Package Delivered: Enhancing the Last Moment of Truth

Package Delivered: Enhancing the Last Moment of Truth

Sealed Air Corporation’s claim to fame is its invention of bubble wrap in 1960. Since then, the company has grown its packaging services in the food packaging and product care industries and transitioned into a small parcel fulfillment company. Sealed Air is an industrial company by nature, but ecommerce changed the way it does business in the last ten years.

At, Sealed Air’s Global Marketing Director, Carrie Giaimo, discussed how indy brands can compete with big retailers when they do not have a physical store. The next frontier of customer experience is the delivery experience, or the “last moment of truth,” as Giaimo refers to it. For online-born brands, there are numerous obstacles for them to overcome in order to grab a slice of the ecommerce revenue pie.

First, the customer needs to find the brand. Giaimo calls this stage “the zero moment of truth.” During this stage, customers are researching online, gathering information, and considering their options. Once they click on a brand’s site (“the first moment of truth”), they evaluate the product options and research the market before adding anything to their cart. If they decide they are satisfied with the product offerings and find an item that matches their needs, they purchase the product. At this point, you may think you’ve won them over, but this isn’t the end of the customer journey.

The journey continues with the last moment of truth. “This is the moment where your consumer actually interacts with your purchase. They see it for the first time, they have an instant reaction as to whether or not they are going to be delighted or disappointed,” said Giaimo. For online-only brands, the delivery experience is the first time your customers will physically interact with your brand. From the moment they see the box on their doorstep, rip off the tape and open the box, take out the wrapping and cushioning, try out the product, to breaking down the box and throwing it in the recycling. “It’s a big deal,” said Giaimo, “which means you’ve got a big problem.”

In a recent study, Sealed Air found that 89 percent of consumers see the delivery experience a weakness for retailers. While this statistic seems daunting, chances are most of your competitors are within that 89 percent. This brings to light the opportunity brands have to differentiate themselves from their competitors through delivery and packaging. The same study found that 76 percent of shoppers believe packaging has the ability to positively affect their perception of a retailer. “That means that you can go from middle-lane or mediocre to be truly differentiated just by addressing the packaging experience,” states Giaimo.

Small parcel delivery is increasing at a rate of 17 percent per year. Sealed Air partnered with UPS this past holiday season and it as the first time small parcel shipments outnumbered pallet shipments (51 percent small parcel vs. 49 percent pallet). Giaimo notes, “It’s fair to say that the more packages arriving at doorsteps, the higher the likelihood that somebody will have a poor experience.”

The cost of damaged or unpleasant deliveries is significant for brands. 50 percent of consumers have received an order in poor condition, and 34 percent say the packaged item was damaged. Experiences like this result in over a third of consumers considering buying products from a competitor next time. For brands, this results in more time and money spent on processing returns and shipments and bringing your loss customer back to neutral.

With higher consumer expectations comes the potential for higher valued shoppers. By providing pleasant delivery experiences, you can unlock loyal and repeat customers. The third of consumers who are considered “packaging involved” are more likely to re-order from the brand if given a premium packaging experience and spend twice as much. In the luxury industry, consumers are 33 percent more likely to repeat purchase if given a premium unboxing experience. Giaimo wraps up her presentation with best practices for enhancing the delivery experience.


1. Don’t be boring

Branded boxing and packaging are proven to increase engagement by 150 percent, and they get 64 percent more positive brain reactions.

2. Remember that size matters

Too often, customers receive a small item in a massive box. One-third of these shoppers believe this is an indication that the retailer doesn’t care.

3. Offer a premium gift option

When ordering a gift for a friend or relative, almost two-thirds of givers will pay more for premium gift packaging options. Additionally, most gift givers want the option to add a personal note to the package.

4. Make unboxing unforgettable

Two-thirds of consumers believe that packaging is a direct correlation with how much a company cares. Additionally, most consumers use unboxing videos to find out more about a product.

5. Be eco-conscious and reusable

This ties in with the second must-do, size matters. A consumer’s number one unboxing frustration is excessive packaging. Additionally, 94 percent of customers want to be able to reuse the original packaging to return online orders. One company designed its packaging paper to double as coloring paper for children.

Bland, unbranded packaging is a missed opportunity for marketing and engaging with the customer—would you buy an online ad and let it run blank? On average, consumers spend three seconds looking at an online banner ad, eight seconds looking at a static display ad, and 15 seconds watching a commercial. However, consumers spend 45 seconds unpackaging their box and 22 seconds removing the product from the box. Giaimo asks, “How often do you interact with your customer uninterrupted without competition?”

If you can master all three moments of truth,—pre-purchase research, product selection, and package delivery—then you can produce an end-to-end buyer experience that is seamless, consistent, and pleasantly surprising. If you’d like to learn more about what shoppers look for in ecommerce delivery and how you can create an exciting unboxing experience, download Blue Acorn iCi’s Consumer Delivery Expectations Report.