Elements of the Unboxing Experience

November 27, 2018 by Erin Behan

Custom packaging can take your business and product to the next level, but designing a custom box is just the first step. The "unboxing experience" — or what your customers see from the moment they spy the box on their doorstep, to when they open it, make their way through the wrapping, and finally hold the product in-hand for the first time — shouldn't be overlooked.

The unboxing experience is important for several reasons. There's the chance your company name will be featured on a YouTube "unboxing" video or get Instagrammed, which can increase your brand reach from one customer to thousands or more (see Mistakes Not to Make When Designing a Box).

As well, you want to delight your customers and reinforce that they made the right decision in purchasing from you (see How Custom Packaging Drives New and Repeat Business). But what goes into a good unboxing experience? We've done the research and have identified five things to make sure you include in the total custom packaging experience.

1. The Outer Shipping Box
The outer shipping box is the first thing your customers will see, after all. The corrugated box should be in alignment with your overall brand look and story. Your custom packaging box will likely include your brand colors and logo, and it should reflect the overall aesthetic of your brand — whether that's rustic, elegant, modern, etc. You should also pick a box that's durable enough for your shipping needs and is the right size for your products. (For more on box choice, see Choosing the Right Shipping Material for Your Brand.)

2. The Inside of the Outer Box
When you're choosing a print for packaging vendor, make sure it has the capacity to print inside the box, like Distinct Packaging. That’s because you don't want to let the customization stop once the customer lifts the outer flap or slices open the tape for the reveal. Consider customizing the inside of the box with your company color, logo, or a message to your customers (it could be anything from "hello” to “thank you" or even something cute and complimentary like "Looking good!").

3. Inserts
It's a nice gesture to include a branded card or note at the top of the box as the first thing that's seen before the customer gets to the goods. An insert that helps to explain what's in the package (especially in the case of a subscription box), a heartfelt note that thanks the customer for her business, or a card offering a discount on a future purchase are all ways to create a deeper sense of connection between your brand and your customers.

4. Inner Wrapping
Most of us get a bit excited when we see some brightly colored tissue paper or kraft paper tied with some string and wrapped around our purchase. That extra bit of time it takes for your customer to get to the main event can ramp up excitement and anticipation. A neat presentation (that perfectly tied bow, or shiny foil sticker holding everything together) shows just how much care your company puts into the presentation, from box to inner wrapping, to (of course) the main event: the product. Another option for added security: You might choose to put your product in an inner custom gift box to further up the level of presentation.

5. Product Itself
Everything is building up to this final reveal: the item your customer ordered. For it to be a winning moment, the product should be undamaged and well-presented. If you've done your work in steps one through four, your customer will be excited about the picture-perfect product they ordered and happy to show it off to friends and family, whether in person or online.

To get started on creating the perfect unboxing experience for your customers, head to Distinct Packaging to create your own custom packaging.
Erin Behan

Written by Erin Behan

Erin Behan is an L.A.-based writer and editor who considers fine paper one of life's little pleasures.


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