An Overview of What You will Learn about E-Commerce Packaging
Introduction to Ecommerce Packaging
- What is Ecommerce?
The term e-commerce is essentially used for buying and selling of products online. It is that particular type of shopping experience whereby the customer does not get a chance to have any physical contact with the product before making a purchase. The products are seen online and purchase decisions are mostly made based on the reviews by previous buyers or the features listed by the seller.
- What is Ecommerce Packaging
The term e-commerce packaging specifically refers to the packaging of those products which are shipped to the end-users. This broad term includes all the activities like conceptualizing, designing, manufacturing, and printing of packages for e-commerce business. This includes all kinds of packages whether bags or boxes. Ecommerce packaging encompasses all the branding done for a company to further its reputation and get brand recognition along with broadening the customer base.
The Rise of Ecommerce Businesses
The surge we’ve seen in the e-commerce business in recent years is unprecedented in history. The e-commerce business has immensely increased in its volume over the past few years and it’s still on the rise. By 2023, it is expected to become double the current trade volume. According to Oberlo’s statistics, it is expected that the online sales volume, as compared to that in 2014, is expected to increase from 1.3 trillion to 4.5 trillion in 2021. Every passing day is witnessing an increase in the number of digital buyers. And the businesses are rapidly switching completely or partly from conventional to online retailing. This is because of the huge benefits offered by e-commerce businesses to both the buyers and sellers.
- Benefits of E-Commerce Business for the Sellers
Today, we see a huge wave of businesses offering their products (and services) through online platforms. Besides many other reasons, the pandemic has certainly played a vital role in this shift of trend. A survey by Salesforce suggests that around 80% of people believe they’ll do more purchasing online rather than for physical retailer shops after the pandemic. Not only are the new businesses being set online but also the previous, established ones are switching to unconventional means. This is because the e-commerce business has to offer alluring benefits over conventional retailing. Here is how it differs from conventional business;
- One of the reasons behind many companies closing the retail stores is because the online platform provides a much cheaper alternative. When you are selling online, you don’t have to bear a huge chunk of the cost which you’d incur in the case of a conventional retail store. You are not paying electricity bills for retail stores across every nook and corner of the city. You don’t have to pay rents for a number of outlets. You even don’t have to pay salaries to a brigade of salesmen and other staff. This is t mention just a few savings you make among innumerable others when you deal online.
- Reduced costs mean increased profit margin. The costs you save from the physical outlets obviously go to your pocket.
- E-commerce business has significantly widened the customer base. This is because it offers further reach. Not only are you able to reach more customers, but also the potentially useful customers. This is because you are able to target specific groups of people instead of just a random advertisement
- Benefits of E-Commerce Business for the Buyers
The ever-increasing number of digital customers is proof of how people have started trusting the e-commerce business. Even though they don’t get to physically touch the product before purchasing, there are some other factors which overweigh this disadvantage associated with online shopping;
- One of the greatest benefits offered by e-commerce businesses to the end-users is that the latter get goods delivered to their doorstep.
- This reduces the cost of transport for customers.
- No need to spend a lot of time stuck in the traffic in rush hours just to get your groceries done.
- Unlike conventional business, the e-commerce business has significantly improved the access to various products. You can buy products of your choice from far off places and even from around the globe.
- The improved access means increased competition. This in turn results in enhanced quality and reduced prices.
The Importance and Need for Ecommerce Packaging Solutions
For an e-commerce business, the packaging is as important as the product itself. In online business specifically, packaging plays a more important role than it plays in conventional business. There are several reasons why online businesses are investing a considerable amount in getting aesthetic packages for their brands;
- The packages today are rightly considered the extension of the band itself. These are in fact, the ‘brand ambassadors’. They carry your company’s logo and persona wherever they go. Ecommerce packaging are used as a marketing tool by most companies and they can actually help you multiply your profit, get your company recognized, and enhance loyalty towards your brand.
- Since e-commerce business products have lesser physical content points than a physical retail business, the packages are the first thing a customer is going to get his hands on from your company. So, it is something that gives them the first impression. Hence your packages are a tool for you to impress your customers with an exciting first impression.
- One of the disadvantages associated with an e-commerce business is that it deprives the customer of the physical contact he can have with the product before buying. To do for this deprivation, the e-commerce companies try to come with a box opening experience as exciting as possible. This is the reason they try to come up with a package as aesthetically alluring as possible so that the customer can feel the thrill before he even touches the product inside.
- Above all, online businesses are more in need of sturdy packages than other businesses because the products from the former have to travel before they reach the customer. The rough transits and careless handling makes it imperative that the product is packed well enough to be able to reach the customer safely. This increased need for protection asks for quality packaging with appropriate cushioning. So, without e-commerce packaging, the products are at a high risk of getting damaged.
- Besides, customized and personalized e-commerce packaging gives your customers the impression that if so much value is placed on the packaging alone, how much are would’ve been taken to ensure the quality of the product itself.
