First impressions really do count.

To succeed in today’s increasingly competitive environment, a business must do more than offer a great product. Through careful and creative presentation, a box’s contents can wow consumers, creating a pleasurable experience they won’t soon forget. Perfecting the ritual of unboxing is a surefire way to enhance a product, highlight a brand and create customer engagement.

Packaging strategies have reached a new level. With online shopping replacing traditional brick and mortar shops, it is essential to attract new clients and retain existing ones by developing an exciting branded experience that uses uniquely designed shipping boxes and carefully selected packaging materials. The sharing of unboxing experiences on social media has become a global phenomenon, creating a marketing opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored.

So, how does one perfect the unboxing experience? Check out our tips below on creative ways to think inside the box!

Create a scrumptious box: Flawless packaging must offer a tactile and optical experience that peaks curiosity and builds delight. Using colors that pop is a great way to showcase a brand or logo. A minimalist design will also help reduce costs and prevent the box from looking cheap. There’s a difference between intricate and visually-overwhelming designs, so it’s important to balance flair and subtlety by choosing the right patterns and avoiding the use of multiple fonts. In general, using no more than two kinds of font is ideal. Printing inside the actual packaging is another fantastic way to set the scene. A box’s finish should also reflect the product line. Is the packaging natural and homemade or sleek and modern? Oftentimes, less is more, but that doesn’t mean things should be boring!

Ideal innards: Evoking the senses for “The Reveal” is crucial. Opening the box should be like opening a display case, invoking a sense of clarity and order. The last thing customers want to see is a confusing mess. Separation barriers and fill material can be made from folded corrugated cardboard, crinkled or balled up packaging paper and custom foam inserts. Product can even be wrapped with Kraft paper or custom printed tissue, which will not only offer added protection but also convey the warmth of a personal touch. Vellum sheets, twine or stickers can also be added as last, finishing touches. The list of possibilities is nearly endless, but when it comes to materials, it is good to remember that excess and wastefulness are rarely a good selling feature.

Extra goodies: Surprising customers with product samples or unexpected gifts not only delights them but is also a fabulous way to cross-sell other product lines. Adding a few extras to product packaging doesn’t have to break the bank and the outcome will pay off big time.

Packaging inserts with pizzazz: Including an insert when mailing out a package is an easy, low-cost way to increase revenue and ensure customer loyalty. Forbes Entrepreneurs states that “the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while it falls to just 5-20% for new prospects.” Creating tempting, highly-targeted inserts such as discount offers, free shipping, free upgrades or promo codes will heighten the client’s experience and create an unparalleled degree of satisfaction. One can even go a step further by offering a personalized discount on a customer’s wish list item.

Sending a little love <3: Lastly, adding a personalized note on quality stationary will produce a connection that large-scale companies simply cannot offer. Writing the customer’s name, expressing gratitude, mentioning specific details, insinuating future interactions and polishing the whole thing off with a real signature is a simple and thoughtful way to build loyalty.

Word on the street: What’s the buzz on packaging for 2019? Some exciting trends are unfolding for next year, such as scented and self-heating food packaging, as well as exciting interactive unboxing experiences conducted by Alexa. The buzz is also big on trends in environmentally friendly packaging; specifically, second life packaging, which, after unboxing, will serve other purposes in a consumer’s home.