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Ecommerce unboxing experience – ideas and best practice

Jay Daggar: Last Updated 16th February 2024
Posted In: Brand Positioning | Guides and Advice xx 31631

What is Ecommerce Unboxing?

And more importantly, why should you care?

Recognised in the Oxford Dictionary ‘unboxing’ is simply defined as;

‘An act or instance of removing a newly purchased product from its packaging and examining its features, typically when filmed and shared on a social media site.’

But, from an insightful business perspective there’s a hidden depth to what makes an ecommerce package a worthy unboxing experience.

Ecommerce boxes worth of unboxing videos
The ecommerce unboxing experience can surprise and delight your customers, and even gain your brand positive social media coverage

A powerful branding tool which creates brand and product awareness, unboxing videos is an additional form of viral marketing by way of word-of-mouth.

For the vast majority of online shoppers, how the ecommerce packaging has been branded or personalised is the last element they’ll factor in when deciding who to purchase the product from. With both accessibility and convenience being a number one priority for online purchases, alongside the products protection, memorable packaging then comes as a welcome surprise.

However, many e-commerce businesses are recognising a millennials need for conspicuous lifestyles, where, consumption is used to enhance their sense or feel of luxury – now branching as far as the product’s packaging.

Customers who create and share unboxing videos can gain thousands, if not millions of views, to which businesses prosper on the concept of their brands capturing the attention of a multitude of potential customers before the product itself.

So what is it that makes the unboxing experience so important to both consumers and businesses?

Quick Reference / Contents

01: The Power of YouTube

The rise of influencer marketing

Search the term unboxing videos on the world’s largest search engine and you’ll get at least one YouTube video result.

Type unboxing into YouTube and the highest hit video has an incredible 3.4 million views.

Additionally, you’ll also come across the most watched unboxing channel created by Canada based Lewis Hilsenteger – ‘Unbox Therapy’.

The channel which has 10, 751,203 subscribers (correct at the time of article – 05/18) is described as ‘a variety of videos showcasing the coolest products on the planet. From the newest smartphone to surprising gadgets and technology you never knew existed’.

Technology platforms for unboxing videos
YouTube is the home of the unboxing video, with a vast number of recordings covering virtually all product types and markets

In extension to the above, a study from Google’s YouTube Insights states that; three-quarters of YouTube users agree that if there’s a brand they love they will happily tell other people about it – with over fifty percent of those users having uploaded video content to the platform within the last year alone.

Success for online retailers in relation to YouTube user generated content is highlighted in the connection between a brand and the fans of its product – people who hold a shared interest motivated by familiarity and the nature of the content being created by real people.

Credited as having more authenticity, user generated content is said to be fifty percent more trusted and thirty five percent more memorable than the standard product advertisements pushed upon us.

02: Best Practice

Ecommerce un-boxing best practices

Now wondering how you can benefit from unboxing?

Below are the five examples of best practices to follow when considering the benefits unboxing experiences can have for your business.

  • Never underestimate the benefits of YouTube
  • Anticipation importance
  • Build trust for your brand
  • Drive repeat sales
  • Personalisation builds customer loyalty relationships

03: Benefits

The benefits of YouTube for Online Retailers

How can the unboxing experience benefit you?

Statistically, there are more than 500 million hours of videos watched on YouTube every single day. Think with Google discuss the creators behind the consumer videos.

Referred to as ‘generation C’ – they are described as “a powerful new force in culture and commerce” that is “empowered by technology to search out authentic content that they consume across all platforms and all screens, whenever and wherever they want.

They can be difficult to reach with traditional media.”

In summary, generation C are consumed by technology on a daily, and even hourly basis, with different platforms available in an instance at their fingertips – their ability to communicate anywhere and any-when is second nature to them. Motivated by honesty they want to be heard.

Opening ecommerce packaging
A good ecommerce unboxing experience - even if it doesn't make it onto social media - can still drive loyalty and engagement

Making mistakes can be costly to your chances of increased social brand awareness.

Products which arrive poorly packaged or damaged throw away any chance of another purchase from that customer. As well as a loss in refunds, online criticism impacts your brand on a larger level than positive reviews.

What’s more, recognising the influence of second or third impressions on repeat purchases is ultimately just as important.

A customer making additional purchases is now expecting certain aesthetics from both your brand and product/s, keeping up with these prospects produces repeat sales – continuing the growth of your business.

04: Wait for It

The importance of anticipation

A package sent from an ecommerce retailer can have the tendency to expose our inner child – stimulating our natural curiosities.

As consumers, psychologically, we enjoy un-wrapping neatly made packages. These packages can, and more often will, not only deliver the product itself but also, present a sensory experience in both sight and touch.

Therefore, your customers perceive the experience as one similar to gift-giving – which provides them with the excitement and anticipation created in most gift-giving exchanges.

User-generated videos replacing the physical act of shopping for the product in a store are changing solo home-based experiences to a collective social experience. These can be compared to our childhood show and tell experiences.

When a customer can’t see or physically touch the product in front of them, the experience of printed unboxing packaging provides validation for your products worth.

