13 min read

How to Choose Your eCommerce Packaging 

Written by Andriy Boychuk
13 min read
Table of Contents

    Various key factors contribute to the success of your eCommerce store, and eCommerce packaging is one of them.

    While it may seem like a small detail that no one will pay attention to, it actually plays a significant role in the customer experience! Well-chosen packaging can prevent your products from getting damaged during shipping, minimize returns, and even increase brand awareness.

    But choosing the right packaging for your products is no small task. With so many different options, it can be downright overwhelming. This guide will help you choose the right packaging for your eCommerce business.

    What is eCommerce Packaging?

    Packaging for an eCommerce business is the process of selecting and designing the materials used to ship your product from where it’s stored to its delivery destination.

    One of the most important aspects of eCommerce shipping packaging is ensuring your customer receives their product in good condition.

    Before choosing the packaging, it’s important to understand what types of packaging are available, as well as when to use them to make sure that your products will be safe during shipping.

    Why is eCommerce Packaging Important?

    We’ve all heard about the importance of a great first impression, and it definitely applies when it comes to your packaging.

    When a shopper orders your product online, its packaging is the first impression they will get of your product, and first impressions are really hard to change! That’s why it’s extremely important that you choose the right type of packaging for your eCommerce store, as it can influence how customers view your brand.

    But that’s not the only reason why you should pay extra attention to your eCommerce packaging. It is important for several other reasons, such as:

    Impact of a good ecommerce shipping packaging

    User Experience

    eCommerce packaging plays a key role in making the online shopping experience a pleasurable one. It’s the first thing that your customers see when they open their shipping box, and it gives them an idea of what to expect from your brand.

    If your packaging is hard to open, poorly designed, or arrives damaged, you may unwittingly lose your customers’ trust and create a bad reputation for your brand.

    💡 In fact, statistics show that poor delivery performance is one of the main reasons people stop shopping at a particular store.

    Brand Awareness

    Your eCommerce packaging is an excellent opportunity for you to show off your brand. You can create branded eCommerce packaging, for example, by printing your logo on top of a cardboard box or making custom packaging in your brand colors.

    Sending your orders in branded eCommerce packaging helps not only to build brand awareness but also to develop customer loyalty.

    When your customer receives an order from your store in custom branded packaging, it creates an expectation for quality products inside. This level of attention to detail and customer care will likely lead to positive reviews or word-of-mouth advertising from satisfied customers.

    Product Safety

    Packaging protects your products during shipping and handling. It prevents damage during shipping by securing fragile items inside strong containers or boxes filled with cushioning materials. In addition, a well-chosen packaging keeps things from moving around inside shipping containers, so they don’t break or get damaged in the process.

    💡 Needless to say, if a customer receives a damaged product, they will be less likely to buy from you again, so choosing a solid packaging that can protect your products is crucial to building a solid brand reputation and customer satisfaction.

    How to Choose Your eCommerce Packaging?

    When it comes to choosing the best eCommerce packaging for your business, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of options. But with a bit of knowledge and planning, you can make sure your packaging is perfect for your products, customers, and budget.

    Before choosing the most suitable eCommerce packaging solutions for your products, here are some things to consider.

    How to choose your ecommerce shipping packaging

    Materials

    The materials you choose for your eCommerce packaging can make a big difference in how safe your product will be from damage during shipping and handling.

    Durable materials ensure that your product arrives in one piece without any scratches or dents. A good rule of thumb is to pick a material that can withstand everyday handling as well as rough handling by shipping companies.

    You also need to consider how heavy your package will be before choosing the material for your packaging. Here are some of the most common types of eCommerce packaging materials:

    • Corrugated boxes
    • Chipboard and paperboard boxes
    • Poly bags
    • Bubble mailers

    For example, bubble wrap is excellent for protecting fragile items, while foam peanuts help keep lightweight items from bouncing around inside the box. Plastic bubble mailers are great for protecting small items while still allowing them to breathe.

    If you’re shipping large items, consider using corrugated cardboard boxes.

    Sealing

    Whether your product is sensitive to moisture or just needs to be protected from dust and dirt during transit, you need to ensure that it arrives at its destination in perfect condition. This is where sealing comes into play.

    Sealing is the process of applying a lip to the flaps on either side of a box to ensure that your products don’t get damaged during transit. It also protects your products against theft from employees at various points in their journey from your warehouse to the delivery destination.

    You can find sealing materials at almost any office supply store or department store, but consider using security seals if you want something extra strong. These are tamper-evident seals that indicate if someone has attempted to open the packaging during transit.

    Sealing can be done in several ways:

    • Heat-sealing: This method involves using a heat gun or other device to seal the package with a plastic film.
    • Adhesive tape: Adhesive tape is an effective way of securing packages and keeping them closed tight until they arrive at their destination.
    • Vacuum packing: Vacuum packing involves removing air from inside a package with a vacuum sealer machine before sealing it shut with a heat sealer or tape.

    Size

    The size of your product will determine what type of packaging you use and how much space it takes up in a shipment. The larger the product, the more room it requires on an airplane or truck. If you’re selling bulky items like furniture or appliances, you’ll need custom-sized boxes that can hold these items securely during transit.

