There’s a lot to be said for your initial experience with a product. Get it right and you can create a satisfied customer in a matter of minutes. Get it wrong and you could have your product quickly returned to the store, your service quickly canceled, or a visitor who never returns.

Apple excels at designing great out-of-the-box experiences (with some exceptions) that quickly validate a customer’s purchase and leaves them with the confidence that they have purchased a high quality, well designed product. Apple is so good at this that you can find unboxing videos all over YouTube, like this one.

Another great example is the Flip camera. Take it out of the box, turn it on, press the red button and you’re capturing video. The Flip experience is great because you see the value within seconds of unpacking the device. Some people call this “quick to wow”.

Then there are products that don’t do as well with initial experience. For example, my new BlackBerry Torch. When I opened the box and booted it up, I was greeted with a litany of licenses, dialog boxes and confirmation messages. My first several minutes with the device could only be described as frustrating (and sometimes buggy).

I captured the out-of-the-box experience in the video below:

And screen-caps if you don’t have time for the video:

RIM is not alone in having poor initial user experience, but they have provided a great example of what can go wrong when you don’t pay attention to it. When designing your product or service, don’t forget to invest in the out-of-box experience. It could mean the difference between a successful product and a failed product.