6 Essential Tips to Elevate Your Ecommerce Packaging

Ecommerce packaging can make a significant difference in customer experience and brand perception. We’ve gathered insights from business owners to CEOs. Discover the expert advice that could transform your ecommerce packaging strategy.

What is Ecommerce Packaging?

Ecommerce packaging refers to the materials and design used to package products for shipment when they are purchased online. It encompasses everything from the box or envelope used to the padding, protective materials, labels, and branding elements.

Key Objectives of Ecommerce Packaging

Protection: Packaging must protect the product from damage during transit. This may involve cushioning fragile items, choosing appropriate box sizes to prevent shifting, and using sturdy materials to withstand handling.

Cost-effectiveness: Ecommerce businesses aim to strike a balance between protection and cost. Packaging should be efficient in terms of material usage and labor while still providing adequate protection.

Branding: Packaging is an opportunity for businesses to reinforce their brand identity. This can involve using branded boxes, printed tissue paper, stickers, or other customized elements to create a memorable unboxing experience.

Sustainability: With growing environmental concerns, many ecommerce companies are opting for sustainable packaging solutions. This might include using recycled materials, reducing excess packaging, or offering eco-friendly alternatives to traditional packaging materials.

User experience: The unboxing experience can greatly impact customer satisfaction and loyalty. Ecommerce packaging may include elements like personalized thank-you notes, samples, or inserts that enhance the overall experience for the customer.

Logistics: Efficient packaging also considers the logistics of shipping, such as weight restrictions, dimensional weight pricing, and compatibility with automated sorting systems used by shipping carriers.

6 Tips to Elevate Your Ecommerce Packaging

1. Optimize Packaging Size

Right-sized packaging is surprisingly underrated. Far too often, ecommerce businesses are still sending out oversized packages, with either an excessive amount of void fill or, alternatively, not nearly enough. 

Right-sized packaging and minimal void fill are more cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and—the icing on the cake—a better customer experience! Less material saves you money, and less waste minimizes your environmental impact. Additionally, customers can feel undervalued when they receive items that don’t feel thoughtfully packaged.

– Stefan Campbell, Owner, The Small Business Blog

2. Incorporate Interactive Elements for Engagement

We’ve successfully used interactive packaging at our children’s clothing firm by hiding stickers, puzzles, or little toys inside the package as surprises. The added excitement has made both parents and kids happy, which has greatly improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

In fact, since introducing interactive packaging, we have seen a 23% increase in positive customer reviews and around an 18% rise in repeat purchases. I would advise other companies aiming to enhance their ecommerce packaging to think outside the box and take their target market’s tastes into account.

Nikhil Soni, Founder, The Tribe Kids

3. Offer Limited-Edition Seasonal Packaging

As a seller, even though impulse buying is often seen as bad for customers, it’s something you should encourage. Keep an eye on what’s popular in the market and come up with limited-edition packaging based on that.

For instance, during the FIFA season, you could offer football-themed packaging that’s limited edition. This kind of packaging can really encourage football fans to make impulse buys. It’s about tapping into what customers are excited about at the moment and using that to make your products more appealing. You can potentially not only boost sales but also add a unique touch to your products, making them stand out in the market.

Precious Abacan, Marketing Director, Softlist

Let’s take a brief break to learn tips and tricks about ecommerce packaging.

4. Design Reusable and Sustainable Packaging

In my 20+ years of experience scaling online businesses and optimizing ecommerce ecosystems at First Pier, I’ve encountered the monumental impact that thoughtful packaging design can have on sustainability and customer satisfaction. A key insight we’ve leveraged is the importance of designing for reuse and leveraging innovative materials. Through our work, especially with partners focused on sustainable practices, we’ve championed packaging that customers can repurpose, significantly cutting down on waste. 

One compelling example is the introduction of reusable shipping containers by certain fashion retailers, which customers can return for refills or reuse in their daily lives, offering a concrete way to engage with the brand sustainably. Moreover, the use of recycled or biodegradable materials is not just an environmental consideration but a brand statement. 

In advising our clients, we often point to the success of brands like Tropic Skincare, which uses packaging made from recycled materials and offers refill options. This not only reduces the brand’s carbon footprint but resonates with eco-conscious consumers, fostering a deeper brand connection and loyalty.

Steve Pogson, Founder, First Pier

5. Personalize Packaging to Reflect Brand Ethos

It’s pivotal to choose packaging that echoes your brand’s ethos and engages your customer on a personal level. This approach not only creates an impactful unboxing event but also amplifies brand awareness with every shipped product, making it an integral part of the consumer’s experience. 

Selecting appropriate designs that align with your customers’ preferences—whether it’s eco-friendliness, opulence, or minimalist design—complements the product while ensuring its protection, transforming each delivery into an occasion to remember.

Valentin Radu, CEO & Founder of Omniconvert, Blogger, Speaker, Podcaster, Omniconvert

6. Ensure Packaging Preserves Product Quality

You need to be absolutely aware of the product that you are shipping out and the conditions it needs to be in by the time it reaches the delivery address. 

For example, we provide seafood from Maine to homes and restaurants all over the country. In addition to a quick turnaround time, we need to make sure that the product that lands on our customer’s doorstep is fresh by the time they get to it – this includes withstanding harsh weather and being outdoors for a few hours. We make sure to provide tips for the customer, and tracking information so they know when their package is arriving and can intercept it before it defrosts entirely. 

That being said, we know our product, we understand the conditions that can compromise its quality, and we prepare the packaging to ensure that the seafood stays frozen for as long as possible.

Joe Bowab, CEO, Lobster Anywhere

Branding Opportunities for Ecommerce Packaging

Every interaction with your customer is an opportunity to reinforce your brand identity and leave a lasting impression. Ecommerce packaging presents a unique opportunity to engage with your customers on a tactile level and create a memorable unboxing experience. Here are some key branding opportunities that ecommerce businesses can leverage through their packaging:

1. Customized Boxes and Mailers

Designing custom boxes or mailers with your logo, brand colors, and messaging is a powerful way to make your brand instantly recognizable. These personalized packaging solutions not only enhance brand visibility but also communicate professionalism and attention to detail.

2. Branded Packaging Tape and Stickers

Using branded packaging tape and stickers is a cost-effective way to add a touch of personality to your shipments. Whether it’s a simple logo sticker or a decorative tape featuring your brand’s signature patterns, these small details can make a big impact on the overall aesthetic of your packaging.

3. Printed Tissue Paper or Wrapping

Enhance the unboxing experience by wrapping your products in branded tissue paper featuring your logo or slogan. This adds an extra layer of anticipation and excitement for the customer, turning each unboxing into a memorable moment associated with your brand.

4. Custom Inserts and Thank-You Notes

Including personalized inserts or thank-you notes in your packages is a thoughtful way to connect with your customers on a more personal level. Use these opportunities to express gratitude, share your brand story, or provide exclusive discounts for future purchases.

5. QR Codes or Social Media Handles

Encourage customer engagement by including QR codes or social media handles on your packaging. This allows customers to easily connect with your brand online, share their unboxing experience on social media, and participate in community discussions surrounding your products.

6. Eco-Friendly Messaging

If sustainability is a core value of your brand, use your packaging as a platform to communicate this message to your customers. Incorporate eco-friendly materials, such as recycled cardboard or biodegradable packaging, and include messaging that highlights your commitment to environmental responsibility.

7. Seasonal or Limited Edition Packaging

Create excitement and urgency around your products by offering seasonal or limited edition packaging designs. Whether it’s a holiday-themed box or a collaboration with a local artist, these special packaging options can drive sales and foster a sense of exclusivity among your customers.

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