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Fitbit Packaging

2009 March 18
by James

One of the things we’re trying to figure out as we get closer to shipping is the packaging. Originally, the goal of the packaging was to support the Fitbit in an purely online retail environment only. That gave our designers the leeway to design packaging without having to include a lot of the marketing copy that you see slapped over typical brick and mortar packaging.

Here were a few of the early concepts:

basic_box jewel_box
foam_top

We thought the second “jewel box” concept would provide a great out of box experience for people who bought the Fitbit online and we went pretty far down the path of designing and prototyping the packaging:

final_jewel_box

However, as we started to get interest from brick and mortar retailers, we realized the packaging had some problems in the retail environment.

One, there was no way for curious people to see the product before they bought it and we didn’t think a single photo on the packaging would suffice. However, we didn’t want to do a typical clear “blister” pack which we felt looked cheap and was extremely difficult to open, at least for people not named Edward Scissorhands.

Secondly, the shape of the box was not ideal. Due to its long narrow shape, we felt when people took it off the shelf to look at it and then placed the box back on the shelf, they would tend to place the box on its back rather than on its narrow bottom. Also, due to the box’s 8″ long landscape orientation, it was not great for pegging onto a pegboard.

So we set out to solve these problems with another round of packaging design. We played around with a few concepts that we felt addressed the need for people to see the actual product, had shapes that promoted “correct” placement on shelves and also was peggable:

first_clear_box

Our prime candidate currently is the concept below:

final_box

39 Responses leave one →
  1. Cheryl Taylor permalink
    March 18, 2009

    So do you have a shipping date yet? Packaging looks great by the way.

  2. GoRp permalink
    March 18, 2009

    Thanks for the new update. I am enjoying reading about the process of Fitbit coming to market. Looking forward to shipping day!!

  3. March 18, 2009

    Okay don’t necessarily want to be this guy, but does this mean we are nearing a shipping date?

    thanks for the updates, understanding the process has been quite intriguing

  4. March 18, 2009

    My credit card has changed since i order the fitbit will i rec. a notice

  5. Sarah permalink
    March 18, 2009

    It would be great if your could keep the packaging purely paper, or even recycled paper, I hate all the tiny plastic bits in packaging.

  6. Eric Daniel permalink
    March 18, 2009

    I’m in the boat as Jim. Do we need need to update our CC now, or wait till a closer shipping date? BTW nice concepts.

  7. Dean Burchell permalink
    March 18, 2009

    The current frontrunner is nice but of course I’m sure some will disparage it for what appears to be the use of plastics. The first ones appear more paper in construction but I’m not sure from the visuals.

  8. housewifeheather permalink
    March 18, 2009

    With the packaging selected it’s one step closer to when we get it!! Woo hoo!! It looks great too.

  9. Kersti permalink
    March 18, 2009

    I’m one of those who will not get it – I’m over in Europe so I just have to live in hope that one day you’ll be able to ship to me too.

    However, can I please suggest that you make the packaging as small and simple as possible? Dare I say it – Apple packaging is fabulous.

    One of the benefits to walking is the green side of it, please keep that in mind and play on it!

  10. March 18, 2009

    Hey looks great. As a UK onlooker I am keen to see the delivery date to us over the water. I have already got your website link on mine. Look forward to promoting the fitbit…

  11. March 18, 2009

    The packaging looks great! Love the splash of color!

  12. Mark permalink
    March 19, 2009

    And it’s shipping when?

  13. JustS permalink
    March 19, 2009

    I like the look of each of these. I can see the leading candidate as viable. For similar packaging examples, I really like the Nike + packaging for both the sensor and the Amp + watch. Similar concerns there with being retail friendly while showcasing the project. I like the idea of a sleeve that slides over a clear pack with a cut out for initial viewing of the product. In the example above, the rendering to the right, under the word “peggable” would be a great option if the left half of the package slide over the right side of the package. Just an opinion. :-)

  14. Larry permalink
    March 19, 2009

    It’s starting to be nice outside, I can’t wait to go jogging with my fitbit!

    I don’t need any fancy packaging, send me my fitbit asap!!!! ;-)

    Thanks for the updates

  15. melvin2000 permalink
    March 19, 2009

    Thanks for the update. I have to be honest, the packaging update was not as interesting to me as some of the others, but it is part of the manufacturing process and this shows how everything related to product development is not always glamorous. The devil is in the details.

    @Justin -> There was a recent NYT article in which James placed the delivery date in early summer.

  16. John Dawson permalink
    March 20, 2009

    That NYT article led me to place a pre-order a few days ago (March 15). My email confirmation said

    “Our plan is to ship the Fitbit Tracker Q1 (First quarter) 2009.”

