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Bytes, Bottle & Tissue Paper—The Unboxing Experience

Written by Jason Dobson, Business & Creative Director, Contagious UK

During lockdown we’ve all been adopting new ways of purchasing and experiencing products. Browsing has increased and the accelerated adoption of digital consumerism has created a huge opportunity to provide enhanced and innovative online experiences— experiences that are personal, show loyalty, and appeal to a local audience while simultaneously striving to embrace a global presence.

Now more than ever, you should be considering how to deliver your brand and product experiences within multiple channels and audiences. What this all means to the drinks industry and how it responds in this Direct-to-Consumer world can be seen in efforts to connect and leave a lasting memory through “The Unboxing Experience.”

Consumers are toughening up again. The ‘place-it-in-the-digital-basket’ impulse buy will languish a little longer, be considered a little harder, be researched a little deeper, and come with expectations set higher.


Unboxing Expectations

As part of your purchasing omni-channel experience, The Unboxing Experience has always been important; however, it has been given added weight in the current climate. That’s why we’ve seen an uptake in conversations regarding how it can better serve to reinforce the positioning and personality of your brand.

Generally, it’s ok if a business has to deviate a little in an emergency— and yes, this is an emergency situation— but brands should remember that consumers are buying their product because they relate to the quality and values those brands project.

Don’t get me wrong; businesses were and still are under real pressure to respond to demand through channels they previously had very little stake in. With fewer staff and limited access to resources, is packaging that is designed to be picked up and caressed really at the forefront of your thoughts on Sales & Marketing?

I completely appreciate that it may not be, I really do. My worry though is this: if in times of urgency or crisis, your brand gets thrown around and chucked about, your values undermined and your principles devalued— how will you get back to that sweet spot you worked so long and invested so much to reach in the first place?


The Unboxing Experience in a Socially Distant World

For many consumers, purchases are taking on a magnified role in lockdown life. Familiar brands with values and qualities that matter to them are coming to the fore again. Perhaps those brands represent normality— something safe, reliable, and reassuringly familiar. Or perhaps they simply provide an indulgence or treat— equally significant under the circumstances.

The new gap between purchase and receipt, no matter how small, is serving to build anticipation and expectation further. This is an opportunity that spirits brands should leverage carefully.

Pay real attention to your consumers. Make sure that even in this difficult time, your customer gets a bang-on brand experience delivered right to their doorstep, because they’re certainly unable to experience that brand world in Retail, Hospitality, or Global Travel Retail right now, and who knows how long that separation will last.

For businesses large and small who genuinely value what they offer, it’s not too late to re-harness brand control. Yes, pivot; yes, deliver your product as fast and as frequently as you can— but do not compromise your customer’s experience in doing so. The Unboxing Experience, the values inherent in well-considered, thoughtfully designed outer packaging, can be as important as your product to your business and consumer.

Unboxing may be a buzz word— and to be honest I don’t care what it is called— but the experience is certainly valuable to your customers. Creating a smile moment and a memory will play a part in building further brand loyalty and advocates who will influence the purchasing of your product in the future.

Interested in advancing your knowledge of distilling and the spirits industry? Check out Moonshine University’s upcoming courses to learn from the best in the business.

Written by Jason Dobson, Business & Creative Director, Contagious UK. Jason is also a faculty member at Moonshine University, where he teaches at the 6-Day Distiller Course.


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