How Online Shops Can Benefit from Great Unboxing Experiences

Having a memorable unboxing experience for your products can help bring your brand to the next level. Whether or not you create marketing content based around it, giving customers a good unboxing experience will communicate something about your brand. Let’s look at how online shops can benefit from a good unboxing experience.

Table of contents:

The importance of an unboxing experience

When you hear the word “unboxing”, you’re probably imagining a YouTube video. Although we will talk about content creation, it’s important to think of unboxing as an experience that every customer has when they buy your products. In other words, the unboxing experience is not just the recorded versions that we find on social media, it’s every single customer that opens your packages.

The popular YouTube videos certainly help create social proof and (hopefully) bring positive attention to your brand, but the user experience should be at the core of this topic.

A good unboxing experience fits into your brand values. It should speak to your target audience in a way that communicates your dedication to your products and your understanding of the niche.

The tech sector is one example of an industry that wants to make the unboxing process part of the customer journey. If we look at smartphones specifically, they are products that are at the cutting edge when it comes to technology. Because this product is made for the masses, there are many factors that contribute to a smartphone brand’s image. Go into any tech forum and people will talk about so many things:

  • The style of the phone
  • Camera quality and specs
  • Size
  • Screen Refresh rate
  • Gaming ability
  • …and much more

The point is that every few months, there is a new feature that will soon by implemented by their competitors. With the high prices that consumers pay for smartphones, it’s important that their first interaction with the product gives them positive feelings.

Some phrases that should come to consumers’ minds when they go through the unboxing:

  • Clean packaging
  • Smooth design
  • Premium product

By reinforcing these feelings, you’re creating a positive first impression with your brand and your products. When it comes to customer retention, these feelings can’t be undervalued.

man opening a box

Source: Shutterstock/Koldunov Alexey

Optimising the unboxing experience

There are a few things to keep in mind when rethinking your unboxing strategy.

Outside packaging

For starters, think about the outside packaging. Is there something you want to communicate here? It could be something as simple as your brand colours and your logo (that includes the packaging tape!).

If you run a subscription service, having some visual cues on the outside of your package creates excitement for what is inside. It can create suspense for people who might have to wait before they open their package (e.g. they received their package at work, but are waiting until they get home to open it). It creates a feeling similar to seeing Christmas presents sitting under the tree, waiting to be unwrapped.

In the example below, Stitch Fix is being reviewed by the YouTuber. Antonio Sanson. You can see the box has a distinct look. The user will know who the package is from right away, which is great for a subscription company. Monthly packages should be recognised by consumers at first sight. However, you can implement this idea into any company. Unique outside packaging creates an emotional connection to your brand and thus, helps improve brand loyalty.

youtube video of unboxing

Click on the image or the link below to open the YouTube video
(Source: Antonio Sanson)

Opening the box

Next, you should think about the very first thing the user sees when they open the box. Of course, depending on your product, there are a few directions you can go.

For many companies a single sheet of paper with the logo of the company might suffice.

However, if you have a more complex offer (or simply want to be more creative), you can do a bit more. If you sell food, add a recipe sheet or general instructions (this can even be printed on the inside of the box). The top flap could provide them instructions to share their experience (e.g. “Don’t forget to take pictures – share it on our social platforms by scanning this QR code”).

Sometimes, something as simple as a handwritten Thank-You card can sit on top of the items. Not everything needs to be a bright colourful display.

thank you note being written

Source: Shutterstock/

Getting inside the box

Now, we’re getting to the good stuff. Much like the culinary world, presentation counts when it comes to unboxing.

Try to lay your product out in a way that is pleasing to the eye. Depending on what’s inside (and how many items are included), try to make everything visible at first glance. If you’ve sent your customer t-shirts, consider rolling them up so that they are all visible rather than folding them so that only the top one is visible.

Generally speaking, be tidy. A clean layout also says something about your business. It shows thoughtfulness and structure.

package with a clean layout inside

Source: Shutterstock/mdbildes

Consider a small gift like a piece of candy or a free sample as well. These small details can be really impactful when it comes to your brand image.

With that in mind, there are a few things to avoid…

Pitfalls of unboxing

So, what is faux pas when it comes to boxes and packaging?

Too big of a box

Being sustainable has been a big topic in recent years. With regulations constantly changing, it’s important to know that customers hate unnecessarily big boxes.