    They need to revise the order confirmation language. Clearly not going to ship in Q1. Maybe late in Q2.

  17. Brett permalink
    March 20, 2009

    I understand that each step of the process has to be thought through, but those of us that have pre-ordered and have waited patiently, really dont care what it looks like when you send it to us we just want it SENT! The comment about delivering it in early summer really makes me mad that I have waited (been strung along) this long for a product that I pre-ordered. We have fitness challenges at work that started in 2009, and when I pre-ordered this in early December I thought it would be a great tool use to monitor my progress in the challenge. What I have come to realized is that I could have bought the competitor’s product in the time and money I have spent waiting on the fitbit. So much for using this for your New Year’s resolution, and I hope it lives up to what they have promised! :(

  18. Brent permalink
    March 20, 2009

    It is interesting that they said it was going to ship in December and they didn’t start detail prototyping until Jan and haven’t quite finished with packaging yet either. Sounds like they are really behind.

  19. Jamps728 permalink
    March 20, 2009

    I completely agree with Brett. I voiced my opinion in a previous blog entry, but the constant pushing back and telling us a date which is clearly not even close to being realistic really bothers me. I understand that products take a long time to make, but if you don’t even have a prototype ready in December, then why are you going to tell me it’s going to ship in March. If I’m not going to have it until December 2009 fine, but just say it. It’s the constant lying and pushing back of the date that’s driving me nuts. Be honest with your consumers. I think the product will be great, but customer service is really important, and this isn’t a good starting off point for their customer service when they keep lying about when it’s going to come out. I’m really excited for this product, but at this point I’m ready to go buy the competitor’s product because I feel like this is never going to come out. It might be more expensive, but at least I’ll have it – I pre-ordered my FitBit in November. At this point, the extra cost to have the competitor’s product would have been worth it considering how long I feel like I’ve been waiting.

  20. John Dawson permalink
    March 21, 2009

    Just curious. What competitor’s products are you referring to?

  21. Mark permalink
    March 21, 2009

    There is no “competitor” product, period. These whining posts are beyond annoying. You haven’t been charged a penny, and you are under no obligation. I represent a number of businesses in my law practice, and they are run by people who work unimaginable hours in labors of love, with no guarantees of anything. You think you are frustrated? Try living in their shoes and contending with investors and setbacks on a day to day basis. This is not a commodtized product anyone can conceive and bring to market; it is the first of its kind. There are a couple of products out there that do some of things this product will do, but none that will do all that it promises to do. It will be ready when it is ready. In the meantime, leave the poor guy alone. He’s doing his best, and is far more accommodating and transparent than most of the actors in this marketplace.

  22. Sassenach permalink
    March 22, 2009

    Chiming in to suggest that you ship the thing ASAP to your early adopters and don’t wait to fiddle with packaging. Call us your beta testers or something, but just get it OUT and get the online community going. If you’ve got enthusiastic users (who will be posting plenty of their own pictures, reviews, videos), nobody will care what the package looks like.

    Pleeeeeeeeeze!

  23. James permalink*
    March 24, 2009

    Hi Everyone,

    Rest assured, we are not waiting on packaging to be complete before shipping the Fitbits. If we had them ready today, we would ship them :). The packaging is just a parallel process that is in the works.

    I don’t disagree that we’ve changed the date a few times and it’s quite apparent that we’re late from our original announcement at the Techcrunch 50 conference. Each time we’ve stated a time frame, we felt at the time that we could meet it. I offer no excuses other than we’re working really hard to get to shipping a quality product. In light of these previous changes, we’re only going to make a final shipping date announcement when we feel it’s an absolutely rock solid date.

    I understand where a lot of you are coming from, but we’re here building something that hopefully you love and helps make your life better and I hope that you hang in there with us. You have no obligation and can cancel at anytime until we actually start shipping.

    best
    James

  24. Jakub permalink
    March 24, 2009

    Jimmy,

    It’s sad that I don’t have my Fitbit yet but as long as you keep us posted on progress then we will be ok.

    Anyway since is 2009 and not 1970′s you should consider “eco” packaging for retail.So like previously said paper or even recycled paper.

    For regular internet orders I am sure you don’t have to go crazy and go out of your way. People want the actual Fitbit. The box will end up in trash the same day we get it.

    P.S. Did you send it yet? I am going to check my mailbox ;)

    Jake

  25. John Dawson permalink
    March 25, 2009

    Thanks, Mark. That’s what I had thought, that there is no direct “competitor product”, nothing out there that does all the things the fitbit is targeting.

  26. March 26, 2009

    Looks like things are coming together. I’m going through the manufacturing part of the process myself so I can understand the time issues. Good luck and congrats on the article in Wired.

