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Creating Unforgettable DTC Unboxing Experiences - Recording

Featured Post Image

Gift giving is going to look radically different this holiday season.

Brick and mortar stores remain shuttered. Gatherings are being held on Zoom, FaceTime, and social media.

Like holiday shopping, the experience will take place almost exclusively online.

Despite setbacks, Deloitte expects Q4 to generate between $182 - $196 billion in North America alone. With such a great opportunity to reach new buyers comes a great responsibility to keep them.

According to Shopify, shoppers acquired during Q4 have a lower lifetime value. The key reason is that these shoppers either make fewer repeat purchases or never purchase from you again.

Successful holiday strategies must be built around driving product loyalty.

and we're showing you how...

We're teaming up with packaging experts at Arka and unboxing some of the most in-demand D2C products this holiday season. Learn how packaging can impact retention and drive repeat purchasing.

You'll Learn:

🎁 Implement the key components of a well-designed unboxing experience.
❇️ Use packaging to create a lasting brand impression.
🤝 Boost customer loyalty with inserts and branded materials.
♻️ Introduce a sustainably-mindset into your future packaging decisions.

Watch the replay right here or read the transcript below:

Unboxing experience_play

 

Transcript

Chad Rubin:

All right. Phillip, we're on the air, we're live. And so Phil, while you're getting started over there, I'm just gonna start leading this webinar. I'm actually very excited about this webinar. I've got my incense running in the background right now. I'm located in Florida. In fact, that's a great prompt in the chat. Whoever's joining right now, please share where you're dialing in from. Just say a quick hello. We love collaboration in these webinars. I actually just got a investment property down here in Florida. So I'm in Hollywood, Florida. I made it to Hollywood finally, and I'm excited to be leaving the East Coast winter, the Northeast winter, and coming down to Florida for a couple of months with my child and my family. So it's like there's a lot of different people dialing in right now. The reason why I'm excited about this webinar by the way, is that a lot of my learnings happened by shopping at other eCommerce brands that are adjacent, not even in specific verticals where there's a ton of learning to be had by doing the shopping. And we're gonna actually share a real unboxing today that we purchased from different companies. And I know Phillip has some unboxings on his side that he's gonna share that he's getting set up right now and just excited to go through that together and just learn and collaborate. There are gonna be poll questions, and maybe there's even a poll question right now that's already up. So if you don't mind sharing some poll questions as this is gonna be very informing the people that are dialing in today and joining the webinar. I also just wanna put out a tremendous amount of gratitude for those that are joining today, spending an hour or two days before Thanksgiving to learn something and to grow and to share in this experience. Lastly, if you do have questions, drop them into the questions tab, we'll make sure to get to them. Again, we want this to be interactive. This is not meant to talk to you. This is meant to talk with you and we wanna make sure we're putting that out there. And it looks like in the chat so far, we've got people from Vegas, from Colorado, from Denver, New York City, Costa Rica, London, Milwaukee, Ireland, Palm Springs, Buenos Aires. I love Buenos Aires. Shanghai, LA, New York, Connecticut. Okay, awesome. So it's gonna be a fun event today. Thank you everyone for joining. So before we get started, Phillip, are you there?

Phillip Akhzar:

Yeah. Can you hear me?

Chad Rubin:

Yes, we can hear you. Why don't you share your quick, brief background with everybody that's joining today. That would be helpful.

Phillip Akhzar:

Yeah, sure. Absolutely. One moment. Let me get the tour in.

Chad Rubin:

Or I can start and then you can roll right after me. Is that cool?

Phillip Akhzar:

Yeah, that works better.

Chad Rubin:

Cool. So hi everybody. My name is Chad Rubin. I am a Co-Founder and here at Skubana. Skubana is an operational software to help you run and automate your backend operations from order management and routing and orchestration to inventory, to forecasting, demand planning, to profitability. So if Shopify is everything above the earth, we are everything below the earth, right? All the backend to make everything direct from cart, right through fulfillment experience, right to it arriving at your door. We do everything in between to help facilitate that experience. Before that, by the way, just so you know, I actually still have an eCommerce store today, which is, I think why these webinars are super helpful, not just for myself, but for others. I'm not just saying these things in theory, I'm actually practicing them in real life. And so I run a company called Think Crucial. We manufacture home appliance, parts, and accessories. We sell them direct to consumer online. And that's why we started Skubana. It was out of my own pain that I was experiencing there. We offered the same software to everybody else that's going through that same experience, selling multichannel, across many different warehouses or even one warehouse to help facilitate the entire experience. Phillip, take it away.

Phillip Akhzar:

Cool. Hey guys, how's it going? So long story short, we wanted to put this together just to talk about what creates an unforgettable direct consumer unboxing experience. Quick background on Arka. So we are a platform for businesses to design and order packaging online. Gina just dropped in our URL. Thank you so much, Gina. Arka.com. And essentially, what we're gonna go over today is a few boxes. Some of which that we've designed, some of which are actually the product packaging that we did not design, but we wanted to lay out what's great about the packaging, what could be improved, and all in all, share with you guys, what it looks like to have a good unboxing experience. If you guys have any questions during this time, feel free to send those our way. And we're essentially here to support you in any way possible as we get through this unboxing experience.

Chad Rubin:

So Phillip, should I start with, I have two boxes here that I haven't opened. I don't know what Gina has purchased here in these boxes, but maybe should I start with one and then you'll go into yours or what's the best--

Phillip Akhzar:

Sounds fun. Let's do it.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, let me move my Nag Champa incense here to a different place. All right. So this first box, and I don't know if this is actually a customer of yours or not, Aurora.

Phillip Akhzar:

Nope, not us, but it looks nice.

