Unwrapping gifts is one of life’s simple pleasures.

The practice of using paper to cover and disguise presents dates back to ancient China, in around 2BC, where it is said monetary gifts were wrapped and given to government officials by the Chinese court.

We doubt these gift wrap pioneers considered for one moment the unwrapping and unboxing of items from toys to tech, cosmetics to culinary treats would become a global obsession.

The YouTube unboxing phenomenon, where huge audiences while away hours watching influencers open, undo and unwrap all manner of products, remains hugely popular; in fact 90,000 people still search ‘unboxing’ on the platform every month.

This trend has gathered such pace, brands and retailers have sat up, taken notice and reacted as the unadulterated joy experienced when opening a new purchase is something to be harnessed and maximised upon.

Unboxing as a concept is fast becoming as important a part of a customer’s purchasing experience as the sale itself.

It connects with one’s inner child, excitement building as each delicious layer is peeled back to reveal the goods inside – the more desirable the contents of the package to the unwrapper, the greater the anticipation.

Making the most of the opportunity to delight customers at this stage of their purchasing journey is vital; unique, attractive and, most importantly, carefully branded outer packaging help make an impactive, lasting impression.

Once opened, the layout and presentation inside the box should be equally pleasing, seamlessly continuing the brand’s message and ethos while resonating with the customer.

Sustainability is of huge importance to today’s customer too, so packaging should be noticeably recyclable or, at the very least, reusable.

Additional information on or inside the parcel can be included to prove thought has been given to the origins of the materials used and how they can be put to use again.

Personalisation of the unboxing process, while often easier for smaller businesses to give time and resources to, can also be achieved by larger brands by including a little something extra from samples to postcards, discount vouchers or brochures.

Examples of brands smashing the unboxing phenomenon include tech giants like Samsung and Apple and cosmetic companies such as Glossier and LookFantastic, not to mention the countless independents who pour their heart and soul into beautifully packaging up the goods they sell on Etsy or Not On The High Street.

Get it right and a positive unboxing experience will not only cement the tone of your brand, but also encourage repeat purchase and build customer loyalty.

The next vital step in this process is slick, accessible onboarding.

In order to fully immerse customers in your product, and indeed your brand, it is of utmost importance they know exactly how to get the best from their purchase.

Physical retail affords this experience in-store, as shoppers can be taken through demonstrations and setup required with a product expert at the time of purchase or collection on the shop floor, giving them a chance to ask questions and immediately get to grips with their new buy.

This concept easily transitions to online, the need for which obviously increased significantly during the numerous lockdowns experienced globally in the past 18 months.

Post-pandemic though, virtual onboarding will continue to grow in popularity.

Convenient and cost-effective, providing online shoppers with the opportunity to engage in a tutorial to setup and learn exactly what their new product can do, equips them with the knowledge they need and leaves a fantastic impression of the brand itself.

Not only that, but once a customer feels confident and empowered to properly use their new purchase, there is a greatly reduced chance of the product being returned.

Onboarding can take on many forms in multichannel formats.

For our client Sage Appliances, we provide a selection of opportunities both in-store and online to educate and enable customers to get exactly what they want from their chosen product.

One-to-one product demonstrations are available for those still on their purchasing journey, which can be followed, once a sale has been made, with a setup tutorial to ensure the customer is fully up to speed with their appliance and ready to get started at home.

These sessions are free and bookable online through Eventbrite, with many options of days and times to choose from.

For those wishing to expand their knowledge and become experts in their own right, masterclasses are also available, hosted by experienced product ambassadors and coffee roasters, live and on-demand from their own kitchens, coffee shops and, later this year, bespoke studios which will become the backdrop for much of Sage’s broadcasted content.

The sessions are delivered in a multitude of languages and are attended by global audiences.

Many other brands are leaping aboard the onboarding train and bringing wonderfully creative, informative content to their customers – Peloton’s virtual demo tells the story of the bicycle’s origin and quickly moves you through the benefits of Peleton and how it can fit perfectly into your life.

Nike demos its free-running shoe and shares details on how the trainers are engineered to complement each runner’s movement, while IKEA’s video explains how their innovative AR app works, helping shoppers match furniture and textiles to their homes without leaving their existing sofas.

However you paint it, content aimed at educating and arming your audience with useful information, tips and tricks to seamlessly integrate products into their lives can only be a positive move.

Smart brands are increasingly adopting this style of engagement with their customers in order to build relationships, gain trust and grow brand love.

Coupled with a unique, delightful unboxing experience that leaves shoppers a little giddy and keen to share, both tools provide the perfect recipe for brand success.


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