Online retailers unboxing experience
The feeling of anticipation and theatre that can be achieved with your unboxing experience can help make your brand and products more memorable

More often, packages which provide a sensory-based experience is likely to help a consumer justify the price paid, giving your purchasers an experience worth sharing.

With that in mind, creating a packaging experience for your e-commerce brand should be a conscientious process. When your parcel arrives, what your customer first sets his or her eyes on is regarded highly.

As the expression goes ‘first impressions are hard to forget’ – first impressions are human nature, not only are first impressions formed around people, but businesses are included too. This is why packaging materials and the placement of your product/s should be regarded attentively.

Customers who are impressed by your ecommerce packaging will have the mindset that your business reflects a certain quality.

On the other hand, if your e-commerce packaging gives off an impression which isn’t spectacular, or, doesn’t meet a certain expectation that’s an impression hard to recover from. Which is where gaining consumer trust is important.

05: Trust

Building trust for your brand

The popularity of unboxing videos has increased for having the capabilities of showing a product in its rawest form. The videos present a product without distractions or hidden alterations added by advertisers, or pushy instore shop assistants.

An experience recorded by a customer who has already purchased your product/s and therefore has nothing to lose by creating a video log of their encounter with your brand offers the consumer watching a sense of trust, in turn, your brand can be recognised for its credibility and authenticity.

Additionally, the vast majority of an audience of user-generated unboxing experiences are people who have the intention to purchase that particular product.

Ultimately, the choice of potential customers choosing your brand over another relies on the consumer interest and trust built while exploring reviews from the customers you’ve already landed with your packaging and product(s).

Alongside building trust, user-generated content gives an expectant customer the experience of buying your product before the actual purchase point.

Keeping in mind that this is the first time a potential buyer comes across an experience of your product, without having a physical experience themselves, user-generated reviews will validate customer confidence in not only the product/s but additionally, the packaging too.

With that being said, not only is it important to build trust in future customers but, maintaining a continued trust with returning customers who already have certain expectations from your online brand should be a continued priority for your business.

Meeting a customer’s continuing expectation of your brand will build customer loyalty relationships – creating repeated sales.

06: Driving Repeat Purchases

Enhanced customer lifetime value

Linking to both anticipation of first impressions and building brand trust, branded e-commerce packaging can improve customer loyalty to your brand. Over half of your purchasers are likely to make repeat purchases if your e-commerce packaging is premium.

As well as the visual fundaments of your packaging the physical opening of the package can have a significant impact on the customer’s opinion of your brand. Smooth and easy to open packaging is likely to have a larger influence over future sales than a package that’s difficult to get in too.

Consumer senses affect our purchase decisions – including that of sight, touch and smell. Rigid packaging (such as moulded plastics) creates a notion of difficulty, so is likely to leave your customers with memories of frustration over that particular packaging.

And with a third of all customers being happy to share brand purchases on social media platforms, it’s essential that your brand’s first impression is spot on.

Expectations of packaging
Despite consumers expectations of ecommerce packaging now being quite high, there is still potential to wow your customers

Making mistakes can be costly to your chances of increased social brand awareness.

Products which arrive poorly packaged or damaged throw away any chance of another purchase from that customer. As well as a loss in refunds, online criticism impacts your brand on a larger level than positive reviews.

What’s more, recognising the influence of second or third impressions on repeat purchases is ultimately just as important. A customer making additional purchases is now expecting certain aesthetics from both your brand and product/s, keeping up with these prospects produces repeat sales – continuing the growth of your business.

07: Personalisation

Encouraging customer engagement

Establishing a customer experience by personalisation will generate greater customer satisfaction. A customer who can identify with a brand will communicate that.

Products packaged in more than a plain box or plastic bag become more personal. Add some neatly folded tissue paper, perfectly placed ribbons or personal thank you notes and you’ve devised a personal connection between the customer and your brand.

Unboxing personalisation
Personalising your packaging has been shown by studies to increase brand recall and loyalty

Using personalised notes to encourage customers to post unboxing videos or share their experiences with your brand through social media ultimately turns your customers into brand ambassadors without the cost.

However, if you’re not that keen on having an influence over who posts about your brand – keep in mind that at any one point your technology obsessed customers may just do so.

With user-generated videos being influential having unquestionable packaging will put you at ease that your business will be generating new customers with thanks to purchasers of your brand.

In Summary

Take advantage of your ecommerce un-boxing experience

To summarise, e-commerce unboxing is the process of a product bought online unwrapped, where the consumer will use technology platforms to discuss, review and show off their purchases from brands who offer a little bit more than basic packaging.

The importance of unboxing is in its ability to offer businesses a post-sale marketing tactic to generate more customer sales – all for an added cost of nothing.

Further Reading...

About the Author

Jay Daggar, GWP Packaging Sales Manager

Jay Daggar

Sales Manager | GWP Packaging

Jay joined GWP Packaging in mid-2008 before becoming Sales Manager in 2011, meaning he has worked for GWP for over 10 years. [Read full bio…]

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