Chad Rubin:

Cool. Yeah, it does look nice. So a, outer packaging, quite nice. Their mantra here on the side here, it says, "Better mornings come in small packages, like this one." I thought that was a nice play. The first thing that I do when I get a package from anywhere, my wife thinks I'm crazy, is I actually looked at the label on the outside. And the reason why I check out the label on the outside, is I wonder how they shipped it. And so in this case, it says USPS tracking and it says Global Mail, and so I know it's DHL. So they're using DHL for the last mile. And then the last thing that I do when I look at these packages is I look at where it's being shipped from. So right now it doesn't say Aurora on it, it just says Chattanooga, it gives you an address. I always take that address and I put it into Google. And so as a very quick way of finding out if they're using a 3PL and if so, what 3PL that they're using. This is kind of dark. So hopefully my light got better. But that's the first thing that I do when I look at the outside of the package. So should we dive in? Dive into the package now?

Phillip Akhzar:

Yes, get it.

Chad Rubin:

So let me take my boxes here, coming in dark, I don't know why, but all right, awesome. So right away, you've got the #morningsinmotion on the inside of the box. They have their packing slip. Now the packing slip, they put it on a UPS thermal printer. Now why would they do that? Hey, they wanna save paper. "Your backlight camera is focusing on the bright light." So let me move to the wall. Hold on. I thought this was gonna be a nice backdrop, but--

Phillip Akhzar:

It is. It's totally, still a nice backdrop. Let me tell you, it's just, we wanna focus in on the box.

Chad Rubin:

I know. Let's move this over. Sorry. Transitioning here. All right. That should do it. That's beautiful. Much better. Okay, cool. So they're using this thermal printer label on the inside. On one hand, it's saving paper and saving ink printer cartridge. But I think the problem with doing it this way is that you can't really upsell the customer too much. It's not the best experience. So while they spent all this money on a really nice and well-designed box, you're missing out on, what are they gonna do with this paper? How can you essentially increase this lifetime value of this customer over time and get them further in the process and dipping back into their wallet a second, a third and a fourth time? So like, "Hello, sunshine." I love it. "Welcome to feel good productive mornings you've always wanted. It's time to get up and glow together." So you've got some nice packaging here. I think where they fail in a very big way is how can you get them to subscribe and get this sunshine again? To feel better and get up and glow every month and dip back into their wallets. So that's what I've gotten here. Now Phillip, do you guys make actual containers like this or is it just strictly boxes?

Phillip Akhzar:

No, we can make containers like that as well. However boxes are obviously like the fastest turnaround. Everything other than a box just requires some sort of customization, obviously. I mean, obviously the packaging itself, boxes itself also require customization, but you get overly technical with non-curated items because it's very dependent on the product itself. So for that we can help design it. We would just need specs to have the time to be able to help create that.

Chad Rubin:

Cool. So, I mean, look. These packages are just very standard. There's not a whole lot on it where it's essentially getting deeper into their wallets at all. It's just Morning Defense and Morning Light. Two different items here with capsules. Interestingly enough, the last thing I wanted to point out here is that on the packing slip that they put into the box, that's a missed opportunity in a very big way, is it says Oats & Dreams. And so I'm not sure exactly who that is, maybe that they're doing business, DBA and there's a different address here. So if I was actually doing this in real life, I really was curious about who their 3PLS was, or how they fulfill, I would be Googling this address that's here and also the address that's on the box itself. Overall, I would give this unboxing experience here, probably a C, because it's a really lost missed opportunity, but I haven't tried the product yet. And to be continued. There was a question here that said, "What is a 3PL?" So a 3PL is a third-party warehouse that does your fulfillment for you. So back in the day, I actually had my own warehouse. And then we actually moved our entire operation to have somebody who can actually run our fulfillment operations better than I could, running the operation for us. So that's what a 3PL is. Sorry about using acronyms.

Phillip Akhzar:

No, this is good. You're making everyone level up their game, get real pro, and after this discussion, hopefully they'll have a couple of acronyms under their belt. You're prepping me right now, by the way, with the acronyms, 'cause I'm about to throw a few. So I'm glad you did that.

Chad Rubin:

Nice. So Jordan wrote here just real quick. Just wanting to make sure people were getting their questions answered. "Could the packing slip be a limitation of the 3PL?" It certainly can. This packing slip that they put into the box definitely was from the 3PL to limit costs, but I would probably push my 3PL, my third-party warehouse, if they're doing fulfillment for me to inject my own insert into the package. So you have control of what's being put into packages, what the experience is when you're unboxing this box, what you want the customer to feel. And so while the box does a great job making me feel a specific way, where am I gonna get more of this? Where can I leave a review? What are other products do they have in stock that may be helpful to my morning productivity and efficiency? That's where I think that they really mis stepped here. So Phil, why don't you do on your side, a package? We'll go one for one.

Phillip Akhzar:

Sounds good, man. So this one's actually my favorite Felix Gray, so we're gonna do this one last. But let me start with Vital Proteins. They have like a collagen creamer that you can get in the mail, which essentially you just open up nice mailer tab here that says "Open here". It's nice, "Your collagen awaits!" It's bit of a welcome message. Again, confirming the brand. Once again as you open, "For a healthy, vibrant life." Here's where you can find them.

Chad Rubin:

Phillip, can you come more into focus? You're on the edge, there you go.

