Rene spaanderman

Recently, after ages of searching, comparing, toing and froing, I finally ordered a new, almost € 90 denim shirt online from a Dutch lifestyle chain, which had enchanted me because of their personal and enthusiastic approach in their e-mailings and other messaging.

After settling the bill online, I received the standard, rather aloof message that my order was “being processed”, together with an incredibly lengthy order summary for my one shirt. What “being processed” actually meant and what I could expect wasn’t really made clear. The confirmation e-mail – with the subject line written in English for some inexplicable reason – made me none the wiser, and so I simply waited.

Two days later my package suddenly arrived! Filled with anticipation of my recent purchase, I eagerly opened the nondescript, dull brown box – the unboxing moment! – and found my fashionable new shirt packed in what looked like a glorified plastic sandwich bag, with a seemingly hastily folded printout (it was all crooked) of the previously received order summary.

Well, there went my expectations! Zero brand perception, zero personal touch, zero added value. I was happy with my purchase, but my high regard of this retailer sunk rapidly in those few days. It was as if their entire energy had gone into freeing me of my hard-earned money, after which they took the easy road to finish off the order.

The unboxing experience – unpacking your purchase – should really be the ultimate moment of joy in your customer journey: that wonderful moment when all the previous steps in your orientation and buying process come together. The moment when you finally have the product in your hands.

Was my experience illustrative of how Dutch retailers perceive online shopping?

Think outside the box!
We put this notion to the test and conducted an experiment among 50 Dutch retailers to see how well they fared in their order processing. What does the complete “Unboxing Experience” look like, from ordering the product, the confirmation, shipment, delivery, receiving and unboxing the item, to returning?



The results?
The overwhelming majority of Dutch (fashion) chains drop the ball at least once in their Online Unboxing Experience, both in the practical sense and in customer perception.

Common mistakes:

  • Unclear or altogether absent promises and expectation management on the thank-you page;

  • Inconsistent visual brand image in the different contact moments;
  • Inconsistent tone of voice in the different contact moments;
  • Shipping box and packaging materials that are out of sync with the brand image;
  • No feedback moments for the customer during the process (“Was everything in order?”, “How can we improve?”);
  • Overall: a lack of perception, enthusiasm and focus towards the customer. Missed opportunities in every aspect!

My advice? Get straight to work on your unboxing experience!
Operational excellence in your online procedure turns into a commodity in no time. Ultra-fast delivery doesn’t set you apart anymore, nor does a low pricing strategy, free shipment or even easy (in-store) return.

In short, it’s high time to add a huge dose of customer-focused brand perception to your ordering and shipment process!

Reassure your customers, make them happy, curious, enthusiastic and content! Look and learn from companies such as Bax Shop and Coolblue.

It’s the only way you’re ever going to truly connect with your customers and turn them into your ambassadors. Is your unboxing experience easily substituted? Then so are you.

Ask yourself this question: when did you last order from your own brand? Well, do it now! Experience what your customers are experiencing. And make your unboxing moment a joyful moment that consumers want to experience time and time again!

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