Packaging for E-commerce

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E-commerce packaging presents your products appealingly and also ensures safe delivery. It increases customer retention and thus helps your business earn more revenue. The following article discusses what e-commerce packaging is, how to pack your products, types of product packaging, the significance of e-commerce packaging, using custom packaging inserts, and more. So, let’s get started.

What is E-commerce Packaging?

Safe shipment is the foremost priority of customers, and e-commerce packaging fulfills the same. It increases product protection during shipment, enriches brand identity, and attracts customers to buy more from your brand. It boosts your business profitability and customer shopping experience. Many e-commerce companies use quality and attractive packaging to maximize customer benefits.

It is the foremost touchpoint a customer has with the brand. So, it plays a vital role in enhancing your brand’s impression and retaining customers. The overall product presentation entails many aspects, from packaging inserts to exterior packaging. All these aspects contribute to offering an outstanding unboxing experience to the customers.  

You can make the most of your investment in packaging materials by choosing the suitable e-commerce packaging depending on customer needs. The choice of quality and durable e-commerce packaging materials protects the products during shipment. Conceptualizing the impressive designs for your packages make your brand stand out from the competition.

The commonly used shipping boxes are cardboard boxes and mailing envelopes. They are available in different material compositions like paper, plastic, paperboard, and padded mailers. Due to its lightweight structure, such packing is used for sturdy and light items. You must use corrugated cardboard boxes for packing bulky, fragile, and expensive products. Determine the right colors for your brand, weight, pricing, and internal/external packaging materials to choose the most suitable e-commerce packaging.

There has been a significant increase in the use of e-commerce packaging after the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has triggered the demand for online shopping amongst customers. Moreover, many businesses are shifting to E-commerce stores to decrease operating costs and reach a broader customer base. The quality and durable E-commerce packaging that can survive the delivery process is inevitable to ensure product protection.

Now that you understand what e-commerce packaging is, let’s know how to package your products.

How Should I Package My Products?

Your e-commerce packaging options impact your production and shipping expenses. While deciding on how to pack the products, you must consider packaging costs and weight. They can increase a product’s shipping cost if the boxes become bigger or the infill becomes heftier.

The product packaging must use quality materials that ensure complete product protection. You can use external packaging materials like overlap boxes to pack fragile products. 

It is essential to pack products considering the customers’ needs and expectations. For example, attractive and fun packaging for toys and baby products enhance customers’ shopping experience. Ensure the product packaging has easy-to-read labels that mention all essential order details.

To Box or Not to Box?

The first step in e-commerce packaging is whether to pack the products in a box or bag. Your customers will first notice this when they see the delivered product in their mailbox. The branded packaging option is worth the price if it presents a memorable experience (because some people reuse their boxes).

The choice between to box or not to box depends on various factors. One of them is weight. A sturdy box is required to pack heavier items and ensure safe delivery. Another critical factor is the product type. A fragile product needs special protection during shipping. So, it must be packed in durable packaging material. You can consider an overlapping box or corrugated box for packing fragile products. The product’s value is another crucial factor to consider. Spending extra on protective packaging is a good investment when you ship high-value products.

Types of Product Packaging

Here are the essential types of product packaging.

Corrugated boxes

The term “corrugated” suggests how something is constructed. A corrugated sheet comprises three layers i.e. a ripple middle sheet and two outer flat lines. The structure of corrugated cardboard features that these layers are firmly attached with dense, stiff glue. Usually, corrugated shipping boxes are stronger and more durable than cardboard boxes. 

Padded mailers

Padded mailers are the best choice if you want to ship small or flat items that need excellent protection. These are used to ship CDs, jewelry, or other delicate items. Some of these items are padded using shredded paper to convey an eco-friendly benefit. Those padded mailers filled with bubble wrap are extremely protective but less eco-friendly.

Bags and envelopes

The bags are usually used for packaging clothing. These are pretty flexible and can hold multiple items simultaneously, depending on their size. You can push out extra air to accommodate more items. The bags themselves are inexpensive and lightweight. These don’t significantly increase your material or shipping costs.

Envelopes are still prevalent for packaging lightweight but not fragile items. For example, these are used for documents, letters, contracts, etc. Typically, the envelope is covered in a zipper-lock plastic bag for safety. Many courier companies use these to pack small books, keys, personal items, etc.

