January 18, 2021

What makes a good unboxing experience?

The process of opening a package is sometimes just as important as the product contained within. Unboxing videos on YouTube garner millions of views, which highlights the importance of the product reveal. Unboxing is the final stage of the consumer journey and when brands make it an event, it can have an incredible impact on the end-user – leaving lasting memories and establishing increased brand loyalty in the process.

But what makes a good unboxing experience? How can brands ensure that their packaging is exciting to open and that the big reveal is achieved in a unique way? In cases where the unboxing process meets expectations, there are often many elements that need to work together. Throw some unexpected surprises into the mix and you are sure to leave a lasting impression on the consumer.

Here are some considerations from a packaging and design point of view that will make for a good unboxing experience:

1. Complexity versus simplicity during unboxing

The balance between a complex and simple unboxing process is important; a pack that is too difficult to open can be frustrating whereas a very simple box is neither stimulating nor memorable. Complexity can have a positive effect, as long as the unboxing remains an intuitive process. Consumers need to know instinctively how to open a pack, but using unique designs and opening mechanisms can add elements of intrigue and suspense. 

2. Product positioning and layout

The way in which the product is placed within a pack is an important consideration. If positioned in a clever way, for example, tucked behind a ‘door’, an element of intrigue is added. If there are peripheral products within the packaging, these can also be held in compartments that need to be opened, adding further to the excitement of the reveal.

What makes a good unboxing experience

Product layout is vital. ©Whiskimen.com

3. Unexpected internal discoveries

Consumers love a surprise. This is one of the most important factors when it comes to a memorable unboxing experience. Additional elements and peripheral products can be used to create unexpected discoveries for the end-user. User manuals and pamphlets can be incorporated into the packaging in unique ways to spark interest from the consumer. Examples of surprise elements include branded keepsakes, small ornamental products or useful tools aligned to the use of the main product.

4. Tactile elements of the packaging

Touch is often just as important as visual appeal. A pack that feels good in-hand can be an intriguing object that warrants further exploration. The tactile features of a pack often play a role in establishing the mood of the unboxing experience, as well as to strengthen the perception of the product. In many unboxing videos, there are positive reactions given to elements of the packaging that feel good. These subtleties do not go unnoticed by the consumer.

What makes a good unboxing experience

Tactile elements make packaging exciting. ©Laphroaig

5. Re-use and repurposing options

A major goal of many modern brands is to minimise their environmental impact. Packaging that can be reused or functions as an ornamental keepsake may be more appealing to buyers. The unboxing experience will certainly be elevated when the consumer knows that they can repurpose the packaging in some way.

6. Sustainability of the packaging

Sustainability has become a massive touchpoint for all companies in recent years. One way to improve in this area is to reduce the packaging waste by making it reusable or recyclable. A product that uses too much plastic packaging could have a negative impact on the unboxing experience. People become easily annoyed when they open new products and see an inconsiderate amount of plastic or non-recyclable materials.

The process of the reveal is an important consideration for many brands and can lead to improved returns if done well. Millions of people research products online before buying and the process of opening a package is seldom ignored.  It’s not always easy to achieve all objectives at the same time but the above points, if considered, should allow a brand to connect with their consumers through more positive and memorable brand interactions.

Header image: ©Whiskay.com


IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

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