A Guide to E-Commerce Packaging Options

Online shopping has been steadily growing since the origins of the internet and so have the options for e-commerce packaging. Given the effects of the pandemic, customers rely on getting goods and services shipped directly to them now more than ever. As everyone retreated into quarantine and shops closed down, it was unsafe to go out into the world to buy products. Thus, online retail has skyrocketed in the past year.

As e-commerce continues to grow around the world, businesses are looking for more ways to package their products. If you’re looking to expand your online business, this is your guide to choosing the right packaging for your product.


What is e-commerce packaging?

First and foremost, e-commerce packaging has to do with the process of distributing your product. When you receive a package, the first impression you get is its packaging. We’re so used to seeing plain cardboard boxes and white plastic envelopes. As consumers ourselves, we can agree that when a company goes the extra mile to jazz up its packaging, it feels more personal.

When businesses put more effort into their packaging, it pleases the customer. In fact, 60 percent of online shoppers say custom packaging makes certain brands seem more high-end. You want to provide an experience for your customers through packaging. The experience of opening a product becomes much more valuable for your brand when it looks nice.

Of course, there is a functional purpose to e-commerce packaging. Businesses need ways to keep products safe when shipping them. But only taking care of the functional side of packaging will hurt your business. If you don’t get creative with your packaging, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to build trust with your consumers.

Why does e-commerce packaging matter?

The packaging that you choose for your products is more important than people generally think it is. Online retail is essentially fighting an uphill battle. You are competing with more brands for a wider audience of consumers.

Depending on the industry you work within, it can be incredibly difficult to build a network of loyal online customers. However, branded packaging options have proven themselves useful for marketing purposes.

The package is the first physical touchpoint your online shopper has with your business. First impressions are incredibly important to retain customers. A little goes a long way in this regard. The consumer will be more interested in your company if you take the time to tailor the packaging to your business’s aesthetic.

Maybe you’re looking to take small steps to build your brand reputation and one-up your competitors. Investing in your company’s packaging can be a great, inexpensive way to improve your rapport with online customers.

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Steps to take before packaging

It’s always great to go into anything business-related with a strategy. We come up with SEO strategies to help websites rank higher in search engine results. We create marketing strategies for businesses before we implement them. Your companydown to your packagingneeds a strategy.

First, you need to come up with your budget. How much is your business willing to spend on packaging? Of course, this amount shouldn’t come out of your profit margins. Well-designed packages eventually pay for themselves by bringing customers back to your store.

To find the right budget, consider the number of products you wish to sell in a given time period. Then, come up with how much of your profit margin to invest back into the products.

Additionally, consider your audience and your product. The packaging must fit the product, so you must determine the structure of your box. You need to think not only about measurements but also about how you want your product to look within the packaging itself. Keep your customers, your product, and your brand identity at the center of your packaging design.

Types of e-commerce packaging options

Once you figure out the dimensions of your product, get ideas for a design, and plan out a budget, you’re ready to look into the packaging itself. Now it’s time to get into the specifics. There are many different ways you can package your products. Depending on your product and your industry, you might be interested in any number of the following packaging options.


The regular slotted corrugated box is what you generally picture when you think of a shipping box. It’s simple to construct and requires manual taping. If your company’s products are on the larger end, these are the boxes you’ll want to use.

For smaller products, your business can use roll end tab lock corrugated boxes or roll end tuck top corrugated boxes. The former is the most popular e-commerce packaging option, for its sturdiness and capabilities for printing. The roll end tuck top boxes are useful for similar reasons. Many industries, especially health and beauty-related companies, choose to utilize these smaller boxes to case their products.

Poly mailers

A poly mailer is essentially a type of padded envelope. Recall the white plastic envelope from earlier. It’s light and flexible, making it perfect for shipping smaller products or products that don’t need much protection from the shipping process. This packaging is the most cost-effective, so it could be worth looking into if your business has small, light merchandise.

Printing methods

This is the point at which your team needs to get creative. Now that you have your physical package size and shape preferences, you can look into different printing methods. This is where the customer really comes into play. You’re looking to gratify your customer when they open your product, and you can do this in a number of ways.

You want your design to be easy to read, pretty, and concise. Your customer won’t care to read anything on your box if you write a novel on it. Showcase hazards, benefits, and instructions clearly on your box.

Digital printing

This is the cheapest method of printing for packaging. Essentially, you print your design from a document on your computer directly onto the box. When printing digitally, you’ll want to keep the design as simple as possible. A lot of color or a lot of detail can make the packaging appear low quality.

Offset printing

This is a more traditional way of printing, often used in the process of making newspapers, magazines, and stationery. Essentially, offset printing employs a printing press that transfers ink from a plate onto paper material, usually using a rubber roller.

Because it involves printing plates and dyes, it is a more expensive method of printing. The quality of these boxes is often well worth the price, especially if your budget allows it.


Beyond packaging

Between boxes and envelopes and colors and fonts, you might get bogged down by the time it takes to create quality packaging. You might wonder whether it’s worth the money or the effort to have branded packaging. If you feel this way, you must remember that it’s about more than packaging.

You are trying to create a brand narrative for your customer. It’s easy to get a sense of your brand as a shopper in a physical store. It’s much harder to influence your customers to keep buying from you when they have so many places to choose from online.

If you have a beautifully crafted website that appeals to the customer, that’s great. But the packaging speaks for your brand and your product. The way you deliver your product says more about your business than your products do. If you don’t put in the effort where it counts, you’ll always be grinding to look for more customers. Here are some ways to create a good brand narrative:

  • Brand logo
  • Brand color scheme
  • Artwork design
  • Personalized messages
  • Inserts

The most important aspects of your e-commerce packaging are your logo, color scheme, and artwork design. As stated before, this is the first impression your customer gets of your product. If your business has a specific color scheme, you should incorporate it in some way. Make sure that the box itself is like a little representation of your entire business. Make sure that your color scheme, logo, and artwork all mesh together and that these all resonate with your consumer.

Additionally, you can put promotional inserts as well as personalized messages into your packaging. These both give the customer incentive to continue buying products from your company in the future. This is a great way to communicate and build trust with your customers.


Improve your e-commerce packaging

While the process might seem daunting, it’s well worth it when you see the effects of branded packaging. You can create a network of consumers who are loyal to your brand and get a leg up on your competitors by personalizing your e-commerce packaging. Taking this into consideration, the effort you put into creating the packages themselves will prove to be incredibly valuable.

If you have any questions regarding packaging techniques or if you’re interested in any aspect of digital marketing, including e-commerce website development, take the time to reach out to us here at SEO Design Chicago. Our experts can help your business with any number of marketing issues you may have.


  • What is e-commerce packaging?
  • Why does e-commerce packaging matter?
  • What are e-commerce packaging options?
  • How to improve e-commerce packaging?
  • What are printing methods for e-commerce packaging?

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