Did you know branding and packaging design can impact everything from revenue to brand reputation? The unboxing experience has a massive impact on how customers view your brand and products. Packaging psychology can generate excitement and joy, but it can also lead to frustration and disappointment.
How does packaging influence the consumer experience? What benefits can businesses gain by investing in more creative packaging designs?
The Excitement of Packaging Psychology
At first glance, packaging might not seem like a big deal. After all, the important part is what's inside the box. However, packaging can have a monumental impact on the customer experience. It can even shape how they perceive a brand.
Surveys show 84% of consumers agree or strongly agree packaging design impacts product selection. In fact, it can even spark excitement about an item. This is especially true if you have a distinct brand identity in your packaging design.
Apple is a great example — it always uses simple, high-quality white boxes for its items. Customers know when they see the premium box that an equally premium device is waiting inside, carefully wrapped in protective foam.
When a consumer sees and feels your product's packaging, many factors can build a positive brand perception. For example, someone opening a new Macbook feels how high-quality the sturdy box is first. When they slide the lid off, interior details also subconsciously tell them they have a premium device. Clean wrapping and precisely placed screen protectors show Apple put time and thought into every detail.
The packaging acts as a psychological handshake. It greets the buyer by subconsciously indicating your values. However, this handshake can backfire if you don't give it enough thought and attention. A frustrating unboxing can leave a customer in a sour mood by the time they get your product out of the packaging. This results in more negative emotions associated with your brand.
The Phenomenon of Unboxing Videos
Unboxing videos are a perfect example of the fascinating impact of packaging design on customer psychology. The concept is simple — the host opens a new product, explains what's inside and shares their opinion on it. They’ve exploded in popularity over the past several years, receiving 20 billion views on YouTube in 2021 alone.
Psychologist Dr. Pamela Rutledge explained the psychology driving the popularity of these videos. In a recent interview, she commented, "The reward neurotransmitters are triggered in the anticipation of finding the answer, not in finding the answer itself. This process keeps us engaged throughout the unveiling."
This highlights a vital connection for businesses. Customers enjoy the process of opening something new. Regardless of what's inside, the discovery aspect of unboxing something is a huge part of the consumer experience.
Why should enterprises consider improving their branding and packaging designs? Some may assume customers are most excited about the product itself. However, packaging quality is critical for success, especially in the age of e-commerce. Spending a little more time and money developing a high-quality unboxing comes with many benefits.
Elevated Brand Perception
Not only does excellent packaging improve the customer journey — it also enhances their perception of your brand. Luxury packaging can elevate brand perception by showing buyers a company puts significant thought into every detail.
To demonstrate this, compare Apple with a generic laptop retailer that uses plain cardboard boxes. Even if the generic laptop performs just as well as a Macbook, customers will likely have a more positive perception of Apple's brand.
Apple's packaging uses a unique brand font and customized boxes. It shows the consumer they didn't settle for the easiest option — the brand went the extra mile so they could have a better experience.
Brand perception is about more than just conveying product quality, too. It shows your values in a detailed, creative way. For example, a company that sells art supplies might use colorful, abstract designs paired with a fun quote on their packaging. That level of detail also elevates the brand’s perception, in the same way Apple’s sophisticated minimalist design appeals to their buyers.
Building a Positive Brand Reputation
High-quality packaging design also impacts an enterprise’s reputation. If customers have a hard time opening a package, they may complain about it online or to their friends. This creates a bad association for the brand that doesn't necessarily reflect the quality of their product. Over time, a poor reputation can decrease revenue and drive customers away.
On the other hand, an effortless unboxing supports positive assumptions. Unfortunately, customers are more likely to complain about bad packaging than praise good packaging, but user-friendliness is still important. It helps build up a positive impression of your organization.
Customers might not mention how nice your packaging is, but they definitely will recommend you to their friends. As a result, you’ll develop a positive reputation, regardless of the unique emotions connected to individual perceptions of your brand.
Conveying Brand Values
Packaging serves as a vital link between your brand and your consumers. It's a fantastic opportunity to cement your values and ethos.
Patagonia's packaging for their baselayer line of clothing comes in simple yet unique hexagonal capsules. The boxes aren't particularly elaborate, but they do illustrate one of Patagonia's core brand values — sustainability. The cardboard is recyclable and made from recycled materials.
Sustainability is one of the leading values influencing consumer behavior today. You can use environmentally friendly packaging designs to reduce your brand's waste and show customers you care about the planet.
The same methodology applies to any brand value you want to convey. Use your packaging as a platform for connecting with your customers. You can even include fun features like stickers, social media hashtags or interactive QR codes.
Building a Brand Identity in the Age of E-Commerce
Another important aspect of packaging today is its role in e-commerce. Online shopping has exploded in popularity over the past several years, becoming the preferred method for many. For example, surveys show 63% of people prefer online-only retailers for holiday shopping as of 2023.
With online shopping, a buyer's first physical interaction with your products is the packaging. It becomes their first impression of what your brand is all about. After all, anyone can make a nice website. High-quality packaging shows your customers you're the real deal.
In e-commerce, the packaging fills the void of the brick-and-mortar consumer experience. Where customers used to feel anticipation while exploring a physical store, they now only get that when opening a box. Packaging has always been important, but e-commerce emphasizes its role in the customer journey.
Transforming the Consumer Experience with Packaging
Your products' packaging is a vital link between your brand and your customers. The unboxing process can generate positive emotions like excitement and anticipation. By investing in creative branding and packaging design, you can design a more engaging, unique moment for your buyers.
Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized. She regularly covers trends in the industrial sector.