The COVID-19 crisis has seen a shift to e-commerce and home delivery – and it’s an opportunity for brands to rethink the role of packaging and leverage the power of unboxing.

It’s an area where, pre-COVID, some brands had already developed an innovative approach to the mailbox problem – from wine in flat bottles to cleaning products delivered as soluble tablets. The current pandemic is likely to accelerate such invention across everything from product formulation to packaging to marketing in order to take account of the way people are increasingly shopping.

Clearly not everything has to be able to fit through a mailbox, but the thinking behind such products is instructive for the future. As Jenn Szekely writes in The WARC Guide to e-commerce and the future of effectiveness, “In a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, our mailboxes have become the new retail experience”, where “a glance at a doorstep can offer that moment of delight and excitement, triggered by a new purchase”.

There are several practical things brands will need to consider, not least sustainability. With the increase in items being delivered to their door, consumers have ever more packaging to dispose of; products have to be sufficiently well packaged to arrive safely, but not so overpackaged as to annoy the buyer.

At the same time the increased focus on packaging means more brands will need to embrace a key part of today’s purchasing experience – unboxing.

This has developed into a form of entertainment in its own right, Szekely notes, with over 20 million search results on YouTube for unboxing and one in five consumers having watched an unboxing video, according to Google.

“Unboxing allows a brand to communicate its strategy through experience,” she says. “When properly considered, each stage of unwrapping can reveal a little more about both the product and the brand through tone of voice and messaging, design, materials and content.”

Brands that do this well can building loyalty with shoppers and fuel recommendations through social sharing of the experiences a brand delivers, she adds.

For more details, read Jenn Szekely’s article in full: Delight at the doorstep: letterbox packaging – the new moment of truth.

The WARC Guide to E-commerce and the Future of Effectiveness is available to subscribers here. (non-subscribers can download a sample report here.

To complement the guide, there’ s more coming from WARC during September:

• A series of free-to-join related webinars from September 3rd: WARC Talks 360 – Your guide to e-commerce and the future of effectiveness.

• A C-suite masterclass video series: early September 2020

• WARC Global Advertising Trends - data on e-commerce: mid-September 2020

Before then you can also catch up with WARC’s Effectiveness in the age of e-commerce keynote session, first screened at Cannes Lions Live.

Sourced from WARC