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Trade alert: How a great unboxing experience can be marketing gold

As online retailers, you'll be well aware of the need for packaging. It's necessary in order to get your products to your customers and protect them from damage during transit.

However, what many online store owners are unaware of is that packaging also represents one of the most underused opportunities for marketing. If you're focusing only on functionality, you may be ignoring a chance to wow your shoppers and have them eager to come back for more.

What we're essentially talking about here is what's commonly referred to on YouTube and other social media as the 'unboxing' - the memorable and shareable experience of taking something you've ordered out of a box and enjoying it for the first time.

Unboxings provide extra value for your customers without them even realising it. What's more, if they have captured a positive first impression on camera and shared it, it could also tempt others to purchase the same products.

A survey carried out by Dotcom Distribution in 2016 found that 40 per cent of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from online retailers with premium packaging because it makes the brand feel more upscale and builds anticipation.

Furthermore, around 62 per cent of people watching the millions of unboxings on YouTube have intent to purchase and are actively looking for something to buy, presenting a unique opportunity to market to them.

However, this kind of marketing doesn't work if it comes from the brand. It has to be organic and come from excited consumers themselves, which means persuading them to share unboxings in the first place. How can this be achieved? Here are a few top tips:

First, focus on the box. This shouldn't simply be a plain old cardboard box, but one that looks exciting and designer. Could you look into a printed box that you change the design of every so often, for instance?

Premium journal cover company Foxy Fix in the US does this to excellent effect, with new box reveals generating almost as much excitement among fans as new products.

Carefully consider the materials you use inside the box too, as this can make or break an unboxing experience.

Avoid plastic fillers in favour of recyclable paper and try to put your products in tissue paper sealed with a sticker as opposed to plastic bags.

You may also want to include little extras in the package, such as some branded stickers, a pre-printed thank you note and care instructions.

Finally, don't forget two business cards: one for the customer to keep (and hopefully show off in that unboxing video) and one to give to a friend.

You will have to decide on how far you can go with packaging based on your profit margins and other concerns, but taking steps to create a positive unboxing could give you a boost above your competitors and also help to generate new business on an enormous scale.

Why not take a look at some examples from fellow costume jewellery retailers and even those in other industries to see how you could make a start?