The unboxing experience: four tips to make it work for your brand


By Andrew Witkin, founder and president, StickerYou

 Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

On the list of marketing priorities, unboxing often comes last. But it shouldn’t. The unboxing experience can be a powerful way to reach consumers and engage with them in a meaningful way, leaving a positive impression that they may share with others, or that will help engender a sense of appreciation and loyalty to the brand.

The moniker unboxing experience is a literal one. It’s the experience your customer has when they open the package your product is in, to reveal the product they have purchased or have had shipped to them. It’s a simple process, but can have a strong impact. Unboxing experiences are growing in importance, as many customers come to value packaging and unboxing almost as much as the goods themselves.

Satisfied customers want to share their unboxing experiences with others, and often take to social media to share their thoughts and recordings of the experience. Unboxing videos, or recordings of the unboxing event that are shared with the unboxer’s online communities, are increasingly popular. All this to say that unboxing can be an excellent marketing opportunity to engage meaningfully with your customer base, and can be especially fruitful for small businesses.

A well-branded unboxing experience is a way to enhance perceived product quality, build brand awareness along the supply and delivery chain, and emotionally engage with customers. And it doesn’t have to burn through your budget. There are many low-cost options for enhancing an unboxing experience that can work for businesses of all sizes, campaigns of varying lengths and special product launches.

Here are four tips to make your mark on a branded unboxing experience.

1. Brand the box

Especially for businesses that emphasize product design or other creative products, branding the box is a great way to showcase what your company is capable of even before the customer has laid hands on your product. Consider creative ways to display your logo or motto on the box, or invest in specialty boxes, which can lift the unboxing experience to the next level.

If ordering printed boxes exceeds the budget, try applying customized labels to plain boxes to achieve a similar effect.

2. Stand out with swag

Small and growing businesses may find that modest profit margins prohibit large investments in unboxing experiences – at least initially. But including some branded swag doesn’t have to break the bank, and can work wonders in creating a positive impression for your company.

Including branded stickers inside the box is an easy, cost-effective way to enhance the unboxing experience while providing vehicles for further raising brand awareness at the same time when they are used on laptops, water bottles or guitar cases.

Cross-sell inserts, like an informative flyer or a coupon, can add flair to the box, and can help build brand loyalty by encouraging future purchases or giving more information on a company’s mission, goals or ethics. Inserts can offer information on promotions, upcoming products or company news, as well as links to the company website and social media. These can be customized to fit current marketing campaigns, or can be seen as a more evergreen company backgrounder that can help customers feel that they have a better understanding of your brand, building a sense of trust.

Last, but definitely not least, pulling free swag out of the box is a great moment to record for unboxing videos.

3. Pay attention to packing tape

How you wrap the box is just as important as the box itself. Whether or not you use specialty boxes, customized packing tape can give packaging a special look that complements what’s inside. Packing tape can also include important info on upcoming promotions, promo codes, new products and other messaging. Customizing details like packing tape is a great visual reminder to customers that they’re receiving a quality product from a business that cares about every aspect of the customer experience, and the business.

4. Don’t forget to say thank-you

Whether it’s handwritten, or a uniquely designed print, a note of thanks in the box not only expresses appreciation for the customer, it also helps build a memorable unboxing experience. If a physical note doesn’t work with the aesthetics of the product or the logistics of the packaging, consider other ways to insert this messaging, including labels stuck to the interior of the box, stickers holding the wrapping paper (if any) together, or any other creative way to express customer appreciation.

Whether it’s a small gift in the box, a well-designed exterior printed with appropriate branding, customized details such as packing tape or a thank you note, creating a unique unboxing experience can make a lasting impact on a customer with minimal investment. Paying attention to the unboxing experience can make this interaction much more personal: you are showing customers that you care about how your product reaches them, and can use the opportunity to keep them informed about important information and show them appreciation for their business. By doing this, you are engaging with customers in a way that builds trust, which is one of the most important elements in return business and future purchases.

Andrew Witkin
Founder & president
As the founder of StickerYou, Andrew believes in the enormous power of customization. With over a decade of StickerYou success, he is one of Canada’s leading experts in e-commerce, customization, startups, marketing and the tech economy.

He is a graduate of Dalhousie University and holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Witkin has previously served as VP North American Licensing for Nelvana/Corus Entertainment and Director of Marketing for MegaBrands/Mattel.