A cartoon robot considers different options for eCommerce packaging.

Your Guide to eCommerce Packaging

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but good books deserve good covers. We’re talking, of course, about eCommerce packaging. If you’re not in the biz, it’s normal to dismiss packaging as an afterthought — after all, it’s what’s inside that counts, right? The answer is yes… but also no, unless you’re an eBay mystery box.

The purpose of packaging is twofold — it keeps products safe and sound while also making a stylish, branded statement that will be sure to set you apart from the competition. There are also tons of options to choose from, which, although exciting, can render finding the perfect solution a tad overwhelming.

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to shake things up, allow us to guide the way in your packaging journey with these tried-and-true suggestions. Let’s begin!

For the Standard Stuff

Not all products are high-maintenance. Cardboard boxes, for example, are an ubiquitous shipping staple, and for good reason! Not only can they handle a multitude of scenarios, but they’re also widely available, easy to store, and can take a beating on the road. For extra padding, kraft paper and biodegradable packing peanuts offer a protective and eco-friendly touch.

It’s worth noting that, even if your products don’t have any special requirements, you should still take DIM, or dimensional weight, into consideration. Simply put, DIM is a pricing technique created by shipping carriers to save money on large, lightweight shipments. In practical terms, this means that your packaging should fit like a glove — read about DIM here.

For Fragile Items

Fragile items tend to be a bit finicky, usually needing to be in a secure, confined space that doesn’t let them run the risk of breaking or getting tangled by bouncing around too much. Luckily, there’s a simple fix — bubble mailers and bubble wrap! Look for corrugated and compostable versions if you’re sticking to the eco-friendly theme.

For Oversized Goods

The definition for “oversized” varies by carrier. For UPS, it’s anything over 150 pounds and 165 inches in combined length and width, and for FedEx, it’s 90 pounds and 130 inches. Regardless, strength is the name of the game here. If you’re working with an experienced 3PL (an especially wise choice for oversized goods!), they should be able to recommend the right packaging and/or even help you source it.

For Heat-Sensitive Delicacies

When you have the right tools, almost anything is possible, like sending chocolate truffles across the country without them turning into a (arguably less delicious) pool of cocoa. Sure, shipping foods and beverages may not be as straightforward as shipping t-shirts, but add-ons like gel packs and liner bags help turn sugary dreams into reality. Stick that inside a trusty cardboard box, do some trial runs, and you’re all set!

Tip: For more info on time and heat-sensitive products, we have you covered!

For Hazmat Products

Hazmat, short for hazardous, products are classified as containing substances that can be flammable, pressurized, or corrosive. As such, hazmat products fall under strict requirements and must be packaged and labeled correctly. And, if that weren’t enough, these requirements can vary depending on the product type. While there’s not much room for novelty, this is one occasion where you can get away with sacrificing style for functionality.

For an Unforgettable Experience

Who could forget the ol’ razzle dazzle? Not us! In the race to wow online shoppers, custom packaging should be top of mind. Aside from being visually pleasing, custom packaging boosts brand loyalty and encourages social media sharing. Free advertising, anyone?

If you can, try using these fun ideas:

  • Branded tape
  • Color-coordinated cloth
  • Gift messaging
  • Handwritten notes
  • Promotional inserts
  • Stickers

One of the best parts about custom packaging is that infusing your company’s ID into the unboxing experience is possible across all product types! No matter what you sell, surprising and delighting your customers is always within reach. 

And that about covers it (pun intended)! We hope we were able to narrow down your choices into byte-sized chunks. Get those creative juices flowing and you’ll be a packaging virtuoso in no time!

Questions? Comments? We’re here to help! Shoot us a line here.

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