E-commerce marketing, Online shipping, Packaging

Marco Pericci /

Unboxing: take advantage of packaging to create a unique experience for your customer

Product packaging performs seemingly simple functions: it guards, protects and preserves the contents from sudden changes in temperature and unattentive couriers. But today, well-crafted, well-treated and personalized packaging has become a real marketing tool: a unique occasion to convey the brand’s values from the very first moment.

Unboxing: take advantage of packaging to create a unique experience for your customer

illustration of Francesco Zorzi

In addition, unlike offline sales, online businesses have very few occasions to “wow” their customers with a more or less personalized experience. For this reason, it’s important to take full advantage of each contact point, starting with the packaging. 

Easy to say, I’m sure you’re thinking. And effectively being able to personalize your packaging with care and attention is no simple task: but companies that succeed are easier to remember. They offer a more positive experience for their customers who, for this reason, continue to choose and recommend them to others.

This explains the thousands of videos available online on the practice of unboxing, the experience of opening boxes and packages of ordered products. But what does this word mean specifically? How can you transform unwrapping into an unforgettable experience for your customers? And how do you create videos dedicated to product unboxing? 

Read on to find the answers to these questions in addition to practical tips for improving your packaging and transforming packaging into a real branding opportunity. 

What does unboxing mean and how to create memorable packaging?

When we talk about packaging as a marketing tool, we refer to the huge potential this tool offers in terms of improving the brand identity and the company’s image. How? By offering added value to the customers, therefore transforming the mechanical and often uncomfortable unwrapping into a real experience that’s worth sharing with your friends or your followers.

Unboxing is the act of unpacking a product, recording (or documenting) this experience, and sharing it with your social channels (Instagram above all, but also YouTube, Facebook, Twitch or simply Whatsapp). 

A practice that has recently spread, together with the rapid growth of online businesses and e-commerce.

How does unboxing work? If there are no partnership agreements with influencers or other companies, the recording of the video is totally spontaneous and unplanned. Customers who buy your products simply wants to share his or her opinions and experience with others, especially if the packaging is attractive and worth showing to everyone. 

If you are wondering why someone would want to watch the opening of a box, there are a variety of reasons: starting from the guarantee that you are purchasing the same product as the influencer or the person who made the video, and ending with the insatiable curiosity that makes us human and as children made us want to unwrap all the presents under the tree before Christmas Eve!

Having clarified once and for all what unboxing is, the first question you need to ask yourself to entice your customers to perform this practice is: how do you create memorable packaging? 

We want to suggest some solutions that you can apply immediately to improve your packaging: 

  • Catch the customer’s attention and personalize as much as possible: making the packaging you use to ship products unique means aligning them (in terms of colors, values and concepts) with your brand identity and making it radically different from your competitors. How? Start with the boxes: make sure that, from first glance, your packaging is resistant, recognizable and memorable. 
  • Use tissue paper: the use of tissue paper can add further value to the customer’s unboxing experience. You can insert colored paper with your logo and use it to wrap your products.
  • Pay attention to the padding material: in addition to the function of protecting the contents of the package, the filling material allows you to give customers a more complete experience when unwrapping the package. You can use wrapping paper, tissue paper, or protective packing peanuts; the important part is that it fills in empty spaces and emphasizes your product. You can choose to personalize it in terms of logos, colors and anything else you can think of.
  • Insert the company’s promotional material inside the package: business cards or a thank-you note. In general the company’s paper materials allow you to maintain a connection between the customer and the online store. Among these, adhesives can be an inexpensive but very effective solution to create that particular “wow effect” that makes the unboxing unforgettable.
  • Offer coupons and gifts: yes, even the unboxing can be the right moment for cross-selling or upselling offers. Insert dedicated coupons, discounts on certain products, discounts on related products or accessories, premium and exclusive offers… Your client will appreciate your extra attention.

From checkout to unboxing

The timeframe from checkout to unboxing is a decisive time window: it must be as short as possible but full of value and touchpoints with the end customer.

