It’s no secret that since the global pandemic started, reliance on online shopping has grown and continues to grow. Now more than ever, businesses are using their e-commerce platforms to bring in revenue and keep their brand afloat.
To keep up with the increasing demand, most businesses opt for generic packaging (mailer bags and boxes), and add a custom sticker to represent their brand. But why should you let your packages blend in with the others?
Online, your customers already have a limited interaction with your brand, which is why it’s important to consider your e-commerce packaging – think of the impact it’ll make on their unboxing experience!
That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you create great e-commerce packaging!
Step 1: Determine your budget and objective
Before you begin, the first thing you need to do is determine an objective. What’s the overall goal of your packaging?
Do you intend on creating packaging for the sole purpose of protecting your products. or do you view it as a marketing tool? Depending on how you answer this can help you to define your budget!
Need a little help defining your goals? Consider the following questions:
- In a given period of time, how many products do you sell? If you’re able to sell a lot in a short amount of time, you can qualify for price breaks and order in bulk.
- Who’s your target market? How do you want them to interact with your packaging?
- How do you intend on standing out from your competitors?
Step 2: Measure your packaging units
Once you’ve defined your budget, you can figure out the dimensions of your packaging! Knowing how much space you need will not only help you save costs, but it’ll also help you decrease waste and specify the overall shape of the package.
Generally, when we request dimensions from clients, we always refer to them as Length x Width x Height (LxWxH). For most bags and boxes, we use millimetres (mm), centimetres (cm) and inches (in or “) as the units of measurement will differ depending on the needs of a particular client.
In addition to dimensions, we consider the capacity of a box or bag. The capacity will indicate their ability to hold a substance (solid, liquid or gas). Common measurements for capacity are litres, pounds and gallons.
Measuring packaging units can sometimes be a little tricky which is why our packaging specialists are available to help!
Step 3: Choose a packaging material
After specifying your packaging dimensions, you should think about its material! This is an important step for both corrugated boxes and mailer bags!
Corrugated boxes are ideal for fragile and/or heavy items, subscription boxes, shipping boxes and e-commerce packages.
The general composition of corrugated boxes include 3 components. A sheet of corrugated or “fluted” material in the centre, placed between 2 layers of paper – the outer and inner liners. This makes the board sturdy yet still flexible!
But how do you know which thickness of corrugated board is the right type for your product? Did you even know that there are different thickness levels for these boxes?
These are some commonly used flute types:
- E Flute: generally used for smaller cartons, where good quality print is required, in addition to die cutting applications
- B Flute: provides good all-round performance in all types of packaging
- C Flute: offers greater compression strength and is great for delicate products
- BC Flute: if your product requires a higher level of transit protection, we recommend this grade of material
- EB Flute: provides an excellent balance between transit protection, strength and print finish
Interested in learning more? Check out our blog post on how to choose the right materials for your packaging!
Similarly, you can choose between Kraft paper, polystyrene, and compostable materials for your mailer bags.
Step 4: Select a packaging style
When it comes to mailer boxes, you can opt for a tab lock roll end box, standard shipping box with a classic closure or a box with a side lock!
The tab roll end box are corrugated box styles that are well sealed, sturdy and easy to unbox. This is the most popular e-commerce packaging style due to its durable capabilities and unboxing experience.
A standard shipping box with a classic closure is ideal for large and heavy weight items that need that extra support and care during shipping.
Mailer boxes that feature a side lock can open and close smoothly and also ensure additional protection!
Mailer bags come with self-sealing tear strips, but can be customized to include bubble liners as well to provide maximum protection!
Step 5: Design your e-commerce packaging
This is our favourite step! Design is crucial to your packaging and often takes the longest to finalize.
To stand out against competitors, it is important that brands first, grab people’s attention and secondly, retain their attention. This is all doable with the right amount of information and an eye-catching and memorable design.
Beyond brand name and company logo, essential information also includes an ingredients list, instructions pertaining to how to utilize, consume or operate the product as well as highlighting the product’s benefits.
To ensure that you’re including the right kind of information also means understanding your target audience. Factors like the target audience’s age, gender and what would motivate them to want the product are important to consider.
Beyond including the essential information, the overall packaging design is also an important marketing technique. Different colours allude to different reactions.
Things like interior print and personalized messaging also go a long way in creating a long-lasting impression!
However, as design trends change over time, it is important to keep up with them. Consider creating variation in your packaging by offering seasonal or holiday packaging options.
step 6: custom inserts
In addition to design, you can elevate your e-commerce packaging with custom inserts. There are two types of inserts you should consider – protective and promotional.
Protective inserts prevent components from moving around during transit, reducing the costs of damaged goods. Since they’re tailored to your products’ size and needs, they also help to reduce packaging waste! Protective inserts are available in paper and foam materials.
Promotional inserts are things that retailers can add to their packages before sending them to customers. Examples of promotional inserts include discount cards, thank you-cards, handwritten notes, instructional guides, samples, stickers, hang tags, etc.
Each promotional insert plays a vital role in creating a unique experience for your customer. For example, a thank you card is one of the cheapest ways to promote your product and increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, and sales.
Collectively, promotional and protective inserts are recommended to create effective e-commerce packaging!
Step 7: add-ons
Next, decide if you want to add a finishing touch to your packaging! Finishing touches on your packaging are used to seal in the design and help it maintain its shape and look.
For mailer boxes, you can choose between matte and glossy lamination.
Glossy lamination is a great way to attract customers as it enhances the vibrancy of the colours and beautifully reflects light! The best part of all, it’s resistant to dirt, fingerprints, and dust.
On the other hand, if you choose to incorporate foil additions or spot UV, we recommend a matte finish as it’s the perfect complement!
step 8: test your packaging
This is by far the most important step, yet many people make the mistake of skipping it! By testing your packaging, you can check the durability and strength of your packaging in advance.
You wouldn’t make the mistake of buying a car without going on a test drive, right? Likewise, you shouldn’t invest in custom packaging, without thoroughly testing its strength and functionality.
Packaging samples are a great way to ensure proper fit, design and receive feedback from your customers!
step 9: production and shipping
Last but not least, to create effective e-commerce packaging, give yourself enough time for production and shipping!
Lately, due to Covid-19, both shipping costs and times have increased as there are only limited vessels available.
Carriers are no longer accepting last minute bookings, so it’s highly recommended you plan in advance to avoid potential shipping delays!
How we can help
Going through this lengthy process by yourself can be very exhausting as you may forget to review all these steps.
That’s why we’re here to help! These are things that we take into account when working with clients.
More often than not, a client doesn’t know what thickness level they want for packaging or aren’t aware of shipping delays– and we don’t expect you to! However, being a top packaging company, we know about all of it.
Based on your brand and product-specific needs, our specialists will help you create great e-commerce packaging!
So, what are you waiting for?! Contact us today to get started!
In the meantime, if you’re looking for some inspiration, be sure to check out our latest e-commerce catalogue!