  27. Eric permalink
    March 26, 2009

    I AM INTERESTED IN THE PRODUCT BUT WON’T ORDER ONE UTIL THEY ARE SHIPPING….SO I WAIT.

  28. DAve ZEe permalink
    March 26, 2009

    Very nice, Well Done!

  29. melvin2000 permalink
    March 26, 2009

    @Mark&John — There are competitive products out there — GoWear fit, bodybugg and MiLife are three that I know of.

  30. Gerald Walters permalink
    March 26, 2009

    @melvin2000, GoWear fit = bodybugg v 3.0
    Body Media, the company behind bodybugg v 1.0 and v2.0, rebranded their consumer product GoWear fit aka bodybugg 3.0.

    @Fitbit, FINALLY A COMPANY THAT ‘GETS IT!’

    I bought three GoWearfit’s before learning about Fitbit [via Wired.] I’m really excited that someone is developing a competing product from a more Web 2.0, relevant perspective.

    I can’t tell you how silly it is that Body Media charges $7 dollars a month to store my highly personal, highly profitable, health data on their site. I wrote them to inform them that data is worth money. So I’m paying them for the physical product, a monthly fee, and my valuable data. WTF m8! If Gmail is free, storing my calories burned and dietary log should be freer than free. If YouTube is free, their site should be free. If Microsoft Health Vault is free, their site should be free. It’s insulting.

    I actually started organizing a company to create a competitor — something I had no desire to do. I felt I had to though because Body Media is just so awkwardly clueless. They’re selling this disruptive technology in the same sleazy way that fitness companies sell snake oil. There is no need to lie! This isn’t the Atkins Diet! This isn’t the detox diet or the super food diet! This is an accelerometer that estimates calories burned through the magic of mathematics that you can learn in college. No secrets. It’s not perfect. It helps psychologically because it holds you accountable to what is you did with your week, month, year. This approximate honesty is an improvement over the lies we tell ourselves (confirmation bias, etc). A lil robot friend will keep you honest, kind of. That’s it. There is no need to mislead or tell people it will ‘change your life.’ Cut the bullshit. People deserve a health company that is extremely transparent. We’ve abused too many times. That really pissed me off that Body Media didn’t ‘get it.’ They had a chance to rise above the pseudo science and they blew it.

    Plus their aesthetic is so corporate, so stock photography, so Micro$osft. Ugh gross.

    Yeah I’m really interested in a couple of things.

    1) API!!!! psychology research! ADHD research! cardiovascular research! people-aware computing!!!
    2) storing my data in Microsoft Health Vault not some walled garden (don’t insult me. this isn’t ’99)
    3) bringing the cost wayy down on these puppies through economies of scale

  31. John Dawson permalink
    March 27, 2009

    Thank you, Melvin! — I’ll wait, but its good to know about the other products.

  32. Anonymous permalink
    March 29, 2009

    Thanks for being so transparent with the process! I work for a very large organization on multiple projects and I can sympathize greatly with you! It’s neat to see the problems and challenges that are similar to mine.

    I would like to recommend that you consider putting this into book form. Surely you have the right kind of documentation. It’d be a book I’d buy–just like we buy books by military commanders about their operations, I’d love to see a book from corporate America on their “operations” to launch products.

  33. Mandy permalink
    March 29, 2009

    I ordered the fitbit awhile ago, and I am excited with anticipation. I really enjoy reading about the production as it is like an episode of “How It’s Made.” I think engineers fascinating…I wish I was capable of such brilliance. I really appreciate the fact that you are not trying to get something on the market to make a quick dollar-it is obvious that you care about the product and are probably a perfectionist which is only going to benefit us in the long run, as well as your pockets!

    Kudos man, I love buying new gadgets, such a huge excitement in life as it is today! I will keep on waiting, because I wasn’t even smart enough to even dream of a device like this, so I will wait-happily and respectfully!

  34. April 6, 2009

    Just curious James, where are we now in the process. Hoping for another little tidbit!

  35. April 7, 2009

    The packaging looks great, but it is really similar to iPod packaging design. I’d recommend a lot more originality!

    Like everyone else, I’d also love an ETA on when this product will actually be available…

  36. Doug permalink
    April 21, 2009

    Packaging looks great BUT!!!!! Please be responsible with materials and the amount of substrate used for a small device. The last thing I want to do is buy a mini device (see 1st gen Jawbones) in a maxi-package. A little goes a long way, and if it’s not heavily merchandised, it’s not going to help sell your product.

    Thank you.

  37. Mark permalink
    May 11, 2009

    Was this a Ponzi scheme? All I’m hearing from Fit Bit is crickets.

  38. February 28, 2011

    Great site – you have wonderful design and packaging ideas here. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

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