Ecommerce Packaging: A Guide To Kinds, Materials, And Functions

Given the problems Covid-19 presented in 2021, this year’s reliance on internet buying has increased and is still multiplying. Due to this, many companies depend on their e-commerce platforms to generate sales and maintain their brand.

Brick-and-mortar stores saw a very unusual year in 2021, and e-commerce has emerged as their savior for many of them. Due to convenience and supply chain difficulties, 2023 will continue to witness a trend toward e-commerce, and as the year progresses, experts could be looking at an online shopping norm.

Using the appropriate packaging is a crucial eCommerce shipment general approach that may do much more than protect your items. It pays to think creatively, considering the advantages of well-done eCommerce packaging.

In e-commerce logistics, the boxes and packing companies used to distribute their goods are sometimes ignored and underestimated. It makes sense to keep the cargo containers at arm’s length. Right, it’s just a box.

Not really.

For the duration of the whole e-commerce transaction, that specialized box, cushioned mailer, or clear envelope is the only point of contact between you and your purchaser.

When a client accesses your website, they discover the item or things they are seeking for. After a few keyboard strokes, they enter their order and press the submit button. Your fulfillment system kicks into gear, selecting, packaging, labeling, and shipping. After a few days, the customer is blissfully reunited with their new favorite technology, doodad, or gadget after what seems to be logistical witchcraft and magic.

Despite the jokes, the box is the only physical object you can use to leave a lasting impact on a client. It’s not funny how you display it or the packaging you use.

So how can you win over those critical customers? Are you familiar with the individuals who have made purchases from your online store? How do you deliver your goods to them safely while staying within your shipping and packaging budget?

Let’s start at the beginning and talk about the fundamental components of e-commerce packaging that form the basis of a positive client experience.

What Really Is Ecommerce Packaging?

Ecommerce packaging combines aspects of both transportation requirements and conventional product packaging.

Similar to packaging used in conventional retail settings, Ecommerce packaging should appealingly exhibit your items and contain valid details like assembly directions and customer support information.

Although it could appear a little rudimentary, it’s crucial to comprehend the primary functions of your packing initially. It’s not always as obvious as it first appears to be.

The Ecommerce packaging is primarily designed to protect the goods or products you send. It should go without saying, but choosing the appropriate box or mailer is essential to ensuring your items arrive at their destination undamaged. Cookware would not be shipped in a shoebox, and cosmetics would not be packed in a box designed to hold large bags of dog food.

Although there are extreme examples, you understand the point. The appropriate Ecommerce packaging guarantees undamaged goods and a satisfied customer and spares you the hassle of handling a return.

Second, packing serves as a vehicle to promote your brand’s dedication to quality and user satisfaction.

Ecommerce packaging refers to more than simply the box your item is supplied in; it also refers to how well it was packed. Does it have the correct quantity of infill (such as kraft paper, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.)? The necessary proof (receipt, catalog, rewards offer, etc.)? Was it adequately and securely sealed?

Are those minor details? Absolutely. Will a customer notice if one of those minor elements is off, though? As well.

Not to mention, the container may serve as a mobile billboard for your business. Later, experts discuss why this is important. Your Ecommerce packaging offers a surface-level opportunity to advertise your brand. And have it continue to exist as long as the box or other shipping components are still functional. Whatever the second life of your packaging takes, as long as your brand is still prominent, it’s another chance for people to notice it.

Think about how some well-known Ecommerce packaging businesses display their goods. Pet supply companies are well known for their Ecommerce packaging branding, with Chewy’s enormous blue logo being the most noticeable. Dinnerly, a company that provides meal kits, is a different company that advertises on the box.

Not to be forgotten is the biggest of them all, Amazon, with its A-to-Z happy face arrow on the side of every box and black branding tape.

After clearing up the broad strokes, let’s move on to some specifics, such as pricing, materials, and why your e-commerce packaging is more than merely packaging.

How Does E-Commerce Operate?

Users need to consider two unique components when evaluating how e-commerce functions:

  • How your product looks in person vs. online?
  • How easily is your unboxing experience shared?

The initial personal encounter is where you can bet on client retention, even though it’s true that the first impression is generated through a computer screen.

The Ecommerce packaging experience of your products dramatically influences customers’ initial perceptions of your brand and goods.

