Unboxing Experience: The Secret to Customer Retention (with examples)

May 23, 2023

David Lin

By David Lin

In the e-commerce universe, first impressions matter tremendously. One crucial element that shapes these impressions is the unboxing experience. It's not merely about the product but the entire process of unwrapping the packaging and discovering what's inside. An excellent unboxing experience can evoke delight and anticipation, enhancing customer satisfaction.

This moment of revelation has the potential to be a pivotal point in the customer journey, creating an impactful brand connection that drives customer loyalty. Today's consumers don't just buy products; they seek engaging experiences. As such, it's worth exploring how to optimize your brand's unboxing experience to stand out in the crowded online marketplace.

In this post, we'll explain what unboxing is, its benefits, and why it's essential in today's competitive e-commerce landscape. We'll also share examples of brands that have nailed the unboxing experience and offer strategies to enhance your own. Buckle up for a journey into the intriguing world of unboxing.

What is Unboxing?

search results for Google trends data for “unboxing.”

Unboxing is much more than merely removing a product from its packaging. It's an entire sensory experience that begins when a customer receives their parcel and ends with an unveiling of an eagerly anticipated item, often accompanied by elements of surprise, delight, and satisfaction.

Over the years, unboxing has evolved from a necessary step in the purchasing process to an exciting event in its own right. E-commerce businesses have recognized its potential and the value it brings to the overall customer journey.


In an online shopping environment where customers cannot physically interact with products before purchasing, unboxing is the critical tactile experience that forms the customer's first impressions of the product.

Parallel Rise of Social Media and Unboxing

Interestingly, the unboxing phenomenon has grown in parallel with the rise of social media, creating an entirely new genre of content: unboxing videos. These videos, often shared by influencers and everyday consumers alike, provide a platform to showcase products in a raw and authentic manner. They unveil the product and the attention to detail that goes into the packaging, demonstrating how companies take the extra mile to ensure their products reach customers in a memorable way.

The power of unboxing videos cannot be overstated. They have become an effective marketing tool, contributing to brand visibility and recognition in the crowded online marketplace. Plus, they offer consumers a chance to see a product in its true form before purchasing, thus helping to instill confidence in the product and the brand.

“People also want high-end unboxing experiences that align with the quality of high-end retail orders.”

Benefits of an Unboxing Experience

Increase in Customer Satisfaction

The unboxing experience has profound impacts extending beyond when customers open their packages. Notably, it significantly enhances customer satisfaction.

A thoughtful, visually appealing, and enjoyable unboxing experience can indeed leave a lasting positive impression on the consumer, making the act of receiving and opening the product as exciting as using the product itself. It sets the stage for the customer's relationship with the product and, by extension, the brand.

Increase Brand Loyalty

The unboxing experience also plays a vital role in brand value and loyalty. The careful design and detailing of the packaging, the thoughtful arrangement of products, and the inclusion of personalized touches subtly communicate the brand's commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

They suggest that the brand is invested in delivering excellent products and ensuring that customers enjoy discovering them. This commitment, reflected in the unboxing experience, is crucial in establishing trust, fostering customer loyalty, and enhancing brand value from the first touch.

Word-of-mouth Marketing

The impact of a phenomenal unboxing experience on word-of-mouth marketing and user-generated content (UGC) is immense. In our digital age, an exciting unboxing experience can translate into a viral unboxing video, an enthusiastic product review, or a series of eye-catching social media posts. 

As consumers share their positive experiences with their networks, these pieces of user-generated content serve as authentic and trustworthy endorsements for the brand, enabling it to reach wider audiences.

Potential Brand Partnerships

an influencer unboxes a brown and white waterproof shoe from the company Vessi in a YouTube short video

A well-crafted unboxing experience can pique the interest of influencers and potential brand partners, opening up avenues for collaborations and sponsorships. This, in turn, provides additional exposure for the brand and further elevates its standing within the market.

The Importance of the Unboxing Experience

In today's fiercely competitive e-commerce environment, distinguishing your brand from countless others vying for consumer attention has become increasingly challenging. In this context, the unboxing experience emerges as a potent tool for differentiation. 

The unboxing experience offers a tangible touchpoint for online consumers, a rare near-physical interaction in an otherwise digital shopping journey. Therefore, it holds enormous potential to create a lasting impression and strengthen the bond between consumers and the brand.

Think of the unboxing experience as the final leg of the customer's purchase journey — the grand finale of their shopping experience. A carefully curated unboxing experience demonstrates to consumers that their satisfaction matters to the brand, even after the point of sale. It's about creating an emotional connection, eliciting excitement, anticipation, and delight that add value to the product.

In this sense, the unboxing experience reflects the brand's values and commitment to customer satisfaction. Customers who associate a brand with consistently positive experiences are more likely to return for repeat purchases and recommend the brand to others.

several 5-star reviews with images for the water bottle brand Healthish

Examples of Brands with Great Unboxing Experiences

Apple (Consumer Electronics)

a still image from a video of an Apple Watch box being unboxed

One brand that instantly comes to mind when we talk about exceptional unboxing experiences is Apple. The tech giant is renowned for its sleek and minimalist product packaging. Apple pays meticulous attention to the design and functionality of its boxes. 

