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Guide to Discreet Shipping

What is Discreet Shipping?

When eCommerce sellers don’t want anyone, even their customers, to know what’s inside the packages they’re sending, they use what’s called “discreet shipping”. Essentially this means no labels, no branding, and no addresses to identify the seller or the contents.

Why Use Discreet Shipping in eCommerce Fulfillment?

Have you ever dreaded the drugstore checkout line because you were embarrassed by something in your cart? You wish the manufacturer had skipped the neon pink packaging and settled for something subtler. Discreet shipping is the same concept, but instead we’re talking about shipping boxes, mailers and bags that end up on a customer’s doorstep.

Aside from the obvious adults-only products, there are plenty of reasons that online retailers and shoppers might request discreet shipping. Medications and other pharmaceutical products, hygiene products, and medical devices are often shipped in discreet packaging to minimize embarrassment for the end customer. Ecommerce merchants who sell valuable items such as jewelry or electronic devices use discreet shipping to avoid attracting the attention of porch pirates. And sometimes the customer just wants it to be a surprise.


Types of Discreet Packaging

Ecommerce sellers and online retailers have several choices when it comes to discreet packaging. The plain cardboard box is the most ubiquitous option, but poly bags and bubble mailers are equally discreet as long as they’re not branded. An alternative option is to use carrier packaging, such as USPS priority shipping or flat-rate boxes and mailers. If your eCommerce company partners with a fulfillment company or 3PL to pick, pack and ship orders, these experts can help you find the perfect discreet packaging solutions for your products.

Discreet Shipping Labels

Discreet packaging isn’t very discreet if your company’s return address is on the shipping label. Again, eCommerce sellers that use a 3PL or fulfillment company have an advantage. They can put the fulfillment center’s address on the label, so anyone looking at the package would have no idea what’s inside. Since many 3PLs also handle returns for their eCommerce clients, having the same address on the box as on the return label can also reduce confusion for the customer.

Make it All About the Unboxing

Discreet packaging doesn’t have to be boring. If the thought of a plain box makes your brand manager squirm, tell them to focus their branding on the unboxing experience. Branded tissue, colorful and unique packing materials, stickers, hand-written inserts and special offers create excitement inside the box instead of outside. If you feel like going all-in, you can even print your own boxes (on the inside, of course, because you’re still being discreet) for a truly special unboxing.

Let Your Customers Know

If you’re getting calls or emails about how your goods are packaged, you definitely should consider discreet packaging. You should also make sure your website clearly states that you offer this service. If a few customers are calling, odds are dozens more are looking for the information but too embarrassed to call. If they can’t find this information on your website, they are probably shopping elsewhere.

No Judging Here

Discreet shipping is a thoughtful service that gives your customers the privacy and respect they deserve. You want them to enjoy the products you sell, and feel comfortable buying your products. Discreet packaging is one way to ensure your customers will return to shop with you often.

Partnering with a 3PL like ShipMonk for your packing and shipping services can make discreet shipping easier. We offer custom packaging services and special add-ons like inserts and branded packaging materials. Our industry leading fulfillment services and software platform will help you scale your brand, even with discreet packaging. Contact ShipMonk today and ask us about our discreet shipping services.

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