It might sound more practical than spending extra money on quality packaging, but it’s more complicated than it appears!

A detailed digital image your clients view on their computer displays serves as the basis for their expectations and anticipation. Your organization needs to fulfill and exceed customer expectations.

How would you approach achieving this?

Selecting packaging focused on its function rather than its aesthetic appeal.

In other words, what’s within is what matters!

Cost Factors in Ecommerce Packaging

Even if it’s simple to get sucked into the design and branding aspects, you still need to operate your business. It comprises keeping your production costs under control and making sure you get the most value for your money.

The kind of things you offer affects your shipping and packaging expenses significantly. You should spend money on heavy-duty packing and infill that keeps cookware and other heavy or awkwardly shaped items, as in our previous examples, securely in place if you sell them. The price for acquiring and shipping a material increases with its tenacity.

Heavy-duty boxing may not be necessary for fragile products, but you should certainly check into different kinds of infill to make sure they arrive intact.

Users may get away with less expensive materials if your firm focuses on smaller, lighter goods like the aforementioned cosmetics or clothing. 

However, employing quality materials for your bespoke packaging may be a wise investment if you’re offering a lifestyle or an experience. No matter what shape your packaging takes, you still need to ensure sure it is impervious to the weather. or extremely hostile delivery personnel.

Using unique eCommerce packaging materials and box sizes for most of your product range would be excellent. By simply purchasing the exact amount you require, you’ll save a lot of money versus traditional packaging and shipping, where you’ll wind up paying a fortune for unused space.

Just consider that your shipping materials add to the weight of the cargo, regardless of your packaging requirements. Your shipping expenses will rise as a result of this. We’ll talk a bit about shipping here, but for a closer look at how to reduce shipping expenses, see our beginner’s guide to shipping strategy.

Businesses should take possible return costs into account when selecting their packaging mix. Your return expenses may undoubtedly increase if you underestimate your shipping requirements. Not only because of the handling and replacing the harmed items but also because of what it can signify for ensuring keeping customers.

As with every other area of your online store, make a game plan in advance for the kind of eCommerce packaging necessary for each item. It will cost less money if you figure this out beforehand. On the shipping supplies, you’ll require and the costs associated with shipping.

If you outsource your e-commerce fulfillment, users might save money on the materials you’ll need by working with your 3PL to choose the correct packaging mix.

Essential Ecommerce Packaging Aspects

Given the extensive labor Ecommerce packaging does, it is understandable why there are so many requirements. When developing your eCommerce packaging solution, keep the following things in mind.

  • Protection

Safe product delivery increases customer happiness and confidence and helps avoid expensive returns. Also, at risk here is the reputation of your company. You’ll want to reduce the chance of damage in transportation and any possible word-of-mouth harm that might result, given that customers are more likely to post about a bad experience than a positive one online.

  • Cost

Consider how the size and weight of your packing affect shipping expenses and the cost of product supplies. Large, bulky, or heavy goods may need longer days or cost more money to ship. 

  • Sustainability

More than half of American customers are worried about the longevity of product packaging, and 43% are concerned about the effects of packaging on the environment. Sellers that disregard customers’ sustainability concerns put their reputations and financial success at stake. 

This year, states are contemplating many laws relating to expanded producer responsibility (EPR). Producers and sellers would be required, among other things, to pay the expenses of disposing of their packaging trash. By utilizing recyclable materials, you can reduce your regulatory fees.

  • Customer service

There should be no ambiguity around how to begin using your product or who to contact if a client needs more help. Similarly, your return policy should be visible to your buyers somewhere on the package.

  • Marketing

Take advantage of the chance to strengthen company customer connections. Think about how the unpacking experience, which can increase your virality, is influenced by everything from the product inserts to the sealing tape of your parcels. 

For instance, Unbox Therapy, a YouTube channel with more than 18 million followers, covers every angle of the unpacking procedure. He even goes so far as to sniff the package in this video, which has received over 1.5 million views.

  • Demands for market fulfillment

If you operate a multichannel business and sell your items on websites like Amazon, you could be required to follow particular packaging requirements. For instance, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) stipulates stringent preparation and packing standards to hasten processing at its warehouse. Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) sets maximum product dimensions and weight. 

