Arka custom boxes

How Custom Inserts Help Provide a Better Unboxing Experience

Packaging is important to the success of any product. The main reason is that it can affect your brand image and the customer unboxing experience.  

Yet, many business owners focus only on the product and neglect the packaging aspect. The truth is, customers will judge your products from their first impression of them.

So, if you compromise on packaging quality, there is nothing to show that the products are any good. That is why we will teach you about custom inserts and how they can improve customer experience. Keep reading!

cardboard box

Photo Credit: Ratchat on istockphoto


What are Custom Inserts? 

Custom inserts or packaging inserts are inlays that ensure your products are secure in their box. You may use the best and durable custom shipper boxes or folding carton boxes to pack your products for shipping. 

Yet, each package needs something to protect it from shocks and sudden movements. These inserts are made of anything from cardboard, pulp, plastic to foam.

Apart from product protection, they allow you to present your products beautifully during unboxing. The unboxing moment is what every buyer looks forward to, and you don’t want to ruin it. 

unboxing process

Photo Credit: Prostock-Studio on istockphotos


Suppose you have more than one item in a box. In that case, packaging inserts are a good way to position each product in a way that you like.

It is a good choice for wrapping fragile items like cosmetics, wine, and perfume. With a custom-made packaging insert, you can add an elegant feel to your product’s unboxing.

Customers do not pay extra for packaging inserts, and most times, they don’t expect it. Instead, you can use it to spread awareness and provide value to customers. In all, custom inserts are a versatile gesture that can help your brand build a relationship with customers. 

packaging box
Photo Credit: Ratchat on istockphoto


Types of Custom Inserts for Product Packaging

Product packaging starts and ends with the final buyer in mind. Think about what your customer wants to see inside their package. 

First, they want to see the product in good condition and attractive looking. Then, customers also want to see your brand personality shine through the box. 

So, you can use custom inserts to drive home a marketing message that you understand customer needs and deliver. There are many types of packaging inserts, and here are the common options:

1. Cardboard Custom Inserts

Cardboard inserts, also called paperboard or corrugated inserts, are one of the popular packaging materials. It is a versatile, cost-effective, and structurally sound packaging option that protects products from damage.

They come in different degrees of thickness, color, and materials. Also, cardboard inserts are compatible with any kind of printing or special finishing.

If you are shipping several items in one box, these may come in handy. They keep the items from touching each other and moving around while in transit.  

Another advantage of cardboard inserts is their reuse and recycle value. They are also popular for their unique design and heavy-duty nature. So, no matter how fragile or heavy your item is, these inserts can protect them.

2. Custom Pulp Inserts

Another name for pulp inserts is molded pulp. From the name, you can tell that the material is pulp, made from recycled fibers. 

Pulp inserts are similar to paper mache because you can create different shapes with a custom-molded pulp. As they are recycled material, it is a good fit for businesses looking towards sustainable packaging.

They are perfect for shipping electronics and large appliances. The reason is that they are lightweight and can absorb shock.

Pulp inserts are also low cost, durable, solid, and with a good environmental effect. There are many options to choose from, with different textures, appearances, and colors.

3. Custom Foam Inserts

The first thing you should know about foam inserts is that they are lightweight. It is not surprising that they are one of the popular types of inserts in the market right now.

If you want to pack fragile, expensive, and sensitive items, this is an option you should consider. Not only will it protect your items from scratches and surface wear, but it also shields them from heating and harsh temperatures. Other packaging products may be too risky to use for such delicate items.

Suppose you do not want the weight of your package to increase. In that case, you may use foam inserts, as they weigh next to nothing.

You can also use them for as long as you want because they give extra protection and customization. There is now a major focus on sustainable packaging, and these foam inserts fall into that category. 

The fact that you use them can be the reason why a customer will buy from you. Consider it a form of corporate social responsibility.

4. Plastic Custom Inserts

Plastic custom inserts work the way that molded pulp inserts do. You can also customize them to your needs. The only disadvantage is that it does not offer the same level of protection. 

For some, it is not an ideal choice compared to other packaging options. While they are great for keeping things in place, they may not effectively protect them from damage.

Yet, you must know that no packaging option is one-size-fits-all. You only need to study what works for the specific item you want to package.

These molded plastic inserts are often used in the food industry to hold food. The reason is that they are the perfect choice for keeping food safe. 