Phillip Akhzar:

Sure. Gives more of the social media, as you can see. Vital Proteins is on the side as well. Another call out on the hashtag, the URL. Opening up like so. Has a nice little message inside if y'all wanna read that. So here's one thing I did have an issue with is the fact that this is something that a lot of companies do. They'll send the product, not with an insert, which we'll show shortly in one of the other boxes, but they'll use some kind of filler. This is good in the sense that it's not having a product rattle around in the mail. But my qualms about this is, if there was a little bit more investment done for this package, you could have nicely had an insert right here to put in the container to stop it from rattling around. This is honestly taking away from this experience. Don't you agree? I mean, this isn't even the same color as the rest of the box. Maybe if it was white or if it was the shade of blue or even the branding that matches the product itself, that'd be fine. This was just like an easy one to miss. So minus points for having this in the first place, even more so, for not having it be standardized with the rest of the brand. But other than that, the structure of the package is great. This is minimally designed in terms of size. This isn't in a box that's too large for this container, which is good. 'Cause I've received other packages that I didn't even wanna showcase, although it would be a good idea to showcase the example of something that's not good. But you know, we've all been guilty of purchasing a product that comes in a package that's roughly five times the size of the product itself. So although they're not guilty of that, they're guilty of the fact that they could have had a better packaging experience for the customer, when putting the product in the actual package itself. A simple tray would do the job. We can show it in one of the other boxes. But with everything else that they do in this package, they actually even gave some details. This was a little personalized that shows who actually packed this, which is nice. Also, something that's not shown here was a free product that came with the package as well. And that's a great way to customer loyalty is, get them hooked on some other items, show them what else you do, show the scope of possibilities that your brain and your business can deliver with another product, even if they didn't ask for it. I'm always a fan of that as well. If I was to give us a rating, I give this a B- in the sense that everything is packed minimally. They're not using too much material, which I really like, but this really knocks it down an entire grade, along with the fact that this could have been in a different insert to hold the product itself. So now I'm going to move this out of the way.

Chad Rubin:

The label looks like, I just wanna look at the label on the outside. So that looks like a, is that a Shore Post? So it looks like a Shore Post on the outside. And then if you zoom in on the actual address coming from, if you, I can't sorry. Vital Proteins, it gives you an address. So essentially everyone gets the idea here is, essentially you can take that address, put it in and just see and understand their fulfillment operations and where they're shipping from, and who they're using by just Googling that address right there. The other interesting thing I want to point out on this box, I always wondered, do hashtags make sense to put on a box? And in Vital Proteins case #stayvital, which is on the inside. On Instagram alone has 22,000 posts for stay vital.

Phillip Akhzar:

There you go.

Chad Rubin:

And people like influencers are all posting that they've received this box and taking photos with it, which is kind of strange. But anyway, they're taking photos with the box with the actual-- Yeah, they're doing it. And so it's just another thing to think about when you're actually designing your own box.

Phillip Akhzar:

Got it. We got a couple of questions. So one was from Ashley. I think this one was still for you Chad in regards to major recommendations for order confirmation. And then we can move on to the intro question that I had along.

Chad Rubin:

So I think packing slips are great because it tells you what you've received and if you've received the right item. Also, it has return information on it. There is a way that you can custom design your insert so that they're not printed on a thermal printer in the way that it was with this box. In the Vital Protein box, I didn't see an insert at all. Anything that would essentially get that customer to return back to the website or to leave a review, or unless I missed that Phillip.

Phillip Akhzar:

I mean, we've got this, which is fine, but it would have been better if there was some sort of insert because that can sort of guide the customer on what to do next, other than obviously just consume the product in whatever way. So I have to agree with you there. They could have gone a little bit further. And Gina, thank you so much. She put a helpful article with tips to improve your packing slip in the chat as well. So be sure to check that out. What is the insert still in the box? I've already shared that. "Is it smart to cover the top of the box with the shipping label? Would the side be better?" It depends on how your braining is oriented. I personally think, I mean, sometimes you can even do it on the bottom. That's what this was for. You can see this like little snapshot, is that the name? So this is typically where you would want a label to go, but look, I have packaging company. Skubana can better speak to where labels should go in case there's any sort of inconvenience on that end. Is there a reason why you would want it to definitely be on top, other than the ease of use of just like, they put this together and we slapped it on top, next.

Chad Rubin:

I think it comes down to, this was a miss on the 3PL, they're just not thinking. And I think that's just a mistake on their side and they're probably doing that frequently. But I would be actually test-purchasing my own practice to see how my 3PL is doing every so often to get a sense of, are they putting the sticker in the right place? Are they putting an insert? How does that experience feel when you receive it at your door?

Phillip Akhzar:

Got it.

Chad Rubin:

I would say another sort of missed opportunity. Vital Proteins, you can put this in a smoothie, you can put this in your coffee. There should be a little bit of a recipe book, even if it's just like--

Phillip Akhzar:

So true, so true.

Chad Rubin:

There's so much to be done in this box that gets you back to Vital Proteins to then buy another product. And I just think that they could have done more.

Phillip Akhzar:

Yeah. I mean, they do the subscribe and save, they tell you all that fun stuff, but you're right. Maybe just like a nice little, "Here's what you could use this product for. Here's our favorite way of using this product." Even if it was somewhere on here. Obviously they put it on the package itself. They talk a little bit about the right temperatures to have this product in, and how to mix it around. But yeah, I mean the package, look, they still have all this real estate. This is all still branding. It's not gonna cost them any more to have this be blue or have this be print. Because no matter what, this is still used real estate for the packaging branding. So to have some sort of instructions on there, especially when there's so much texts up here, would have been really easy for them. I have to agree with you. Do you wanna hit another one Chad?

Chad Rubin:

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. There were a few other questions I just wanna touch on here. "How do you entice the customers to buy again with effective packaging branding?" I would say like one experience share I can share with Vitor Botega. I think that's who asked this question. For me, is that you couldn't even have a QR code. And the QR code would pull up Facebook Messenger and you can ask them like, once they scan the QR code, claim a free gift. And at that point, now they're in your funnel. You're getting them to engage a lot further with you and your brand and the experience itself. And so that's something that we're actually starting to experiment with at my eCommerce business itself, is like, how can you get people back into the funnel either to essentially incentivize them for what behavior we're trying to have them achieve. So if you offer a free gift in a product, bring them back into the messenger funnel, and maybe you want to incentivize them to leave a review. Maybe you want to incentivize them to buy something else that's adjacent to the product that you've sold them. There's a whole lot of ways that you can do it to essentially get them to buy again with effective branding. Have you seen anything else that's similar, Phillip?

