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Unveiling the Mystery of Blind Boxes: The Thrill of Uncertainty, Collecting, and Unboxing Culture

Scandinavian Airline (SAS) recently made an intriguing announcement for their EuroBonus members: an airline blind box. Within just a day of registration, over 6,000 people attempted to secure a spot. Passengers and flight attendants would have no idea about their destination until two hours after departure. This unique marketing strategy highlights the concept of Blind Box Marketing, which we often encounter in our daily lives.

So, what exactly is a blind box? Essentially, it's something unknown. It taps into consumer curiosity by creating an air of mystery.

But why are people interested in purchasing something without knowing what it is, instead of simply going to the mall and buying what they need? The psychological explanation behind the allure of blind boxes lies in the thrill of uncertainty. Opening a blind box allows us to experience the excitement of not knowing exactly what we will get, heightening our emotions and intensifying our experiences.

Moreover, blind boxes often come with a set of collectibles and frequently feature limited edition items that are not available through regular retail channels. Many people enjoy the challenge of collecting and completing a full set, providing a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when the collection is completed or a rare piece is obtained.

Also, blind boxes usually offer items at a lower price point compared to individually sold items or full sets, making them more affordable for collectors interested in acquiring a variety of items without breaking the bank. There are many Lucky Bags in China that guarantee the total product value is higher than the bag's price.

There is an unboxing culture where people share their unboxing reactions or experiences on the internet. “Unboxing” is the process of recording the moment when a certain product is opened and removed from its packaging. Unboxing videos are a bizarre trend that is getting more and more popular with an ever-diversified range of products, from phones and clothing to bedding and action figures. Over 90,000 people type “unboxing” into YouTube every month, with almost 40 videos having over 10 million views.

Additionally, the unboxing culture provides opportunities for trade or resale within the collector community. If a collector receives duplicates or items they are not interested in, they can potentially trade or sell those items to other collectors who may be seeking them.

HEAT, a luxury mystery box start-up, has successfully tapped into this trend, particularly resonating with Gen-Z consumers. Launched in 2019, HEAT offers curated luxury mystery boxes that have garnered significant attention, including a $5-million seed round from prominent investors like Antler and LVMH Ventures.

The success of HEAT lies in understanding what makes Gen Z tick. This generation values experiences as much as transactions. The excitement of opening a mystery box, the social share-ability of unboxing content, and item reviews create a community interaction that goes beyond just the product. HEAT's CEO, Joe Wilkinson, emphasizes that their audience is predominantly Gen Z, who are more open to trying different shopping models and value the experience of being part of a community.

HEAT carefully curates their boxes around current market trends, working directly with luxury brands like Alexander McQueen and Off-White. They ensure that each box offers items "way beyond the value of what their paying for," which adds a layer of excitement and satisfaction for consumers. The company also offers a return and exchange policy, maintaining a return rate below 15%, far better than the industry average of 40%.

Blind boxes can be seen as a game within the realm of shopping. They tap into our sense of curiosity, provide a thrilling experience, offer opportunities for collecting and completing sets, and contribute to the flourishing unboxing culture. Small businesses can harness the power of blind boxes to attract customers and boost engagement. By offering mystery boxes tailored to their products, businesses can create excitement and anticipation among their clientele. For example, a boutique could offer seasonal fashion blind boxes, while a bookstore might sell mystery book bundles. This strategy not only increases sales but also enhances customer loyalty as shoppers return to complete collections or experience the thrill of the unknown again. The blind box model can be an affordable way for small businesses to differentiate themselves and create buzz in their market.


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