You made the sale. You shipped the order. Now, the moment of truth is here: Your customer receives the package they’ve been eagerly awaiting. But what happens next? Will your customer be delighted by what they receive? That depends in large part on your unboxing experience.
If you haven’t already intentionally designed the experience of unpacking your shipments, your ecommerce company is missing out on the many benefits of building trust and brand recognition. Read on to learn the 6 steps to successful brand building with unboxing.
1. Design with intention
The moment a customer receives and opens their order is your chance to surprise and delight them. Impress your customers and build immediate brand loyalty with a thoughtful unboxing experience. This means making a decision about every step within the unboxing process – from the time a customer receives the package to the point of opening the product. There are many opportunities for you to build your brand within these few precious moments.
2. Stay on brand
Your unboxing experience should be a continuation of your online shopping experience. This builds brand recognition and cements the customer’s impression of your company. Wherever possible, allow your branding to shine through the unboxing process – from the first thing your customer sees (the outer packaging) all the way until they open the final item inside.
3. Choose the outer packaging for your shipping container
Don’t let shipping materials be an afterthought. This is the first thing your customers see when they receive their order. For most products, the outer packaging will be a box. However, there are an endless variety of boxes to choose from – and they are not all created equally.
Beyond simply protecting the inner contents of the box, your shipping materials are also a great opportunity to build brand recognition and customer loyalty. Choose the type of outer packaging that embodies the values of your brand. Below are 4 types to consider.
Premium brands can differentiate their unboxing experience through premium packaging. This detail can prompt your customers to snap a photo of their highly-anticipated delivery and share it via social media.
If your brand is on a mission to save the planet, this is a great opportunity to choose reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable packaging.
Custom branded packaging
Trunk Club is a great example of well-branded outer packaging. Their monthly subscription boxes are shipped in custom packaging that features a functional carrying handle. But this isn’t solely intended to be a more pleasant way to help customers carry their order inside their home. It’s a feature that makes the package resemble an actual trunk or suitcase. This thoughtfully-designed detail is so appreciated by customers that they’ll loyally post Instagram photos of their monthly subscription boxes.
While custom designed packaging can incur a high price, investing in this aspect of the unboxing experience can create a more memorable experience for customers. In turn, customers will be more likely to make future purchases or share their experience by word-of-mouth and social media.
If custom designed boxes aren’t the best option for your brand, pre-designed non-branded colored boxes are another creative solution. You can also brand boxes by adding stamps or stickers. In fact, custom packing tape or strategically-placed stickers can serve as branding in addition to providing evidence the package hasn’t been tampered with during transit.
If your brand places a high value on shipping products discreetly to protect the privacy of your customers, choose plain, non-branded outer packaging. This can be especially important to avoid theft for high-end products such as tech accessories. Similarly, consumers buying lifestyle items – adult products and personal hygiene items, for example – may require a higher degree of privacy.
4. Choose the inner packaging of your shipping box.
Highlight your brand by choosing inner packaging that aligns with your company’s values. Many types of packaging, such as tissue and crinkle paper, can be color-coordinated to match your brand colors.
If your brand is all about creating a better world, consider using eco-friendly packing materials instead of regular foam inserts, crinkle paper, air pillows, or packing peanuts. This promotes a further sense of trust and appreciation from your customers, and shows them that you put your money where your mouth is. It also gives customers a feel-good experience when shopping with your company.
5. Choose your box inserts
Once a customer opens their package, you have the ability to present your products in a strategic way. Use this opportunity to create a memorable experience by adding thoughtful items inside the box. Read on for different customization options and ideas for box inserts.
Add a personal touch
A simple handwritten note can delight customers. It also humanizes your brand and reminds them there are real people (not just Amazon robots) behind the products.
If hand-writing notes isn’t sustainable, a printed note card can provide a similarly warm experience. Thanking your customers or giving them a formal welcome is always a nice touch. Alternatively, consider sharing your brand’s values or origin story in a message from the founder.
Packing slips can also be personalized by adding space for a “Packed by _______” signature or stamp. In an increasingly digital world, little touches of humanity can be the difference that makes you stand out in the minds of a customer.
Tell them what to do next
There are endless options for giving a customer the next call-to-action. Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Include necessary product instructions to ensure proper use.
- Invite them to follow you on social media or join a promotional contest.
- Ask them to share their experience by posting an Instagram photo tagging your brand or using a specific hashtag.
- Include promotional material or a coupon toward future purchases to encourage repeat sales and increase your average customer lifetime value (CLV).
- Tell them how to contact customer service with questions or concerns.
Surprise them with a gift
Are there any freebies you can throw in? Stickers, bonus items, or product samples are great ways to surprise customers and give them more reasons to love your brand.
Remember the receipt
Whether you fulfill order in-house or use the help of a fulfillment center, you can even dictate the presentation of the order receipt.
- Will it be presented on top of the product or below it?
- Will it be folded in half or tri-fold?
- WIll the receipt text be folded inward out displayed outwardly?
High-end brands may opt to tuck their receipt into a branded envelope for an extra dash of style.
6. Choose your product packaging
If you are manufacturing your own products, design your product packaging to reflect your branding and create a great impression as soon as they see your product.
Keep it simple
While there are many options for customizing your unboxing experience, avoid clutter. Keep the unboxing experience simple, pleasing, and easy for customers to clean up.
Many of the elements we’ve described above can be implemented by the best third-party logistics providers (3PLs). If you’re considering outsourcing fulfillment, look for a logistics partner that can facilitate your unboxing needs.
Remember: It’s not necessary to brand and customize every element of your shipping and unboxing experience. Focus on the aspects that will give you the best return on your investment while enhancing the overall customer experience. Which elements will you add into your unboxing experience?