In 2021, the number of digital buyers in the world hit 2.14 billion. That's 27.6% of the world's population, jumping up from 25% in 2020. Needless to say, the rise in popularity of online shopping has shaped high customer expectations, as brands look to stand out within their industry or product line.
Most eCommerce brands and fulfillment teams are always competing with big-box retailers like Amazon to win customers and increase revenue. Instead of simply delivering great products and competitive prices, they craft an end-to-end shopping experience. The journey works to build brand loyalty and encourage shoppers to share their new favorite brand with friends or on social media.
While receiving the right products on time is critical, the unboxing aspect of a shopping experience is often one of the most impactful customer satisfaction drivers. How your products are packaged and delivered can be the difference between a positive review online and a social media rant, complete with photos of a messy box, broken products, or mismatched branding elements that don't reflect your retail site.
The way you deliver products is a central part of your brand story. With each sale you make, you should build a memorable branded experience for customers.
In this post, we'll underscore the importance of unboxing, then explain how to create the perfect unboxing experience with a mix of creative inspiration and fulfillment solutions.
One of the best examples of branded purchasing is the increasingly popular subscription boxes and monthly product clubs. Retailers are discovering that people don't just love getting new products each month — they love opening up a new box and having an experience with the brand.
You've likely seen this on social media — videos on YouTube and TikTok or Instagram posts where influencers share the latest iteration of a beauty box or similar product. You'll notice they don't press record after the products have been laid out on a table. Instead, the story starts when the package arrives on their doorstep.
Shoppers like to see the full picture:
Whether you create subscription-based products or one-off purchases, you should consider your customers' unboxing experience when outlining or refining your order fulfillment process. Think about your most recent online purchase. Did you rip the package open without hesitation? Or did you pause to look at the packing materials, presentation, and overall appearance of the products before opening? Either way, those 'extra' elements that accompanied your product or delivery started with the fulfillment process.
That's because unboxing and order fulfillment are simply two sides of the same coin. To create the ideal unboxing experience, you need a reliable, consistent order fulfillment process.
As you create a new order fulfillment process or assess your current one, consider how the orders look after they leave your warehouse or fulfillment center:
As you start to consider how orders look and feel to your customers, you'll identify key opportunities to improve or completely revolutionize the unboxing experience.
By now, you know that delightful unboxing experiences start with great fulfillment practices. Let's get into the specific elements of fulfillment that drive customer satisfaction and ultimately deliver on your brand promise.
No matter what you sell, branding elements help shoppers find your products on a crowded shelf or the Google search results page. If they already know and love one of your products, they're more likely to add another to their cart because they trust it will be delivered in the same way.
Why? Well, consistent, recognizable elements build trust and continuity between product lines and purchases. These elements go beyond the individual products themselves and seep into the entire shopping experience. This could come in the form of a fun-themed product line with messaging and visuals on your site to match. When shoppers place an order, they expect the product experience to carry over into it.
So, when it comes time to design and curate your online orders, be sure any tissue, stickers, packing slips, and packaging like cartons, dividers, and even the boxes themselves match the rest of your brand. If your website boasts fun, bright colors and bold patterns, don't deliver an order in a plain box with white tissue.
You can also use packaging to create fun new brand signatures, such as a personalized note in every box, free candy or sticker packs with every order, or a coupon for their next purchase.
Branding materials help create a consistent, cohesive unboxing experience, but your customers likely care about more than just the aesthetic of your products and packaging.
If you're shipping fragile, breakable products, be extremely considerate of how these items are packaged and shipped. Be sure they're well cushioned and securely wrapped to lower the chances of a break or other damage. Since you can't entirely remove the risk of damage during shipping, add a backup layer of protection so that if one product breaks, glass, liquid, or any other mess won't spread to the rest of the box.
While you must protect fragile items in each shipment, you'll also need to keep sustainability in mind. We've seen a recent increase in consumer awareness around waste and sustainability, marking that 80% of consumers want to see a reduction in plastic packaging following the COVID-19 pandemic. This means brands should be conscious about protecting and packaging orders responsibly.
Look for recyclable or biodegradable packing options whenever possible, keeping in mind that using sustainable products can help build an image of social responsibility and maybe the reason customers choose you over a competitor.
Beyond the magic of creating a unique unboxing experience, defining a straightforward fulfillment process also leverages system-driven protocols to drive efficiency, accuracy, and, as a result, a positive customer experience.
As you think about the creative aspects of fulfillment, be sure you don't let order accuracy and consistency fall to the wayside. Work with a fulfillment partner to outline efficient processes, inventory management, and packing instructions to ensure every order is correct before it leaves the warehouse.
Internally, that likely means including packaging instructions, itemized packing slips, and some quality control or fail-safe procedures to double-check each order. It's also a good idea to include a customer-facing packing slip or details sheet in each box so that recipients know what they should expect to find in each box, especially if their order comes in multiple shipments.
Once you've crafted the perfect unboxing experience, it's time to turn your vision into reality. Unless you're a small local business with the capacity to fulfill orders in-house, you'll need a trustworthy fulfillment partner to ensure your orders are delivered efficiently and accurately without compromising your customers' shopping and unboxing experiences.
The right-fit partner will go beyond simple pack-and-go procedures. Your partner should:
At Materialogic, we'll reference your creative vision and existing brand book to create a customer-centric unboxing experience that's always on-brand. We always pack with care, and even help with price checks for sourcing to help you find the most affordable, on-brand packaging, printed materials, and more, all of which ensure consistency across all branding.
Materialogic can manage your products and packaging in one central location with real-time reporting and stock alerts. With inventory management, you won't end up waiting on back-ordered products or wasting money on products that will end up collecting dust on a warehouse shelf due to low demand.
If you have any special packing rules or brand-specific details, we'll send instructions down to the floor with each order, so they are always packed the same way. We also use a built-in quality control process, complete with detailed packing slips and weight fail checks to ensure order accuracy.
If you're fulfilling for multiple locations or working in wholesale, we'll define clear Service-level Agreements (SLA) for timing, outbound handling, and more. We can segregate orders by destination so wholesale and partner shipments can be delivered efficiently from a master carton without the need for repacking.
No matter your business goals or fulfillment needs, we're here for you. Materialogic is a fulfillment partner that's willing to become a true extension of your team, delivering accuracy, speed, and consistency to create a seamless customer experience.
If you’re looking for a partner to support your warehousing and order fulfillment operations, reach out to our team to get started!