Phillip Akhzar:

Yeah. I mean, I really liked that they did put in a protein bar, but it was funny, it was taped to the side, which is weird 'cause there was a room in here. For them to be able to do something where maybe it was on the inside and maybe even on the inside, it had some sort of like messaging of like, "Try this as well," would have been really nice. But yeah, it was just taped to the side and we ripped it off the second we got it. But you know, points for effort. They still gave me a free product, which I liked.

Chad Rubin:
Nice. All right, cool. Should I do the... I have one here from Bombas. This is one of my favorite companies out there. I think they do a really nice job. At least the last time I've bought from them, they did a great job. Let's make it rain here with us. So I don't know what they purchased for me here, but I definitely am a big fan of Bombas socks. And I'll tell you why at the end of the unboxing. So right away, you've got a corrugated box. You have the tape on the outside here. That's custom. A nice touch. Now, interestingly enough, the address here. If you look here, the address is saying it's Custom House. So if you actually type that in, it'll take you to their 3PL and it happens to be that their 3PL, their fulfillment center is located in Mexico. So they ship everything into Mexico from their supplier, and then from Mexico, they get into United States and then they do the final delivery. In this case, they also went the extra mile to get this UPS Next Day Air. We definitely didn't pay for Next Day Air, but they sent it to us Next Day Air. So I'm gonna open this up and let's check it out. All right. So right away, now I don't have the coolest screen that Phillip has for this unboxing. But right away, this is first luck, first glance. We have something here, something here, and then we have the insert on top. So this looks like a card. And so that's what we're gonna start with here. "Warm Wishes ". Quite nice, I like it.

Phillip Akhzar:

That's cute.

Chad Rubin:

"Bombas These Socks Were Made To Give." First, you know, Bombas, if you buy one, they give one. "These are for wearing, not for hanging over the fireplace, love." And so I think that's a very cute thing here. On the back, they talk about the fact that they give for every purchase. Essentially, if you have a problem, they have a happiness team, they'll make it right. That's one of the reasons why I love Bombas. I actually had an issue with an order and they were like, "Hey, keep the socks. In fact, donate them." So we donated those socks that didn't fit as well as I would've liked, but my entire sock collection is Bombas socks. And I think they do a really, really nice job. So that's the insert. Outside of that, here's my goods on the inside. I don't see a lot of other upsell opportunity that they could have taken advantage of. So it's really just a very transaction-oriented saying, "Hey, this is for you. Warm wishes make you feel nice in your belly and in your mind." And then you have the product itself. The product itself, one of them actually, let's just focus on both of them. This is like a bottle of alcohol, but it's not. So we have two products here. This one has just a UPC code on the bottom, telling you a little bit about Bombas. But again, it's not anything to write home about. The top of this canister says, "For silly days and my feet are chilly days!" And this box here, it's just a box. So I would say that they missed out on the opportunity, unless there's something inside this box, which we're gonna find out right now. Let's see. So yeah, looks like we've got some nice socks here for the holiday season. I'm not gonna need these in Florida. Put that blade in. I'm just looking at the comments here. And then this one, if I open this canister, it looks like it's for my child, for my 15-month-old. So it looks like we're gonna be matching socks. So toddler-father socks. So I would say overall here, this experience in itself is also a little bit underwhelming, although the product is overwhelmingly positive in a very positive way. I would give this product unboxing experience a C just because I think there's a lot of missed opportunity. Even the inside of this box here is just white and there just wasn't an opportunity to connect with me as a customer. There was no hashtag. So I think there's a lot to be had here on improving this experience.

Phillip Akhzar:

Chad, we're gonna have to create a good scoring system to... We should do this again and have maybe a specific amount of weight and maybe points between every single thing that's required. So if the hashtag is worth 5% and not having an insert is worth 15% or whatever. Then we can have like a real deal, you know, V2 of this discussion. I think we should have this be an ongoing series because your rating system is fricking harsh too, which I really like. Because we have folks that don't know anything when it comes to branding. And I just wanna be explicit about this to those of you that are at home watching this. Don't fret at the grades that we're giving. We are honestly going top-shelf experience. And to be completely honest, if you have a business that is anything like the unboxing that we've done so far for either Chad's companies that he's worked with or myself, you are still in really, really great shape. I just wanna repeat that. Like you were in great shape if you've done any of the above and what's been presented today. We're just being harsh critics that are going for top-shelf. There's always room for improvement. This is an iterative process. Do not get down on yourself if you're nowhere near this, or if you're around this category. You can always do better. But at the same time, what's most important is, are you satisfied with this? Is your ethos. Is your branding being communicated to your customers? Like first and foremost, from there, then you gotta work on the customer loyalty. You've gotta work on the hashtags. You gotta work on a way to take your customer along the journey. All that is excellent, but it's a bonus on top of the fact that, are you even communicating your brand properly? That is first and foremost, the most important thing. It's something that most people miss. That is something that you should focus on. And anything in addition to that is just a bonus. So we're really just rating the bonuses that are involved in the unboxing experience.

Chad Rubin:

And just to piggyback on that, like, I am a lifetime customer of Bombas right now. They didn't give me a hashtag. They didn't give me an insert, but the experience I've had with dealing with the company, the return policy, the happiness, their customer support is really the happiness support or happiness advisors or whatever. And like the way that they've handled me, they sort of converted me to a customer for life without having to just throw a lot of the bells and the whistles, the pluses that we're sort of rating them on these missed opportunities. So I continue to buy even though they don't have that in the packaging.

