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Modcloth Unboxing: How Online Shopping Helps Us Learn from Our Competition

Building a brand can be the defining factor when determining the success of an e-commerce business.

When it comes to your brand, it does not begin and end with the products that you sell. Online sellers must take into account the packaging that is being used to ship your products and the impact it can have on customers.

In our latest Unboxing we purchased from Modcloth, an e-commerce who specializes in selling fashionable products for the free spirits of the world.

Here are our takeaways from Modcloth:

1) How was their Product Shipped? Grade: C


Modcloth does a fantastic job of getting the consumer excited to rip open the panels of the box and look at its inner contents. It has an inviting design with cute catch-phrases to engage you.

However, besides the appealing packaging, the first thing we, as a business, noticed is how they shipped their product.

From the label we've identified two crucial facts: A) By inputting their address into Google, we learned that they ship from their own in-house warehouse.  B) By reading the label, we learned that they ship via FedEx, and not FedEx SmartPost.

As a consumer, this is really beneficial to us as we can easily track our package as there are no carrier trade-offs, and the estimated shipping time is lower.

However, as a business, this is a costly aspect that could be shaved down. Having a warehouse means owning a staff, warehouse insurance and maintenance. If Modcloth grows quick enough, they'll have to increase warehouse space. Instead, utilizing a 3PL warehousing firm, they can expand their business and even further overseas.

As for shipping, they opted out of the choice of using FedEx SmartPost which is an excellent option to save money as a business.

Modcloth's shipping choices are consumer-friendly, however it is at the cost of its business's growth.

2) What's In The Box?  Grade: B


Modcloth continues their impressive outer design to the inside of the box. There is a seamless transition as you continue your journey into the package.

The actual products could have received a little better care. They were wrinkled and wrapped in plastic bags. For a company that claims to strive for eco-friendly dominance, they definitely drop the ball by using unwarranted plastic.

3) How's their self-promotion?  Grade: D


Although they do right with their packaging, Modcloth however fails with their self-promotion; mainly because they have none.

At every stage of the customer experience you need to be selling your brand and your products. The possibilities are endless. You can provide advance notice of a future sale, include a promo code offering a discount if they purchase again, or even just leave a nice little message thanking them for their business.


The only thing that we found in terms of material inside the package was the packing slip.

Even here, Modcloth failed to best utilize this piece of paper. They bunched everything together and then left the bottom half of the paper blank.

Including simple promotions in this area, or a friendly message can reaffirm the company message and keep them fresh in your mind.

Conclusion: Overall Grade: C+

Though not perfect, Modcloth left us with a good impression. From beginning to end they made the customer experience enjoyable and made us feel happy about our purchase.

P.S. Many of our co-workers have been sporting the clothes seen above around the office and have created a nice little following in Skubana.

P.P.S. Need help being awesome when it comes to managing your e-commerce? We've got you covered. From scaling your entire e-commerce no matter how many channels you sell on, or warehouses you fulfill from we have what you need and more. Stop on by Skubana we're always here to help.

We hope you enjoyed our third blog post in Skubana's online shopping and shipping series, Unboxing. 

Check out our previous Unboxing posts on Graze and Chubbies.

Disclaimer: The reference to Modcloth does not create a sense of endorsement or sponsorship by, or other false association with, Modcloth or Modcloth products.

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