In the year 2016, when the online market was just trying to penetrate the market, Dotcom Distribution held a seemingly casual but inherently crucial survey that would define the nature of the markets in the years to come. It was a survey on the most insignificant — at least on paper — aspect of a product, it's packaging.

But the results of it were surprisingly not so insignificant.

As per the survey, almost 40% of consumers admitted that their online purchases were influenced by how premium the packaging is. If the packaging managed to impress, they repurchased, and often the cycle led to the product falling into their life patterns, a feat every brand wishes to achieve.

This established an already existing yet often looked over fact — first impressions are extremely important. Suddenly, there was a frenzy to know all about making the packaging interesting, and creating exemplary first impressions for the customers. After all, the unboxing experience is a once-in-a-product-lifetime experience. For something with such a limited and definite number, the brands had to come up with the most unique strategies to set their products apart, even before the customer saw the actual product.

But the question was, how to do it, that too in a way that would provide any brand a cutting edge over the others? Thus began the analysis of customer’s psyche and the process of picking the best packaging possible.

The YouTube Effect

Everyone enjoys a good YouTube video every now and then. If surveys are to be believed, unboxing videos are the most searched and most viewed ones on the portal. What makes them such a hit though?

A simple fact: Consumers are running out of time as they run from one place to another. They want the most in the least. In fact, majority customers make up their minds on whether or not they want to purchase a product, by the end of the unboxing video itself, without actually watching the review of it!

Let’s cite a simple example here. A hitherto unknown brand, Morui Tech, came up with unboxing genius none thought of. When one unboxes, there is not only the power bank that had been ordered along with the cable, but also a matching pouch to store it. Minimalistic packaging with a freebie inside — a winning unboxing move which garnered loads of brownie points in the reviews, thus escalating the purchases.

The Online Offshores

Unboxing has gained all the more importance even due to the increasing trend of online purchases. Customers love two traits in their unboxing — intrigue and simplicity. A perfect example of a brand that has perfected both the characteristics and has aced its unboxing game, is that of Casper. Yes, we are talking of the same old, Casper the mattress brand. Have you wondered how does the brand manage to fit a whole king-size bed mattress into a box which is at the most, the size of a small refrigerator? Though Casper had been doing that for years, this astounding aspect came into the limelight in the year 2014, after it was captured by Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher. Unboxing is just as pleasurable. One just unfastens the box and lets the mattress unfold like a wondrous and soft toy, ready to use.  

Though Casper’s packing and unboxing is simply stuff of the legends, it has a glitch. While they may have the best way to package the mattress in such a compact way, once out, it cannot go in. However, if you are not happy with it, the company will have it picked up. Nevertheless, straight A’s for the efforts.

Customised Curations

The trend of unboxing has been fired up by another up and emerging facet of online market — customised subscription boxes. For instance, a book buff would love to explore brands such as The Big Book Box or a BooksnBeyond Box. However, there are many out there for enthusiasts in various fields, such as makeup, stationery, and more. These brands let you choose a subscription, and basis that, send you some planned items, some surprises, replete with a beautiful packaging to enhance the experience. As a result, the reviews for such brands is mostly never just about the product, but just about the unboxing, which is fairly intriguing.

How to box like a boss, then?

Unboxing is the first step towards winning over the customer. However, if you wish to create an unforgettable experience, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Unboxing is the first step towards winning over the customer. However, if you wish to create an unforgettable experience, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Simplicity: Make sure the packaging is classy and minimalistic. Take cue from Apple. Their packaging has become one with the brand language. Just the signature Apple white and the logo, with the minimum specs. Yet, people are sold.
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2. Ease: The packaging should be easy to open. No one has the time and patience to invest in an overly complicated packaging.

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3. Filler Decor: Some colourful thermo balls or even ribbons of paper or tissue, customers love a little bit of simplistic drama added to their unboxing experiences. Think of it as a gift, and the customer as a recipient of it.

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4. Promotion: Make sure that the packaging has your language branded over it, et all with the logo, inside and outside, without going over the board. The key is to be visible by maintaining the invisibility of it.

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5. Personalisation: A handwritten note of thanks on a card, with an inexpensive signature such as paper flowers or sample scent — nothing makes the customer smiles better than that. Don’t forget to add a call to share on social media, because at the end, that is what’s going to lift you high in the arena of the digital world.

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6. Freebies: Whether it is a subscription box that thrives completely on unboxing or any other product, make sure that there is an element of surprise. It may either be in the form of freebies that are relevant to the customer’s tastes or a delightful item that complements the original item. Everyone loves free products, but it ties them to the brand when it is thoughtful.

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Creating an unforgettable unboxing experience is the need of the hour. No matter the size of the brand, this is one thing that determines the fate of your product, in the first few precious moments of encountering the customer.  

Go ahead, open the lid. It’s no Pandora’s Box. The art of unboxing is here to stay, and the key is in your hands, go play.