Some people compare it to the first kiss. Sometimes it can even be more beautiful than the sunrise above an ocean and sweeter than chocolate cake.

Plus, your customers anticipate it every single month, most likely sharing their excitement with their loved ones.

You guessed it, we’re are talking about the arrival of that divine subscription box you send!

It’s difficult to determine which part is more wonderful, the box’s arrival or the unwrapping/unboxing moment. Either way, we’ll all agree that this experience is important, and the effect it has on your customers can definitely determine the success of your business.

People clapping

Unboxing = Communication

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of customer experience is communication.

Make sure you’re staying in touch with your subscribers and growing your list through social channels, promotional, and/or transactional emails, along with other communication channels as well.

But besides this, do not underestimate the power of a knee-shaking unboxing experience.

From the first glance at your box, you’ll be presenting your company, brand, and quality. Above it all, you’re creating a connection, which began when they visited your website (or other form of presentation).

Sounds dramatic, but it really is.

This step, makes your boxes look and feel good, and can also make or break your business, so make sure it’s done right.

There are 3 stages to an amazing unboxing experience

  1. Product procurement
  2. Design, branding and printing
  3. Connecting with subscribers through CTAs (calls to action)

packed gifts

Each and every one of these stages is made out of smaller steps. Covering them all would turn this article into an eBook, so we’ll only go through the basics today.

If you want to go deep and learn more about those topics, check out our other fun and practical guides: Ultimate Guide to Successful Pre-launch, Ultimate Guide to Custom Packaging and Procurement Guide.

So, there’s a lot you can do to create an outstanding unpacking experience. Fasten your seatbelts and fly with us into the world of perfect unboxing!

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1. Product procurement

You might remember when we spoke before about product procurement (choosing the products for your boxes) and how it shapes your customer’s experience. What matters the most here, besides the quality of your products, is the perception of value.

Meaning, when someone opens your box, will that person feel that their investment paid off?confused puppies

This part of the unpacking experience largely depends on procurement, but it doesn’t end there.

What also matters is how you arrange those products, what materials are used inside, and how professional the entire subscription box looks like.

Some of the questions you should ask yourself at this point are:

  1. Is the appearance of my box aligned with my offers (what customers are expecting from me)?
  2. Does everything look professional, clean and coherent – products, materials, colors, textures, etc.?
  3. Am I giving a bit more than promised (do not go too far, of course, but adding something extra, no matter how small, significantly improves the overall experience)
  4. Amount of products – are there too many? Or does the unnecessary empty space make the box look poor?
  5. Variety of products – maybe you promised various types of products, but offered rather similar ones? If your subscriber needs to do additional shopping after receiving the box, that’s not a good sign.
  6. Would you pay that exact amount for that box, if metaphorically you were the subscriber?
  7. Am I providing something new and exciting or keep on shipping the same ol’ offer? Don’t bore your subscribers!

To sum it all up, the box you’re sending out should look nice and professional, full (not half-empty), complete and coherent (not like a work in progress), worth the price, and always fresh & exciting.

elegant boxes

Image Credit: Wooden Earth Ltd

A small exception from the rule

There are subscription businesses that are based on element of surprise and novelty, providing new products to their customers every month. If that’s the case with your offer, then do not use the same brand too many times.

On the other hand, some subscriptions are based on consistency, as they offer high-quality, proven-to-work products. If the second option is closer to your business, then sticking to one type of product or one brand is certainly a better choice.

2. Design, branding, custom printing

If the box doesn’t look irresistible, it’s not well branded or well designed.

When the package appears at that doorstep, our subscriber should feel a strange mixture of feelings – an ecstatic urge to open up the box and a pinch of sadness because its beauty will be destroyed by opening it up.

But, how can you achieve that level of package brilliance? Is it even humanly possible?design packaging
First, you need a nice design, that captures the eye almost immediately.

Next, it would be great to align that design with the message and mission behind your business (aka the reasons why you’re offering the particular products, what need of your audience you are satisfying, who your audience is, etc.).

Then, consider custom printing as an option that can fully showcase your beautiful design and meaningful branding.

Short on budget? Don’t stress.

Take a look at the various options you can use that will improve the appearance of your boxes without draining your wallet – click here for a full guide to custom packaging. But first, let’s cover the core ideas.

Design and branding, like siamese twins

Besides the fact that it should be beautiful, design should be merged with your branding. They should go together like movie and popcorn. Now, design and branding are topics that are sure to make your head spin, so let’s focus on the most important elements here.
wooden box
Image Credit: Wooden Earth Ltd

Besides the fact that it should be beautiful, design should be merged with your branding. They should go together like movie and popcorn. Now, design and branding are topics that are sure to make your head spin, so let’s focus on the most important elements here.

