Unboxing Your Digital Experience

Enhancing Customer Experience and Retention in the Digital Realm

In recent years, customer frustration of converting a purchased product into an actual usable experience has given rise to the concept of “unboxing,” a stage in the customer journey focused on assisting the customer in product delivery, setup and use, after the purchase. Retailers have seized this opportunity by investing greatly in unboxing offerings like Best Buy’s “Geek Squad.” By fulfilling this complete end-to-end service, customers are more likely to report a positive experience leading to increased brand loyalty. Our experiences at Roundarch with designing and developing cutting edge solutions for some of the world’s largest brands have shown to us that this same principle can be applied to online and digital experiences.

When designing and deploying new digital offerings, retailers can follow three key unboxing principles to maximize customer retention and brand loyalty;

  • Avoiding “wrap rage”
  • Choosing when and how to provide an “instruction manual”
  • Assisting a customer with effective setup and configuration

Avoiding “Wrap Rage”:

Unwrapping a new product is exciting but cleaning up the shipping and packaging materials can be tedious and annoying. Similar to physical products, digital applications also come with wrapping, from legal disclaimers to complex user registration processes, splash screens, and disruptive advertising. Taking creative approaches to when, where, and even how to present users with these important and often necessary site components will help to avoid “wrap rage” and lead to a more pleasant experience.

As examples, first start by deciding if the customer needs to go through any disclaimer steps at the onset of their first visit. Some forms and registrations could be delayed, allowing the customer to quickly immerse themselves in the site first. For the necessary information, consider creating a more translucent and asynchronous panel-based approach rather than an obfuscating multi-screen experience, to allow for a simple and pleasant user experience.

Providing “Instruction Manuals”:

Most often instruction manuals are quickly glanced at then tossed aside, demonstrating the customer disregard for their need. However, simply finding the manual is critical – it tells the customer that help is available if needed, and often times it is. With the emergence of new digital technologies, some retailers are increasingly concerned that a new customer to their site will not understand how to use its various features and will require an instruction manual.

Like an instruction manual, a splash screen approach during the first use of a website can often insult the customer as to their web intelligence; they typically end up equally disregarded. However, help may still be needed, and providing an effective visual site layout and design, including imbedded “how-to” information architecture will allow for this help to be easily attained without becoming an obstacle or insulting the user.

Setup and Configuration:

Often times purchases are based on an existing product or demo, be it in the store, from a friend, in advertising, or otherwise. More often then not, the purchased product will not be exactly the same as the demo when first taken out of the box as is a certain amount of setup, configuration, and customization that went into the demo.

Many site experiences either require or benefit from customization for instance: the ability to alter the site skin, selectable pertinent content modules, change entering site preferences and personalize defaults. When designing the site, take the time to determine appropriate default configuration profiles and develop a strategy for default states and configurations such that when a customer visits for the first time, the site is already configured for use. A site that is already customized for use will yield a more positive customer experience and improve brand loyalty.

Though the physical product realm and digital offerings continue to mature as equal partners, to date, their relationship is predicated on the digital realm’s role in serving mostly as a conduit to the acquisition of the physical product. In improving our digital offerings, however, it is important to place equal emphasis on the two – the digital experience should be thought of as a product itself. As such, we can learn quite a bit from lessons in the physical realm, including the power of unboxing in improving customer experience and brand loyalty. Helping a customer more quickly, painlessly, and enjoyably experience a new digital offering by providing adequate support along the way can make all the difference as to whether or not they come back.