- Moreover, customized packaging, made to fit precisely to the product’s dimensions saves you a lot of money on transport. It helps bring down the shipment cost. This is because these boxes take lesser space on the palette. Hence more boxes can be sent per round which means lesser rounds. It also reduces the need for extra cushioning hence further reducing the cost.
What are the Different Types of Ecommerce Packaging?
There are as many types of packages available as the types of products shipped to the customers. However, which one suits you the best is subjective to some important factors. You need to take into account your budget, the nature of the product, the distance it has to travel, and the type of transport vehicle, etc. Some of the most commonly used packages for e-commerce products are enlisted here;
For ages, cardboard is being used to pack things up. It still remains to be the most popular choice. This is because cardboard offers one of the most cost-effective packaging solutions. It provides maximum value for money at the minimum possible price, it provides pretty reasonable protection and is even customizable. Moreover, these are eco-friendly and easily decomposable. However, what you might not know is that even this most classic form of packaging has its categories. There are several types within the domain of cardboard packages. Some of these are as under;
Rigid Cardboard Boxes
This sub-category of cardboard boxes is ideal to be used for heavier, bulkier items. The items which need more support and are at risk of falling off from lighter boxes should be packed in rigid cardboard boxes. They do not get de-shaped easily and are very sturdy. They are also used for highly costly items. Moreover, these boxes can be given a luxurious finishing through the final coating of your choice. They can also be custom printed to carry your logo or any other text.
Corrugated Board Boxes
The corrugated board boxes are also called the fiberboard boxes. This name goes for those familiar brown cardboard boxes we see everywhere. These are the most common ones among all cardboard boxes. They are usually made of three layers of cardboard. Two flat outer layers and an inner zig-zag layer which provides extra strength. This type of packaging becomes stronger due to the air additional air column. It provides flexibility to the overall package which is ideal to bear the bumps during transit. Items like toys, appliances, food products, stationery, and office supplies, etc. can be transported safely in corrugated boxes. One of the biggest advantages offered by these boxes is that they are lightweight. They do not add more weight to the products to be shipped. And hence they save you money on shipping charges.
Double-wall Corrugated Boxes
As the name suggests, these boxes have two walls of flat, rigid walls. These are among the sturdiest mailer boxes available for the shipping of Ecommerce packaging products. They prevent the products from falling because of the re-inforced, double layer of cardboard. Moreover, these are ideal for e-commerce products because these products need to travel some distance. They do not tear off easily and can handle the manhandling without damaging the product. It is due to their durability and sturdiness that they can be reused many times.
These are mostly kept by the customers for longer times as they can be put to many uses. This means your logo being preserved with your customers for longer time periods and hence they serve well as an advertising tool besides developing brand recognition.
With proper cushioning, double wall boxes can be used to transport valuable and fragile items besides the heavier ones.
Kraft Paper Boxes
Kraft paper is the paperboard made during the Kraft process. It is made from wood pulp by applying certain chemicals to it. The result is high quality and yet cheap paper board. The quality of kraft paper is better than other conventional papers because of the reduced lignin content and high proportions of sulfur.
The boxes made with Kraft paper are among the most popular choices for e-commerce packaging. One of the reasons is that the kraft paper is highly elastic and durable. They are resistant to tear and damage. The boxes made with kraft paper board are ideal for packaging the items which ask for greater protection. Besides, it is one of the most eco-friendly options available for Ecommerce packaging. Kraft paper decomposes easily and is preferred by environmentally conscious people. According to a survey by GlobalWebIndex, 50% of the buyers stated that their purchase decisions are affected by environmental concerns.
Since kraft paper is very light-weight, it helps you bring down your shipping cost. Moreover, using kraft boxes gives your company an image of a conscientious business with great values. It helps your customers enjoy a guilt-free purchase and play their part in a greener environment.
Not only do these boxes provide a cheaper packaging solution but can also be customized according to your own preferences and made into something very unique and appealing.
Custom boxes are those tailored specifically to a product’s specifications. These are great marketing tools. If you are an enthusiastic business and consider your box as an extension of your brand, custom boxes are your stronghold against your competitors.
These can be customized fully in size, shape, color, printing text, finishing, and box style. Thus, custom boxes are a tool to represent your brand. They carry your business’s persona wherever they go. Custom boxes help create an impression on the customers. They are compelled to think that if a company pays so much attention to the box, it must be taking its product’s quality even more seriously.
These can also be manufactured by dying press through a process called die-cut to give the highest precision of size and shape. Moreover, there are huge customization options like window cutting, sleeve boxes putting handles to the boxes for conveniently carrying them, adorning the box with ribbons, etc.
Custom boxes today have become imperative especially when you are keen to give your buyer a great box opening experience. The statistics suggest that an overwhelming 52% of customers who buy products online are willing to buy again from the brand which delivers in premium packaging. Hence, custom packaging, carrying your company’s specific character is an important driving force for enhancing sales. It helps create brand recognition and brand loyalty.
