For several years, 'unboxing' videos and images have gained popularity across social media, particularly on more visually-focused sites such as YouTube and Instagram, but what is unboxing, and why is it important for your brand to consider?
What is it?
Unboxing is more than just opening a delivery package, it is more about making that opening into an experience. Unboxing is a customers first physical interation with the product, and it should therefore be treated as a performance, with each phase of the opening carefully thought of to make it as aesthetically and kinetically pleasing. Unboxing should also have the capacity to become an emotional experience for the customer, building anticipation and excitement before the final big reveal.
Why Is It Important?
The unboxing journey that a customer goes on is part of your brand's story, so it should reflect your brand colours, ethos, and general themes. For businesses, the unboxing experience should be seen as a form of post purchase marketing, helping to increase customer brand awareness and to solidify a positive impression from the purchase. This is all built in to the customers experience of the brand and is one of the most important interactions that a customer is likely to have with it, therefore it is important to get the tone right and portray the best possible brand image.
What Makes The Best Unboxing?
The most basic aspect of the unboxing experience is to make sure that your customer receives their product in the right condition. This can be addressed at multiple stages;
Right Sized Packaging
The importance of using so called ‘right sized packaging’ is that it is designed to perfectly fit snugly around your product (and any additional items that you may wish to add as part of the unboxing experience). For a customer, this means that it is quicker for them to open as there is no unnecessary excesses as well as there being less waste. This is also important to look at from the perspective of audience perception, as no one would want to film themselves unboxing a product that feels more like a game of pass the parcel or like a magician pulling handkerchiefs from his sleeve.
Investing in custom sized packaging also means that a product is less likely to arrive damaged, and that the customer is less likely to request a return or refund, especially as customers are now also looking more at the packaging that brands use and their eco-credentials, as part of their purchasing process. Cutting down on packaging by optimising it in this way can help appeal to these customers as it shows that, as a company, you are not needlessly creating excess waste. This makes them more likely to buy further items and to recommend your brand to friends.
The key to keeping your product safe is to properly pack it into its packaging, without overpacking it and causing further customer annoyance. There are a wide range of aesthetically pleasing alternatives to standard packing peanuts or cushion pillows, such as coloured tissue paper, shredded paper and wood wool, or with custom built packaging inserts.
Coloured tissue paper can either be chosen in a colour to complement your brand, or can be fully custom branded for a consistent brand identity with a persistent message. Shredded paper and wood wool can be a great option for environmentally-focused brands, as they further portray a more natural image and typical suit the colourings and themes of similarly oriented brands. Custom built inserts meanwhile guarantee optimal protection by fitting the product snugly within its packaging without overpacking and whilst providing the necessary anti-shock protection. Each of these options are completely environmentally friendly, with all of them typically being easily recyclable and home compostable at the point of delivery.
The aesthetics of your product is what changes the concept of merely opening a package into a You-Tube or social media worthy unboxing experience, so it should be as aesthetically pleasing and shareable as possible. This is where using unboxing as a marketing tool mostly comes into play, as a pretty box or mailing is more likely to be photographed and shared both online and in person. A distinctive mailing also helps to encourage customers to buy again and is more likely to be remembered by the customer than an otherwise average parcel.
A focus on aesthetics could mean using brighter colours or bolder designs, which is especially beneficial for brands that feature these as part of their brand image. The aesthetics of the product packaging are what give it the potential to be shared and make it more likely to be discussed and recommended through both word of mouth and social media and should be seen as an extension of both the brand and of the product itself.
Reflective of the Brand
Whilst aesthetics are important, they should also be reflective of the brand itself. This is key to the brand recognition aspect of unboxing and helps to further market your brand through staple colours and themes, therefore going much further than just your logo. Many big brands use distinctive colours that evoke the brands image even without the brand name being present (think ‘Tiffany Blue’ or Cadbury’s Purple), and this can be emulated in product packaging also.
Similarly, an environmentally friendly brand should ensure that the customer unboxing experience is also reflective of the eco-friendly credentials. This could mean sticking to neutral colours, environmentally friendly inks, recyclable and compostable packaging, and perhaps using fillings that also have these credentials (if any are to be used). It may also be important to make the packaging’s environmental credentials clear to the customer such as by adding a recyclable/compostable logo to them for easy recognition. This is then also likely to be picked up on as part of any social media sharing.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is for your product to be delivered safely and without damage. Whilst mistakes can sometimes happen, it is important to research and source the best courier services for your product based on reliability and customer experience. Unfortunately, if an item is undelivered, a customer will never be able to have their unboxing experience, and a late delivery is likely to start your brand’s image off on the wrong foot, despite the delivery itself being out of your company’s control.