The plastic used to make these inserts is similar to those found on the cover of beverage cups. They are soft, thin, and light but not very strong, making them susceptible to damage.

You can, however, custom-design them in unique shapes or designs. Then, create snap-on tabs to secure the items.

Things to Consider Before Using Custom Packaging Inserts

We have now looked at the common materials used for making packaging inserts. You may wonder if there is anything you need to know before designing your inserts. Yes, indeed, you need to consider the following things:

  • How many items will be in every box set for shipping?
  • What are the dimensions of each of those items?
  • The kind of materials used in making your products will determine the best custom inserts for them.
  • What is the extent of protection each of the items will need from the elements, stacking, and storage?
  • How will you want your inserts to look?
  • How do you plan to incorporate your brand values into this packaging?

These are the questions you must answer within yourself before you proceed. Your answers will guide your product designer to come up with the perfect custom design for your brand. It can be a flyer or coupon tossed in the delivery box or any of the many options on the table.

How Custom Inserts are Useful Customer Unboxing Experience

The first goal of any business must be to impress customers, whether in-store or online. Custom boxes are a good way to catch their attention, but special touches should not stop at the outside of the box.

Placing custom inserts inside the box will elevate your packaging to the next level. If you do this, your customers may love the unboxing experience enough to come back for more. You may want to consider the following benefits:

1. Custom Inserts Present an Opportunity For Product Education

With custom inserts, you get more space to work with. These custom designs give you the option to add texts, unlike regular packaging that is straightforward. 

So, you can write out instructions, ingredients, and other product details that the customer will find useful. We often buy items and have to google how to use them because there are no clear instructions on the packaging.

Adding these details to your custom inserts will leave your customers very appreciative. You know what that means - more sales!

2.  Custom Inserts Are Good Marketing Opportunities

The extra space custom inserts give you is good for announcing promotions and discounts. You can also cross-promote other products in the same line as the packaged item. 

It further allows you to announce a new release or build anticipation for upcoming products. Since you know what your customer likes, you can match your products to the right people.

See it as a perfect opportunity to tell your customers anything, and for free. Whatever you have to say, do it in a way they will see it, by using bold texts and attractive colors.

For example, you can write “Free Shipping on Your Next Order” or “25% Off Your Next Order” on a business card. You can also test out different types of offers to see what your customers will respond best to.

3. It Builds A Stronger Connection

Almost everybody loves receiving gifts because gifts are thoughtful and make a person feel special. It is the same way customers feel when they receive custom boxes.

There is this feeling of unfailing excitement and exclusivity that entices customers, making them feel special. So, adding personal touches to your custom inserts will build a strong connection with your buyers and secure lifetime customers.

These touches do not even need to be over the top. Thank you notes, product samples, or free gifts are some of the inexpensive options. 

Product samples, for instance, are a good way to cross-sell and introduce them to new products. Customers will appreciate anything that shows that your brand cares and values its loyal customers. It leads to word-of-mouth advertisement and can help guarantee repeat purchases.

4. Custom Inserts Are Good For The Environment

Most custom folding cartons and packaging inserts are reusable or recyclable. So, while improving the customer unboxing experience, you can eliminate the use of toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals include plastic void fill and styrofoam packing peanuts.

Custom inserts further reduce the chances of damaging products in transit, unlike the traditional shipping box. The reason is that it secures the products and holds them all through the journey.

5. It Encourages Product Feedback

You can increase your online presence and online reviews by using custom inserts. It is also an opportunity to encourage customers to give feedback on products. 

At the point of shipping items, the transaction with customers has come to an end. Adding packaging inserts is a great way to ask for a product review and ask customers to share their experience on social media.

To do this, print basic information on the custom inserts. You can direct them on where to leave feedback, what social media handles to follow, and hashtags to use.

Don’t forget to include a call to action, as that is the only thing that will motivate them to comply. Here, you can take advantage of print media to get your message across.


You wouldn’t try to place a square peg in a round hole. In the same way, you shouldn’t send out packages that are not well-packed. Designing your custom box and inserts is the first step.

As with other marketing efforts, test out different options and build a successful concept that will wow your customers. We understand that making a decision takes time, so there’s no pressure. If you follow the tips in this guide, it will speed up the whole process for you.

Need packaging?