The weight, texture, and even the sound it makes when the lid is lifted off the box have been carefully considered to create an unveiling ritual that communicates the value and quality of the product inside. 

Furthermore, the neat arrangement of accessories, warranty cards, and stickers gives the impression of unraveling a treasure trove. This attention to detail elevates the unboxing experience, leaving a lasting positive impression on consumers and reinforcing Apple's brand identity as a purveyor of high-quality, beautifully designed products.

Click Funnels - One Funnel Away Challenge (Marketing)

an unboxed One Funnel Away package from Click Funnels shows a USB stick, a hardcover book, and red confetti in a blue box

Another excellent example of a remarkable unboxing experience comes from the world of digital marketing, more specifically from ClickFunnels and their One Funnel Away Challenge. 

This 30-day program was more than just a training course, it was a full-on experiential product. 

The physical version of this challenge involved the delivery of a box full of goodies. This box, often called the Challenge Kit, included a workbook, an MP3 player preloaded with the Marketing Secrets podcast recordings, and the celebrated '30 Days' book, which features comprehensive marketing plans from successful entrepreneurs. Every item was carefully chosen to provide value, inspire creativity, and reinforce the teachings of the challenge.

The thoughtful packaging and the sequential arrangement of the materials further enhance the unboxing experience. This intentional structuring guides participants through the contents, mirroring the progressive nature of the challenge itself.

Vessi Shoes (Apparel)

an open box of Vessi shoes showing the details of the contents: tissue paper, welcome card, and customized box shape of clouds

Vessi, the Canadian-based shoe company that brought us the "world's first 100% waterproof knitted shoes," offers a stellar example of a brand that understands and harnesses the power of the unboxing experience.

On opening the box, customers are greeted by a stylish, minimalistic presentation. The shoes are the centerpiece, neatly arranged and waiting to be explored behind white custom tissue paper with the undercover print saying “Rain or Shine. Adventure Awaits.”

The box contains an envelope with the “Puddle Hunter’s handbook,” including a cleaning guide, sticker pack, and coupon from the next purchase. Through this effort, customers can understand and appreciate the value of their purchase immediately. It's a subtle but effective way of reinforcing the brand's mission and commitment to sustainability and innovative design.

Vessi’s unboxing experience leaves customers feeling special and engaged, turning a simple product delivery into a memorable event. 

How to Improve Your Brand's Unboxing Experience

Here are some tips to improve your brand's unboxing experience and, as a result, increase customer retention.

Enhancing Product Presentation

One of the key factors in a great unboxing experience is how the product is presented. A disheveled product shoved into a cardboard box won't leave a good impression. Instead, consider packaging each item with care. 

Use wrapping tissue or other protective materials to ensure the product arrives pristine. Consider placing the product in a stylish bag or custom-printed sleeve within the box for an extra wow factor.

Adding Personal Touches

Personal touches can make your customers feel valued and special. This could be as simple as including a handwritten note thanking them for their purchase or addressing them by name. This is particularly important as you are starting out with only a handful of customers.

Personalization can also extend to your packaging design; you could use custom stickers or stamps featuring your brand logo or design motifs that reflect your brand's personality.

Utilize Bespoke Packaging

Custom, bespoke packaging can elevate your brand and provide a unique unboxing experience. This doesn't mean you have to invest in expensive materials; sometimes, a well-designed cardboard box with a personalized touch can do the trick. 

Consider using boxes in different shapes and colors or with unique prints that align with your brand identity. Also, the packaging should be durable to protect the product during transit, reinforcing your brand's commitment to quality.

Add Surprise Elements

Including unexpected gifts or samples can pleasantly surprise your customers and make the unboxing experience more exciting. These don't have to be expensive items; they could be as simple as a discount code for their next purchase, a small product sample, or even some fun brand-related stickers. These surprise elements can encourage customers to share their unboxing experience on social media, boosting your brand's visibility.

Highlight Your Brand Story

Let your packaging tell your brand story during the unboxing process. This can be done by printing your mission statement or a brief story about your brand's origins on the box's interior. This educates customers about your brand and makes them feel more connected to your company and its values.

What Will Be Your Experience?

In today's e-commerce landscape, the unboxing experience has emerged as a powerful tool for fostering customer loyalty and setting brands apart. As seen with Click Funnels and Vessi, a unique and exciting unboxing experience can elevate brand reputation and spur customer retention.

An exceptional unboxing experience goes beyond merely revealing a product; it's about creating a memorable moment of delight that resonates with customers. Incorporating thoughtful touches like handwritten notes, attractive product presentations, and bespoke packaging can make an impact.

Investing in a captivating unboxing experience is a strategic move that can enhance your brand's appeal and foster customer loyalty. It's not just about opening a box; it's about creating an unforgettable customer journey that begins when the package is delivered.