Perfecting the Unboxing Experience

What experience does your customer have when “unboxing” their subscription? Employ these few suggestions to make the most of this part of customer experience.

Outside your regular communications to customers, little is more important than the ‘unboxing’ experience. This experience is just what it sounds like – the customer experience when opening and engaging with your subscription business. In fact, there is so much excitement around this side of subscription boxes, some subscribers may even hold unboxing parties when your box arrives, meeting up with friends to enjoy the surprise together.

And while you may think that procurement, or locating and obtaining items for your box, is the only factor that matters, there’s a lot more you can do to curate a phenomenal customer experience. Having a recurring subscription means multiple chances to engage with your customer, create a relationship, and ultimately forge a connection that leads to a long lifetime value. If you nail the unboxing experience every month, there’s good chance this can happen for you too.

Below, we’ll go over what we consider some of the most important elements of your subscription box to consider when thinking about unboxing. In summary, they are:

  • Compelling Product Choices
  • Cohesive Branding
  • Creating a Visceral Experience

1. Compelling Product Choices

At it’s core, the unboxing experience does depend a lot on procurement and product choices, because its here that your subscribers will perceive if they ‘got what they paid for.’ Product choices should represent the value propositions of your subscription business – the main selling points that you’ve pitched to subscribers. Ask yourself, what do you subscribers expect to see each month? Is there a certain number of items you promise? A certain breakdown of types of items? A specific dollar value?

When choosing products, also consider the feelings of newness and novelty that you’ll provide to your customers. Your box should always be a fresh source of whatever type of items you’re offering. Avoid repeating products, or even brands, if your subscribers expect it to be a true surprise each month. Most of all, make sure your products look great together – the aesthetics of the branding, color choices, and labels can go a long way to sell the image of your subscription.

2. Cohesive Branding

Another big part of the unboxing experience is the branding. Custom packaging has a number of benefits, namely what it does for customer experience during unboxing. If paying the setup fees and high minimums that come with custom packaging is out of the question, you can also opt for branding plain boxes (like those from Cratejoy) with stamps or stickers. Designing packaging that clearly relates and resonates with your brand means a heavier hand in curation by you – you can lead customers to read certain messages, under your mission statement in a new way, and even engage with your design by fascinating customers.

When considering this, make sure to use elements of your brand that you’ve already built into your business. Your logos, color scheme, and font styles should be clearly related, if not the same, on your packaging as they appear on your website and other branded materials (like packing list). This creates the feeling of a cohesive, consistent experience on the part of the customer, which leads to a more fulfilled feeling with opening a box of products.

3. Creating a Visceral Experience

Perhaps my favorite way to up the experience during unboxing is the method of employing a tool to add a visceral, physical experience to the customers. This should be something that forces the customer to reach out and connect with the packaging. This enables you to reach a deeper part of their psyche, perhaps to inspire something or forge a deeper relationship with them. For example, get creative with your packaging design by requiring your customers to untie the bundle of products, peel of the packaging from inside the box, or carefully have to unwrap each item at a time.

Ask yourself, how can your brand use a brand-related experience inside the box? Could your packaging be used as an art board? A map? Or something else?

4. Connect to a Call to Action

Finally, always be sure to use packaging as the opportunity to create a call to action for subscribers. Make sharing photos of the box a contest, or add in some element that urges subscribers to take a “next step” in the unboxing experience. To do this, you can use a 1-2-3 “Best Unboxing Experience” format, where you direct the subscriber on the steps they should take to make the experience as fun as possible. For example, “1) Take a photo 2) Share to Win 3) Sit Back and Cheer!”

The Best Unboxing Experience Possible

When you procure great items, connect the user experience to the rest of your branding, and encourage a physical connection, you take the right steps to build a better unboxing experience. This can excite the senses for your subscribers, increasing the likelihood they’ll want to share their “awesome” new subscription on social media, like Instagram, even if you don’t include a call to action to do so. Be intuitive with your thought process – what would compel you? What packaging experience has made you say “Wow!”?

Learn More About Cratejoy’s Custom Box Program!

Check out the standard Cratejoy boxes or design your own custom boxes through the Cratejoy box program! We offer high-quality boxes, fast shipping, and special prices, only for Cratejoy sellers

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About Jesse Richardson

Jesse Richardson is an author, educator and co-founder of several successful subscription businesses. He focuses on building engaging communities and has been described as "insanely customer centric." Find him in the Subscription School group or at his blog.

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