The Power of Packaging: How the Unboxing Experience Impacts Perceived Value
It’s a well-known adage in the restaurant industry that presentation is paramount – that we eat with our eyes before we actually taste our food – and a first-of-its-kind study by Pregis and the University of Wisconsin suggests a similar rule for eCommerce packaging.
It’s a well-known adage in the restaurant industry that presentation is paramount – that we eat with our eyes before we actually taste our food – and a first-of-its-kind study by Pregis and the University of Wisconsin suggests a similar rule for eCommerce packaging. Just like customers sitting at a restaurant table, online shoppers prefer to receive their purchases presented in a way that conveys high quality and a commitment to customer satisfaction.
According to the Department of Commerce, online sales in the United States for the first quarter of 2018 totaled $123.7 billion, up 16.4 percent from the same quarter in 2017. eCommerce accounted for 9.5 percent of U.S. retail sales in the first quarter, a full percentage point higher than in the same period in 2017. The in-store experience is steadily losing ground to the in-home shopping experience, meaning that if online retailers want to continue to satisfy their customers, they must consider the impact of packaging and presentation to create and sustain brand preference and satisfied repeat customers.
Aesthetics and the In-Home Experience
Pregis partnered with marketing professor Page Moreau at the University of Wisconsin to study how the unboxing experience affects consumers’ perception of product value, and the big takeaway is clear: aesthetics matter.
Retail stores traditionally have showcased products in the best possible light using placement, branding, personalized service and even music and scent. But with online shopping surging in popularity, retailers are limited in how they can transfer that euphoric shopping experience to the home, and as Pregis’ study suggests, parcel packaging is instrumental in doing just that.
After unboxing the products, the two groups had markedly different views about the quality of the product inside. The expected retail price noted by the group that had been given premium packaging was significantly higher – a whopping 45% – as they believed the better presentation reflected a higher-quality product.
In the study, a $0.19 packaging upgrade led to dramatic shifts in customer perceptions of item cost, value and emotional response. Download our white paper to review the data.
Premium vs Standard Packaging
The study involved two separate groups of individuals ranging in age from their mid-20s to their early 30s, a key demographic for online retailers. Each participant was asked to unbox the same product but was unaware of the product’s actual cost. One group’s product was packaged in economy packaging while the other was packaged in premium packaging.
For online retailers or brand owners shipping through the parcel network, the message is clear: It’s not just what you’re selling that counts, it’s how you serve it up to your customers.
To learn more about packaging’s impact on consumer perceptions, download our in-depth white paper, “Parcel Packaging Impacts Consumer’s Perception of Product Value by 45%,” at www.pregis.com/knowledge-hub.