Online sales are expected to exceed $500 billion this year for the first time. What might be surprising is how one key component of the fulfillment experience  - the packout (the unboxing experience) - can turn a first-time online customer into a repeat patron and in some cases a brand advocate. Here is how you can leverage the packout to create a memorable experience for your customers that will grow your business - without breaking the bank.

1. Define you your brand goals

When designing the packout, it’s important to assess your goals. How can you best present your customer’s order once they open their package?  Be sure to establish priorities based on your brand’s values and customers’ interests. First, make sure your packout is secure with minimal to zero possibility for damage. Next, make sure you convey your brand’s essence. For example, health and beauty or fashion brands should focus on the aesthetic appeal of their package so customers have a pleasurable unboxing experience. What kind of internal “sizzle” can you add to excite your customers?

Each brand component adds aesthetic value to your unboxing experience, which will make the encounter more engaging, increasing the likelihood that customers share their excitement. For example, Dotcom Distribution’s 2017 eCommerce Study discovered that adding branded inserts creates a more upscale perception among consumers.

2. Reduce time

As you’re building your fulfillment experience, you’ll need to also factor in TIME. Reducing the time needed to create your packout can help to control overall fulfillment costs. Perform time studies on how different processes and materials affect overall fulfillment speed to determine the best packout procedure for your brands.

If you outsource your fulfillment responsibilities to a third party logistics (3PL) company, you’ll most likely be charged “per touch” when it comes to your packout. Determine what are must-have components? How many inserts does each package need? Is there any way to consolidate but still keep your brand experience?  Furthermore, reducing the unique touches in your packout process can help expedite this part of the fulfillment process. Establishing clear brand packout guidelines with your 3PL is crucial.

3. Source cost-friendly materials

Even though fulfillment and shipping are sometimes the largest cost factors for online businesses, there are still ways to make sure your packout is cost-efficient and doesn’t negatively impact your overall margins. For example, when purchasing materials such as tissue paper, buy in bulk to get the best price points. Instead of using branded tape to seal packages, use generic adhesive. Opt for a smaller branded stickers as brand identifiers. Do all your orders have to be shipped in cardboard shipping containers? If you’re selling flat-pack apparel, using polybags could be another option for you.   

As an online brand looking to succeed in 2018, tweaking your eCommerce strategy is a must. Those that incorporate the fulfillment tips above can expect to see big returns in 2018!

For more insight on creating the perfect unboxing experience, download our tip sheet.