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Insights: Articles & Resources by Oliver Inc.


Delivering a Memorable Unboxing Experience

With the right blend of compelling decorative effects, smart marketing collateral, right-size packaging, and clever packaging design, you can create a memorable unboxing experience.

    4 minute read

The penultimate unboxing experience for people might resemble something akin to the joy exhibited by Roald Dahl’s protagonist Charlie Bucket in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” upon unwrapping a chocolate bar that includes the last Golden Ticket.

When it comes to printing and packaging today, generic boxes just don’t cut it anymore. Consumers are evaluating brands at every point of contact. Each interaction, including the unboxing experience, is a moment they will associate with your brand, who you are, and what you value. Sometimes you only get one shot.

However, by combining several key elements, you can create an engaging unboxing experience consumers will remember for a long time. Let’s look at a few of these.

Compelling Decorative Design Elements

A memorable unboxing experience begins with the overall visual cues on secondary packaging, and the emotions and thoughts conjured by these design elements. This centers around smart decorative effects.

Specialty Coatings & Laminates

Providing an additional layer of protection and durability, coatings and laminates open up compelling design possibilities. This is done by sealing a plastic film, usually polyester, nylon, or polypropylene, directly to a packaging substrate.

Protecting against scratches and abrasions, these reinforced materials hold consumers’ attention. Gloss coatings deliver extra shine, while matte finishes evoke elegance by mirroring light off the surface.

These coatings and laminates can be applied to an entire folding carton or a particular area, for amplified effect.

Foil Stamping

With a history dating back centuries, foil stamping has proliferated in packaging with recent technological advancements in die-cutting. In essence, it involves pressure-heating and applying foil to substrates. While it’s often metallic, foil stamping can involve all varieties of color.

Intended to catch the eye, the sheen of a foil stamped logo or attractive design element will likely remain in a consumer’s memory longer than the dull display of uncolored or unadorned paperboard. Due to its elegant look, foil stamping is common among luxury food brands and high-end health and beauty products.

Debossing & Embossing

Often used in tandem with foil stamping, debossing and embossing are employed to add dimension to packaging. These design cues can make a logo literally jump out of, or indent into, a substrate. This depth invites consumers to feel the packaging. The tactile time spent with packaging will create a greater anticipation and excitement as consumers unbox and finally get their hands on your product.

Decorative effect options are abundant, but the specific messaging you include with boxes can really strike the emotional chord with consumers.

Marketing Collateral Helps Leave a Lasting Impression

While consumers are unboxing your product, why not give them something branded that will linger with them longer? Whether it’s stickers, brochures, postcards, flyers, catalogs, or memorable images to display on their desks, marketing collateral remains alive and well.

Meant to spread awareness about your brand, marketing collateral has many benefits for the unboxing experience. When you give consumers something additionally tangible, there’s a high likelihood it will stick around in their life, whether it’s a brochure on a desk, sticker on a laptop, or small poster hanging on a bedroom wall.

Marketing collateral builds brand loyalty and delivers consumers one more delightful item to uncover during their unboxing experience. In your eagerness to fill cartons and boxes with marketing collateral goodies, be sure you don’t end up supersizing your packaging.

Right-Size Packaging Is Part of the Unboxing Experience

Increased shipping costs and a commitment to sustainability have strengthened the benefits of right-size packaging. While fulfilling the protective needs of products, right-size packaging is about using just enough materials to store and deliver items to consumers.

Excess packaging costs more to ship, because you essentially end up paying extra to send pockets of air. The unnecessary packaging material also runs counter to the sustainability principle of leaving minimal environmental impact.

As consumers continue to become more environmentally conscious, they look for brands that abide by right-size packaging ideals. If their unboxing experience involves removing unconscionable amounts of packaging material to get to your product, you can anticipate they’ll develop negative associations with your brand. It’s certainly better to be remembered for sustainability than for disregarding environmental impact.

Try to include just enough packaging material needed to protect your product and fit a smart amount of marketing collateral. Right-size packaging is important, but that shouldn’t preclude you from utilizing creative box or carton designs.

Trying Out Clever Packaging Designs

As you can imagine, the ways in which you can create memorable and innovative folding cartons is extensive. Here are just a few to get you started.

Consider integrating windows into your folding cartons so that consumers can sneak a peek at what they’re going to open. This is especially popular with electronics and health and beauty products.

Custom inserts that secure a product or display it in an attractive way may be a worthwhile inclusion, as well. It really centers the eyes on your product when unboxing it.

Tear strips make for easy opening. Plus, there’s something strangely satisfying about the sound and feel of an easy-tear strip. Consumers will remember that.

Incorporate QR codes and hashtags into the folding carton design. If the unboxing experience delights consumers enough, they’ll likely talk about it on social media. Give them a little nudge by including a hashtag and inviting them to share their story online. Or, employ QR codes directing them toward more immersive customer experiences online.

Ultimately, it’s about leaving a lasting impression that creates affinity with your brand. With the right blend of compelling decorative effects, smart marketing collateral, right-size packaging, and clever packaging design, you can create an unforgettable unboxing experience.

With more than 250 years of combined printing and packaging experience, Oliver helps brands deliver memorable unboxing experiences across a wide range of industries. Contact us today to learn more.

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