Phillip Akhzar:

For sure. Yeah. That's such an important point, Chad. You can't have an unboxing experience replace a good experience with the product in general. You can't buy your way out of that by just having such a nice box because in the end, what's your product like? And what are the people you have to engage with like? Do you want a lifetime customer? Or do you want someone who just throws up a hashtag on Twitter once or Instagram and then that's that. So we're talking about the long game here just as Chad said, like lifetime customer Bombas. See or no see, it doesn't matter. The point is, he has a good experience out of it.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah. High NPS store for me with Bombas. I essentially recommend them to all my friends and family.

Phillip Akhzar:

That's awesome. Well, they are poets. Do you have a, maybe while I'm unboxing this, maybe even if you can dig up like a referral code, I think they'd appreciate that. You sound like you could advocate for them. So I'm gonna do next a quick unboxing of just these chocolates, unrelated to this, but this is strictly just product packaging. This is not something you would ship. I just thought this was pretty neat. They basically have this cannabis chocolate look like basically you're getting jewelry. The same type of experience you would get for something like that. Here's a nice little message from the co-founders, which is really nice.

Chad Rubin:

What does it say?

Phillip Akhzar:

"We love cannabis chocolate and you, thank you for choosing Mood Food." And that's the name of the company, Mood Food, Lauren and Ben Graziano, Co-founders. Learn more, stay in touch, gives their URL, Instagram, email. The moods, chill, create, love, party, and sleep. And currently we are opening up Chill. So over here we have chocolate. I feel like "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" getting that golden ticket or the chocolate. So here's the chocolate. It looks incredible. It looks delicious. Can break it apart like so. So when you're done, just fold it back up, put in this bad boy here.

Chad Rubin:

Save those for later.

Phillip Akhzar:

Save those for later. Every OCD here is absolutely cringing by that fold, but it's okay. I'm all right with it. Just Chill. Read the message. And then here we go. Felix Gray. So this is one of my favorite companies, not only to purchase their product, but to work with. They are one of our companies. Shout out to Bobby and Michael. They've been wonderful customers. We've helped them through this process going and talking specifically about inserts, which we're going to talk about shortly when we open the box. Something that you can't probably tell through the camera, but as far as tactile experience is concerned like this. This was a really nice litho laminate. And essentially what that is, is not printing directly on the box like you would have here. So there's multiple print processes. There's digital, there's flexo, and there's litho. So for digital, digital print is just a box where a giant inkjet printer sprays the ink on the box. The ink rests on top, and the finished product is what you see. For this, this is flexo. This is a little bit more sophisticated than that. It's essentially a giant stamp that gets rolled in ink. And then the cardboard when laid flat gets extruded through that stamp and then out comes your design, which then gets folded into a box. So the cardboard has the printing on top. With something like this, this is a litho label. And the reason why they call it a label, think of a sticker, a sticker is a label, right? Or any of these are labels. There's something that you slap onto something. So the difference between this and this is that something is printed on first, which is this label, and then that's layered onto this box, which is different than this, where a giant piece of cardboard goes through a machine and gets printed on. Not much with this guy. The sheets get printed on, and then the sheets get layered onto this, leaving a much smoother touch. Almost has like a glossy feel to it.

Chad Rubin:

So as if the telltale sign that it's a little bit glossy. Is that the best way to know if it's litho or?

Phillip Akhzar:

Here's the thing. That's a great question, Chad. You can get a varnish on a flexo box, which will make it look like it's a litho job, but they won't be the same thing. I think to the untrained eye probably looks the same. So you can do that. But it really just depends on how you wanna move forward. The other thing about litho label is there are finer. You can get finer, crisper prints out from a litho label because it's not a stamp that has to like roll in ink and then essentially typewriter itself onto a piece of paper. This is all printed ahead of time. And then whatever the heck you want, this can be layered onto the box. So these like finer details of the plants or this drawing or the circles around the owl's eyes. If this was done flexo, it could be a little bit smudgy. That's just the nature of the print quality. Whereas with something like this, that's litho, you'll see this really nice crisp outcome. You know, they chose white for the outside, which can be tricky because sometimes you can get something like that. In transit, this will get smudged and there's some smudging here. Thankfully it's only on the bottom. Otherwise the top looks pretty good, pretty clean.

Chad Rubin:

Which is less expensive, Phillip, which is less expensive? And which one does your company do?

Phillip Akhzar:

We do all the above. We do flexo, we do litho, we do digital. The only thing about litho is the upfront costs are expensive. So both of these require tooling, it's just that with litho, the tooling can be a bit more expensive upfront. So where you'll have something like this, that's $1,100 per color. Maybe this might be $2,000 per color just for setup costs. That's why we recommend digitally printed boxes if you're doing less than 5,000. Let me repeat that. If you're doing less than 5,000 boxes per month or even per quarter, I would highly recommend you print digitally. The other reason being is that you're clearly not doing enough volume to maybe be that satisfied with your brand anyways, like you should be continuing this as an iterative process. So if you're doing 5,000 and below per month, you're probably still just getting started on some level. So you want the flexibility of being able to change your design. With digital, you can change your design every week, if you want, because you don't require tooling, like these guys do, like flexo and litho. So if there's no tooling required, the per unit cost will be slightly more expensive. However, all in all, the total cost will be less because you don't have the upfront costs of like $2,000 per color or $1,100 per color, and then $800 for a print plate, which is essentially the giant cookie cutter that comes and punches out your box that lays flat and then it's folded up. So we have courses like this on Shopify. If you check out Shopify Compass. I go into greater detail. I don't want you guys to get discouraged from that data dump I just threw on all of you. It gets easier and simpler the more you read about it. But long story short, biggest takeaway. Litho for finer details. Flexo once you get into the higher volumes and you're committed to your design, meaning you're not gonna change your design every month. Maybe you'll change it once or twice a year. It can still be worth it because the per unit cost is a little bit less than doing digital, but the upfront cost is higher.

