A lot has changed in the world of retail over the past 10 years. eCommerce has slashed footfall to brick and mortar retail stores and boosted online shopping to a dramatic level. But have retail marketing directors responded to this shift as well as they should have?


We are seeing many smaller online boutiques and start-ups grabbing more and more market share because they are delivering more than just the average. So, let’s work through why and how eCommerce packaging makes such a big impact.


What has Changed in the Marketing Mix?


In a brick and mortar route to market we see the importance in the physical touch points of the sale. The bright eye-catching store fronts. The well laid out shopping experience. The products laid out so customers can feel the product quality. The mood and feel of the in-store experience. It’s a tangible experience that draws a customer into the aura of the brand.

This can be replicated somewhat with an online shopping experience. We can use language that engages the customer. We can use colours and images that portray the brand theme. But the difference is it is all digital. There’s nothing tangible about the sale. It’s all just a picture on a screen.

So, what is the first tangible touch point of an online sale? It’s the delivery of the products themselves. It’s the moment the customer opens the parcel and touches their new items for the first time. In short, it’s the unboxing experience.


What is an eCommerce Unboxing Experience?


An eCommerce unboxing experience is the experience that you give your customer when they open their parcel and unpack their new purchase. Think about an in-store experience, you have colours and textures and smells creating a buying experience that the customer remembers. The unboxing experience needs to create that same involvement. It’s your only chance to provide that vital tangible memory that creates followers and ambassadors for your brand.

WOW Unboxing - Give Your Online Store the Edge

How to Make your Unboxing Experience Memorable


Let’s go over the steps to creating an unboxing experience that replaces the tangible in-store experience. There are 4 key areas that your eCommerce packaging needs to cover in order to make your unboxing experience memorable, they are:

    1. It needs to engage emotions.
    2. It needs to look good.
    3. It needs to feel special.
    4. It needs to smell unique.

If you just do one thing from each of these areas your online deliveries will stand out from the rest and give your customers the urge to share the experience with their friends.


Engaging Emotions


Engaging a person’s emotions can be as simple as writing them a thank you message. Just a short hand-written message can show a customer how grateful you are. Choose your words carefully and make sure you use a tone that fits in with your brand. For example, a children’s store would be bright and cheerful, a premium brand would be professional and polite, and a music store could use shortened words and slang.


Here’s a few ideas of where you can write your message:

    • A post card or message card that you can put in the top of your parcel.
    • Tie on tags but with a message not a price tag!
    • Use message printed labels to secure the wrapping paper.
    • **Ultimate Option** Print your message on the inside of the lid of your boxes.


Making your eCommerce Packaging Look Good


Just like a high street store your packaging needs to look good. Imagine a plain brown store front with a brown carpet, brown walls, and brown ceiling and no branding anywhere. You’d hardly get anyone stepping through the door let alone coming back time and time again. So why deliver in a plain brown cardboard box? Brighten your packaging up with printing and white finish, or an interesting design. Here’s a few ideas:

    • Print your logo in your brand colours to brighten up your parcels and make them look professional.
    • **Ultimate Tip** Use an Incognito® style eCommerce box that are printed on the inside for the best WOW factor unboxing experience.
    • Wrap your products in printed or coloured tissue paper.
    • Do away with packing tape by using boxes with a peel & seal closure and tear opening strip to make your parcels look clean and tidy.


Creating ‘Feels Good’ eCommerce Packaging


Making your packaging feel like your brand can be quite tricky without spending a little bit more. After all premium quality packaging almost always costs more, but here’s a few ideas anyway:

    • Matt kraft finishes are coming back into fashion and are often a more attractive choice over standard white. Choose a kraft finish on both sides for a premium feel to your packaging.
    • Advertise the environmentally friendly aspect of your packaging, cardboard has a high recycled content and is bio-degradable as well as recyclable so very eco-friendly!
    • **Ultimate Option** Coated and textured board makes a fabulous WOW factor for eCommerce deliveries but be prepared for this to cost a fair bit more!


eCommerce Packaging that Smells Good


This tip is one that is rarely thought about but has such a massive impact. We’ve all walked into a boutique store and noticed their distinctive smell. Take this dimension to your online customers too with a squirt of perfume onto the inside of the box or include a perfume card of your own branded perfume. Don’t leave it to the smell of cardboard, everyone’s packaging smells like that!




We think eCommerce packaging is behind the times. It’s a much more vital part of the marketing mix than we realise and we see more and more stores improving it to make themselves different from their competitors. Postal packaging has changed roles from a means of protecting products from bumps and bashes to becoming integrated into the marketing mix.