How to Package Your Product For The Best Unboxing Experience Every Time

November 9, 2021
by
Elly Strang

How to Package Your Product For The Best Unboxing Experience Every Time

November 9, 2021
by
Elly Strang
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The ecommerce landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade. 

Thanks to online shopping being accelerated by the pandemic, the demand for online goods has never been higher in 2021—and so too, the demand for effective product packaging. 

Ecommerce packaging is expected to hit $65 billion USD in value by 2026, as the demand for packaging solutions that can deliver on both functionality and a unique customer experience grows.

The good news is that crafting an incredible unboxing experience isn’t complicated, but it’s worth spending the time and effort to make sure it’s completely aligned to your brand. 

Here’s how to get started with product packaging. 

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What is product packaging?

Product packaging is the exterior and interior layers you enclose your product in for protection during shipment. 

While product packaging serves a practical purpose, many brands also use custom packaging as a marketing tool so it’s attractive and unique to their brand.

This is particularly true for ecommerce businesses who have one chance to create a great first impression and build brand recognition and loyalty with new customers. 

Seeing as product packaging is the first physical experience a customer has with a brand, it pays to put some time and effort into crafting it. 

Why should you care about product packaging?

While it’s true it’s what’s on the inside that counts when it comes to parcels, product packaging is the key to elevating the customer experience. 

Consider your own online shopping experiences and the difference in reaction you’d feel between receiving a product in a plain brown box, versus a beautifully packaged and branded one. 

A study from the Journal of Marketing has found that when a person is pleasantly surprised with a product, their enjoyment of that product increases by up to 25%

Building layers around your product through packaging increases your chances of surprising and delighting your customer. 

The experience your customer has unwrapping or opening the layers of your packaging to reach your product has a name. 

It’s called the unboxing experience, and it’s been proven to play a big part in customer satisfaction and continued brand loyalty

If a customer finds an unboxing experience engaging, they’re also more likely to share that experience with others. 

A study by Dotcom Distribution found nearly half (40%) of online shoppers would share an image of their purchase online if it came in branded packaging. 

Types of product packaging

Here are some of the different types of product packaging you can ship your goods in. 

Exterior packaging 

What’s on the outside matters. It’s the protective shell that keeps your interior packaging layers and your product safe and sound.

Shipping boxes

To ship products securely, a shipper box is a great protective option. 

These are typically made from a rigid cardboard material to keep products safely in transit. They’re often used for shipping delicate items like cosmetics, skincare and gift items, like a candle.

A box also has the added benefit of having more control over the presentation of products, as once placed inside, they’ll stay put until opening, which makes for an impactful customer experience. 

After all, it’s not called an unboxing experience for nothing! 

When it comes to branding a box, there are two ways to approach it. For a more cost-effective option, plain Kraft cardboard boxes can always be branded by adding custom stickers, stamps or tape with a business name or logo on them.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, custom boxes allow you to personalize both the exterior and interior with your branding. 

exterior shipping boxes branded kathryn reid
Image: @noissueco

This means a multi-dimensional unboxing experience where you can create different touchpoints with your brand. You could feature your logo, your brand story, a custom illustration, or a QR code—the options are endless!

For a sustainable option, opt for boxes made from recycled paper or cardboard. Using them helps keep new materials out of circulation and waste to a minimum. 

Mailer bags

Mailer bags are made of durable materials like recycled plastic, kraft paper or PLA (plant materials such as field corn and wheat straw) and PBAT, a bio-based polymer. 

Mailers are prized for their efficiency and flexibility when it comes to packing and shipping orders. They are great for transporting lightweight materials, like clothing and accessories.

In terms of creating an unboxing experience, products cannot be secured in place within mailers, so there is less control of how products are experienced when the bag is opened. 

When it comes to sustainability, mailers typically fall into two camps—they’re either made from recycled materials, like kraft paper and recycled plastics, or from compostable materials, like PLA and PBAT.

Interior packaging

Your interior packaging serves not only to cushion your products from impact, but also to act as your surprise and delight factor as they unveil the special item within.

Tissue paper

Tissue paper is a type of packaging that is both practical and product enhancing. It can be used as a wrapping material, or as a space filler to protect items and pad out a mailer or box. 

The beauty of custom tissue paper is it’s a fantastic marketing tool to show off your branding. 

It acts as a blank canvas where you can display your logo, business name, brand colors or an illustration. It also makes the experience gift-like for your customer, which strengthens the unboxing experience. 

Tissue paper like noissue’s is a sustainable alternative to using plastic-coated wrapping paper, cellophane or bubble wrap to protect items. 

This is because it’s made with Forest Stewardship Council certified materials, printed with soy-based inks and is fully recyclable. 

Card inserts

Cards are a packaging insert that provide a convenient way to provide additional information within your unboxing experience. 

They’re incredibly versatile and can be personalized to include a brand’s social media handles, a QR or discount code, a thank you note, and more. 

Consider them a way to add a moment of storytelling to your unboxing experience. 

