As an online business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting so caught up with internal systems and processes that you forget all about the customer who set those wheels in motion in the first place. Your livelihood depends on customer loyalty, so it’s important to create value for them every step of the way. A great way to do this is through your product delivery experience.
Product delivery is an important touchpoint in the overall customer experience. The customer experience is from the moment a customer stumbles upon your product and makes a purchase online, all the way up until that product is delivered to their door. It also includes the unboxing experience: the moment they open the product’s packaging, their thoughts, feelings, first impressions, and how they use it. You have the ability to control every element of that brand experience to make it an unforgettable one.
A positive and well-designed delivery experience will improve customer retention and do wonders for your marketing, which in turn will help to increase sales. And what better way to entice your customers to share your products online than with a beautiful and thoughtfully put together delivery experience?
The Power of Visual Storytelling
Products are visual things. There will almost always be some element of aesthetics for your buyers. And there’s no reason why this shouldn’t extend to your whole delivery and unboxing experience. Chances are that if someone purchases your product, they will probably share this unboxing experience with hundreds or even thousands of potential customers. So, you want to ensure that it’s a good one.
Social media is radically changing the way we shop: platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram speak profoundly to customer aspirations. They heavily influence users’ buying decisions with inspirational, highly visual products. In fact, 72% of users said that they made fashion, beauty or style-related purchases after seeing the product on Instagram and a staggering 90% of Pinterest users divulged that the platform influences their purchasing behaviour.
But this boils down to more than just pretty packaging: it’s a lifestyle choice. The power of visual communication is that it promotes a certain lifestyle and a set of values which speak to a particular audience. This compels them to invest in your brand, both financially and emotionally. By punching in their credit card number, they’re joining a ‘tribe’ of like-minded individuals–an exclusive group of people just like them all over the world, with the same opinions, attitudes, interests and aspirations. A group of people who ultimately benefit from and promote your brand’s value proposition. In a social media-savvy world, every brand needs to become a lifestyle brand.
Creating an Unforgettable Delivery Experience
Attention to detail shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s often the little touches that form the cornerstones of an unforgettable unboxing experience. From personalisation, to a hand-written note, to an unexpected and pleasant surprise in the box, tiny details have the power to present additional value for the customer and leave a lasting impression. But unfortunately, this can be either good or bad.
A disappointing delivery and unboxing experience has the potential to dissuade customers from purchasing from you again. It could also damage your brand’s reputation because if one customer is unhappy, others are bound to be too.
Last year, I bought a Woodwick candle online as a birthday present for a family member. But when the package arrived, the candle was smashed, and a replacement candle wouldn’t arrive in time. I spoke to other customers who had experienced the same thing multiple times, and it really put me off buying from them again. The problem might have been to do with Woodwick’s delivery partner and couriers not handling the packages properly, but it created unnecessary hassle and a disappointing experience for me as a customer. (I haven’t bought from them since.) Woodwick will also undoubtedly have lost money from damaged stock. So, the experience really highlights the importance of considering every aspect of the delivery process, from couriers to correct packaging. Ultimately, a bad delivery experience can negatively impact your customers and your company’s revenues.
How do you turn a bad experience into a good one?
A bad delivery and unboxing experience also presents an opportunity for improvement and refinement. Valuable feedback from customers, whether positive or negative, allows you to streamline your online delivery experience to better meet their needs.
So, what makes a great unboxing experience?
Nothing can be as underwhelming as opening an ugly, boring package, or receiving a damaged product. Here are some examples of great unboxing experiences which wowed us:
Case Study: Cornerstone
Cornerstone is a shaving subscription service, offering high-quality products on a flexible basis. It’s a lovely, slick brand which extends to their product packaging. It’s thoughtfully designed, good quality packaging, which has been nicely branded. The products fit snuggly into the cardboard cut-outs so they don’t get damaged during delivery. The addition of a men’s grooming magazine provides additional value for the customer, whilst promoting lifestyle and culture. And nice, good quality tissue adds an element of tactility and luxury— opening it felt like an experience. Andy described it as feeling like opening a present you’ve bought for yourself. Simply put, a great unboxing experience should feel like a treat, not a chore.
Case Study: Fox & Star
A stationery geek at heart, I decided to treat myself to a new monthly planner and stumbled across Fox & Star, a stylish and affordable stationery brand with an emphasis on beautiful, well-designed products. The outer packaging itself was substantial and good-quality, so I knew I would be in for a treat. There was a lovely, elegantly branded little card attached to my journal with Fox & Star washi tape. On the reverse side was a hand-written thank you note with my name and ‘Happy Planning’, which I immediately shared on Instagram stories.
It’s thoughtful details like these that create a great experience. A brilliant unboxing experience triggers an emotional response, and happy customers who will want to share their experience online with their audience. Personalisation goes a long way!
Case Study: Spex Pistols
If you’re looking to buy a new pair of specs or sunglasses in Dundee, you can do no better than Spex Pistols, a local optical boutique specialising in unique and vintage frames. The packaging has a lovely, vintage feel to it and the branding is really nicely displayed throughout. There was even a bar of Spex Pistols chocolate to enjoy! Fun and novelty aspects to product packaging and delivery can make for a refreshing and entertaining unboxing experience, and one which we really wanted to share.
The Main Takeaway
As well as improving sales and customer retention, a well-designed delivery experience will strengthen your brand by creating a flawless and unforgettable brand experience at every step of the customer journey. Pleasant surprises can trigger deep emotional responses, customer loyalty and will ultimately provide additional value to customers. Plus, if you go the extra mile for your customers, they will do your marketing for you!