Custom product packaging

Custom e-commerce packaging indicates that your business prioritizes product quality and ensures customers remember your business. They maintain branding throughout. You can use e-commerce custom packaging materials with customized printing.

Poly bags

Poly bags are also known as plastic bags or plastic pouches. These are thin, flexible, and cost-effective. Hence, poly bags are a feasible solution for several E-commerce businesses. Its ability to accommodate products of various sizes and shapes makes sure these can work irrespective of the type of product.

Chipboard and paperboard boxes

Chipboard packaging is extensively used in food, beverages, medical supplies, electronic items, and cosmetics. Such boxes are prepared from reclaimed paper stock and can be easily cut and folded. These are cost-effective packaging solutions.

Paperboard boxes are also called rigid mailers or Stays Flat mailers. These are designed to stay flat and undamaged from the merchant’s warehouse to the customer. Such packages are available in various colors, thicknesses, and styles. Usually, these are used to ship books, documents, and calendars.

RETT: Roll End Tuck Top

The Roll End Tuck Top (RETT) box is a favorite product with custom box packaging. Its top lid flap effortlessly tucks into the box’s top, giving customers a great unboxing experience. It opens and closes without damaging the structure, so it is reusable. An additional corrugated layer is included to provide extra structural strength and protect the internal content.

RETTs are easy to load with the products and utilize minimal material. Usually, these come with minimum dimensions of 3 inches (L) x 3 inches (W) x 1 inch (D). These are available in options like Premium White, Standard White, Kraft, and with or without a Gloss Ink Finish.

No tape or glue is needed to assemble a RETT. A label or a tape strip can keep the lid closed. RETTs are faster to assemble than Roll End Tuck Front (RETF) style.

They are perfect for catalogs, clothes, gifts, electronic appliances, health products, beauty products, and small hardware.

RELF: Roll End Lock Front

Generally, RELFs have tiny round flaps that smoothly lock the lid into the main body’s front. The front flaps prevent the top from opening unexpectedly. These increase product protection all through the shipping process. RELF is a durable and secure option to ship a product. Moreover, they are suitable for wholesale shipping of food products and cosmetic products. Sellers can use these to ship hefty products too.

The RELF customized shipping boxes are designed with logos in different colors to depict your brand. These boxes offer the safest closing; they don’t use stickers or tapes. They stay shut, irrespective of their positions and places they are transported to. Hence, they don’t need any extra packaging.

Auto-locking bottom

The auto-locking bottom boxes feature a folding mechanism. Their flaps interlock to provide a robust base. They improve your e-commerce business’ operational efficiency because their setup process only takes a few seconds. Since no tape is required, you don’t have to buy multiple rolls of shipping tape for product delivery.

You can make your brand more promotional by easily customizing these boxes. These boxes are slightly pricier. However, they are easy to assemble, so the cost is counterbalanced with increased efficiency.

FOL: Full Overlap

FOL boxes’ structure feature flaps of identical length to encompass the box’s whole opening. The flaps’ design equips the shipping container with additional strength. When the package is closed, the exterior flaps overlap each other.

Generally, they are used to ship bulky items and fragile items. They are ideal for long shipping trips. Due to their extra thickness, these boxes offer two key benefits. It provides excellent protection to the goods and offers extra cushioning at the base. You can also print elegant designs or images on FOL boxes.

RSC: Regular Slotted Containers

RSC is designed considering durability and strength. These box styles are the most common ones for different shipping applications. Its design features all flaps of uniform length. The two exterior flaps are one-half of the container’s width. Hence, the flaps meet at the box’s center.

They are available in various sizes. Commonly, they are used for items like foods, beverages, electronic products, retail items, books, etc. The most common type of RSC structure features a single wall for protection. You can get RSC in double-wall or triple-wall protection.

The Importance of E-commerce Packaging

As per Statista, e-commerce sales recorded 13.8% of global retail sales as of 2019. This figure is estimated to reach 20.8% by 2023. 

It is inevitable to leave a lifelong impression in your customers’ minds to keep pace with the rise in the E-commerce industry. Before going through the types of e-commerce packaging, let’s understand the importance of E-commerce packaging.

Protection

One of the fundamental functions of e-commerce packaging is product protection. The product and the package can get easily damaged during transportation from the seller to the customer. Hence, the packaging must be able to sustain friction, damage, and pressure. In addition to shipping, packaging must protect the product during storage and shelves’ presentation.