When placed as the final layer in a package, they’ll be the first item a customer sees, which means they can direct the narrative from the first interaction.  

cart insert ekstones thank you discount social proof unboxing experience
Image: @noissueco

Cards by packaging providers like noissue are made from either fully recycled materials or a recycled paper and FSC-certified mix. 

They’re also uncoated, which means they are 100% compostable. Yay!

Tape

Tape is a multi-use packaging item that can be used to seal a box or a parcel, or to liven up and decorate the exterior of stock packaging. 

Tape is one of the most affordable ways to add branding to your unboxing experience, as one roll can go a long way.

For a sustainable option, water-activated tape is a great option. 

It doesn’t have a plastic coating and its ‘stickiness’ is activated by a damp sponge, which means there’s no harmful residue left behind on any surfaces.

Stickers

Stickers are a small addition that packs a large punch. 

They can be used to seal the wrapping of a package, or as the final touch by decorating the exterior of a mailer bag or box. 

Stickers are most effective when they feature one key element of a brand’s identity, which could be a logo, the business name or a brand’s colors. 

unboxing experience zoologia sticker
Image: @noissueco

Ultimately, they are an easy way to increase brand recognition.

Unlike the ones you see that have a ‘sheen’ to them (which is a plastic coating), stickers that are uncoated and use soy-based ink and acid-free paper are able to be recycled and composted. 

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Our top packaging design tips for the best possible experience

Build your package thoughtfully, layer-by-layer

Be intentional with your packaging decisions. 

While it’s easy to get carried away with the different layers of packaging, it’s important to know what you want as an outcome of your unboxing experience and what’s realistic in terms of your budget. 

Is it better brand recognition, more social media sharing, or improved customer loyalty? 

An unboxing experience can serve many purposes, so start with being very clear on what you want to achieve. 

Choosing your exterior packaging is a good place to start, as it plays the most important role in shipping, and then work your way inwards, layer by layer. 

This will help eliminate unnecessary items. 

Use packaging to enhance product presentation 

Packaging is there to compliment your products, not overshadow them. 

Customization means the opportunities to create memorable packaging are plentiful, but your packaging should always be working in alignment with your products. 

If there is too much going on to grab your customer’s attention, it can be distracting, so ensure the colors, designs and materials you select enhance product presentation. 

At the end of the day, the product is what the customer ordered, so it should always remain the hero!  

Combine stock and custom products for a cost-effective approach

There are many options for packaging available for ecommerce businesses, so be realistic in terms of what’s possible within your brand’s budget. 

While brands like noissue offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) in custom packaging to make sure small businesses have access to it, too, there are other ways around price constraints.

One option is to combine larger stock packaging with smaller custom packaging products for a cost-effective approach. 

Stock mailer bags and boxes are considerably cheaper than custom ones, and can be dressed up on the exterior with custom branded tape, stickers, and stamps. 

This ensures your customer still has a unique experience with your packaging. 

Showcase your brand throughout your packaging for brand recognition

When it comes to branded packaging, repetition is key. 

Don’t be afraid to display your logo and brand name in multiple places, such as the exterior of a box, on the custom tape sealing it, on the interior in the tissue paper design, and on the custom sticker sealing the tissue. 

This will help with your customer’s brand recognition and recall and it also ensures that your brand is front and center for when they snap a picture for their social media feed, no matter what angle or layer that your unboxing experience is photographed from. 

Don’t forget about sustainability

Shoppers are savvy enough in 2021 to know when a brand is creating excess and unnecessary waste through their packaging. 

This isn’t a great reflection on your brand, and it can be easily avoided as sustainable materials are just as affordable.

Choose packaging materials that are either reusable, recyclable or compostable and include instructions on how to correctly dispose of the packaging at its end-of-life in the unboxing experience. 

This adds credibility, as it shows them you’ve done your due diligence and carefully selected these materials, while thinking about the impacts your brand has on the environment.

Now, some packaging inspiration: 7 memorable unboxing experiences

What’s a guide about upgrading your packaging game without some visual inspo to help get you there.

Check out these lovely unboxing experiences from small businesses that are killing it.

Oh Hello Maker

oh hello maker unboxing experience
Image: @ohhellomaker

Ritual Coffee design concept from noissue

noissue design concept packaging ritual coffee
Image: noissue

Holly and Co

holly and co unboxing experience
Image: @_hollyandco

Elysian Theory

elysian theory unboxing experience
Image: @elysiantheory_ 

Luna Crafts Online

luna crafts online unboxing
Image: @lunacraftsonline

Bois The Label

Image: @boisthelabel

Community design concept by noissue

Image: noissue

That’s a wrap!

We hope this has helped you better understand how to package your product effectively and build an eye-catching unboxing experience! 

Remember it’s important for your brand to show up throughout the entire customer experience, from the way your site is designed to the product packaging your customer receives at the end of the sales journey. 

Just follow the steps above and your product packaging will be the total package.


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Elly Strang

Elly Strang is Content Manager – Publication of noissue. Looking for compostable, reusable or recycled packaging for your brand's unboxing experience? noissue lets you design branded eco-friendly tissue paper, boxes, stickers, tape, and more. Simply upload your design, logo, or illustration, and we’ll do the rest. Click our link to learn more about our packaging options.