In the traditional model of e-commerce (and not only), the relationship with the client ends when the product is purchased and the package is received by the courier, but we realized, especially in the months of the pandemic, that the window of darkness between checkout and unboxing is a frustrating moment that generates anxiety in the customer: they have purchased something but possess a series of questions which can only be answered only when they receive the package.

This psychological situation, simply due to logistics, can become a real occasion to establish a relationship with your customers through the right amount of communications.

In this phase, we can send transactional messages or emails to inform our buyer on the state of their shipment: this is fundamental because it calms the customer’s anxiety and reassures them of any doubts they may have.

With isendu, you can send emails in specific moments (such as when the item is collected, in transit, out for delivery, and post-delivery) automatically and with more empathy toward the customer.

At this point, we can also think about taking advantage of this type of message and timefame to upsell or cross-sell by selling add-ons, related products, offering discounts codes, etc.

Another practice that’s starting to spread widely among e-commerce and online business owners, and that we recommend trying to integrate in this timeframe, is conversations.

When we talk about notifications or messaging, we refer to unilateral communication: the company sends a message to the customer, who receives the information without needing to reply. 

While the customer is waiting for their package, the e-commerce can choose to establish a real conversation, either through Whatsapp or  by asking and receiving a response.  

This permits the collection of reviews, feedback, and other fundamental information to improve your business strategies.

These two practices, together, add additional value to this time window and maximize customer loyalty because at this point your customer can’t wait to open their package and will probably buy from you again.

Unboxing as a marketing strategy

By this point in the article, you understand that the unboxing experience is extremely important for your business and can become an integral part of your marketing strategy. 

But what does it mean and how can you turn this touchpoint into a trust-building moment?

An attentive unboxing design increases the customer’s satisfaction and happiness, who will start spontaneously sharing their customer testimonial (and maybe even a positive review) by posting photos and videos on the various types of online platforms. 

The authentic word of mouth generated from this type of action is also capable of influencing their parents’, friends’, and followers’ choices.

The advantages of this type of practice from the strategic marketing point of view, however, do not end here. In addition to satisfying the emotional aspect, unboxing also manages to achieve practical objectives: today’s users are more aware, perform careful research and collect relevant information before making an online purchase. In this sense, genuine videos from buyers become a fundamental testimony to familiarize the public with your products, offer information and generate a sense of expectation, even a high one, toward your business.

And don’t think, even for a moment, that these strategies are not applicable to your sector or that they’re only useful during the holiday season: TikTok and YouTube are platforms full of examples of unboxing videos for technology, beauty, food, and clothing products, as well as any other category that comes to mind.

You don’t want to miss this opportunity to advertise your e-commerce at an extremely low cost.

How to make unboxing videos for your social networks

Unboxing videos are particularly popular on social networks like YouTube and Instagram, but simply turning on your camera and recording is not enough.

Creating a capitivating, informative and engaging video is not easy.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • First of all, it’s important to pay attention to technical aspects: today almost all smartphones have a photocamera capable of recording in HD. Ensure that the microphone is good quality and check the environment in which you are recording for any possible distractions.
  • Make sure you are in a well-lit place with little echo or background noise. 
  • Create a short unboxing video avoiding long presentations or introductions: people want to see what’s inside the box!
  • Try to use background music (always royalty free) or narrate what you are doing naturally and sympathetically. Remember to show your enthusiasm and to clearly present the product you bought once you have removed it from its packaging. 

If you are thinking about integrating this strategy into your business’ activity, rely on a partner that really knows your sector and is in a position to help you. With isendu, you can create memorable unboxing experiences that your customers will be excited to share and publish online!

Marco Pericci

Written by:

Marco Pericci

Head of Growth

User explorer. I dream of a world where automation makes humankind happy.

Illustration of:

Francesco Zorzi

Illustrator, Visual Designer, Creative Director

Illustrator, visual designer, creative director with a multidisciplinary background in architecture and graphics divides his time between Florence and New York. His works are published in newspapers and magazines such as The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, AdAge, La Stampa among others. He is the creative director of isendu, for which he oversaw the redesign project.

Francesco Zorzi