Memorable unboxing experiences: 7 ideas to give your product packaging the “wow” factor
I still remember the first time I got excited about unboxing something I’d bought online.
It was the spring of 2019 and I’d ordered some beautiful white foldable ballet pumps from Cocorose London to wear on my wedding day.
Although the shoes themselves were perfect and just what I wanted, I also loved how they came inside a luxurious branded box (which I still have, by the way!), and inside that, was a branded bag and zipped pouch for the shoes.
I was so excited, and two years later, I’m still raving about the beautiful shoes and how enamored I was with the unboxing experience.
But it’s not just customers who benefit from a memorable unboxing experience.
This part of your customer’s journey could be the perfect opportunity for you to improve brand loyalty, attract new customers, and ultimately grow your business.
So, what do your customers experience as they open the package you’ve sent them? Are they so delighted they think about writing a review praising you?
Or is there some untapped unboxing potential here for you to improve the experience? If you think there is, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to learn:
- What does unboxing potential mean?
- How to make your brand’s unboxing experience memorable (with examples)
- How to reach a wider audience with your product packaging
What does unboxing potential mean?
Unboxing potential is the often-overlooked opportunity to delight your customers as they open or unwrap their new purchases.
But what exactly does this mean for your business? Here’s how a memorable unboxing experience can benefit your brand:
Reach a wider audience with unboxing videos. Customers who create and share videos of memorable unboxing experiences can gain thousands, if not millions of views. This user-generated content (UGC) can spread brand awareness and help you get you more sales and customers.
Increase your product’s perceived value. Standout product packaging and a unique unboxing experience make your customers feel like they’re getting even more value for their money and from your product. This helps give you an edge over your competitors, even if you sell similar items.
Create a loyal customer base. Thoughtful packaging can also lead to more loyal customers and brand advocates. They’ll feel more connected to your brand and enamored by the experience they’ve received throughout their customer journey.
Make your brand more memorable. You can even use branded product packaging to help you gain instant impact with your customers and make your brand that much more memorable. Not to mention you can also use your packaging to tell your brand story. Include a note, card, or leaflet to explain more about your brand, its history, and values, for example.
Reignite the excitement of a new purchase. Finally, an exceptional unboxing experience and product packaging also help to reignite your customers’ excitement for their purchases. Think about it: your customers have waited a few days, maybe even a few weeks or longer for their new goodies to arrive. Wow your customers when they finally get their hands on their items and you’ll help to make them feel even more excited about their purchases—just like when they first discovered the products.
So, how do you wow your customers with your product packaging?
7 product packaging ideas for a memorable unboxing experience
“Your unboxing experience is the only marketing channel with a 100 percent open rate. Act accordingly,” says Taylor Holiday, managing partner of Common Thread Collective.
In his insightful Twitter thread, Taylor suggests a helpful rubric to keep in mind when designing your unboxing experiences—Mission, Magic, Money:
- Mission: How does this communicate your why?
- Magic: How are you creating unexpected delight?
- Money: How does this turn into more revenue for your business?
While some of you may think a quality unboxing experience is only reserved for luxury brands or fashion houses, that isn’t necessarily true.
Who doesn’t love to receive surprises in the mail? Or the feeling that someone’s put a lot of time and care into packaging something up thoughtfully—even if it didn’t actually take that long in real life.
If you want to see your products splashed across social media in unboxing videos, Instagram stories, and photos, then here are a bunch of examples of thoughtful packaging to inspire your own unboxing experience ideas.
1. Gain instant impact with branded packaging
Whether you use a branded box, envelope, tissue paper, or otherwise, you’ll gain instant impact with your customers and will make your brand name or logo more memorable.
The popular lingerie company Burgundy Fox is a great example to take notes from—their brand name and logo appear throughout their product packaging.
They even highlight their customers’ unboxing experiences on their Instagram Stories and website, suggesting their products routinely feature in customers’ unboxing videos and photos:
Burgundy Fox includes their logo and “Find Your Foxy” slogan on the postal box itself and they also package each order up inside a canvas bag, also adorned with their logo.
“Burgundy Fox is a premium product and all about experience—delight, surprise, sensuality—so creating an unboxing experience that reflected this was fundamental to our brand, and not an afterthought. We went through several versions of our packaging and landed on one we feel is the perfect mix of luxury and pragmatism—something we believe our customers seek, too. Our boxes, made by Arka, look and feel high quality, ship well, are easy to re-stock, and are environmentally friendly. Also—they stand out and look great on the ‘gram,” said Leslie Wong, Burgundy Fox founder.
