Packaging 101: The Complete Guide

Britt Martin, Arka's Partnerships lead, blends e-commerce expertise with sustainability advocacy, nurturing startups as a Founder in Residence at NYU.

What is Discreet Packaging? The Key Pros and Cons

You’re curious about discreet packaging meaning and constantly ask yourself, “What does discreet packaging look like”? The last thing we want to do is represent discreet packaging as perfect. On the contrary, entrepreneurs wanting to use them can face a couple of challenges. Yet, the list of benefits is much longer. You can determine on your own whether discreet packaging solutions are a good choice for your business.

The Benefits of Discreet Packaging

Discreet packaging is “multi-practical” because it meets consumers' expectations differently. Here are some benefits businesses can get by switching to this type of packaging:

• Brand reputation: the first thing new packages will bring to you is reputation. Being recognized as a brand that respects the privacy of its consumers will split your brand from the mass of others. Your business will get the trust, which is the number one thing all brands are working for! That opens many doors in the business world.

Protection of the item: discreet packages are often used for specific types of products. Some of them are expensive or high-value, while others require a special layer of protection. That means their damage can significantly reduce the profit of the business. The return rate must be minimal in these cases, which is something that proper discreet packages can ensure. These packages do not necessarily have to be strong. It is the task of the brand to pick the right packaging materials that can keep its discretion and meet consumers' expectations.

Discreet Packaging

Protection from thefts: As we said, discreet packages are multi-practical. They can be used as another source of protection! Expensive or unique products require protection from theft, and discreet packages can afford that! How they are designed allows them to hide the item stored inside completely.

Encouraging repeat purchases: all the mentioned benefits will boost the value and reputation of the brand using these types of packaging. If eCommerce businesses meet their target audience's expectations, they will convince them to get back. Step by step, they will manage to turn an average/regular customer into the most loyal one.

Challenges in Implementing Discreet Packaging

Will everything be easy? Unfortunately, it is impossible not to face certain challenges. Knowing them before they appear will help you get ready for them. There are two challenges that entrepreneurs need to be aware of, and they are:

International shipping hurdles: shipping of discreet products around the globe requires a high level of management and organization skills. Entrepreneurs need to have a plan B in case something does not go according to plan. Also, legal and regulatory requirements regarding discreet packages differ from place to place. These are all the things business owners need to have in mind.

Possible delivery miscommunications: discreet packages properly hide what’s inside. Sometimes, miscommunication can lead to delivering the wrong item to the consumer's address. Businesses need to highlight all the relevant data on the package clearly.

Discreet Packaging box

Legal and Regulatory Considerations

As we said, one of the concerns is international shipping hurdles. Every country (in some cases, jurisdiction) has its own laws related to discreet packaging. Some of the requirements you need to consider are data privacy and industry-specific regulations. Gaining information would be extremely crucial for international businesses.

A good example of that is General Data Protection Regulation in the EU. That regulation requires appropriate protection of customer information. The USA, Canada, Asia region, and other parts of the world also have their own requirements. Get familiar with them before switching to discreet packaging!

What Discreet Packaging Looks Like

The design of discreet packaging is different compared to typical packages. It will not come with entertaining designs and colors on the outside. Apart from that, it should not contain the logo or anything related to the company's name. Their color should be as simple as possible. Most businesses decide on white, kraft, or solid single color.

So, which packaging materials are the best for discreet products? The answer depends on the type of product you are selling, size, and sensitivity. For example for marijuana packaging many businesses will decide on typical custom mailer boxes or shipping boxes. Postal boxes can also be an alternative to that. The options above ensure complete privacy and adequate protection for most high-value and expensive products.

custom postal box

Credits: Vitaliy Dubinin

Strategies for Effective Discreet Packaging

The pieces of information highlighted above are not the only ones people should know. Choosing the type of packaging material for discreet packaging is the easier part of the job. The more challenging part is to design the new type of packaging appropriately.

Also, some other tiny details may seem irrelevant at first. Discretion won’t mean a lot if you do not improve your brand awareness and value of the product with the packaging. Yet, how can you do that when you don’t have enough space to experiment with designs? Here are some tips you should apply!

• Ensure a wonderful unboxing experience with the Interior: as we said, it is impossible to design the surface of discreet packaging. Without appropriate packaging, you will not manage to ensure an unboxing experience for the consumer. The unboxing experience is an outstanding marketing tool that must be used. So, how to solve this problem? The only solution brands with discreet packaging have is the interior printed design. There, you can do everything you want to do on the outside.

Some of the options you have are to use tissue paper or custom inserts. That way, the amazing unboxing experience will be achieved! With the customization of both packaging accessories, Arka can help! We have customized many box inserts and custom tissue paper for different target audiences! Also, we offer premium packaging solutions for many niches; whether you need custom pizza boxes or custom lash boxes, we can help create the most wonderful packaging for your brand.

