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How to Use Packaging to Create an Unforgettable Customer Experience

Packaging does much more than just protect products during shipping. It also can make a lasting impression that turns a first-time buyer into a loyal, repeat customer.

So how can retailers use packaging to make this impression? By giving customers a memorable experience.

For online retailers that lack brick-and-mortar shelf space, that experience starts the moment the packaged product arrives on a customer’s doorstep. This is where the unboxing experience begins. When your customer sees the package on their doorstep, you want their anticipation and excitement to build until the moment when they finally open the box to reveal its contents. You want to thrill them—both with the unboxing experience and the product inside the box.

Think of your packaging as an extension of your product. According to branding expert Joshua Conran, making packaging part of the product experience can help brands make an impact on their customers. “Part of the reason it’s so fun to unbox a new Apple product is that its packaging reflects the sleek, user-friendly experience of the product inside,” Conran writes in an article for Inc.

Here are a few more tips for using packaging to create an unforgettable customer experience.

Consider Custom Packaging

While plain brown stock boxes are ideal for some brands, custom packaging seriously ups the wow factor when it comes to the unboxing experience. Branded elements are key. Adding a simple logo or using custom tape or stickers on the outside of packaging allows customers to recognize your brand when it’s on their doorstep, which helps build suspense.

Consider including a surprise inside the box, such as a personalized note thanking customers for their purchase or a product sample or other small gift, to prolong the excitement and add another layer to the unboxing experience.

To learn more about the process of creating custom packaging, read our previous post.

Add Shareability

The unboxing experience doesn’t always end when the box has been opened. “Recipients post photos, videos, and reviews online of the coolest boxes,” writes reporter Michael S. Rosenwald in an article for The Washington Post. “For instance, typing “#boxreview” or “#unboxing” into Instagram reveals a strange incongruity of the digital age—boxes are Internet icons. People take selfies with boxes. They post videos of themselves opening their boxes. They post things like: ‘My @lookfantastic box has arrived!! … Can’t wait to open this gorgeous box xx.’”

Retailers can take advantage of this trend by encouraging customers to share their unboxing experiences with their friends and social networks. For example, try including branded stickers on your packaging that encourage customers to share their purchases using a specific hashtag.

Our client ModCloth has used this strategy successfully. For the online retailer’s Stylish Surprise mystery shopping program, they put branded stickers on their packaging and encouraged shoppers to share their mystery purchases via the hashtag #StylishSurprise. Today, there are countless Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts under that hashtag. There also are more than 6,000 results for “ModCloth unboxing” videos on YouTube.

Ensure Your Product Is Properly Protected

A damaged product can ruin an otherwise perfect unboxing experience. It also can permanently tarnish a retailer’s reputation. Don’t let your brand be memorable for the wrong reason. Make sure your product packaging is designed to withstand the stresses of getting from point A to point B.

For large retailers that sell products in a variety of shapes and sizes, using stock corrugated boxes and then adding fillers and padding is often the most practical and cost-effective way to protect products during shipping. But for companies with fewer products—or fragile or oddly shaped products—custom packaging can offer far better protection.

Read one of our previous posts to learn more about how custom packaging can save you money by preventing product damage during shipping.

Do you need help creating an unforgettable packaging experience for your customers? Contact PSI today for your free packaging analysis.