The choice of materials used in e-commerce packaging makes a big impact on consumers’ perception of product value, claims a joint study by converter Pregis and the University of Wisconsin (UW).

Said Page Moreau, professor of marketing at UW: “There is strong evidence that the unboxing experience impacts customers’ emotions and their perceptions of product value. When a retailer gets the unboxing experience right, they demonstrate that the product is valuable. As e-commerce continues to be the growth engine for retail, retailers and brands must understand their new showplace is the parcel packaging.”

During the study, 60 participants were split into two groups and each group was asked to unbox the same bamboo bowl, unaware that the bowl cost $25. Each group was presented with different packaging, the first being what was described as ‘economy’ – a plain brown box with white polystyrene foam for inside protection and clear carton sealing tape – and the second considered ‘premium’ – a white box, clear inflated hybrid cushioning featuring a square pattern to protect the contents and soft white foam wrapped around the bowl with a ‘thank you’ sticker.

The survey revealed that the premium packaging scored 45 per cent higher in expected retail price than the economy packaging. Moreover, premium packaging came higher in all other attributes, including choice for gifting, better unboxing emotions, packaging perception and most likely retail outlet that the packaging came from.

Pregis believes that parcel packaging needs to be given equal consideration to primary product package, since the buying experience is shifting into the consumer’s home.