Chad Rubin:

Sorry. So there was a question from Alexis. "Do you help with the designing of the box or is that the responsibility of the brand?"

Phillip Akhzar:

We help with designing the box. We have folks that can help you design the box, meaning, we have all best practices when it comes to, "Hey, you should put your URL right here and your logo should go on top, and this should be centered. And maybe you have a nice little message on the side." And so on and so forth. We definitely help with that. But when it comes to a full-blown logo, we will refer you to someone. But when it comes to getting your design on the box, that is something we can help with. But we are not a design firm in the sense that we will design your box for you. However, any artwork you have that you want layered onto the package, we will complete your vision for you. That's how you should look at Arka. We will complete your vision for you, take your design, put it on the package, and send it out the door for you to see. We also do sampling. So if you wanted to try something and see what a box might look like with your branding on it, it's anywhere between 20 to 50 bucks to just check out a branded design and then make your changes from there.

Chad Rubin:

So if they wanted to get a designer from you, a recommendation, would they just contact you?

Phillip Akhzar:

Yep, support@arka.com.

Chad Rubin:

Awesome. Awesome. And so the other question that came in, was looking at some questions here. How about poly bags versus boxes?

Phillip Akhzar:

Totally. All of our boxes are FSC certified, so that's the Forest Service Certification. That's the highest standard you can get for sustainability, recyclability, post-consumer content. So with regards to paper and boxes, that is the eco-friendly route to take. Not only that, but it can give a more premium feel for your product and it's obviously sturdier. So if you're shipping something like sunglasses, you will want them to go to go in a box. If you're shipping something a little bit heavier, you'll want it to go in a box. Poly mailers can be great for apparel. And even then it really depends on what type of messaging you want to get across to your customer. A higher, more premium product might come in a box, whereas a T-shirt or something that you just wanna get something comfy, might come in a poly mail. Both of which we can help with. This discussion for the sake of the terminology of unboxing experience is strictly boxes and boxing experience, when we can have an unboxing or unbagging experience as well in a future webinar. But for the purposes of eco-friendly and protecting your product, definitely go for boxes. If you want something a little bit less expensive with limited branding design. That's something I want to emphasize heavily actually. Very limited branding capabilities when it comes to a poly bag. For quantities, I'm under 3,000. Imagine this box is completely empty, completely blank, except for this little square here, Felix Gray. If you're doing less than 3,000, that's all you're gonna get out of a poly bag, just this. So if you want something fully branded, start with a box and if you're pushing really high volumes and your product doesn't need to be protected and you don't really care, go with a poly mailer.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah. Like my product in the eCommerce world is a commodity. So a lot of times it depends on the margins. And so the poly bag can dictate whether it goes a pound or under a pound, obviously under a pound, there's a lot more savings to be had when you're shipping First-Class Mail USPS. And so that's why we choose poly mailers because we're in a very commoditized, low margin business.

Phillip Akhzar:

Got it. Yeah. Makes sense. I mean, if that's where you are as a business and your volumes are high enough, 3,000, 5,000, 15,000 plus you can get all this same branding. It's just that it really depends on where you are in your business. If you're starting out, digitally printed boxes make the most sense. If you're passing 5,000 volumes, you can start thinking about flexo or litho print or branded poly mailers that will have a lot more branding on them than just the logo.

Chad Rubin:

All right. Last question then we're gonna actually dive into the unboxing real quick 'cause we're keeping everyone. January said, "Doesn't using boxes use a lot of trees and therefore not so sustainable, even though they can be recycled?"

Phillip Akhzar:

Say that one more time. Boxes use a lot of trees and therefore not so sustainable, even though they can be recycled. Yeah. So January great point. That's why we got FSC certification. So all of our packaging comes from paper mills. So down to where the paper is sourced using the most sustainable practices still. Look, your product has to go in something. You can't just slap a label on this and throw it in the mail. So if you're gonna put it in something, yes, a lot of trees are used for paper that ultimately go into boxes. However, that process, depending on what facility you use and what company you use, hence why we have this stamp and certification of FSC is going to vary. With something like plastic, I mean, forget about it. I mean, having an actual petroleum-based product in comparison to something like a box is way different, which is why we definitely recommend using a paper product that's recyclable, recycled, has a high post-consumer content percentage. And in that regard, you will be taking the most sustainable and eco-friendly route.

Chad Rubin:

So box is better for the environment than a poly mailer?

Phillip Akhzar:

100%.

Chad Rubin:

And what if it's a biodegradable poly mailer?

Phillip Akhzar:

Then it depends on the company itself and where you're actually getting the poly mailer. We specifically use what's called non-virgin plastic, which essentially is a poly bag. The inside is gray. So this is a good little tip for anyone at home if they want to know if their vendors is eco-friendly or not. If the inside of the poly mailer is gray, that means it's recycled material, which is great. The biodegradable corn-based poly mailers, I haven't seen a lot of flexibility when it comes to printing. Some of which only allow for a one-color print. And then when it comes to the actual manufacturing of the corn mailers itself, that's another question I would ask. So it's not just about the material itself or what happens afterwards in its life, what led up to it? If you had to sacrifice an entire beach shore to be able to create a biodegradable bag, what's the point? Whereas if you had something that is a little bit more generic and may not be as kitschy or is in vogue or fashionable is like a corn starch mailer for that regard. Don't think that you're not taking the most sustainable route because you need to take that into account as well. Similar to how people had all sorts of qualms about the Prius being, when it first came out, like the most sustainable product, but then what do they do with the battery when the car dies or anything that led up to it? It was not exactly the most eco-friendly process that led to it owning something like a BMW in the lifetime of the product itself was still more eco-friendly than the Prius. So I'm just saying, don't fall for gimmicks. And if you're confused, you can always fall back to paper. Paper's always the best route. You can't go wrong with paper.