If you decide to do your shipping, you’ll still need to think about how your eCommerce packaging can affect the price and schedule of your delivery. Marketplaces prefer quick, inexpensive shipment. Therefore, lightweight (but safe) packaging is frequently necessary for visibility and competitiveness on these channels.

Types Of Ecommerce Packaging

Different package sizes and materials may be suitable according to your items’ size, weight, and durability. Here are several entertainment kinds.

  • Corrugated cardboard Packages

The most common choice, corrugated cardboard boxes, has the advantage of being sturdy and recyclable. They are light in comparison to their strength.

Use different types of cardboard for various items since the corrugated box walls’ structure affects how much weight they can support. However, you have a selection of sizes, flaps, folds, and closures.

Depending on your delicate items, you could see even over box them. A packing technique involves snugly enclosing a smaller cardboard box inside an exterior container to store separate component pieces.

It may need some testing because businesses like Amazon have received complaints about waste and hard-to-open Ecommerce packaging (which prompted Amazon to start its “Frustration-Free Packaging” initiative). However, users may apply this robust second layer of protection for things that could arrive damaged.

  • Padded mailers

Padded envelopes are suitable for sending more minor things that require a modest level of protection, including packaged jewelry, cosmetics, movies, or books. These envelopes often come with a layer of padding to prevent breakage and are composed of paper or plastic.

Popular protective material is bubble wrap. However, padding made of recycled or shredded paper is more environmentally beneficial.

  • Bags or Envelopes

A simple envelope, bag, or poly mailer is enough for items like clothing that are lightweight and durable. These offer protection against scratches, smudges, and other defects from external objects and the environment.

The most common kind of envelope is made of plastic. Although plastic is less environmentally friendly than paper, it has the advantages of being incredibly lightweight, tear-resistant, and waterproof. Investigating new options to decrease waste could be worthwhile, such as biodegradable and kraft paper mailers.

Additional Materials for Ecommerce Packaging

If you’re lucky, all your product needs to safely make it to your consumers is one thin layer of manufacturing.

However, if you’re like other sellers, your item probably needs extra cushioning to fit safely within your shipping container or container, such as a jar, tube, box, bag, or envelope. Additional room needs to accommodate inserts like a thank-you card, installation manual, or other materials. 

Take into account the following elements to achieve it:

  • Infill

Products within the exterior transport package are stabilized by padding. Styrofoam peanuts from the past are mostly a thing of the past. Many retailers choose to utilize corn-based biodegradable substitutes (yes, corn). As well as a plethora of different materials, such as kraft paper, shredded cardboard, and chains of paper or plastic “air pillows,” can be utilized to cushion objects.

Consider employing a molded infill that is made to fit precisely around your product for delicate things like glassware or perishable foods. Doing this will avoid getting crushed, especially if they are stacked close to other goods. A molded infill can be manufactured from cardboard, recycled paper pulp, or solid material from dried mushrooms.

  • Inserts, packing slips, and receipts

In addition to the item, you might include directions, coupon offers, invites to in-store events, and more. These can be placed next to specific goods, close to products, or fastened to the box’s inner cover. Whatever location you choose for your inserts, be sure that the packing slip and receipt are always accessible.

  • Wrapping paper and tissue

Tissue or wrapping paper in vibrant colors may add extra flare to your items. It may intensify the sense of surprise or make the experience more unique. Alternatively, using plain brown paper may make a more substantial commitment to eco-friendliness and simplicity.

  • Stickers and tape

Users may use stickers to provide care instructions or to spruce up their eCommerce packaging. You may include a few stand-alone, branded stickers as a bonus for clients, who may then wear your stickers to promote your business.

The attached tape outside your package can also send a powerful statement. Consider the wrapping tape from Amazon that is simple to identify and has “Prime” written all over it. While transparent plastic tape is more practical and lightweight than paper tape, it is also recyclable and robust enough for essential things.

These ostensibly little things may improve the Ecommerce packaging experience. The complimentary decal sticker matches the packing tape and product instructions.


Beyond simple product protection, Ecommerce packaging provides a wealth of benefits. It provides an opportunity to interact with customers, share your brand’s history, and give customers all the information they want to appreciate the items that have just been delivered to their front doors.

Do not cut corners or expedite this procedure. Find a solution that enhances client satisfaction while representing your brand correctly.

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