Finally, Burgundy Fox uses branded packaging inserts featuring empowering and inspirational quotes, their social media handles, information about their rewards program, and more.
After all that, it’s very unlikely their customers will forget the Burgundy Fox name any time soon!
Want to go one step further? Use more than just your logo on your packaging by sharing your brand story at the same time.
This strengthens relationships with your customers by helping them to better understand your brand and what it stands for while reminding them why they should keep buying from you.
Take Function of Beauty, a personalized hair care brand, for example. When you open up one of their packages, you see their values and unique selling points (USPs) printed on the inside of the lid. They also include these same USPs within their informative packaging insert:
2. Get inventive with your product packaging to make it pop
Okay, so you’ve got your branded product packaging and you’re using it to tell your brand story. What’s next?
You probably use several different elements of product packaging—boxes, tape, ribbon, duster bags, paper, etc. You can tweak and adapt each of these to give them a unique twist and match them to your brand and other marketing messages.
Take the lead from the hugely popular toilet paper brand, Who Gives A Crap. They’ve added clever copy to their product packaging to make their customers smile and add a bit of fun to what would have been an otherwise boring box:
Each sentiment matches their brand voice and other marketing messages perfectly, so they don’t seem out of place. This is important to remember as you create your own unboxing experience—maintain your brand tone so customers aren’t thrown off.
3. Include discounts and exclusive offers to encourage repeat purchases
I own a small Etsy shop and I remember the first time I offered my customers a thank you discount code inside their packages.
Despite the discount not having an expiration date, one of my customers was so excited to use her coupon that she placed another order within a week of receiving her first one!
It’s not just my business experiencing success with discounts, though.
A customer has a 27 percent chance of returning to your store after their first purchase and this can go up to as high as 54 percent after their third purchase, according to Smile.io.
Beyond rockstar customer service and a great product, personal thank you’s and post-purchase discounts are powerful ways to convince your customers to shop with you again and again.
You could include a discount code as a separate packaging insert, add one to customers’ packing notes, or even print your discount code on the inside of the parcel.
PURELEI, a Hawaiian-inspired jewelry brand based in Germany, is another fantastic company to take unboxing notes from.
Not only is their packaging exceptionally beautiful (and branded!), but they include lots of surprises in their packages for customers to find—from discount codes and gift cards to handwritten notes and gifts.
Post-purchase discounts shouldn’t end there, though! Just in case your customers miss the discount code inside their parcel, why not follow up with an email after they’ve received their items?
4. Surprise and delight with small gifts or free samples
Including small gifts or free samples in your packages isn’t possible for every brand, as it depends heavily on what you’re selling and what your profit margins look like.
But if you can do this, then it can pack a real punch in winning over your customers.
The only caution I will mention here is to make sure your gifts align with your products or brand—otherwise, it can seem wasteful if someone doesn’t like or understand the gift.
Also, try to avoid sending food such as packets of candy. I know this is a popular strategy with many ecommerce businesses, but you just never know what kind of allergy someone might have.
I was thrilled with my recent purchase from Fragrance Direct. I bought my husband some cologne for his birthday and Fragrance Direct included a small sample of a different cologne.
Turns out, my husband likes both of them, so now I know what to get him for Christmas! This is a perfect example of a small gift or sample that matches perfectly with what I was buying and added true value to my (and my husband’s) unboxing experience.
5. Add a personal touch with handwritten notes
Small personal touches like handwritten notes help to humanize your brand and enable you to build deeper, more meaningful connections with your customers.
Not to mention your customers will be thrilled when they see a friendly note from you, which can instantly create brand advocates and keep your customers coming back for more.
Take a look at this video from a customer who bought some socks from John’s Crazy Socks:
She was already excited before opening her package, but look how happy she is when she discovers the handwritten note from John! That’s one exceedingly happy customer right there—and likely a highly loyal one now too.
Here’s another example. One of my colleagues bought some towels and a blanket from The Bali Market last year.
Writing about her experience, she said: “When I opened the package, I was charmed to find everything neatly wrapped in bright teal tissue paper with a card on top that turned out to be a handwritten note! This would have been lovely on a normal day, but it was an especially personal touch after not having been able to see anyone outside of text and Zoom for weeks.”
If handwritten notes sound like a lot of work because you have a large volume of orders, don’t worry.
There are various companies—like this one—that can supply you with handwritten notes, so you can achieve a personal touch at scale.
6. Make your customers smile (even more) with compliments or uplifting quotes
Who doesn’t love to smile and feel good?
