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Dan Haney

Amp Up the Unboxing Experience

The daily trek to the mailbox has evolved over the last few years, courtesy of the world wide web. Walks filled with anticipation to check for college acceptance letters have since been replaced with anxious moments sitting in front of a computer screen. Rummaging through a stack of mail to discover a letter from a friend has been swapped with the immediate access to countless snapchats. Today’s mailbox is seemingly reserved for piles of junk mail, bills and, if you’re lucky, the occasional wedding invitation.

Along with the emergence of the internet, e-commerce has been rapidly growing over the years, and a new life is being brought back to the box at the end of the driveway. As with the internet, online retailers are no longer satisfied with their product being delivered in a simple brown box making the unboxing experience a marketing tool of its own.

The unboxing experience is the act of removing a product from its packaging to engage the customer in a task that reinforces the brand message. According to senior structural designer at Haney, Jill Hartke, “The most important aspects of the unboxing experience are ease-of-access and product reveal. The consumer is more likely to have a better perception of the product and brand if they have a positive opening experience. “

A great unboxing experience for ecommerce applications can boost content marketing efforts, drive social engagement, increase sales, and improve the way a customer feels about a product. CEO of Dotcom Distribution, Maria Haggerty, notes, “The experience goes beyond the online order to when the customer actually opens the beautifully wrapped package and shares that experience across social networks. That act of online and social recommendations drives loyalty from your customers and promotes brand awareness.” According to Google, 1.6 million videos on YouTube are devoted to the unboxing experience. 62% of those viewers have purchase intent and are scoping out products.

The big question: What goes into creating a one-of-a-kind unboxing experience?

There are many elements that can be mixed and matched to create a well-designed branded packaging and unboxing experience. Strategically choosing the right elements can go a long way in creating a memorable experience for your customers.

Here are a few examples of an amped-up unboxing experience:


Graze, the UK-based snack company, is crafting snacks to get excited about, with one-of-a kind flavors and wholesome ingredients. Online shoppers can create a custom snack profile to receive personalized graze boxes each week.

The simple brown box used by Graze is branded with the company’s name. The effortlessness of the box goes along with the company message of simplicity in their ingredients.

Upon opening the box, consumers are greeted with a colorfully printed image along with perfectly stacked snacks. Each snack box is nestled into its own compartment, attractively presented with the added bonus of keeping the snacks in place during shipping.

In order to optimize real estate on the inside of the box, Graze placed a promotion flyer in each box. This delivers a quick outline of the company before moving on to promotional materials.

For a great unboxing experience, brands must consider how its boxes are made in addition to how they look. According to Graze.com, “It would be impossible for us to mail you delicious graze snacks without some type of packaging!” The unique snack company isn’t settling for just any box, but is driving home their message of wholesome ingredients and sustainability. Graze utilized Kraftpak®, a sustainable paper material provided by Haney VIA Alliance™ partner, KapStone.

“The Kraftpak® material is very strong while using as little material as possible.” The website goes on reading, “Despite being thin, our boxes are able to withstand plenty of travel to keep your snacks safe. We are also very proud to use materials from sustainable forests!”

Opening this box is not only a delight to the eyes, but is also an act mindful of the environment.


When talking about personalization and the unboxing experience, it is nearly impossible not to mention Coca-Cola® and its utilization of the HP Indigo WS6000 series Digital Press and variable data printing. By adding popular names, nicknames and terms of affection to customized Coca-Cola® products the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign is making meaningful connections with its consumers.

Speaking with HP Indigo, Scott Biondich of Coca-Cola North America says, “‘Share a Coke’ would not be possible without digital printing, and it gave Coca-Cola® the unique ability to engage in one-to-one communication with customers.”

Consumers can go online to create their own personalized Coke bottle, but Coke is taking tailormade a step further with its unboxing experience. As soon as a customer opens their mailbox, they know their personalized bottle has arrived. The bright Coca-Cola® Red box is the first step in getting the consumer amped up for the bottles reveal.

“The best designed packages are so well thought out that the customer shouldn’t even think about it at first; If they are thinking about it, it’s usually because it’s finicky or cumbersome, or just plain annoying.” Says Hartke, “You want to showcase the product, not detract from it.” This is exactly what Coke does with their easy to open box, with simple inserts to perfectly display your custom bottle.

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club is making its mark in the world of men’s grooming, with quality razors that won’t break the bank. While the company boasts that its “blades are f***ing great,” it is their packaging that sets them apart in the world of e-commerce.

To package the razor blades, Dollar Shave Club utilizes the natural Kraftpak® paper from KapStone which provides a sturdy, sustainable shipper and the perfect backdrop for amusing notes from The Chairman.

The natural Kraftpak® paper provides for a manly, rugged and simple look coinciding with the brand aesthetic. Although the unboxing experience itself isn’t overly complicated, simplicity seems to be the key with more than 10 thousand YouTube videos focus on the witty packaging.

An impression can be made on a consumer by strategically placed experiences reinforcing one’s brand identity. Creating a memorable experience that leaves your customers delighted and wanting to share your product can help build your brand, giving it the competitive edge for repeat business and attracting new customers. According to Rob Repta of Design Packaging Inc., “The branded experiences of online purchases begin online, and end in final brand experiences provided by the unboxing process.” E-commerce packaging should convey the same brand messaging experience as delivered in the brick-and-mortar stores.

Contact Haney at hello@haneypkg.com to learn how to build an unboxing experience. Ask how its VIA alliance ™ material and technologies library can help set your brand apart.

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