E-Commerce packaging is one of the single most influential aspects that tickle the curiosity of any buying customer. One of the most attractive things about ordering online is the curiosity of opening the package once you receive it. And, if there’s a surprise tucked in there, too, that’s the cherry on the top!

As we become a completely digitized society that no longer depends on brick-and-mortar stores for purchases, a brand’s packaging and presentation have become two of the defining aspects of its popularity. In the era of influencer marketing, packaging has become one of the differentiating factors for a “cool” brand.

In this article, we will be looking at some of the best practices in packaging to make your e-commerce brand stand out from your competition. 

Why does e-commerce packaging matter so much?

E-commerce packaging, combined with good shipping, can be the two defining aspects that make or break your relationship with a customer. The packaging is under the lens not just in terms of projecting your brand, but also indicative of the ‘final result’.

In the era of social media marketing, ‘unboxing’ videos are a trend that’s here to stay. The crux behind it is to portray personalized, funky packaging that makes the product stand out. Let’s look at some of the reasons behind the significance and importance of e-commerce packaging.

Branding

58% of consumers have admitted that packaging damage would deter them from buying a product again from the same vendor! This is just one of the many statistics that matter when it comes to packaging in e-commerce.

Brands like OnePlus, Apple or Louis Vitton have carved a niche for themselves in the packaging world. Whether it’s a simple handwritten note or powerful merchandise branding inside the packaging, it can go a long way in providing your brand with the recall it needs.

Face value

Your packaging is indicative of how put-together your brand is in the marketplace. The right packaging provides you with a great first impression of your brand to a new customer. A badly put-together package, on the other hand, may push the customer to never shop with you again.

A report by Dotcom states that  50 percent of shoppers say the use of branded or gift-like packaging for online orders makes them more likely to recommend the product to friends, compared to 40 percent in 2015. It’s also worth noting that once your product is ‘cool’ enough to share, happy customers just might end up doing that.

Durability

It’s not always the looks that top the list of customer satisfaction– it is the quality of the packaging, too. If your packaging is flimsy and prone to damage during transit, it may undo all the efforts that you put into the product before then.

All your packaging items should be designed to withstand weather conditions and protect the product from wear and tear. Later in this article, we will get to the different kinds of packaging you can employ to assure safety.

Marketing

The best kind of marketing comes from happy customers. There’s nobody who happier for your brand’s success than a truly satisfied customer. In the e-commerce industry especially, companies thrive exclusively on customer feedback.

A good product, coupled with good packaging is indicative of sincere work and as they say, good work never goes unnoticed. With some clever packaging tactics, you can find a way to the heart of your customer and get popular too.

Your go-to checklist for packaging

Below is a list of considerations you need to keep in mind while deciding the packaging of your product. These considerations will ultimately influence the cost, the effort and the quality of your finished product.

Weight

Make sure to measure and segment all your products according to their weight. This will also be a determining factor in understanding what kind of packaging it needs.

Size and shape

Finalizing a good fit for your product is crucial and measuring size and shape is an important part of that. While most items fit into standard packaging, some require custom fits.

Type

Different products require different kinds of packaging. This can vary depending on what it actually is. For example, heavy appliances will require a different kind of packaging compared to home furniture.

Value

When it comes to jewellery, electronics or heavy appliances, high-value products must be placed on a different tier when it comes to packaging. Not only must extra care be taken to prevent damage, but a small amount of personalization to it can guarantee customer satisfaction.

Types of packaging material

When you’re evaluating the packaging material, there are two types of material that you need to consider- internal and external packaging.

Internal Packaging

Internal packaging materials refers to the items that are inside the box. This includes elements such as bubble wrap, airbags, cardboard, and foam pellets To decide which one to zero in on, you need to evaluate based on aspects like cushioning, void filling, protection and dividers, and shock absorption

Internal packaging is especially important if you are shipping products in the perishable and fragile goods industry. On another note, a lot of e-commerce companies have become environmentally conscious recently by saying no to disposable packaging.

E-commerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart have vowed to adopt eco-friendly and sustainable packaging solutions for their customers, while still keeping the charm of unboxing intact.