Although your perfect products and winning unboxing experience will naturally make your customers smile and feel excited, an uplifting quote or compliment may also help—especially from beauty, fashion, or body positivity brands.
You could print something on the inside of your packaging, include a note (handwritten or otherwise), or even a simple sticker on the outside of your packaging that says something like “You’ve got great taste!” or similar could be all you need.
I like this example from Passion & Growth, a subscription box company targeted at women:
Their packaging insert reads “YOU’RE AMAZING!” in big letters, followed by a request for customers to share their unboxing experiences on social media.
Let’s be honest, if you’ve called me “amazing,” then I’m probably more likely to do that favor you just asked. And I’m fairly sure other customers would feel the same way.
7. Improve your customers’ experiences with your product with helpful product tips
To help your customers get the most out of your product and feel truly satisfied with it—especially if there’s a recommended way to use it—consider including an insert that offers helpful tips on how to use your product.
Olive & June, a popular nail care company headquartered in Los Angeles, California does exactly this. One of their most sought-after products is an innovative manicure kit.
So that their customers can enjoy a salon-like experience at home, Olive & June include an insert about how to create the perfect at-home mani (manicure):
Another example of helpful product packaging comes from Chilly’s Bottles.
Their “Series 2 Bottle” is completely customizable, so you can adapt the bottle to suit your own individual style.
And when your bottle arrives, Chilly’s packaging shows you how to put the bottle together:
Including helpful product tips within your packaging ensures your customers get the most out of your product, likely prompting happy customers, repeat buyers, and lots more social media tags and shares.
Bonus tip: Flip things around and share a “boxing up” video
What’s the reverse of unboxing? Boxing? Boxing up? Something else?
Whatever the word is, why not get in on the unboxing action by sharing your own video or photos—this time of your staff boxing up your products.
Here’s an example from John’s Crazy Socks. It’s a short video (less than a minute long), but it’s a great behind-the-scenes look at their business and the people working for them:
I also like the video’s title: “Sock Wranglers Working Hard At John’s Crazy Socks”—it’s fun and playful to match their quirky socks.
This is a great way to give your potential customers a sneak peek of all the awesome products they’re missing out on while humanizing your business by showing your customers the faces behind the brand.
How to reach a wider audience with your product packaging
Having memorable product packaging contributes to an exceptional customer experience, which can increase customer loyalty.
That’s reason enough to make it memorable, but if you’re putting the work into creating a great experience, why not spend time making sure it’s visible to more than just one customer at a time?
Here are two avenues to make sure your brand’s product packaging makes it to as many people as possible.
Hype up the unboxing experience with influencers
Working with influencers might sound expensive or only reserved for larger brands, but you might be surprised!
While influencers with larger followings often charge steep prices to post photos or videos featuring your brand or products, a micro-influencer—aka someone with less than 10,000 followers—will sometimes promote your brand in exchange for a gifted product.
If your brand aligns well with the influencer’s audience and expertise, then this strategy can work well.
Just remember that engagement always trumps follower count.
Micro-influencers are often more niche, which can mean they have a higher value customer base versus someone with a million followers where it’s much harder to identify what their audience is interested in.
Equally, someone you want to work with may have tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, but if they’re only seeing a hundred likes on their photos, then this could mean they either have an unengaged following—or worse, they bought their followers. Neither of which will do much for your brand.
But, as long as you look out for these little nuances, you may find this strategy works perfectly for you and helps to drive some hype around your brand and products.
Lydia Elise Millen, a blogger and YouTube creator, shared an unboxing video of her Holland Cooper fashion haul. She has a huge amount of subscribers (over 886,000), but her video also has over 400 comments, like these:
The fact that the comments are positive and show genuine interest in what she’s sharing mean Holland Cooper found the right kind of influencer to partner with.
Incentivize and guide your customers to share their unboxing experience
Do you want your customers to share their unboxing experience with their friends and followers? Do you want them to actually know what unboxing is and that it’s “a thing?”
You may need to incentivize and guide your customers into sharing their experiences.
Include helpful tips inside your packages on how to take the best unboxing videos and photos, and consider asking your customers to share their experiences on social media using a branded hashtag you’ve created.
You could offer them the chance to be featured on your website or social media channels, and perhaps even offer a discount code or other perks such as rewards points or gifts if you choose to feature their experience.
How will you jazz up your product packaging?
There are lots of ways you can tweak your product packaging to wow your customers when they unbox their new goodies.
Not only will this prompt them to share their experiences with their friends, family, and followers, but you’ll also stand out from the crowd and make your brand a much more memorable one.