The moment of delivery is often neglected within ecommerce – yet it’s the most important step of the customer journey for businesses wanting to boost customer retention.
Because when your customer receives their package, this is their first and last impression of your brand. If you get this right, you’ve earned a long-term customer. If not, you’ll lose them to one of your many competitors.
This is where a memorable unboxing experience can make all the difference. In this post, we’re going to define unboxing and look at 5 ways you can integrate this strategy into your order fulfillment process.
‘Unboxing’ refers to the step-by-step ritual of unpacking products or boxes. This was first popularized through ‘unboxing videos’ posted to YouTube by influencers to show off gifted or sponsored products to their followers. Today, it’s a sophisticated retail strategy used by both luxury and boutique brands.
So, what makes an unboxing different from a regular ecommerce delivery?
In short, unboxings are where a retailer has designed an immersive brand experience to delight and engage their customers. They achieve this through the use of branded product packaging, inserts, free samples, or other bespoke offerings that speak to their unique identity and brand values.
Ecommerce has never been a more saturated environment in which to do business. When it’s possible to purchase the same product from dozens of vendors, you need to give consumers a powerful reason to choose your brand over others.
Put simply, you need to provide another level of value – and this is where the customer experience is the biggest differentiator for brands. According to HubSpot, 93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases from a brand that offers an excellent customer experience.
An unboxing is a tactile and immersive experience that leverages the excitement of delivery to finish the customer journey on an ultimate high. In short, it primes customers for future purchases so they can relive the experience.
By the time an item has been picked, packed, and sent to the customer, the retailer’s identity has usually been hidden beneath layers of generic packaging.
Industry commentators refer to this trend as the ‘Amazonization’ of ecommerce – and it’s not hard to see why. When every merchant packs its online orders the same way it’s almost impossible to build brand awareness, and retailers become difficult to distinguish from one another.
By making your brand identity tangible, you are giving your brand a powerful point of difference. Around 52% of online shoppers that receive their order in custom packaging say they are more likely to return to that same company for future orders!
Customers are filled with anticipation about seeing their purchase for the first time. This makes an unboxing experience a highly effective way of generating further engagement.
In our social media-driven world, interactions with brands are quite literally made to be shared; consumers want to live vicariously through the positive experiences of others. In fact, around 40% of consumers say they would share a purchase on social media if it came in interesting packaging. This means that every customer, no matter how big or small their following, is worth leaving with a favorable impression.
We all know that first impressions count, and an eye-catching container that speaks of your brand is the key to creating an unboxing experience that sparks excitement. Whether it’s a custom-printed box, tissue paper or mailer envelope, this is a brilliant way to build brand recall and showcase your uniqueness as a retailer.
When you’re creating an unboxing experience, it’s not enough just to think about the outside of the package – you need to put yourself in the position of your customer as they open the box. What is the size/shape of your products? How are you going to make sure that they hold their presentation in transit?
If it’s a fragile item, die-cut inserts or dividers are a great way to keep items in place. If you’re after a more premium look, crinkle-cut paper filler is an affordable and stylish way to pad your containers and arrange items.
With the climate crisis on the national agenda, all retailers need to be making an effect to reduce their carbon footprints. Consumers have never been more conscious of the impact of packaging waste on the environment, with 74% stating that they would willing to pay more for products with sustainable packaging.
It’s a good idea to avoid plastic use where possible and opt for renewable materials such as paper and cardboard or consider biodegradable variants such as sugarcane and cornstarch.
The unboxing experience is one of the few moments when you have your consumers’ full attention, so it’s well worth the effort to include some value-added extras in addition to packing slips and delivery notes.
For example, you could include a guide for upcoming products or a discount coupon for a future purchase. Even something as simple as a business card with your store’s details helps to boost your chances of a future order.
Ecommerce experiences can easily feel as though they’ve rolled off an assembly line, so making your customer feel like an individual is key to winning their trust and respect. Including a thank you note or a free sample is a small touch, but makes a world of difference to how they perceive your brand!
Want to create a memorable unboxing experience for your customers, but aren’t sure whether it’s possible to integrate this into your order fulfillment process? Our experienced team can connect you with a variety of custom packaging providers, and is on-hand to work with brands to create a packaging and fulfillment strategy that is sure to delight customers.