How to Improve Your Unboxing Experience

If you’re looking for ways to add a special detail to your product packaging, custom tissue paper works for all sorts of items. That’s where noissue comes in. Beth Owens, noissue’s Content Strategist, has ideas for how to elevate your customers’ unboxing experience.

‘Unboxing’ is a word that often gets thrown around a lot in relation to packaging design. In the age of social media, ecommerce merchants especially are told to strive for a stellar unboxing experience of their products. But what does unboxing actually mean? And why is it so important to your brand narrative?

What is Unboxing?

As a concept, unboxing can take many different forms. It’s the videos on YouTube of people slowly peeling back layers of packaging to millions of views. The beautifully gift-wrapped parcels on Instagram. The anticipation of the presents under the tree on Christmas morning. Unboxing is all about the anticipation of an object, made more exciting by clever and attractive product packaging.

Once an online fad, the unboxing phenomenon has taken on some serious currency when it comes to branding and marketing. From Apple, one of the veterans of perfect packaging, to the 2018 craze of luxury Christmas advent calendars, unboxing influences every area of retail.

Best of all, it’s a strategy that any ecommerce brand, large or small, can leverage in their packaging design. Why? Because we all need packaging! Whether you’re shipping goods locally or internationally, you need a design which will protect your product. Since this expense is already on the books, why not make the most of the opportunity that this presents?

Why Does Unboxing Matter?

To understand why unboxing matters, let’s dive into some consumer psychology. We now live in a world where most of our desires can be very easily met. The ever-growing world of ecommerce means that we can impulse buy with a click or a tap. Instant gratification is now the norm. So, what happens when we aren’t in a position to impulse buy? We have to find another way of fulfilling our consumer cravings.

The next best thing to receiving a product is living vicariously through someone else’s experience. Unboxing videos have exploded on social media because they deliver exactly on this premise. Whether what we want is the latest iPhone or a pair of Louboutins, these experiences are now designed to be shared. This turns unboxing into a powerful visual pitch for your brand. It represents a commitment to providing a positive and personalized experience with your brand.

The latter is especially important to younger generations of consumers. Younger buyers usually shop through their smartphones; they swap between social media and ecommerce websites with ease. This makes the so-called shareworthiness of a brand incredibly important to them. They want their brand interactions to be special and memorable so they can enjoy sharing them with others on social media. According to WestRock’s 2018 ‘Packaging Matters’ study, 53% of Millennials value a unique or attractive appearance in the packages they receive. So if you want to secure the loyalty of these growing consumer groups, a well-thought-out unboxing experience is vital.

The Role of Premium Packaging

Unboxing and premium packaging are like bread and butter; you really can’t have one without the other! Your packaging design is the key to whether your unboxing will provoke a smile in your customer. In this sense, unboxing isn’t exactly new. Luxury brands have been investing in premium packaging for decades, long before social media was on the scene. This comes in part from consumer expectation. In choosing high-end brands, customers see themselves as buying a lifestyle as much as a product.

The difference today is that unboxing is no longer the domain of luxury brands. In a much more competitive retail environment, brands of every price range need to tell a story much bigger than their product if they are going to spark long-term loyalty in their customers. So, a plain cardboard box isn’t really going to do the trick. A great unboxing all about flair and dramatism, so you need a packaging design which delivers this!

Stepping Up Your Unboxing Experience

How well does your packaging speak of your brand?

Squiffy Print, a noissue customer, made their social media and website the main feature of their custom tissue design.

Here’s an important question to consider: Is your current packaging design tailored specifically to your brand? This is rule number one for a great unboxing - whatever design you choose needs to speak of YOU. There’s no point in putting resources into a design which doesn’t stimulate brand recognition. This is akin to a blank canvas; it has a lot of potential, but gives your customer little to contemplate! This is where custom packaging comes into play. It gives you the freedom to channel your brand aesthetic in whatever way works best for you. If you want your packaging to inspire brand interaction online, you need to make sure the design links back to your key selling channels.

For this reason, it’s very important to include key branding elements in your design, such as motifs, brand names, and slogans. Social media handles and QR codes are also a great idea, as they make your channels very accessible to customers. If there’s a specific color palette that your brand uses, including this in your packaging design creates a lot of continuity. This makes it far more likely that your customer will recognize your package when it arrives. If there is one thing that makes an unboxing experience memorable, it’s anticipation!

Add Personal Touches

A handwritten thank-you note can make your customer feel particularly special!

Online shopping enables buying on the go and it avoids the high overheads of brick and mortar stores. But this can come at the cost of losing crucial touchpoints with your customer.

A strong unboxing moment can fill the gap where a personal connection goes in a traditional retail experience - if it’s tailored to the customer. It shows you are thankful for their patronage and that every individual matters to your brand. Small touches like placing handwritten notes inside your online orders ensure that your customers feel valued by the people behind the brand. Other ideas include discount codes for future orders and free samples that tie in with your customer’s purchase. These added touches will keep customers coming back for more!

Add Some Seasonal Twists

Have a Nice Day recently invested in a romantic refresh for Valentine’s Day!

Literally every holiday is an opportunity for you to create another personal moment with your customer. Seasonally updating your unboxing experience shows your customers that your brand is dynamic and able to stay fresh. And this doesn’t have to mean a whole packaging redesign, which isn’t always feasible for many small businesses due to cost.

Considering keeping your unboxing fresh and exciting with little upgrades like ustom stickers, tissue paper, or seasonally-patterned packaging tape. This keeps your finger on the pulse of the main retail events, whether it’s Christmas, Halloween or Valentine’s day without spending endless piles of cash. It also makes for some fantastic social media content to help promote seasonal product ranges!

Make Your Unboxing Experience Less Wasteful

Our custom tissue paper is 100% recyclable and FSC-certified as being sustainability sourced.

This, sadly, often gets left out of many discussions about unboxing and packaging. With online shopping, there’s no way around the minimum amount of packaging needed to protect a product. But your choices can make a difference - the materials used have a big impact on the sustainability of your design.

Consumers are increasingly calling out brands who are wasteful, and packaging is one of the biggest culprits. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, packaging makes up one-third of all household waste. Much of this is designated for the landfill. According to Nielsen, 55% of consumers will pay extra for products committed to a positive environmental impact, and 52% will check packaging to measure its sustainability. Showing consumers that you are actively working to overcome these issues will give your brand a lot of credibility.

Easy steps you can take:

  • Maximize the use of papers and cardboard and eliminate single-use plastics wherever you can.
  • If you are including packaging inserts, use recycled paper.
  • Sourcing from companies that use soy-based inks for printing, as opposed to petroleum-based inks which are non-renewable.
  • If you are using boxes, try to stay on the small side. This reduces the need for fillers, which are often not recyclable.

Unboxing is a lesson on the importance of having a powerful brand narrative. With so many brands out there competing for consumers’ attention, you need to give them a reason to pay attention. Think of your unboxing as a piece of theatre - it’s a moment to show everyone what you are made of! By offering a unique and memorable experience, you’re helping your brand to stand out from the crowd.

Beth Owens is the Content Strategist and resident unboxing expert at noissue. Their premium custom tissue paper is acid-free and FSC-certified as being socially and environmentally responsible in its production. Their low minimum order quantities and quick turnarounds mean that they are suited to help everyone, from small independent businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Beth Owens

Content Strategist and resident unboxing expert at noissue.

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