The importance of unboxing

Hint: it’s so much more than just a box.

Image of a box being opened

When it comes to the unboxing journey, most people’s reaction is, “How complicated can it be?! The customer gets a package, opens the package, opens the product, uses the product and the journey ends.” Take a quick look at the numbers, however. 72% of consumers base their purchasing decisions on design.1 Furthermore, almost 50% of customers believe that gift-like packaging makes a product seem more upscale.2 This data proves that the unboxing journey is so much more than just opening a box. 

Unboxing is about creating, perfecting and inspiring an emotional response between a client and brand. Even more, the success of that response determines whether or not that company loses or gains a customer for life. However, what is the unboxing journey?


  • Introduction

    Step one, the introduction, is when the client receives and opens the package. It represents their first interaction with the brand and sets the tone for everything that follows.

  • Discovery

    Next comes the discovery period. Here the consumer is spending time with the product. They're opening accessory boxes, envelopes filled with brand books and getting familiar with their new purchase. The discovery period is the big reveal and is an opportunity to use branding to confirm and support the feelings experienced when first opening the package.

  • Connection

    The final phase is about connection. The customer has taken in the different brand elements presented to them throughout the exterior and interior packaging and sees a reflection of their lifestyle and aspirations. An emotional link now exists, and they identify with the brand. 

Imagine what that journey would look like without taking the opportunity to capitalize on the packaging. The consumer receives the package in a plain cardboard box. They open the box and take out the product, which is also in an unbranded box. The customer is happy to receive the item they ordered, but this is where their emotions end. They have not learned anything new about the brand and are not curious to know more. They open their purchase and go on with their day. To be clear, this is an acceptable way to deliver consumables. However, it doesn’t excite, it doesn’t inspire, and it won’t increase brand awareness. Simply put, unbranded packaging is a missed opportunity to deliver an unforgettable experience.

Still unsure?

Consider that 40% of shoppers will post an image of their purchase if it includes branded packaging.3 Like it or not, today’s world is all about sharing. That’s the purpose of social media — it’s a way for people to inform others about their experiences, recommendations, likes and dislikes. Investing in branded packaging gives customers something to share. More than 90,000 people search YouTube for “unboxing” videos each month. That’s 90,000 people that could be watching a clip of someone unboxing a client’s products. Recently Nashville restaurateur Amanda Frederickson shared her love for United Sodas of America’s packaging on her Instagram stories. That packaging happened to be the work of Veritiv’s in-house design team, Vine. With that 10-second story, Vine and United Sodas of America were now on the radar of each of Frederickson’s 101,000 followers. In other words, they had instant reach to 101,000 potential customers. 

All this is to say that perfecting the unboxing journey is key to a company’s staying power. The numbers don’t lie. Cultivating a dedicated unboxing experience through branded packaging opens the door to long-term growth, raises the perceived value of a product and leads to increased brand exposure and customer acquisition. 


1  Niv, G., & Harris, D. (2018, May 2) Most Americans Say That the Design Of A Product’s Packaging Often Influences Their Purchase Decisions. Ipsos.
2  Dotcom Distribution. (2016). Driving Customer Loyalty With Fast Delivery and Quality Packaging.
3  Dotcom Distribution (2015) Unwrapping the Customer Experience.