Chad Rubin:

Cool. All right. Let's go inside that box and see what we got.

Phillip Akhzar:

Let's go inside this box and see what we got. So first off, this is a very snug opening. I just want to mention that. That's okay, it's just putting the box back together. That can be a little bit, you know, it almost plateaus as you open. But it's on the borderline. It's actually pretty great how you can open this box and it's very sturdy and it's not bowing out when the box is closed. And as you can see here, like the compartment is just open enough for the flaps to go in. So it's actually great, but it's on the borderline. So you wanna make sure that you test your product package with your product inside opening and closing because that's obviously gonna leave impression as well. And we'll open up this bad boy. And check it out, they have a QR code, beautiful. Goes to shop felixgray.com/letsgo. So you can find out everything you need to find out about these glasses. So I think someone in the audience had asked earlier about inserts. So this is exactly what I mean by insert trays. And this is cool because this is a box that can hold one or two. So they have another tray that just has a insert right here that they just swap out for the box. They don't need to buy more than one box from the packaging supplier, Arka in this case. And all they need to do is swap out the tray. So whether they have one or two products inside. And then same with the three, and I believe up to five-product box. They'll be able to just swap out the tray for the other box. So that's a really good hack for businesses that have multiple products. I know earlier in the questions I saw someone ask about multiple items and what we should do. and how we should split them up. That is essentially one of the ways that you can do it is have a different tray based on the products that will be going inside and we can help design those inserts for you. The inside has a nice feel to it as well, because this is also litho lam. Sometimes what people do, will do a flexo on the outside, and litho on the inside, or vice versa. These guys decided to keep it pretty consistent all the way through. And then here are their glasses. I got two kinds. I got these like clear ones called the Panoramas, which I really fricking like. The case also says Felix Gray on there.

Chad Rubin:

Sorry, are those blue light blockers or they're just?

Phillip Akhzar:

Yeah, blue light blockers. And I even brought a demonstration for us. You can see what the hell that even means. So check this out. So with blue light blockers, you're essentially supposed to stop damage to your eyes that occur from blue light. So check out this strip that just shows like a second of what it looks like when a blue light hits the strip, and obviously turns purple. Then you've got something like this where you can take the glasses, blast on through like so.

Chad Rubin:

What! That's awesome.

Phillip Akhzar:

So that's pretty sweet. I mean, clearly. Look, I'm really pressing it through there. And it's not like you're gonna be this close to a screen, but hours on end are going to make some sort of effect. Whereas, you know, blue light.

Chad Rubin:

Phillip, I have to ask. Do you just have that blue light tester for fun? Or do you get it just for this unboxing?

Phillip Akhzar:

Well, first of all, LOL, but second, so these guys are a customer of ours and I don't want to kick them in saying that they should have something like this, but I did try a bunch of different companies. So shout out to SOJOS, S-O-J-O-S another company that actually had this in the package. And I don't know. I've gotten varying opinions on this. Some people think it's gimmicky to include that. I like it. I mean, I liked it. Maybe I'm just a nerd, unless I'm falling for the gimmick and moreso falling for the science, because I don't want to buy into something that's BS. If I hear, "Yeah, these are blue light glasses and they do such and such." I'm gonna say, "Okay, sure, whatever you say." Whereas if I have the evidence, I think it's moreso it's less of a gimmick and I think it's better for naysayers like myself. I mean, that's kind of in the camp that I was in. I wanna say, "Prove it." And with this, you have proof. So another company had sent these in the mail. I actually got a couple of glasses 'cause I'm actually gonna be keeping one of these. I'm buying into the craze. My girlfriend has as a few pairs and I've been wearing them and honestly, they work. I mean, I don't have like dry eyes by the end of the day and I'm not squinting by the end of the day. So that's kinda nice. If I'm getting that little extra boost when it comes to my eyesight. That's not a insignificant thing to help. So anyways, additional questions, help a child, felixgray.com. They've got all their social here as well. Overall, it looks pretty cool. I mean, I like what they did here. I think if any company can get to this level, next comes the iterative process to pass Chad's level of getting an A. But for me, I really like this. I think this is, if you're here, if you can accomplish this, you're fine. You're all set. If you can do more than this, then Chad will be happy and you'll be in the upper echelons of successful unboxing experiences.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah. That test kit in the box and then know where that let's see, the test, I think that's important. And then QR code, like where does that QR code go? Like how does that?

Phillip Akhzar:

Yeah. So it says it goes to shop.

Chad Rubin:

Is it to go back to shop more?

Phillip Akhzar:

To shop and find out more about your glasses. Like it'll specifically take you to your set of glasses. 'Cause when you do shop, it does tell you, but maybe you're just excited to get a pair of glasses you're not exactly reading up on it. Whereas now you have your glasses, you wanna read up on it. By the way, here's where you're supposed to go and check it out. But yeah, I think, I think so too. I think these are great, but I can see what they're doing or excuse me. I can see why they're not doing it. To some people it's seen as gimmicky, but again, not to the nerds. I think to the nerds it will come off as like--

Chad Rubin:

Shout out to the nerds. All right. So let's do a lightning round. So thank you all those nerds that are joining us today. We have eight minutes left. I just wanna be respectful of everyone's time. So let's do a lightning round of some questions. Phillip, I think you might be able to get to these quick. You ready?

Phillip Akhzar:

Yeah, let's do it.

Chad Rubin:

So is unboxing worth investing only for influencers and the chance of getting it seen by many? Or is it something to invest in for all your customers?

