The "unboxing" phenomenon

Why packaging needs to do more than protect your product

5 Jul 2022

The social media trend of ‘unboxing’ demonstrates just how powerful packaging can be. While a standard brown box does the job, those online stores that think outside the box (literally), are finding there are ways to make even cardboard a memorable branding moment. As the founder of Bonobos says, “At the end of the day, you’re not building an eCommerce company, you’re building a brand that has eCommerce as its core distribution channel.”

So, how can you use your product packaging to connect with your customers? Here are some ideas.

Thoughtful packaging

Never underestimate the power of customised details. In a new survey, 40% of customers confirmed they would share an ‘unboxing’ on social media if it was unique. Your packaging will carry your brand’s story straight into the arms of your eagerly awaiting customer and, hopefully, their following. The more surprising, exciting, and photogenic – the better for your brand.

Here are some easy ideas to set you apart:

1. Tissue paper

Tissue paper screams ‘premium’. It’s also much more sustainable than bubble wrap and easy to personalise. You can print a branded design on all the sheets or keep it white with a branded sticker holding it together.

2. Sustainable

Being environmentally conscious with your packaging will earn your brand some serious brownie points. And by going the extra mile to make your packaging reusable, it’s less likely to be thrown away. This means your branding will stick around longer, becoming more memorable.

3. Custom box

Rectangular brown boxes may be cheaper, but they’re far from interesting. Even just changing the colour will give your packaging an edge. Creating custom boxes will offer the ‘wow’ factor that ensures your brand is remembered. Check out these awesome concepts for inspiration.

4. Easy to open

Yes, your package needs to be robust and secure, but an eager customer won’t be impressed if it’s hard to open - especially if they have to destroy the box to get inside. Make sure any tabs are easy to use and the tape is neat and tidy.

5. Tape

Clear tape does the job, but if you want a cheap and easy way to add personality to your packaging, use branded tape.

6. Stickers

A branded sticker to seal tissue paper gives a beautiful finish. You could also place one on the top of your box or on a thank you note. They’re versatile, inexpensive and the perfect place to start if you’re on a budget.

The personal touch

As an online retailer, you must look for creative ways to show your personality. Sending your customers a little something extra in the form of a packing insert is a great way to surprise them and boost word-of-mouth marketing. If it’s well-designed, they’ll want to talk about it and share it.

Here are some ideas:

1. Handwritten notes

Saying a simple thank you to your customers goes a long way. A handwritten ‘thank you for supporting our business’ will make your customers (and their hard-earned money) feel appreciated.

2. Postcards

Design a branded postcard that customers can then repurpose and send to a friend or loved one. Add a design to the front that highlights your brand and leave the back blank for your customer to write on.

3. Business cards

These are especially helpful if your product was purchased as a gift. The recipient will know exactly how to find you to repurchase or recommend your business to friends.

4. A branded bookmark

Bookmarks are an underrated gift – you can never have too many. Creating one with your branding and a thoughtful message is a great way to remind customers about your business every time they open a book.

Marketing opportunities

Packaging is not just about aesthetics and personality. It’s also a vessel for other sales techniques. Here are some examples:

1. Product samples

Launching a new product? Looking to drive sales for a particular product line? Samples take marketing one step further by physically putting your product in the customer’s hands. It’s a simple way to increase the possibility of future sales as well as improve loyalty and retention.

2. Ask for feedback

“How did we do?” – a simple question that’s endearing to customers and may just land you a good review. Direct them to your website or social media and ask them to leave their feedback.

3. An ‘unboxing’ experience

With ‘unboxing’ now a vital (and viral) part of social media marketing, packaging that delivers an experience that people want to share is a prime marketing opportunity for online stores.

Need-to-know information

Unlike an in-store shopping experience where you can interact with customers, online stores must find a different way to share that all-important, need-to-know product information.

1. Packing slip

While it might be stating the obvious, customers need their receipt. But rather than just throwing it in on top, find a way to enclose it to show that your customer’s order has been packed with care.

2. Return information

You want to keep returns to a minimum, but should a customer need to send the order back, make it easy for them. Step-by-step instructions on your return or exchange policy are the way to go so your customers have it on hand if they need it.

3. Educate and inspire

Whether it be additional product information, a look-book or a how-to-care-for guide, sharing educational or inspiring material relating to your brand is a great way to engage with customers – even after they’ve received their order.

Great packaging is worth the effort

When 80% of profit can come from 20% of existing customers, personalised packaging is an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction and repeat purchases. Many businesses go for the cheapest and fastest solution, but these simple yet effective packaging design ideas will wow your customers and create unforgettable branding moments – without breaking the bank.

For more ideas on how to optimise your online store and grow your eCommerce sales, speak with the experts at Solutionists today.




Emma Collis

date published:

5 Jul 2022