4. Influencers love custom packaging.
Influencer marketing has been on the rise lately because it’s cheap, targeted, and viewers perceive it as more credible. Of course, an influencer’s ringing endorsement only goes so far, especially when money has changed hands. You still have to make an unboxing experience that stands on its own for the viewers at home.
Of course, the benefit of creating a good unboxing experience is that you can often get the influencer to react in genuine astonishment and happiness. Even more professional influencers do unboxing videos live or with minimal editing, meaning their real reactions are captured on camera for everyone to see before they have time to force a smile for the sponsor. Viewers are smart. They can tell real reactions from fake ones.
7 Ways to Make the Perfect Unboxing Experience
With the case for creating a good unboxing experience clearly made, it’s time to talk about how you can create that perfect experience. Here are seven tips to get you started.
1. Think about the different layers of packaging.
Consider for a moment what happens when an item is shipped from Amazon and it arrives at your doorstep. You immediately see the Amazon box and open it. On the inside, you see some air cushions and perhaps bubble wrap, and then you get to the item itself, which is still in its original packaging.
When someone receives a package from you, it could be a very different experience indeed! They may receive the box, complete with your custom branding on the outside. Then they can open up the outer box to see the product, in its original packaging, surrounded by custom packing material or perhaps even a custom box insert to keep the package in place.
You have at least three different layers to work with when shipping items via eCommerce. Use all of them wisely!
2. Brand the box.
I briefly touched on it above, but this is important enough to be its own point.
You want your customer to be anticipating the unboxing experience from the minute the package arrives on their doorstep. You want that customer to be primed to associate your brand colors and logo with a bright, shiny new widget and the dopamine rush that comes along with it.
Skip the unremarkable brown ULINE mailers if you want to make a great unboxing experience!
3. Use colors and shapes to your advantage.
Brown cardboard and clear plastic filler material get the job done. They exist for a reason, after all.
But if you’re going for a premium experience, use bright and branded boxes with custom color crinkle paper or packing peanuts. If you commit to it, every single item in the box you ship can reinforce your brand.
While you’re at it, why stick to boring boxes, at least for product packaging? Regular boxes work best in the mail, sure, but there’s no reason why you can’t put your product in a star shaped package if you want to!
4. Give out samples or PR boxes.
Great unboxing experiences are meant to be shared! If you go to the effort of creating wonderful packaging, you should make sure people see it too.
Create samples of your products to send to influencers. Also known as “PR boxes”, this can be a great way to break the ice with influencers you haven’t met yet, get on their good side, and get seen by a wider audience.
5. Personalize the experience.
No matter how beautiful your packaging may be, the unboxing experience is still generally thought to be a common one. The opener knows they are not the only one who has opened up a box full of your products. But it doesn’t have to feel this way!
Little personalization touches like the ability to insert gift messages or personalize parts of the packaging can go a long way. You can even insert handwritten notes directed to the recipient, if your business model supports it.
Remember: the trick here is to stand out among the crowd. One of the best ways you can do this is to talk to the opener as an individual and not as an anonymous consumer.
6. Add marketing inserts.
The idea behind creating a premium unboxing experience is to be remembered. By adding a marketing insert, such as a coupon or flier for other products you sell, you can give openers a reason to go back to your store and purchase something new. Done properly, marketing inserts can be a beautiful addition to the packaging too.
7. Make sure the packaging is easy to open.
For all the effort you put into the unboxing experience, remember that the product that is inside is what will last. In spite of all the other things unboxing is, it’s also a means to an end. You don’t want to annoy your customers by locking down your products tighter than Fort Knox!
By putting a little forethought into your products’ unboxing experience, you can make customers happy, keep them coming back for more, and pick up some new ones too. Don’t underestimate the power of packaging!
You’ve done everything by the book. Your Kickstarter campaign is almost ready to launch.
You made a great product. Built an audience. Set up a campaign page.
But how do you ship it?
We put this checklist together to help you get started. It's free.