Unboxing 2.0: Extending Personalization to the Pack


Unboxing is the most anticipated and emotional moment of the e-commerce journey—a moment where the smallest detail can make or break customer loyalty. Simple gestures like the inclusion of a thank you note or product samples can go a long way in fostering goodwill with customers, but are no longer enough to capture loyalty. In the pandemic world of record online shopping growth, securing e-shopper loyalty means delivering personalized content that delights and surprises at every touch point. Enter: Unboxing 2.0.

Typically, the only brand communication that online shoppers receive in their package is the packing slip. A black-and-white piece of paper consisting of transactional information, the packing slip does nothing to extend the brand experience or share brand values. Imagine though, if in place of the static packing slip, was a branded, full-color insert that channeled the intimacy of unboxing by directly engaging the customer with personalized inspiration, offers and editorial. Without question, the customer would be surprised and feel special seeing the effort that the brand is willing to put into interacting with them.

While insertion of generic ad flyers and product catalogues is commonplace in e-commerce, few businesses include personalized shopper media in their packages. This is because the notion of composing and printing personalized inserts at the point of packing has always been viewed as a daunting undertaking that would slow fulfillment. Modern advances in dynamic composition software are shattering this perception though.

As a strategic partner and longtime systems integrator of XMPie®—the world’s leading dynamic composition platform, we’ve seen firsthand how variable content production technology is enabling new, innovative forms of packaging personalization. While you may be wondering how exactly a dynamic composition system works to convert data into personalized, ready-to-print inserts, the process is actually fairly simple. Core to any variable composition platform are InDesign templates, which can be configured for the exact size, layout and branding of your custom packing inserts. Through an InDesign plugin, order data is fed to the templates, and used to drive the population of personalized content in accordance with built-in rules. As each customer order is processed, a new PDF output file is generated from the template. These output files are seamlessly routed to your warehouse printers. The result? Just-in-time production of personalized inserts at the precise point of packing!

With variable composition technology lifting the barriers to at-scale insert personalization, all new opportunities to e-commerce loyalty building are presented. If you’re a forward-thinking online seller looking to act on the potential, below are a few examples of the types of personalization that you can incorporate:

Dynamic Promotions
Reward your most loyal customers and incentivize first-time buyers to purchase again with dynamic promo code and coupon offers that can be controlled at the customer level. Targeted allocation of promotional offers and values is made possible by setting conditional logic that the dynamic composition engine uses to make variable content decisions. Promotional offer logic can be driven by a variety of attributes, such as the customer’s order value, estimated lifetime value or purchased SKUs. Use dynamic promotions to deliver the right offer to the right recipient in a medium that’s guaranteed to land in the customer’s hands.

Targeted Cross-Selling
Since you know exactly what your customer likes from their order, package inserts are perfect for cross-selling items related to the product being delivered. The flexibility of today’s dynamic composition software allows you to configure the cross-selling conditions to your exact requirements. For example, you can set the cross-sell targeting logic so that if a customer buys from category A, you only recommend items from category B. You can also add additional layers of targeting conditions, such as specification of the price range that the items must fall within. Increase product awareness and accelerate the repurchase lifecycle with targeted cross-selling that acts on the excitement of unboxing.

Geo-Targeted Marketing
Brick-and-click retailers can bridge online with in-store by integrating the address of the physical store closest to the customer and an exclusive offer to drive them there. Using the customer’s zip code, dynamic composition software can auto-populate the nearest store within a defined radius. Additional store information, such as hours, contact information and special events can also be included to foster brand-to-local connection. Plus, by offering a coupon that can only be redeemed in-store, the in-store purchase becomes another intimate touch point in the customer’s journey with your brand.

Tailored Editorial
You likely already have lots of digital content in the form of blogs, how-to articles, product usage tips or recipes, but getting eyes on the content can be difficult in a world of diminishing email open rates. By putting this content into print form, customers are more likely to read it because they know it was assembled and printed just for them. Brand content in print form can also help to create an emotional connection by bringing your brand voice to life while the consumer is experiencing your products. Using order attributes like purchased product, targeted editorial content can be integrated that works to position your brand as a trusted advisor.

By harnessing the cutting-edge capabilities of dynamic composition software, e-retailers and DTC brands can convert real-time order data into powerful in-pack personalization that drives measurable action and fosters long-term loyalty. As a growing number of e-commerce players begin to explore the in-pack engagement possibilities, 2021 will undoubtedly be the year that we see personalized unboxing shift from occasional event to customer experience must-have.

To learn how Cierant’s all-in-one ActionPack™ solution, powered by XMPie®, delivers the flexible composition software and services needed to produce personalized inserts directly from your fulfillment center, email inquiries@cierant.com or call 203-731-3555.

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