First impressions matter. There are thousands of articles that talk about how much they matter - with clients, with new friends, at work, with your significant other’s family... Once you’ve made an impact on someone when they first meet you, it can be difficult to overcome whatever first impression you made on them- good or bad.
We can’t help but be affected by first impressions. And products aren’t immune to it either.
What is OOBE?
OOBE stands for out-of-box experience. It’s the customer and product’s first touch. It’s the first experience that the customer has with a product- one that leaves a lasting impression.
Because of how important the OOBE is to a product’s success, many companies have entire teams dedicated to it- thinking through the box design, packaging colors, screen covers, protective layers.
Outside of a company, we can see the general public’s fascination with a product’s OOBE. For instance, unboxing videos on YouTube are incredibly popular (and profitable). YouTubers will record the process of unpacking their products- reviewing everything from iPhones, lipsticks, toaster ovens, toys, clothes and more. Virtually every product in every category has a video on YouTube dedicated to reviewing its OOBE. The appeal for viewers lies in the anticipation and the appeal of pure (unfiltered) view of a product in the state that any consumer would receive it.
Out-of-Box-Experience of Connected Products
Prior to recent history, most product setup experiences were fairly simple- plug it into the wall, turn it on and voila! Those products that did not need to be connected to the Internet (or any other products) did not have the extra complexity of figuring out the experience that occurs once you plug it in.
For connected products, once you have passed the packaging, the OOBE relates to the setup of the product (including WiFi setup.) Setup is critically important and the first experience a user has when using the product.
Although OOBE is proven to be incredibly important to a product’s success, many connected product companies have not solved their product’s out-of-box experience. The packaging might be sleek and the product design might be beautiful, but the setup took 45 minutes, when they were expecting 5. All of the work that went into the look and feel of the product’s packaging and product did not trickle down to the setup process and leaves customers with a bad taste. What is a frustrated customer to do?
Write a product review, of course. And online negative reviews can make or break a product. Customers write reviews when they are either 1. very delighted 2. frustrated and unhappy. If a product is difficult to connect to Wi-Fi, the customer could consider the whole experience with that product a failure (despite the product’s performance after setup.)
Focus on the full OOBE from the beginning of your product development cycle. In fact, product companies should strive to above and beyond to deliver something the customer wasn’t expecting. Early adopters of WiFi products are accustomed to onboarding their products using SoftAP- delight them by providing “one tap” onboarding with ZipKey.
They say don’t read a book by its cover or buy a bottle of wine because of its label, but who’s kidding? We all do it. Getting the full OOBE right is vital to a product’s success.