External Packaging

External packaging concerns the “box”. This involves aspects like parcels and flyer bags. Some types of parcels are corrugated, double or triple walled boxes. These are used to pack heavy items such as electronic appliances, fruits and also fragile items such as glass bottles, cans etc. 

A flyer bag, on the other hand, can be used to store small items like stationery, small toys, makeup etc. They can accommodate products up to 4kg in weight.

Tips to master e-commerce packaging

Let’s now look at some useful tips from successful brands in the industry and how the little things can make a big impact on your business.

Use the right fit for your packaging

Make sure that both the internal brand packaging and the utility packaging is as tight as possible, reducing weight without compromising the product’s integrity. Efficiently reducing the weight also saves on materials and dimensional shipping charges.

Flexible over rigid 

This rule especially holds good for e-commerce businesses in the food industry. When you’re transporting food or other liquids, you can go in for pouches rather than heavy plastic bottles. The bottles add unnecessary weight, and the cap adds height, creating the need for a taller box with more negative space. When possible, fit smaller items inside of a courier bag rather than a cardboard box.

Unparalleled unboxing experience

As we specified earlier, a great unboxing experience can really alleviate your brand. Make sure to add small notes of personalization to let the customer know the human effort behind it. You can also pack in little surprises and branded trinkets for customers that purchase over a certain limit. This can also help you increase brand loyalty. 

Go green for those void-fillers

This generation is extremely environmentally-conscious and appreciates any and all sustainable measures taken by businesses. Materials like wheat straw, bamboo and other counterparts can be used for void-filling. Also, did we mention that going eco-friendly can do wonders to your budget? 

Triple-duty tape, because why not?

We’re not exaggerating when we say that tape can sometimes hold together your entire business. Ideally, a triple-duty tape should help you in three aspects: sealing, strengthening, and branding. You can also go the extra mile by adding branded tapes to your packaging. 

Making an impression

‘Inserts’ are a part of most e-commerce packages nowadays. These include a small, personalized card from the company or the makers of the product. If you look closely, you can observe that a lot can be done with these inserts. They hold the attention of the customer as soon as they open the package. Let’s look at a few marketing hacks you can employ to make a lasting impression on your customer.

Discounts and vouchers

Everyone loves a great deal, especially when they receive it exclusively. Pack in a card with an additional incentive or discount to go an extra mile. This will also further incentivize your customers to keep coming back for more.

Studies show that a past customer is 27% more likely to buy from you again and repeat customers have a higher average order value as well.

Thank you cards

Personalization is what defines a special product from a run-of-the-mill one. Millennials and Generation Z have one thing in common, and that’s their love for personalized products. 

Thank you cards also showcase the effort that goes into creating a quality product apt for the customer who ordered it. Last but not least, these cards are a great way to express your gratitude and can greatly help in enhancing your social profile amongst customers.

Product samples

Inserts can be a great way to ‘tease’ your customers about your upcoming product in real life. While social media teasers are a great way to garner interest, inserts like these actually help the customer in getting a personal look-see of your products.

Product samples are also a great way to cross-sell different product offerings that you may have. Product samples can help customers in uninhibitedly trying new things simply because they have the chance to

Mini-merch

A popular type of insert is the mini-merchandise insert which includes small brand merchandise such as laptop stickers, branded stationery or the like. This move goes to show the customer that you are going the extra mile to put a smile on their face with little things like these.

Mini merchandising can also be very Instagram-worthy and will encourage the customer to personally promote your product if they like it.

Share on social flyers

Gathering a social media following is essential to building your e-commerce brand. While there are many innovative ways to gain followers, you can also use inserts inside to remind your customers to share how they feel on social media.

For instance, you can use QR codes of your social media handles and ask the customer to scan it to stay updated with your brand.

In conclusion, e-commerce packaging is one of the least spoken about, yet one of the most defining elements to make an impression on your customer. Make sure to also couple the above practices with a solid shipping strategy to scale your e-commerce business. 

We, at Razorpay Thirdwatch, help e-commerce businesses increase the profitability of their e-commerce store by detecting fraud at its grassroots and reducing risky orders. Check out how we helped KaratCart slash its RTO rates by 36%!

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Writer. Payments enthusiast. The most curious person in the room.

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