We’ve talked about smartphones before. It’s worth noting that there have been trends towards minimalising packaging. Many smartphone providers don’t provide chargers or charging cables anymore in order to provide smaller packages, claiming sustainability as one of the reasons. This has received mixed feedback from consumers.

Amazon seems to have improved their practices, but they did inspire a negative trend on social media a few years back: People were sharing images of Amazon orders that arrived in gigantic boxes despite the contents inside being very small. Just because you sell in a marketplace, doesn’t mean you can’t provide a nicer user experience than your competitors.

In fact, offering a memorable unboxing experience could well inspire this customer to visit your website directly next time rather than heading to your marketplace shop.

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Foam peanuts

Speaking of sustainability, foam products are so 20th century. In all seriousness, avoid this whenever possible. Styrofoam can feel like a 1980's McDonald's, don’t you think?

The point is that it feels (and is) incredibly old-fashioned. If you really need some kind of filler, try using recycled, crumpled-up paper.

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Over-the-top boxes

Don’t try too hard when it comes to unboxing. When the topic was rather new and trending, many companies tried to make the coolest box possible. Some boxes included moving parts as customers open it. They were more reminiscent to a pop-up book than to packaging. Not only is this expensive, but these days, it comes across as over-the-top and unnecessary.

How to use unboxing videos to boost your marketing

Now that we know how the unboxing experience should feel to the customer, let’s talk about videos. After all, unboxing has become practically synonymous with reviews, at least in terms of video content. And good video content can certainly benefit your marketing efforts.

Online shopping brings many advantages to consumers. Besides shopping from home, users can do a lot of research before buying a product thanks to the internet. This research can include reading product pages, reading customer reviews, and in many cases, watching videos on YouTube or other platforms.

Side note: Customer reviews are also extremely important for building trust. Learn more about how the Google-certified reviews from Trusted Shops can benefit your business: Trusted Shops Customer Reviews

Therefore, you have a few options to promote your unboxing experience alongside your products.

Create your own videos

First of all, you can create an unboxing video for your company. Post it on your website, particularly if you are a subscription-based company. It will give users an idea of what the user experience is like, which is useful to the customer if they’re going to be getting frequent packages from you. If your website sells a single item, place the video on your homepage. Otherwise, it could make more sense to place directly on the product page.

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If you create a unique unboxing experience, push it on social media. As usual, you can do organic posts as well as paid posts. People love unboxing things. There is something oddly satisfying about it, so it might be worth testing as an ad on a platform like Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok.

If you’re publishing your videos on YouTube, make sure to use YouTube SEO strategies.

Content creators

When content creators (aka YouTubers) create product-based unboxing content, this can be a great thing for the business being reviewed.

There are basically two ways this happens: organic (free) content or paid content.

When it comes to free content, some influencers are happy to provide your product with a review. Content creators are always looking for new ideas for videos to produce, so you might actually be doing them a favour. However, their decision to do it for free often depends on some things:

  • the personality of the influencer
  • the niche they work in
  • the number of followers they have
  • the quality and relevancy of your product(s)

Micro-influencers (accounts with more than 1,000 followers) are great creators to contact, particularly those who work within your niche. You can try simply sending them a free package with a note explaining what you’d like them to do.

Keep in mind that if they do it for free, they will most likely be brutally honest with your product.

When it comes to paid content, this can be done in a few ways. In short, you will need to reach out to the content creator and arrange some kind of deal. If they create long-form content (e.g. a podcast), they may dedicate an entire segment to your products. They can do a number of things, but a quick unboxing is certainly on that list. For short form content, they might create a quick post or simply give you a quick “shoutout”. There are many possibilities here!

Of course, they can also create a dedicated video to your unboxing. In such cases, influencers may still have stipulations when it comes to the review, so make sure those things are clarified before any contracts are signed. There may be legal requirements as well (e.g. labelling the video as containing paid promotions) that you should be aware of.


The unboxing experience you give your customers can be a great tool for improving your brand image. By ensuring their first experience with your physical products is memorable, you can increase customer retention as well as drive new customers to your shop.

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Alon Eisenberg

Alon Eisenberg has been the Content Manager UK at Trusted Shops since 2017. He graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor's degree in Communications in 2004.

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