Every purchase made from a virtual store generates expectations in the customer. It is not for nothing that marketing analysts have been taking an increasing interest in the experience a person goes through when they receive a product. What not everyone realizes is that a customer can be won over simply by opening a package.

An unboxing experience is of fundamental importance if you want to boost sales and billings in a virtual store. Even so, doubts often arise about what the advantages really are, and how to deal with the concept.

The importance of a good unboxing experience

So what is so important about unboxing (taking a product out of its box)? In general terms, it is what people have been doing with most of their purchases since the beginning. How is it possible for this experience to change the way consumers see a brand?

To understand the question, just look at the concept of a buying experience in the same way as the marketing people from one of today’s biggest companies: Apple. It is no coincidence that Apple’s enormous growth took place just at the time when people were discussing the user experience more openly.

Apple gained its place in the market because its mobile devices (in particular the iPhone) had a friendly interface to make the user’s life easier. At the same time they invested in charming, unique packaging — just taking off the top can be a pleasurable process, because you see it slowly falling as if to present the product that you wanted so much.

One can go so far as to say that the Apple unboxing experience is one of the reasons that many people are wild about smartphones and tablets — and for the habit of changing their mobile every year as soon as a new model appears on the market. This can cement the bond between the consumer and the brand even more than the technical details of the product.

In the context of virtual stores, this experience is even more important. After all, the receipt of a package is more often than not the customer’s first contact with the product purchased. A real connection is forged between the person’s mind and what is inside the package, thanks to the high expectations generated before delivery.

The unboxing experience can have a direct influence on customer loyalty, making them into frequent purchasers at your store. We are talking about something which, quite apart from the quality of the product, can be the signature of a brand – as is the case with Apple.

Strategies and resources for an enhanced experience

Taking these advantages into account, you have to do certain things to captivate your customer. The unboxing experience must be understood as part of the quality of service — imagine making a purchase and receiving a box that is ugly or damaged; you certainly won’t be buying anything else from that store.

Here are some hints to get you started:

Think about the characteristics of your niche

Each type of product attracts a buyer with a specific profile. Knowing about both of them (product and customer) is fundamental if you are to start to develop a good unboxing experience. Pretty packaging is important, but that’s not all there is to the strategy.

A good example is 33/34, a store which sells women’s shoes only in these sizes. In addition to the usual unboxing performance, the company has invested in a sensory approach: when the customer opens the package they smell a specific scent which is intended to remind them of the store.

The idea is to identify what type of action, in your market niche, will create a positive memory in the customer and remind them specifically of your company.

Quality packagin

When we talk about quality packaging, it means that special care must be taken at every stage of its creation. This means selecting a sustainable material, with an attractive design that transmits a message about your store.

Remember that in this case, quality means toughness. However pretty the package may be, it won’t do its job properly if it is too fragile and allows the product to get damaged in transit.

A successful package is one that makes the customer want to keep it, even if they don’t use it again.

Invest in something special

If you can identify your customers individually you will create a bond between them and your store. Some companies send packages with the customer’s name printed on them, or containing a personal message. Offering promotions, with special gifts depending on the number of purchases, is another way of causing an extremely positive surprise — even if it is only a key ring or store sticker.

There are cosmetics stores that change their packaging at least once a month. The result is a deluge of videos of unboxing on YouTube posted by the consumers themselves, and viewed millions of times!

Don’t forget that one of the first effects of a good experience is that customers will share it within their social circles. People love recounting a good unboxing experience.

Matters requiring special attention

All these ideas can get great results. Even so, remember that this is a marketing thing. So you must structure it so that it has continuity and constant innovation.

Customer Success

Currently a lot of companies are investing in creating a Customer Success area. This is a team specifically looking for ways to increase customer satisfaction with the store’s products.

The unboxing experience is one of this team’s jobs, and it can work very well if it is constantly being rethought, depending on the profile of the consumer. This includes, for example, different packaging for each product, or even for different customer profiles.

Freight company and other partners

The companies in partnership with your store can have a direct influence on the success of your product. The freight company, for instance, must offer first class service – quick, safe delivery without losing or damaging products. Otherwise the unboxing experience will be spoilt.

Storekeepers must understand how freight companies work. In other words, the type of delivery used and how products reach the customer. You also need to take care with the shipping – don’t use packaging that can be reused or send a customer the wrong item, for example.

It is worthwhile carrying out a test, buying something at your own store and asking for it to be delivered somewhere else. This will let you get personal experience of making a purchase, from the start to the finish, and identify bottlenecks and problems from the buyer’s viewpoint.

The same applies to suppliers and other partners. If the quality of the material or the design of the packaging drops unexpectedly, it will take away all the charm of the product.

E-commerce resources

Some functions of the platform have a direct impact on the shopping experience. The tracking of an order and returns are good examples of this. Suppose that a customer wants to return an item. Whatever the reason, it is essential that the process be quick and easy.

Shortcomings in the return or exchange process can jeopardize a consumer’s view of a store for good. If service is not high quality or the e-commerce platform makes these procedures difficult, it can be a very negative experience.

An efficient returns system and an effective tracking service, on the other hand, give the customer confidence, because they show that the store is making an effort to put customer satisfaction first.

Watch out for these things, and follow our hints, and you will be able to provide a unique unboxing experience for your customers! The more your store builds on customer experience, the more satisfied and loyal customers you will have.