Customers expect to receive their products in good working condition. Sellers can fulfill this expectation by investing in reliable and secure packaging. The quality packaging that offers supreme protection eliminates the risk of exchange and refund. Moreover, it conveys a powerful impression of your brand.

Marketing

The packaging solutions for e-commerce help you to uniquely display your products. So, they give a competitive edge to your business. For example, if your E-commerce business sells food products or beverages, you must print essential information on the packages. These details will inform customers about the nutritional value and ingredients.

Apart from user guides, product packaging also offers customer satisfaction. This is because the displayed information assists shoppers in making informed buying decisions. Customers will be fascinated with their purchase if they thoroughly understand the products’ features and benefits.

Another marketing tactic that justifies the significance of e-commerce packaging is that you can generate dynamic QR codes for the packaging to drive customers online. This helps you to personalize the customer journey and have better customer engagement.

Impressing customers

Your e-commerce packaging choice must align with the needs and expectations of customers. Exciting packaging may enhance a customer’s shopping experience. You should choose the packaging’s colors, designs, and materials to impress your customers. For example, you can opt for bright-colored packing for beauty products to impress customers. You must conduct research and determine the customers’ needs for creating compelling packaging.

Customer experience customization

Packaging has proved to be another branding component for E-commerce stores. Many leading firms have used packaging services to build customer retention and loyalty by adjusting it as per customers’ interests. This kind of marketing only happens when a customer makes a purchase. It influences every customer individually, unlike newsletters.

Exploring E-commerce Packaging Materials

As an e-commerce business owner, you can try any of these E-commerce packaging material options.

Roll End Tab Lock corrugated boxes

The mailer boxes or roll-end tab-lock boxes are corrugated box styles that are sturdy, sealed, and easy to unbox. It is one of the most popular e-commerce packaging options due to its high durability and excellent unboxing experience. These corrugated boxes provide versatile printing and finishing abilities. 

Regular slotted corrugated box

A regular slotted corrugated box is a typical shipping box. These are created using a sheet formed where one panel and another end panel join together. This option is perfect for substantial, bulky items requiring extra care and support during shipping. When assembled, these boxes need manual taping; however, this process is easy and quick.

Shipping poly mailers

The shipping poly mailers are flexible packaging prepared from paper or polyethylene LDPE. Its examples are FedEx mailer bags and padded envelopes. Being versatile and lightweight, these are popular for e-commerce businesses that ship light to medium weighted products. Moreover, shipping poly mailers are pretty cost-effective, waterproof, and tear-resistant.

Using Custom Packaging Inserts

Custom packaging inserts, also known as packing inserts, keep products secure inside the box. It enhances the overall customer experience and enriches your brand image. Custom packaging inserts benefit customers with features that add value and promote your brand in product delivery. One-time shoppers can convert into repeat customers if you offer discounts and coupons. You can try the following custom packaging inserts to provide a satisfying customer experience.

Box inserts

You can also add box inserts for exceptional protection of the products. These offer extra durability and support to the products to be shipped. It enhances the unboxing experience by improving your packaging’s value and enriching your brand identity.

You can use foam inserts or cardboard to protect and perfectly organize the products. These ensure the products don’t move around in the box during transportation. Commonly, box inserts are available in foam material, plastic, and paperboard.

Promotional inserts

As the name suggests, promotional inserts are designed for marketing purposes. Moreover, they boost your sales, brand awareness, and customer loyalty. The cross-promotion, a custom message, or a thank-you note can effectively reflect your brand’s image. These aspects also improve your customer’s unboxing experience.

Promotional inserts encourage customers to continue engaging with your products. Moreover, they help customers get maximum benefits from your brand. These are excellent means to build a reliable connection with customers. Coupons, free samples, stickers, and thank-you notes can be used as promotional inserts.

Considering the Artwork Design

The printed design is the foremost thing customers see when they search for your packaging in their mailrooms. You can incorporate the below elements in the artwork design of your packaging.

Personalized Messaging

Fancy designs and letters are not mandatory to fascinate your customers’ attention. You can include a personalized message that describes your brand’s unique traits to the customers. Directly speaking to customers builds a reliable connection between your brand and customers.

