Why and How to Create a Memorable Unboxing Experience

When a customer opens the product ordered from your business, you have a unique chance to capture their attention. In this moment, how do you impress them and win their repeat business?

Here’s where the unboxing experience comes into play. Unboxing, for the uninitiated, is a customer’s experience opening a product for the first time and removing it from the box. In recent years, customers have begun creating videos as they open up anticipated items and sharing them on social media. As of 2017, people spent at least 48.3 million hours watching unboxing videos on YouTube, often on their mobile phones.1

With a large—and growing—audience, the unboxing video has become increasingly valuable for retailers.2 Read on to learn what these videos can do for your business, as well as best practices for your packaging that can encourage customers to create their own.

Increase Visibility and Reach

As a small or medium-sized business, increasing your reach leads to growth and success. Authentic unboxing videos are a visually-enticing way to spread the word about your product, directly from actual customers.

When someone receives your product in the mail and creates an unboxing video, your brand and product are shared with their entire network of friends and family. If the unboxing is particularly enjoyable—aesthetically pleasing and expertly curated—those friends and family members may want to experience it themselves by becoming customers.

Encourage Purchases from New Customers

A good unboxing video has the potential to persuade someone new to purchase your product. In fact, 39% of adults in the U.S. who use social media and had purchased beauty products in a specific period of time agreed that unboxing videos encouraged them to buy particular products.3

You can think of this peer-to-peer medium as an influential review of the experience of receiving your product rather than a straightforward product review. If your parcel is packed with their anticipation in mind, a customer’s unboxing video should be positive. On the other hand, an underwhelming or sloppy unboxing experience can drive potential customers away.

Test to See What Works

Not sure what packaging innovations will set your product or brand apart during the unboxing? Test it out. Ask a “beta” group of customers to create an unboxing video to share just with you. These videos will teach you what can be improved about the presentation and what draws people in. Plus, the exclusivity of being asked to create a video for your business could boost a customer’s perception of your brand.

What can you do to make your packaging stand out?

  1. 1

    Tell Your Story

    Let your brand’s personality sing for both new and returning customers. If your company touts sustainable responsibility or a connection to nature, make sure your packaging reflects that. If your business has a touching creation story, include a postcard with that information to reiterate it to your customers.

  2. 2

    Brand Your Box

    Make a good impression with your customers by presenting your products in thoughtfully designed boxes. Think of your product as a birthday gift, and the box that holds it as the pristine wrapping paper. Make a package that your customers will anticipate and be excited to open.

    Monthly subscription boxes are often designed to fit the brand. One popular makeup sample box designs each month’s parcel to be printed with different colors and designs. Not only does this make for an attractive first-look before the unboxing, it has also inspired customers to collect and reuse their boxes.4

    Some brands add messaging and designs inside the box, too, as a nice surprise when a customer first opens it up.

    While having boxes printed with your logo, slogan or brand colors isn’t in the budget for every business, there are ways to get the same effect without the investment. Things like custom tape, hand-stamped designs and branded stickers can have the same effect.

  3. 3

    Situate Your Product

    Orchestrate an organized and appealing presentation of the item or items within the box. The first thing people want to see when they open a package is the product that they ordered, not layers of packing material or a receipt. Put the other necessities—receipts, return labels, instruction manuals—below the product, or in an envelope.

    Think of unboxing a piece of technology, like a phone or tablet. When the item’s box is opened, the first thing a customer sees is what they ordered. Once they pick it up, plugs, instruction manuals, warranty paperwork and other accessories are revealed. They don’t distract from the initial experience.

  4. 4

    Make It Personal

    An important step in earning a loyal customer is establishing a connection between your brand and your buyer. Make customers feel appreciated and cared for, no matter the product. This care will keep them coming back.

    How you establish this connection is entirely up to you. Choose something that fits with your brand ethos: personalize their box by noting who packed it on an inside flap; add a thank-you note, handwritten or personally signed; develop creative instructions with a strong brand voice that are tailored to that customer’s experience.

  5. 5

    Give Something Extra

    Add in a little something extra for your customers to elevate their experience and create a feeling of exclusivity.

    Keep your freebies on brand: samples of products similar to those they bought, or things that would partner well together, like hand cream and gloves. You can also opt for coupons that encourage additional purchases, benefitting you and your customer.

Key Takeaways

Unboxing is a powerful experience for shoppers that can be incredibly rewarding for your brand. Building a positive connection with a customer before they even open your package can encourage positive reviews, social interactions and returning customers. Leverage these best practices as you develop the most effective packaging in your budget.