Phillip Akhzar:

That's actually a funny question. Look, I mean, yeah. Obviously with an influencer, you're just adding something to the experience to amplify that influencer to megaphone whatever it is your product to others. I would just say, yeah, it's a prerequisite for an influencer, but then for your own personal brand, that's totally up to you. I'm always going to say, you should absolutely invest. The thing is, people are spending between eight to 30% of the product cost in the product packaging. So if you're anywhere in that range, you're safe. You're totally fine.

Chad Rubin:

What were those percentages again?

Phillip Akhzar:

Eight to 30%.

Chad Rubin:

Eight to 30% of the product cost is in the packaging, yeah?

Phillip Akhzar:

It's in the packaging itself. So if you're going over 30%, I saw someone saying that Chanel was one of their favorite unboxing experiences. I wouldn't be surprised if you get a designer item and maybe the cost of the product itself is significantly less than the packaging itself. 'Cause you can't hide the quality of a package. Maybe you can hide the quality of the product with a brand name that you slap on it. But when it comes to packaging, that's something else entirely. Going back to the question though.

Chad Rubin:

I just want to piggyback on that. It's fascinating that people spend so much time to get real estate space, like advertising space on Instagram to get people to buy the product, and they don't try to get the real estate space of their mind. And that's really the package design and that experience that we're talking about.

Phillip Akhzar:

That's a great point. No, that's a great point. Like the whole thing that comes from this is like, look, this is a physical user experience, guys. So first the question is, do you even invest in user experience? Like what does your site look like? What does the journey look like, even get the product? Like if you're investing in things like that, if you're blasting money on Instagram ads, and Facebook, and Google and whatever, this is a layup. This is something that someone brings into their home. The return on that spend should be more than quantifiable as a positive. So with something like this, like I said, it can be iterative. You can start out slow, you can start out small. You don't have to have a lamination with an insert followed by QR codes and all that. If you're just starting with your logo on a box, congratulations, you've gone from zero to one, but it can get addicting. You're gonna wanna do more and you should do more. These are the kinds of things, first of all, it's beautiful. And second, it's something that's going to make your customers happy. So yes, you should absolutely invest in it, not just if you're talking to dang influencers.

Chad Rubin:

Another question I saw come in was your pricing relative to China. Now someone said, "Hey, why should I buy from you versus China? If you don't mind sharing your perspective that'd be helpful."

Phillip Akhzar:

Yeah. So first of all, purchasing in the U.S. is going be triple the cost of China, but then comes into the several factors you might have on shipping costs. My only advice there is like, bust out the Excel sheet and amortize the total costs of everything all in to your doorstep or to your fulfillment center, versus just a box cost a dollar in the U.S. and it costs 33 cents or 30 cents, whatever in China. Why should I use you? Well, then I'm gonna say, first of all, how long is it gonna take to get here? Good luck getting it within two weeks to 60 days to 90 days, depending on what service you use to get it over here. Followed by the fact that if you're not standing by any sort of FSC certification, then maybe sustainability is not important to you. That's gonna go out the door, if you're gonna be using China. Followed by if you're able to figure out what customization is available as well, because low quantity volumes is not going to be that easy to get in China. On top of the fact that boxes in general might actually be more expensive, poly bags, yeah, absolutely, go to China. It's gonna be cheaper. But with boxes, that's not always the case because boxes, like this is obviously the paper. But stack these on top of each other and you're basically freighting wood from China to the U.S. like it's heavy, and that can be expensive. So bust out the Excel sheet, make sure your per unit cost is actually formidably cheaper if you wanna take that route. But I'm just speaking in terms of like U.S. versus China at this point. If you wanna really talk about Arka, well, I don't know of any Chinese packaging companies that are partnered with Skubana and I don't know of many Chinese packaging companies that are partnered with, let's say Shopify, which I believe is actually zero 'cause we were the only packaging company that's partnered with Shopify. So if you want to have a turnkey process using someone like again, just selfishly speaking for Arka at this point, first points were just U.S. as a whole. But with someone like us, we're actually integrated into your Shopify store, we can connect your WMS, 3PL. So if you want something that's a bit more turnkey, you should take this route. But look, if that's not important to you and you just want something cheap, yeah, sure go to China.

Chad Rubin:

I appreciate that. So there are more questions here. I wanna be respectful of everyone's time. I certainly want to shout out everyone who's joining today and just say thank you for spending some time with us. This was fun for me. And I'm hoping it was fun for everyone else that joined. Phillip, where can people find out more about you? More about Arka? What's the best way to get in touch?

Phillip Akhzar:

Well, if you wanna talk to me, you can always just hit up phillip@arka.com. That's my personal email if you guys have any questions, P-H-I-L-L-I-P@A-R-K-A.com. But if you want fast responses and it's about getting your packaging done, hit up support@arka.com. I do read all my emails though. Just apologies if I don't get back to you right away. However, if it's about an order and you wanna get things out the door fast, do not email me. You're going to have a bad experience. Just email support@arka.com. The team will get back to you. But arka.com, that's our website. You can also find us on Shopify, ENSUN, Square and BigCommerce. We are also integrating with them shortly. So by Q1, if you're on any of those platforms, we should be able to plug into your store.

Chad Rubin:

Great. And if anybody wants to learn more about myself, email me, or you can just hit me up at chad@skubana. That's my personal email address. The website is Skubana, S-K-U-B-A-N-A.com. Again, thank you so much for joining and have a great Thanksgiving.

Phillip Akhzar:

Awesome. Hey, shout out to Mr. Smith saying, "We prefer American made, heck yeah. Great job over there." And then Alicia, thanks for saying we have good customer service and that we got back to you in a decent time. We try. Thank you guys.

Chad Rubin:

That's awesome. Thanks everybody till next time.

Phillip Akhzar:

Thanks so much guys. Bye.

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