Build Republic | Design Studio | Hong Kong

Thoughts

Design Review: How Misfit Wearables designed a user-centric packaging by using digital marketing.

 The packaging resembles a speaker from afar, separating it from all the hanging boxes the accessory wall.

The packaging resembles a speaker from afar, separating it from all the hanging boxes the accessory wall.

Two weeks ago, the summer heat here in Hong Kong made me took a cooler route through the Apple store in Causeway Bay. As I walk pass the huge accessory wall, a round looking object caught my attention. From afar, I thought I was looking at another personal bluetooth speaker, just hanging there without any packaging. So it got me curious and made me went over to investigate. Turns out it was the Misfit Shine.

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The Misfit Shine is another new entry into the fast growing wearable fitness tracking market. It launched on indiegogo back in November 2012 and ended with a successful campaign of raising US$846,675 in January 2013. 

 

The unique shape of the packaging is definitely an attention grabber, it's able to separate itself from all the other boxes and the noise of information on the accessory wall.

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The back of the package is super simple, only 2 sentences in English describing the product, a simple illustration of the product and what the dot display represented. There were no bold keywords or bullet point lists of features normally found on a packaging of a small company. This really impressed me because I am a strong believer that packaging is part of the product experience and it should not be compromised by treating it as a media for sales pitches (more on this later).

 comparison with a generic sticker hang-tab

comparison with a generic sticker hang-tab

One detail of the packaging that I found very thoughtful was the hang-tab. Unlike other packaging that normally adds a stick on hang-tab as an afterthought, the Misfit's packaging hang-tab is a custom designed disc that you pull out to hang and it retracts when you take the package off the hanger. This solution made the packaging so much more elegant and confident. It tells me that the designers took a lot of care in designing the packaging and I could trust that the product inside is just as well thought out.


Unboxing Experience

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Unfortunately, the unboxing experience for me was somewhat of a letdown. The front clear plastic and the back container is held together by stickers, 2 on top and one one big label sticker underneath the base. To open the box, you simply peel off the 2 upper stickers. This is where the letdown begins,

going through the layers of compartments require you to constantly use your nail and I find this to be annoying.

It's nowhere near intuitive because it's hard to know where to pull or flip. I wonder why the designers didn't use "pull tabs" to solve this problem because I'm sure they had considered it.

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Popping the shine from the panel wasn't perfect either, it requires a certain force to separate the device from the holding panel. In my case, my Shine flew off and bounced around the table and fell on the floor, ouch!

bottom left is a pick tool to open the device for battery replacement; at the center is the wrist band and on the right is a magnetic clip and a battery.

The overall feel of the packaging and the accessories that comes with are very high quality and neatly arranged. 

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Summary:

This minimalistic packaging solution that emphasizes on user experience rather than designing it as if it's a Point of Purchase are common for large companies like Google or Apple.  Some would argue that this is possible because they have millions of dollars in advertising money, but the Misfit showed that it could also work for a small company. Today there are so many cost-effective platforms online that gives small companies the chance to attract and engage their customers even before their product is ready to launch. Misfit used online platform by reaching out on Indiegogo to potential customers and to assess the demand, build a stronger relationship with their early adopters, and use feedback to make their product better.

I think by having a good presence online they were able to tell their story clearly and convert customers even before the product is available in store. This is essentially the reason that allowed them to design their packaging for user experience and tell a continuation of their online story rather than using it as a boxed salesman that people have to take home and later discard.

As much as I applaud the packaging design from a marketing point of view, I can't help but feel bad that it's going to be another high quality plastic packaging that will end up an environmental hazard when I throw it away.

 

Jervis ChuaComment