Outside of the product itself, packaging has to be one of the most important aspects of the customer experience. It protects products during shipping and delivery while also creating an opportunity to build brand awareness with an unforgettable unboxing experience.
Packaging is an integral part of your brand because this is the first physical touchpoint a customer will have with your company before opening your product. Imagine spending your hard-earned money with a company, only to receive your package barely taped, with a damaged product inside that can actually be seen through the cracks in the box and poor tape job. While this may sound rare, its unfortunately quite common with ecommerce packages due to the lack of quality and care given when shipping.
To ship your products in the best way possible, let’s go over the different types of packaging and how you should package your products:
Basic packaging includes:
- Durable packaging such as boxes or padded mailers
- Protective filler material such as bubble wrap cardboard partitions
- Sealant such as clear acrylic tape
Some companies, mostly retail giants,’ main focus isn’t to create a memorable packaging or unboxing experience for customers. Their goal is just to get the package to their customers quickly and on time. However, for companies that wish to stand out and bring awareness to their brand, enhancing your packaging experience is definitely a way to successfully do so.
Enhance your packaging experience by including the following:
- Durable, protective packaging
- Protective filler material
- Packing slip/receipt
- Surprise element, sample or gift
- Custom or handwritten note
- Unique marketing inserts encouraging customers to share their experience using your social media handles and hashtags
While adding custom elements can cost more than the standard boxes and materials, it often makes for an impressive customer experience. You don’t have to focus on including every bell and whistle there is, just decide which packaging solutions provide the best value for your customers and go with those options. For instance, if custom boxes are out of your budget at the moment, opt for creating a unique personal touch with custom labels instead, to stick on your boxes or mailers. This is a reasonable alternative that is still highly effective.
In order to determine which packaging solution is best for your product, there are some factors to consider:
- The weight and size of your product– Ship heavy products in durable, sturdy boxes while shipping lighter products in boxes that actually match the product size. By shipping lighter products in bigger boxes, it could increase the weight of your box and also your shipping costs.
- Sustainability– Is sustainability important to you? If so, beware of using packing materials that aren’t eco-friendly.
- Branding– Is branding a critical component in your company’s packaging? If the answer is yes, focusing on the little details to help your brand stand out is a good investment.
- Custom packaging design– If you’re outsourcing your fulfillment, can your fulfillment provider provide the custom packaging experience you desire by shipping boxes with your brand name or including marketing materials? (Fulfyld can!)
- Fragility of the product- Certain products, including lightweight products, need particular types of protection to ensure that products arrive to customers safely and in one piece.
By determining these factors, you will be able to decide which packing solutions are best for your brand.
Now, let’s break down the types of packaging and filler options. It is important to note that each type of packaging has its pros and cons, so thoroughly understanding your packaging needs to determine your best options is vital.
Types of Boxes
The brown, corrugated cardboard box is pretty much the packaging standard for ecommerce businesses. Cardboard boxes are sturdy, recyclable and don’t add a lot of extra weight to the package.
- Double wall boxes
Double wall boxes have two layers of corrugated cardboard and provide extra durability and protection. For heavier or more delicate products, double wall boxes are utilized to ensure better security during shipping. Just like the standard corrugated box, double wall boxes are also recyclable.
- Padded mailers
When shipping small to medium sized items that need extra cushion and protection, the padded mailer is the best option. Examples of items that are shipped in padded mailers: jewelry, books, CDs, DVDs and small trinkets. The exterior of the mailer can be made of either heavy paper or plastic, and the interior filler padding can be made from bubble wrap or shredded paper. Of these two choices, the heavy paper mailer with the shredded paper filler is the eco-friendlier choice.
Polymailers are durable, lightweight, tear resistant plastic mailers that are commonly used when shipping ecommerce products. Because of its lightweight, polymailers help save on shipping. Most have an adhesive strip for self-sealing and are also waterproof. Though polymailers are not as easy to recycle as cardboard boxes, it can be done when disposed of in the proper manner.
- Custom boxes
Custom boxes, usually designed with your logo and branding on and/or throughout the box, is the perfect packaging option to set your brand apart the moment your customers see it. While this service typically costs more than the standard cardboard box, it is an investment into creating a unique experience for your customer. Additionally, custom boxes and nice packaging usually motivates customers to show off their orders on social media, gaining more awareness for your brand.
At Fulfyld, we assist with custom packaging design for ecommerce order fulfillment. Our in-house packaging designer works with brands to create exclusively unique packaging that is sure to impress your customers.