Discreet Packaging boxes

Add a brand message to the interior: despite experimenting with colors and designs, you can also add a brand message to the interior. There are two types of messages you can add there. One option is to give more information on the product itself. Another option is to say a few more words about your brand. Here you can highlight the main values your brand is supporting.

Add a custom card insert: adding a custom card/promotional insert inside a box is an amazing way to boost the product’s value. That way, you are actually making the product more personalized. Instead of adding a personalized message on the inside part of the package, you can use card inserts for the same purpose.

Don’t be too obvious: discreet packaging does have the purpose of hiding the product consumer is buying. Yet, that doesn’t mean brands should be too obvious. Sometimes, too much discretion can make the product the center of attention. That’s why it would be good to add some small and completely irrelevant wording on the surface of the package. For instance, it will be enough just to write “fragile”.

Allow digital signatures: remember that some consumers want to remain discreet completely! They would even want to avoid signing for the package when it is delivered. That’s why you can allow buyers to digitally sign on to the website before the package arrives. The courier can get notified when the buyer finishes the procedure. The only thing left here is for the courier to leave the package and the buyer to get it without needing to see him/her.

Discreet Packaging in Different Industries

Discreet packaging is present in different industries. However, they have the same purpose in every case - to protect the product, boost brand awareness and create a mutual bond between consumers and brands. Here are some industries using them and why they are doing that.

Legal Services

Confidential documents require a high level of discretion. It is crucial that neither of the data written on that document gets exposed. That’s why discreet packaging is perfect for such an industry.

Adult Products

There is no need to explain why people require discretion when purchasing sex toys and other accessories. We think everyone deserves privacy! Discreet packages are a perfect match for such products, which is why most businesses in the adult industry use them.

Political Propaganda

Some people do not want to expose which political party they support. They want to keep that a secret when ordering different political propaganda materials. Brands offering the opportunity to keep that a secret will certainly grab their attention and get their trust.

discreet packaging for industries

Sensitive Electronics

Sensitive electronics themselves do not always have to be expensive. However, certain pieces of electronics really are expensive and come with high value. They can often be a target of thieves (dishonest couriers), which is the reason why they require discretion. Plus, they need a strong layer of protection which these types of packages can ensure.

Health and Medical Products

Some people feel embarrassed about using different types of medicine. They want to hide from the world they are not feeling well. That especially counts for people dealing with psychological problems that require the usage of meds.

There is no reason to feel that way. Yet, discreet packages really are a perfect option that can meet the requirements of those people. No one can determine if there is a medicine for sleeping, snoring, or even different CBD supplements inside. That is why medical businesses often use them!

5 Discreet Packaging Examples

We are 100% sure our tips can inspire many businesses to switch to discreet packaging. Yet, sometimes a much better inspiration is to hear and see real-life examples of discreet packaging. Here are five of them that we consider the most appropriate!

Sexual Health London

All the products SHL sells fall under the “personal” category. They offer pregnancy tests, medicines, and similar products. The sensitive nature of the products made this brand invest in discreet packaging. It is clearly stated on their official website that packaging is discreet, which is something other businesses should do.

discreet packaging shl


The products of this brand fall under the category “sensitive electronics” They pack their products in discreet padded envelopes, plain boxes, grey mailing bags, a typical courier bags.

Spy camera cctv discreet packaging

Purely Diamonds

The packaging of Purely Diamonds, a brand that sells various expensive products, is completely discreet. They send their packages in a typical mailing bag. No one could ever imagine there is something precious inside. Just like SHL, they clearly stated that their packages are discreet.

purely diamonds discreet packaging

DR Fox

As we said, businesses from the medical field also strive to keep the privacy of their customers. They use mailing bags with the Royal Mail logo on them. There is nothing that indicates the order contains any type of medicine.

dr fox discreet packaging


This brand sells a variety of lingerie, swimwear, and underwear to female audiences. Their target audience is those ladies with diagnosed breast cancer. Their packages do not contain any logos. Buyers with such a diagnosis can buy their clothing during and after the treatment and keep their privacy completely.

amoena discreet packaging

Final Thoughts

You can read all the relevant information about discreet packaging in one place and get all the answers to questions like “what is discreet packaging” and understand the discreet packaging meaning”. It is quite a beneficial type of packaging for a variety of industries.

At Arka, we know that brands must understand the desire of their consumers to keep privacy, and the only way to provide them with that is by using discreet packages. Apply some of the tips shared on this page and use highlighted examples as inspiration.

FAQs on Discreet Packaging

Are there additional costs associated with discreet packaging?

In 99.9% of cases, there will not be additional fees required from businesses for discreet packaging. For them, it is just a package with specific features that meet the expectation of the target audience.

Is discreet packaging only used for sensitive items and specific products?

Discreet packaging is most common for sensitive items and specific products. It is perfect for adult toys, medicines, sensitive electronics, etc. Yet, it is not limited to those products and can be used for various of them. It is the choice of the eCommerce businesses themselves.

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