Optimize eCommerce Packaging for Fulfillment

How To Optimize eCommerce Packaging for Fulfillment

Standing out among the crowd of great products online is hard. This is true whether you run your own storefront with software like Shopify or sell items on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Walmart. For that reason, many eCommerce store owners are starting to wrap their items in custom packaging.

Even still, it can be intimidating to create your own custom packaging. Even if you know exactly what you want your boxes, bags, or bottles to look like, you still have to ship them. Don't let that scare you off, though - there are a lot of easy ways you can optimize your eCommerce packaging for fulfillment!


Why Use Custom Packaging?

Before thinking about how to make fulfillment-friendly packaging, it helps to think about why you would make custom packaging in the first place. Here are a few statistics to remember:

  • Customers say they are 50% more likely to buy from brands that use custom packaging.
  • Another 68% of customers say that custom packaging makes brands feel more high-end.
  • Custom packaging makes customers 60-70% more likely to make a repeat purchase.

Put more simply, customers are more likely to buy from you in the first place, they're likely to spend more since they think your products are nicer, and they're more likely to come back. That's three big wins!

Of course, if you're not careful, fulfillment issues can put a damper on these important benefits. Custom packaging costs money and can drive shipping costs up if done improperly. Plus, it's easy to design custom boxes and forget to leave a blank space for the shipping label or to use materials that can safely hold items for long days spent in the back of a USPS truck.

So, with all this in mind, we're going to talk about how you can get all the benefits of custom packaging without exorbitant costs or fulfillment mishaps.

1. Keep It Light and Small

One of the biggest expenses associated with any eCommerce business is shipping. You have to pay for supplies, postage, and returns - all of which can add up very quickly!

It's no secret that big, heavy packages cost more to ship. That's why, as much as you possibly can, you should keep your packages small and lightweight. This is true even when you're making beautiful and unique custom packaging. You need to pack a lot into the smallest box you can.

For that matter, you don't necessarily have to use a box! Some items ship well in padded mailers and polybags. You can customize those just like you can boxes, so don't limit yourself by believing that you can only customize boxes when shipping for eCommerce.


2. Buy Standard Supplies in Bulk

As valuable as custom packaging is, understand that you don't necessarily have to customize every element of the package. Some materials, particularly void-filling materials, like bubble wrap and packing peanuts, don't need to be customized. If anything, you may just opt to buy a different color than normal.

By using some standard supplies, you can reduce the overall cost of using custom packaging without compromising the experience!


3. Combine Beautiful Branding with Durable Packaging

When you're creating custom packaging, you want to make sure that your company's branding comes through. You want to make sure you are able to communicate your company's purpose and its core values. Sometimes it even helps to create a branding guide.

All this said, none of this matters if the item arrives broken. You must make sure your packaging is durable enough for the road. If your items are fragile, put them in rigid boxes and avoid padded mailers and polybags. It may be more expensive at first, but it will pay for itself over time through customer retention and reduced return costs.


4. Think about All Layers of Packaging

Product packaging isn't just about what you see on the outside. Packaging can be thought of as having multiple layers: the outer layer, inner layers, and the actual product packaging itself. This blog post, in particular, explains this especially well.

When shipping for eCommerce, each layer of packaging serves an additional purpose. The product itself has unique packaging, but it is also protected by inner and outer packaging. Product packaging can be basically anything you want for your product, but the outer packaging needs to be tough enough to survive the road.


5. Leave Room for Shipping Labels on Outer Packaging

This sounds extremely obvious, but the truth is, it's extremely easy to overlook. When a graphic designer or artist has Illustrator open, working on your beautiful design, they're probably not thinking about the shipping process. They're not thinking about shipping labels, bar codes, or required legal labelling. They just want to make the purest, best design they possibly can.

In order to mail a package, you have to apply a shipping label. If you've ever ordered anything from Amazon, you know these shipping labels can actually take up quite a bit of space. You have to leave room for this on your outer packaging, or else, a shipping label will cover up something you want your customers to see.


Bonus Tip: Outsource Fulfillment

While this is not strictly speaking a packaging tip, we would be remiss if we left it out. Order fulfillment is one of the most important business processes in eCommerce. It's critical to making sure that your customers have a good experience and come back to purchase more. These goals are the exact same goals of creating custom packaging. At Arka, we help businesses build customer trust with our eco-friendly and sustainable custom boxes. Check our custom shipper boxes or custom folding cartons and create an unforgettable unboxing experience for your customers! 

Fulfilling orders in-house becomes tedious and difficult once you start shipping more than 50 to 100 per month. Finding a good fulfillment partner can make sure that your customers are being treated well, leaving with you time to do what your business does best!

Need packaging?