February 20, 2020

E-commerce has been around since the early 1990s and has boomed in recent years. E-commerce is now one of the fastest growing retail segments. While brick and mortar retail stores have struggled with slow growth and less foot traffic, e-commerce stores have seen sales surge. 

Unsurprisingly, many of Korpack’s packaging customers operate in the e-commerce space. Just as retailers have had to adapt to the emergence of e-commerce, the packaging industry has had to as well. Over the years, we have learned that the packaging needs for e-commerce stores are, in many ways, different than the packaging needs for retail stores.

Think about it. Packaging designed for a retail store needs to stand out on the shelf. Packaging is often the first thing the customer will see and interact with. Online, customers will see pictures of the product, and perhaps other media and videos. If packaging is displayed, it’s usually only in passing.

Certain things, like clips for hanging, usually aren’t necessary for ecommerce packaging. On the other hand, you do have to worry about protecting your products during shipping. So the first step towards selecting the right packaging products for e-commerce is to consider the unique demands and challenges of the ecommerce industry. 

Let’s take a quick look at some basic considerations for ecommerce packaging:

  • Can you reduce returns and customer complaints by protecting the products and goods during shipping?
  • Can you improve customer satisfaction with easy-to-open packaging?
  • Can you build your brand and increase brand awareness?
  • Is it possible to reduce shipping costs with lighter, more compact packaging?
  • Can you reduce your impact on the environment with sustainable materials and other methods?

Start by answering the above questions and you’ll be well on your way to wrapping your e-commerce products up in excellent, efficient ecommerce packaging. We can go even further, however, with some more specific strategies. Let’s dig in.

Utility Packaging Vs. Branded Packaging and Making an Impression

For many e-commerce stores, the box packaging is the first and one of the only opportunities they will get to interact with customers. You want to make a good impression. One of your first considerations should be whether you should go with branded packaging or utility packaging.

Utility packaging is utilitarian, featuring brown corrugated cardboard or other toned down materials. Branded packaging will be adorned with imagery, colors, logos, and more. This allows you to make an impression. 

Which to choose? There’s no wrong answer here. 

It depends on you and your brand. Branded packaging is often more eye catching and distinctive, but you can add flair to utility packaging as well. Keep in mind, with branded packaging, some choices could reduce the recyclability of the cardboard, and sustainability is something more and more customers are demanding. 

Be Sustainable Inside and Out

When done right, corrugated products and cardboard can be environmentally friendly. That’s because corrugated cardboard products are readily recyclable. This means your packaging will end up at the recycling plant rather than the landfill. 

Further, you can now choose sustainable filler options. Styrofoam peanuts are no longer the only choice. Bamboo, wheat straw, and mushroom roots are some of the emerging fillers that can be used instead of Styrofoam. In some cases, these sustainable filler materials may even be more affordable.

So make sure you consider what you’re filling your ecommerce packaging with. 

Reduce Weight and Size

It can be tempting to throw your ecommerce products into any old corrugated box and to then stuff it with filler and inflatable air packets. Why bother with multiple different sized boxes at all? While this might be more convenient in certain ways, it’ll create more waste, burn more fuel, and cost more to ship.

You want your boxes and other packaging materials to be as small and tight of a fit as possible (without putting the products at danger, of course). This will reduce waste and could help you save money. At Korpack, we can manufacture corrugated boxes and other packaging solutions to fit products of pretty much any size.

Don’t Forget the Tape

As a packaging supplier, we’re also tape experts. Tape is a very important part of packaging, especially for ecommerce. Tape will hold your corrugated boxes and other packages together on their journey across the country. Masking tape usually won’t do. You need tape specifically designed for ecommerce.

Make Sure You Make a Lasting Impression

Finally, one of the tricks our own ecommerce customers have taught us is that you want to make a lasting impression. Yes, great packaging will help but there are other steps you can take. For example, you could include a thank you note, or perhaps a free sample or product with the shipment. This can go a long way towards making a lasting impression. 

The Best E-Commerce Packaging Can Be Yours

We’ve only examined some of the most basic considerations when it comes to ecommerce packaging. At Korpack, we work closely with our customers to identify their needs and also opportunities. As a packaging company, we have years of experience putting together packaging for the ecommerce industry and various other industries.

Interested in top-notch, affordable ecommerce packaging that will promote your brand and protect your products? Get in touch!