The work of building your own brand doesn’t stop when a customer clicks on the “Buy it Now ” button. Once a purchase has been made, there’s the business of getting your products to your customers safely and intact- while trying to exceed customer expectations. If done properly, your shipping experience can boost your brand’s image and create loyal customers who will buy from you again and again.

The importance of the unboxing experience has grown over the past couple of years – intentionally designing this aspect of the customer experience has become an integral part of establishing a memorable and sustainable brand.  Putting an emphasis on branded shipping materials can help your company capitalize on retaining current customers and optimizing its customer lifecycle.

Branding your packaging is especially important for online sellers – where premium packaging can be an important way to differentiate your brand and could encourage customer loyalty -> resulting in repeated purchases (think about the packaging of any Apple product). Offering branded premium packaging can also make the customer want to snap a photo of their purchase and share it on social media, which is basically free marketing for your business.

So with unboxing videos playing such a critical role in brand awareness and marketing, it’s easy to see why throwing your product in a plain box with a sticker and some bubble wrap may be somewhat detrimental.

Remember when you were a kid at Christmas time? The sheer excitement and anticipation that was bursting out of you as you were about to open your gifts.

Well now, as an adult, that anticipation and excitement is still there – the only difference is that we have some idea of what we’re going to get.

Here are a couple of key aspects that you have to take into consideration when it comes to branding your packaging:

First impressions matter – Stay On-Brand

Your branded experience shouldn’t end when the customer clicks on the “Buy it Now” button– it should be consistent all the way, meaning that you should select quality shipping materials and ensure that they are on-brand to create a well-designed experience for every customer.

Why? – because, when a customer receives a shipped package from your company, the very first thing that they will see is the box in which the product got shipped. You have to think about what will be the next thing that they see when they open the box? And the next? This unboxing process offers your company plenty of opportunities to deliver a memorable experience that solidifies the brand identity in the mind of the customer. Also, you can use this opportunity to catch the customer with a special offer within the box – free shipping with the next order, a coupon code, etc.

Let’s see what are the components of a branded shipping experience:

Creating an exceptional experience can inspire customers to share their unboxing experience with friends on social media. That’s why the order in which items are presented can be crucial.

The outer part of the packaging:

One important question that you should be asking when you are choosing your outer packaging is if your company’s shipping packaging should be branded or not. You have to bear in mind that not all boxes are created equal – if you ship products that require discretion, such as adult toys or high-end products, then an unbranded package is the way to go. For perishable products, like food, it can be important to mark the brand on the box so that the recipients of the package know immediately about the contents of the package.

If your products don’t fit in either of these categories, then you have to consider what is best for the company and the customer. Will custom printed boxes and packaging material enhance the unboxing experience? If so, it can result in an increase in the company’s profits.

A good example of product packaging is OnePlus. The colours that they use for their packaging are similar to the colours that they use on their website, increasing the effectiveness of their branding.

If you think that branding your packaging only works for online stores, take a look at the image below to see how packaging ties in with a retail store fit-out:

This dutch brand – Slopes and Town – uses the natural texture f their kraft product boxes to compliment the wooden textures of their brick and mortar store.

Custom printed boxes can be expensive, this is what deters small businesses from using them. If you don’t want to spend too much on custom packaging, then you can buy pre-designed non-branded colored boxes. These can be improved with a simple creative solution such as a stamp or branding sticker. If you are looking for a low-budget solution, then custom printed packaging tape can be a way to add branding elements to your shipping process.

The contents of the box

Once the customer opens the box you can take that moment to offer him something in addition to what was ordered. Here are a couple of ways to enhance the customer’s experience of unboxing their order:

Personal touches:

What other way to make your feel customer special than a handwritten note. This will often surprise and delight the customer by adding a personalized feeling to the shipped package. A simple “thank you” note can make a palpable difference, leaving your customer with a  feeling that they are more than just a sale or a receipt number.

If it’s not feasible to write handwritten notes, then consider printing a note card that is more than adequate to evoke a similar welcoming feeling. You can take this opportunity to welcome your customers to your brand.

Another way of adding a personal touch is to add packaging slips into the box with a signature or stamp that says “Packed by__”. This reminds the customer that the business is made out of real humans that care about the customer experience.


You can print out cards with different messages or call to actions like:

  • An invitation to join a social media contest
  • Asking the customer to document their unboxing experience and share it on social media with a hashtag
  • Telling your customer a bit more about your company, like an origin story or brand values
  • If you offer tech support, you can invite customers to call customer service with questions or feedback


You can include some stickers of your company’s logo or with other freebies – these gifts should complete the overall experience of the product and brand.

You can also include some samples of new products or existing ones – this can be used to cross-promote complementary products.


Final thoughts

While there are many ways to customize your packaging, be sure not to overdo it- be mindful not to over-package or clutter a parcel. Find a way to maximize the brand message while minimizing the shipping waste that occurs when custom branding your packaging.