Types of Tape
After choosing the best suitable option to ship your product in, now you must seal it. Surprisingly, there are several different types of tape just like there are boxes. Since each type serves a specific purpose, it is important to know which one does what and determine the greatest option for your packages.
- Kraft paper tape
Kraft paper tape, also known as water-activated tape or gummed tape, provides a tough, durable bond to cardboard boxes. Since it is made of paper, it is extremely eco-friendly and 100% recyclable. In addition to its strength and security during shipments, another advantage to kraft paper tape is the ability to take your branding even further by adding your logo and other elements to the tape itself. For example, custom sticker company Stickermule provides custom packaging tape services that help improve brand exposure and secure package deliverability.
- Transparent acrylic tape
This type of tape is an inexpensive, durable and waterproof material that adheres well to any type of cardboard up to 15 pounds. Transparent acrylic tape has a strong adhesive grip that is a great advantage in making sure your package remains tightly sealed during transit and delivery.
- Tamper-evident tape
Tamper-evident tape is commonly used when shipping food products, supplements, high security products and any other products that need additional cautioning to detect tampering. If tampered with even the slightest bit, this type of tape will evidently show that the package has been fiddled with.
Types of Package Infill
To keep your products from shifting during delivery, package infill is key. Infill fills the space throughout the package and adds extra protection to make sure your products arrive intact and undamaged.
- Packing/Kraft paper- Very thin sheets of paper essentially made of cardboard, that are 100% recyclable. Because kraft paper doesn’t involve extensive bleaching, it is strong, durable and doesn’t add much weight. The versatility of kraft paper makes it easy to cut or tear the paper to fill packages as needed, which helps to keep your products neatly protected.
- Internal inserts- Internal inserts are pieces of cardboard that are “folded and molded” in a certain way that prevents the products from touching, and also presents the products in an attractive way upon opening. For example, most cellphones are packaged with internal inserts to present the charger block and cord, headphones, manual and the phone itself in an appealing way.
- Tissue paper- Just as the name states, it is a paper made of tissue-like quality that is used to protect, wrap and cover products. In addition to protection, tissue paper enhances the customer experience and also adds a “luxurious touch” that can produce positive emotions from your customer. Another bonus about tissue paper is that it can be customized by adding your logo or branding elements to create an even more memorable customer experience.
- Shredded paper- Shredded paper is an eco-friendly packing solution that fills boxes and allows you to safely send packages. It protectively cushions fragile and breakable products like glass bottles and jewelry and has several color options to choose from.
- Cardboard partitions- Cardboard partitions are stiff, slotted pieces of cardboard to separate products in a larger box to maintain the position of the product. Mason jars, candles, wine bottles are examples of products commonly shipped in boxes with a cardboard partition. This prevents the products from touching or smacking during transit.
- Packing peanuts- Packing peanuts are a common type of loose infill used to protect products from being damaged during delivery. While this type of package infill option can cause a bit of a mess, it does a good job of cushioning products well and is also biodegradable if made from water-soluble starch.
- Bubble wrap- Bubble wrap is a plastic material with air cushions designed to protect fragile items like jewelry, glass, photo frames, plaques and any other items that can break easily. However, bubble wrap is not the most eco-friendly option and would need to be dropped off at a specific plastic film recycling drop-off point, not your regular curbside recycle container.
- Foam wrap- This type of infill material is a thin, protective foam sheet that surprisingly provides lots of protection for a variety of products ranging from books to televisions. There are small bubbles within the foam that give great cushioning and strength. An additional advantage is that foam wrap can be cut to specific sizes tailored to your liking or wrapped around products for extra protection and separation.
- Air pillows- Air pillows are plastic bags that are filled with air then sealed and used to provide cushioning and fill voids within your packages. This type of packaging is extremely lightweight, making it easier and cheaper to ship than other options. Air pillows can also be customized with your brand and logo, which helps to improve the customer experience and set your company apart. However, most air pillows can’t be recycled in your curbside recycling bin, as the process to recycling is much more extensive.
As you can see, there are lots of different packaging and filler options to choose from, and your choice depends on several factors from budget costs to desires. Specifically choosing the best options for your products and company is the goal.
Improve your customer experience with Fulfyld
Our ecommerce experts can help enhance your customer experience from fulfillment to the packaging itself. We ship your products in the safest, fastest manner possible while ensuring protection during delivery. In every facet of your product’s supply chain, you can trust Fulfyld to get the job done. Contact us today to get the ball rolling and see how we can boost your customer experience.