The number of e-commerce businesses has grown substantially over the last few years, and so has the need for effective e-commerce packaging solutions. Today, your product packaging is just as important as the product itself.

If you’re new to e-commerce, figuring out your packaging might be a major task on your to-do list that seems quite intimidating. Whether you have some packaging knowledge or none at all, these simple tips can help you start the process of creating your packaging operations with confidence.

Find the Perfect Fit 

The most important part of selecting packaging for e-commerce products is making sure the container is the right size. The internal and external packaging should be fit as tightly as possible around your product. There should hardly be any room left when you’re finished with the final packaging design if you want to be as efficient as possible.

This is important for three reasons. First, a tight fit ensures the product cannot move around inside its packaging and get damaged. Second, the smaller the box or parcel you use, the cheaper it will be to ship out. And lastly, with consumers growing more concerned over sustainability, the lack of excess packaging keeps your customers happy when they finally unbox the product. 

Also, fitting the container to the product helps eliminate the need for void fill materials such as bubble or foam. At the very least, right-sizing packaging will reduce the amount of void fill used per package and help lower your total material costs.

Swap Rigid Boxes for Flexible Mailers

One of the easiest ways to minimize e-commerce packaging costs is to switch from boxes to mailers. Mailers are extremely lightweight, affordable, and easy to use. You can find mailers with fiber padding or bubble linings for more fragile items, while a simple poly mailer can work for clothing or other soft goods.

Mailers can be return-friendly with a second adhesive strip designed for sending merchandise back. This helps you manage the inevitable influx of returns that happens frequently with online businesses. They are also easy to open, thanks to incorporated tear strips. Another benefit of mailers is the option for custom colors and printing, or to keep costs down, you can slap a printed label on the outside.

Find Unique Materials

You mail products from an online store, so you know you need packaging supplies. But who says you have to follow everyone else and do exactly what’s expected? 

There are many different materials available in the packaging industry. You might think cardboard boxes and bubble wrap are your only options, but there is so much more to discover. Be conscious of the materials you choose for your packaging. You can find many different solutions for a single product, so be sure to explore all of the options before settling down on a final decision.

When air pillows first started showing up, many companies were thrilled to start using them in place of packing peanuts or paper void fill. Air pillows provide amazing cost benefits and better protection for a lot of products out there. You never know what might impact your packaging design if you aren’t seeing every option.

Leave a Lasting Impression

Your e-commerce packaging provides one of the few ways you can interact with your customer. Online businesses don’t have the opportunity to wow their customers with intricate displays or amazing product demonstrations. Photos and videos only drive traffic until the order arrives, and once it does you have to create the “wow” experience during the unboxing process, which makes your packaging design incredibly important.

You can create a lasting impression through packaging by being strategic about the materials you use, the messages you print, and anything else you can include in the design. Brands can take advantage of modern printing opportunities and create beautiful logos on the side of boxes or colorful text as someone opens the lid. The possibilities for customization are truly endless, you just need to be creative with the design of your packaging and put effort into it.

Every little detail can make an impact on a first-time consumer. Actually, around 52 percent of online consumers say they are more likely to give repeat business to a company who mails products in custom packaging.

Make it Return-Friendly

Many online businesses deal with returned merchandise on a daily basis. It’s inevitable that products will be returned because consumers can not touch or see your product before they buy. This is especially true for companies that manufacture items like clothing or accessories, which are associated with a standard sizing and fit.

Investing in return-friendly packaging can help you save money and make the process easier on your customer. Someone who is returning your merchandise already has a bad experience with your brand, so the easier it is for them to mail it back and get a different option, the better it is for your business.

Return-friendly packaging also helps keep your product safe on the way back. You know your product requires a certain level of protection, and the initial packaging you use will provide that. But if a customer has to mail a product back, they could choose any method of shipping and that might not be best for your product. Return-friendly packaging ensures you have control on how products are packaged for returns to eliminate damage costs.

Hopefully, these five e-commerce packaging tips are helpful for you as you begin to put together your packaging operations. If you take the time to research and design packaging that’s fit for your application, you can ensure every product arrives at your customer’s door in pristine condition.