Master the Art of E-Commerce Unboxing: A Step-by-Step Guide

As an ecommerce seller, the first physical connection you have with your customer is when their first purchase from your shop arrives at their door. How is this done? Combine packaging with artistic strategies to create personalized unboxing experiences that make that first connection worth remembering.

What are unboxing experiences? And, how are they created? We’ll share all those nifty details (and more) with you in this guide, including our proven strategies for unboxing success. We’ll discuss why unboxing matters and today's customer expectations for branded packaging.

Ready to impress your customers? Let’s get into it.

What is an Unboxing Experience?

An unboxing experience is the thrill a customer feels from receiving their package to unveiling what's inside. It’s not just about receiving an order—it’s about the experience the person has upon delivery. 

For businesses, how you approach package delivery is important. Customers prefer to order from retailers with fast shipping and personal touches. After all, it's the moment when customers judge your company and decide whether to trust and connect with your brand.

“Shipping products in plain, brown, poorly sized boxes isn’t enough anymore. Customers are increasingly expecting premium, personalized unboxing experiences and some will even pay more for brands that consistently deliver in that regard.”

Until recently, unboxing experiences have been an overlooked (but crucial) aspect of the customer journey. But remember, this is the moment where a customer determines if the trust they put into your brand has paid off, or leaves them disappointed. So why not exceed their expectations?

Beyond first impressions, unboxing experiences offer your business a unique opportunity to reinforce your brand's value, stand out from your competitors, and even attract new customers.

What Does an Unboxing Experience Look Like? 3 Really Good Examples 

ModKat

ModKat—an online seller of modern, aesthetically pleasing litter boxes and accessories—has managed to turn ordering kitty litter boxes from a boring (yet essential) staple purchase for cat owners into one they actually look forward to! 

And yes, it’s largely due to the experience that arrives alongside those well-designed kitty hygiene products. When a ModKat customer receives their order, the packaging, made with eco-friendly materials, then becomes an interactive cat toy. 

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Glossier

Glossier's unboxing experience is a masterclass in brand storytelling that their customers unpack and digest with every order. Each order arrives in a minimalist pink box with a positive mantra printed inside, setting the stage for a memorable reveal. 

In addition to their purchase, the package includes personalized insert, and complimentary sticker sets. This underscores Glossier's commitment to treating every customer as an influencer (and likely contributes to having 3 million followers on Instagram!)

This thoughtful approach transforms a simple package into a reflection of the brand's values, delighting customers and ensuring they return for future purchases.

M.M LaFleur

M.M. LaFleur's unboxing experience is meticulously designed to delight professional women. The package arrives as a stylish craft box with a handle, resembling a briefcase. The interior is fashioned after a Bento Box, with compartments to hold personalized welcome literature; accessories in cotton bags; and a reusable, silky zip-top bag for clothing. 

Every layer, from the poem on the lid to the hidden message at the bottom, showcases the brand's attention to detail and personal touch. This thoughtful packaging makes the experience memorable and special, bridging the connection gap.

 

 

Why Do Unboxing Experiences Matter?

A meaningful unboxing experience does more than impress customers; it drives your business forward, builds lasting connections, and boosts customer loyalty.

Here are some numbers that back this up:

  • According to a Dotcom Distribution study, nearly 40% of consumers would share a photo of a unique packaging on social media, demonstrating the direct impact of a memorable unboxing experience on brand visibility and customer engagement.
  • Data from Google indicates that 62% of consumers who watch unboxing content use it as part of their purchasing research. 
  •  A 2023 report found that unboxing videos have seen a 57% growth in popularity, emphasizing their continued relevance and effectiveness in engaging modern consumers. 

This highlights how an exceptional unboxing experience can drive new customer acquisitions and boost conversion rates by building trust even before a purchase is made. 

Additionally, another study revealed that premium packaging increases the perceived value of products, leading to higher customer satisfaction and reduced return rates.

With e-commerce competition intensifying, the unboxing experience has become a vital marketing strategy.

Now, How To Create Memorable Unboxing Experiences? Let’s Dig In.

Before developing a memorable unboxing experience, remember to keep two crucial factors of the experience front of mind:

  • Experiences must align with your brand.
  • Add personalization to each package.

No matter the strategy and ideas you end up using– whether it’s creative packaging, hand-written notes, complimentary samples or coupons, – be sure your brand and your customer are represented at every step of the unboxing experience.

“What you can do to deliver memorable unboxing experiences is almost limitless. However, never forget why you’re investing extra resources into creating them. The end result should reflect what your customers want from you while telling them your brand story.”

-Rick Nelson, CEO, The Fulfillment Lab

 

Tell Your Story: How to Align Your Unboxing Experiences with Your Brand

Use Branded Packaging

For your box to tell your story, it can’t be a plain, ordinary box – it has to be YOUR box. Your customer should be able to instantly identify who sent that package sitting on their doorstep. This is an easy way to make a great first impression and get your customers excited about opening their delivery. 