The design of your subscription boxes should be aligned with branding in these ways:

  1. It is merged with the message and goal of your business, and should be directed to your target audience (whether it’s pet owners, busy businesspeople, nature lovers or maybe, aliens)
  2. It should be simple, but a bit intriguing and mysterious – on the other hand, though, it can be comical if humor is lined up with the character of your products
  3. A quick design-related tip – pick 2-3 colors that will be the main ones (picking less colors helps you save money on printing too)
  4. Keep a coherent, logical unity of elements – make sure that your logo relates to the font you’re using (primarily in style and colors) and that you’re using the same visual presentation on your website, boxes, and other branding/advertising materials.

This helps immensely when it comes to an unboxing experience. When you apply these designing and branding guidelines to your offer, your boxes will not only become more enjoyable, but they will serve as an instrument for growth.

An eye-capturing appearance is memorable. If you succeed at creating a memorable first impression (and second, and third), providing high-quality service and products over and over again – then growth comes naturally.

It’s not an easy task, but we believe in you!


Nerd thumbs up

Is custom printing really needed?

Sure, there are plenty of ways to create a compelling first impression of your box without going into custom printing. The custom option takes time to plan everything out, and it also costs some money.

But, unless you’re confident that the appearance of your boxes is awesome without any custom solutions, consider making a smart investment.

The money and effort you’ll invest now in high-quality printing aligned with your brand will practically sell itself and pay off in the long run.

Think ahead, always think ahead in business.

3. Connecting with the subscriber

On how many levels and in which interesting ways can you connect with your customers? The answer is simply – as many as your creativity can create!

funny magic gif

Every single part of your subscription box is an opportunity to communicate with the receiver, literally.

Ideas you can explore and try out for yourself:

  • Make a game out of the unboxing experience – set some simple, fun rules, such as deciding in what order the products should be unpacked, or having the customer assemble items in a puzzle-like manner
  • Think about the textures and materials, both on the outside and inside of your subscription boxes – what kind of a feeling do they evoke and are those sensations pleasant?
  • Hide a message somewhere in the box and let your subscriber engage in a small quest for it (you could add a call to action to that message too!)
  • Consider adding a personal touch, a note or a story about you, describing an interesting fact about the business
  • Think of the ways your box/packaging can be repurposed and used by your customer, long after the unboxing occurs
  • Inspire your subscribers to share photos of boxes with their friends, in a form of a contest perhaps
  • Do not forget to add your company’s contact information to the box, including social media info and different calls to action (promotions, QR codes, a link where they can post a comment/suggestion, etc.)

mailbox checking
This is just the tip of the iceberg, feel free to let your imagination run wild and surprise us with your solutions too!

Whatever you come up with to connect with your subscribers and make them even more attracted to your business, make sure it’s:

  1. Fun and entertaining
  2. Calling for more further action on their side
  3. Providing a nice, free marketing push to grows your business

Unboxing: a magical marketing wand

An amazing unboxing experience usually gets photographed, and it’s no rarity of it even turning into a video.

When those photos and videos of your subscription box get on social media, you’ll achieve what every entrepreneur dreams about – free advertisement!

Think of it this way: the very essence of every subscription business is recurrence. Every month, you have a chance to communicate and connect deeper with your customers. And the number of ways you can do that are exponential.
black box

Bonus Subbly tip: Fulfillment and Transport

It happens more than once: a subscription business owner makes an effort and invests a lot in designing, branding, and packaging, but boxes get handled poorly during fulfillment or transport, making it look absolutely awful at the end.

We won’t let that happen to you, at least not often. Make sure that you choose a reliable fulfillment service if you decide to hire an outsource fulfillment company.

Choosing the right shipping service can also save you a lot of trouble in the long run. If you are packing and preparing the boxes in-house, then make sure you have a good team and have all the necessary resources.

The final step, keeping products as safe as possible during the transport and delivering them on time, can greatly influence your customer’s experience. Another small, but powerful Subbly tip (as you can tell we love giving out helpful tips) – think ahead and choose durable materials for your boxes, even if that means considering other packaging shapes (it doesn’t have to be a box), such as crates or something similar. Anything to keep the appearance perfect.



Make sure you make the most of your customers’ unboxing moment to create a solid, long-term relationship with them. Let’s cover this one more time – here are some ways you can connect with your audience, by including these elements on or in your boxes/packages:

  1. Clear, nicely presented contact information
  2. Simple, but tempting calls to action
  3. A personalized, fun note from the founder
  4. Fun or entertaining activity (such as a simple game) that calls for even more action

Even if you use only a fraction of these tips, you’ll certainly elevate the unboxing experience, making your customers happy every single month. Now go ahead and razzle dazzle them!

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By Una
Сontent creator at Subbly