    When choosing the packaging to ship your customers’ orders, consider the size of the items and how many you’ll be able to fit into one box without risking damage. Consider whether you can use standard packaging size or whether it’s better to make a custom one for that particular order.

    💡 You should also consider the weight of your item — heavier items may require larger boxes or more protective materials inside the box.

    Types of Closure on Boxes

    One of the most important considerations when choosing eCommerce packaging is the type of closure on boxes. The right closure will ensure that your products are safe inside the box. They should also be easy for customers to open and reseal in case they want to make a return.

    Types of closure on boxes for shipping packaging

    There are various types of closure on boxes:

    • Regular slotted containers (RSC): The most widely used closure style, regular slotted containers are the traditional cardboard box. RSC boxes are closed using a slotted closure inserted into the top flaps of a box and folds them over to create a secure closure.
    • Full overlap boxes: Full overlap boxes are similar to regular slotted containers but have an additional flap that overlaps with the lid to provide more strength and security. This closure type is typically used for heavy-duty products such as appliances or electronics.
    • Auto-locking bottom boxes: Auto-locking bottom boxes have an auto-locking bottom panel that automatically locks into place when the box is closed properly. These types of closures are used for fragile items like glassware or dishes that require extra security during shipping or storage.
    • Roll end lock front (REFL) boxes: Roll end lock front (REFL) boxes have an extra flap at each end that folds over onto itself and creates a seal with adhesive tape or glue. These are incredibly secure and versatile, making them perfect for many different uses.
    • Roll end tuck top (RETT) boxes: Similar to REFL, but the front of the box has a tuck tab instead of a locking mechanism. This makes it easier to open the box and less likely to damage the product inside.

    Sustainable eCommerce Packaging

    Sustainable eCommerce packaging is an important topic for many reasons. As we know, our planet is facing a number of serious environmental issues. Consumers are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and how their purchases affect the planet. And they’re not happy with brands that aren’t taking action to address these issues.

    💡 In fact, according to a recent IBM Consumer survey, 57% of consumers are willing to change their purchase habits to help the environment. And according to the Global Sustainability Report by Nielsen, nearly 50% of consumers prefer to buy from environmentally-friendly brands. (source)

    So, including eco-friendly packaging made out of sustainable materials in your branding efforts can help you align with your customer’s beliefs and gain their loyalty.

    The good news is that there are plenty of options for sustainable eCommerce packaging materials and suppliers. Here’s a look at some of the best choices:

    • Paperboard packaging
    • Corrugated bubble wrap
    • Inflated air pillows
    • Biodegradable plastic bags
    • Bioplastics

    eCommerce Packaging Trends & Ideas

    Trends in eCommerce packaging are changing rapidly. With the rise of eCommerce, the need for unique and creative packaging is more important than ever. The days of simply shipping products in boxes are long gone, and brands that want to stay competitive must be innovative with their product packaging.

    Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular eCommerce packaging ideas.

    Eco-Friendly Packaging

    One of the biggest trends we’re seeing is an increased focus on eco-friendly, reusable packaging in eCommerce. As consumers become more aware of the impact their purchases have on the environment, they’re demanding more sustainable products from brands. This will force companies to find innovative ways to reduce waste by finding more sustainable packaging options.

    However, eco-friendly eCommerce packaging is more than just a trend. It’s a way for companies to show consumers that they care about the environment and contribute to the health of our planet.

    Minimalist Packaging

    Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact of excessive packaging on the environment and are increasingly looking for less packaging. The “less is more” approach in eCommerce packaging is on the rise, and brands are now focused on minimalism both when it comes to the functional design and the overall look of their packaging.

    💡 Minimalist packaging focuses on reducing unnecessary elements while still providing enough protection for products during shipping.

    Customized Packaging

    Custom eCommerce packaging is becoming more and more popular as more brands embrace this trend. The era of bland, brown card boxes has passed, and consumers now expect their products to be delivered in a unique package that matches their taste.

    Custom eCommerce packaging can help retailers stand out from their competition, increase brand loyalty and boost sales by making each delivery experience unique for their customers. This means using colors or graphics that match the brand’s identity on the packaging, writing your customer’s name on the box, or throwing a personalized note into the package.

    eCommerce Packaging FAQs

    What is the need for packaging in eCommerce?

    Packaging is important in eCommerce for a variety of reasons that we’ve mentioned in this guide. Most of all, packaging helps prevent damage to your product during shipping. In addition, the right packaging can improve customer satisfaction and help increase sales, while poor packaging can hamper your brand image and even ruin a product.

    What are the types of eCommerce packaging?

    There are many different types of eCommerce packaging that you can choose from, but they mainly come down to four options: corrugated boxes, chipboard and paperboard boxes, poly bags, and bubble mailers.

    What is the most cost-effective packaging material?

    The most cost-effective packaging material for eCommerce is the corrugated cardboard box. Cardboard boxes are usually quite sturdy. They are a very versatile and budget-friendly option that’s suitable for shipping a variety of products.

     
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