Unlimited brand color scheme

One of the significant aspects of customized e-commerce packaging boxes is that it allows you to use unlimited colors for design without extra fees. Thus, you must include all your brand colors in the packaging artwork. Following this practice will convey a cohesive brand message. If your products, website, and blog contents use pastel colors, include them in your packaging. The packaging with appealing graphic design and myriad colors makes your brand stand out from the competitors.

Brand Logo

The brand logo must be visible to customers instantly as they receive their orders. Sellers can grab immediate customer attention by printing your brand logo using interior and/or exterior printing. 

Your brand name and brand logo must stand out. They must create a remarkable impression in customers’ minds. Customers can repurchase your products if they can easily remember your brand.

Conclusion

The e-commerce packaging denotes how products are protected for shipment. This process also helps to manage costs, attract customers, promote products, and create your brand identity. Appropriate e-commerce packaging helps online companies to construct a regular customer base. It builds a reliable bond with customers and also guarantees a satisfying customer experience. It does add up to the cost but making your brand stand out via eye-catching and protective product packaging will reimburse the expense in the long run.

FAQs 

What is e-commerce-ready packaging?

E-commerce ready packaging is an e-commerce fulfillment guideline that guarantees that products arrive safe and with minimum waste. It also entails that qualifying products are carefully tested, and packaging should fulfill rigorous standards for the materials used and their capacity to safeguard the products.

Several leading e-commerce marketplaces introduce the rules of E-commerce ready packaging. These rules guarantee customer satisfaction and product quality. E-commerce-ready packaging is beneficial whether you want to reduce packaging costs or employ online marketplace management.

What are external and internal packaging materials in E-commerce?

Here is the brief on external and internal packaging materials in E-commerce.

i. External packaging materials

These use flier bags and parcels. Generally, packages include corrugated boxes and double or triple-walled boxes. These are used to pack bulky goods like fruits, electronic appliances, etc. Also, external packaging materials are used to pack fragile goods like cans, glass bottles, etc. External packaging can handle products weighing up to 4 kg.

ii. Internal packaging materials

This packing material air bags, bubble wrap, foam pellets, and cardboard. These features include a void filling, cushioning, shock absorption, and protection and dividers. If you are packing expensive or fragile products, make sure these are used in ample quantities with appropriate internal packaging to prevent tampering.

What are the 3 levels of packaging in e-commerce?

The three levels of packaging in e-commerce include:

i. Primary packaging: It is in direct contact with the product. Usually, it is regarded as the consumer unit. Moreover, it works as a protective layer for your product.

ii. Secondary packaging: It is used for creating a stock-keeping unit (SKU) in addition to the primary packaging. Hence, it can accommodate a precise number of products.

iii. Tertiary packaging: It is used to accommodate more quantities of SKU for shipping.

What is the significance of packaging for online sellers?

The significance of e-commerce packaging is occasionally overlooked in digital marketing and online shopping. Product quality is certainly important. However, the material used for packaging plays a pivotal role in attracting customers. Note that product packaging is significant in both offline and online shopping.

Its key benefits include product protection, branding, and labeling. Proper packaging can enhance your business goodwill. Usually, customers feel satisfied when they receive the products packed elegantly and safely.  Moreover, it improves the possibilities of future orders and also boosts ROI.

What is returnable packaging in e-commerce?

Returnable packaging is one of the popular e-commerce packaging trends. It denotes the ability to reuse the package rather than dispose of it. It creates minimal waste and is therefore, environmentally friendly.  Many e-commerce companies are considering reusing the packaging if customers return it. Consequently, it helps limit the waste produced by the logistics industry. In addition to being ecological, it is cost-efficient too.

What are the steps to package your product?

You can follow the below steps to package your product.

i. Analyze

It involves analyzing your product based on weight, height, and nature. Accordingly, it determines the most suitable packaging.

ii. Pack

This step involves selecting the packaging material for your goods and placing the package in that material. The primary packaging materials are bags/ properly lined boxes. You can use thick secondary packaging if required.

iii. Seal

This step involves thoroughly sealing the package from all ends. Remember to use pressure-sensitive and water-resistant tapes with a minimum width of 48 mm. Sellers should securely seal the edges, and the box should be secure from all ends.

iv. Label

These labels denote the package’s identity. Make sure all the details specified on the label are true. You need to fasten the shipping label to the package’s upper surface. It must be easily readable and uniform.

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