Think of the iconic Tiffany boxes – with a single look at a small powder blue package you know instantly a highly valued treasure is inside. Even empty Tiffany boxes are valuable and used ones are frequently sold on Etsy and eBay. 

The point? Packaging should be treated as a blank canvas, not just a box, and businesses need to use this canvas to impart their brand story.

While some investments into your brand’s custom packaging are necessary, you don’t have to break the bank. Not every online seller can afford to develop clever packaging like ModKat’s interactive cat toy and no one is going to be iconic like Tiffany when first starting out. 

6 Branded Packaging Ideas 

  1. Custom Printed Boxes

Custom printed boxes are a great way to capture your customers' attention (and everyone along its delivery journey!) and tell your brand story.


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  1. Branded Tape, Stickers, or Labels

For a more budget-friendly package, use custom printed tape, stickers, and labels on your packaging. This allows people to easily see who the box is from and share a bit about your brand – without eating into profits too much. 

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  1. Unique Box Shapes

Take your packaging to the next level and have customized boxes made in different shapes or incorporate unique features into the box itself. If you can make the box reusable (so your customer will hold on to it, rather than toss it straight in the recycling bin), the better. Extra points if it embodies your brand story, like the M.M LaFleur example from earlier.

  1. Customized Interiors

While focusing on the exterior is crucial, don’t forget about the inside. Use custom inserts, tissue paper, or thoughtful compartments that reflect your brand’s aesthetics. A well-organized interior not only protects your products but also adds to the overall unboxing experience.

  1. Brand Messaging

Incorporate your brand’s voice into your packaging by printing messages or quotes on the box. Whether it’s a motivational quote or a quirky greeting, these little touches further tell your brand’s story while surprising and delighting customers, making their experience more memorable.

  1. Sustainable Packaging

Nearly 50% of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for sustainable packaging. Consider eco-friendly packaging materials such as recycled materials, biodegradable options, reusable products, or bamboo-based papers.

 


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Let Them Feel Heard and Seen: How to Personalize Every Package So It Builds Connection

After crafting your brand's story in your packaging, focus on creating a personal experience. Personalization shows customers you see them as valued individuals, not just order numbers.

Though you can't share a smile online, thoughtful touches in your delivery can convey warmth and appreciation. The goal is to make the experience memorable and show customers know it’s all about them.


Why put in so much effort? In addition to building a strong bond with your customers, it’s good for business. According to McKinsey, personalized packages can help you generate 40% more revenue than competitors who don’t.

4 Ways to Create Personalized Unboxing Experiences

Here’s how to enhance customer connection with personal touches.

  1. Hand-Written Notes

Include a hand-written note in your packages personally thanking your customer for their order and letting them know you appreciate their business. It’s a bonus if the note comes directly from the owner or product creator – it shows your company truly values each customer and is interested in ensuring their satisfaction.

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  1. Custom Coupons

Everyone loves free coupons – but they love them even more if they can actually use them. Include offers and discounts on the products you know the customer who’s receiving them will appreciate based on past purchasing and browsing behaviors.

Be sure to let the buyer know their offers were selected specifically for them – tuck them in an envelope with a cute note, like “Just for You!” printed on the front.

  1. Free Samples

Add personalized free samples to their package. Show customers you're attentive to their preferences, not just pushing products. And, if it’s something they end up liking, you’ll probably generate extra sales. What’s even better, sharing free samples is known to boost sales up to 2000%!

  1. Include Swag

Give buyers thoughtful, branded gifts they'll love and use. Make sure the items are useful and won't end up in the recycling bin. Ideally, match the gifts to your products and customers' needs.

For instance, a company that sells baking supplies could include some branded cupcake liners, icing bags, or branded recipe cards. A seed company could include eco-friendly plant or vegetable sticks with the company logo embossed on them. Or, an HVAC filter supplier could include a branded checklist for home maintenance tasks and useful tips.

 

Further reading:

 

Ignite Your Unboxing Strategy with a Fulfillment Marketing Partner

Not sure how to put all these great ideas together for a cohesive strategy? We can help you out there too.

Elevate your unboxing strategy with fulfillment marketing. Use marketing data to craft personalized, memorable experiences that buyers will love and want more of! Partnering with a reputable fulfillment marketing company seamlessly combines your marketing and fulfillment efforts at scale.

The Fulfillment Lab

With The Fulfillment Lab, your post-purchase logistics focus on satisfying customers. From clear communications to precise, personalized kitting and fast delivery, every step enhances the customer experience.

With our Global Fulfillment Software (GFS™), you can track and manage every memorable moment between you and your customers with ease. 

GFS™ quickly integrates with your ecommerce platforms to give you clear visibility over everything you need to track orders, manage inventory, customize packages, and more. Even better? We make global logistics and shipping easy too.

Schedule a meeting today with our team. We’ll help you create amazing unboxing experiences while ensuring on-time delivery, accurate kitting, and more.

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