According to packaging researchers, as many as 92% f customers reuse custom packaging for other purposes. This means the retention of your logo for a longer period. So, these are worth investing in.
Imagine a product reaching a customer in a plain brown cardboard box that doesn’t even fit the product precisely, as opposed t the one reaching them in an aesthetically printed perfectly sized box with a premium finish. Thus, they give you a competitive edge over others.
Besides presenting an aesthetically appealing image, they help reduce the cost. When the box is tailored perfectly t a product’s size and shape, lesser or no cushioning is required to fill empty spaces. Moreover, custom boxes take lesser space on the palette.
Though custom boxes may seem to be a bit of a burden on your budget initially, eventually, they do pay back in form f increased sales volume.
Custom boxes are even a great favor to the eco-system. They use lesser materials. Moreover, they reduce the need for filling, many of which are not biodegradable.
Moreover, above all, these Ecommerce packaging offer greater protection because they are devoid of unwanted space within a package. Hence the movement is restricted.
Popular Styles of E-Commerce Packaging
What specific box design suits you the best is dependent upon a number of factors. For example, you need to take into consideration the weight of your product, its size, and the degree of protection it demands. i.e. how brittle it is. Moreover, the amount of money you are willing to spend on a specific box style is another important consideration. Here are some of the commonly chosen box styles in the e-commerce industry;
- Tab Lock Mailer Boxes
These are among the most commonly used boxes for e-commerce packaging. Their simple assembly and easy unboxing make them a popular choice. Moreover, they are ideal for their sturdiness and the degree of protection they provide to any kind of product. You can get them customized easily according to your product’s size and shape. These mailer boxes can also be printed in whatever style you want.
- Slotted Corrugated Boxes
These are mostly used or bigger and heavier products. They also provide a high degree of protection. Although they can be assembled easily, there is a need for additional tapping to get them in the final shape
- Tuck Top Corrugated Boxes
These corrugated boxes are well-sealed and easy to assemble. There isn’t any need for additional adhesive tapes or glue. The top of these boxes can be closed securely into a slot on the inner side of the box. These boxes can be used for a variety of items like health products, beauty products, clothing items, food products, and other light to medium-weight products.
- One Piece Corrugated Folder
With extremely easy assembly and a considerable degree of protection, these are among the popular choices for e-commerce products. It wraps around a flat item completely to provide protection in style. This box is most suited for flat items like books and literature. It can be made into various styles and printed in whatever style you want.
Types of Padding for E-Commerce Packaging
Padding for an e-commerce business is as important as the packaging itself. No matter how fancy customized Ecommerce packaging you manage to get designed, if it doesn’t provide the required protection, it is a waste of money. Who wants to receive a broken product or a torn-off package?
So, it is important to thoroughly study your cushioning options. These aren’t an extra cost as you may think. They actually pay for themselves in the long run.
The most ideal inserts would be those which offer maximum protection and yet do not cost you more than it should. It should be capable enough to provide a snug fit for the product and avoid the rattling of the product due to empty space inside the box. Moreover, the best filling would need lesser space to be stored in the warehouse. It shouldn’t have a weight of its own. Otherwise, it would cost you a bit extra in shipping. Here are a few options for you to consider depending on your product and preferences;
Air pillows are the pockets of air put in the packages to protect against rattling. These pillows keep the product in place and absorb shocks and vibrations. They take lesser space in the warehouse as they are stored un-inflated. However, these are not among the cheapest options. The machines used to inflate air cushions are very costly. Besides, they are made with polyethylene which is not decomposable easily. Moreover, they take a lot of space when inflated, thus requiring a bigger box. This in turn adds to the shipping cost.
- Crumbled Kraft Paper
This paper is used to keep the product from moving. It helps fill up small spaces within the cardboard box and hence prevents the product from moving around. It is among the most commonly used cushioning options in Ecommerce packaging.
One of the reasons why it is the preferred padding option for e-commerce packaging is that it is very inexpensive. It doesn’t cost you much and is readily available. Moreover, It is easily recyclable and decomposes readily. Thus it is among the most eco-friendly options available for padding.
The only considerable disadvantage of Kraft paper is that it requires proper technique to be crumbled and filled in the boxes. When this isn’t done properly, it may not provide the required protection. This means you have to train your packaging staff to be able to do it right.
- Peanut Packaging
These are great for providing basic protection to the products by filling up the empty spaces and are also lightweight.
Although packing peanuts do provide a cheap e-commerce padding solution, they are not very environmentally friendly. Made with polystyrene, packing peanuts can even cause cancer. That is the reason these are becoming banned in many countries.
- Bubble Bags
Bubble bags or bubble wraps are perhaps the most common type of padding used in e-commerce packaging. These consist of tiny air pockets throughout a sheet and can be made into bags to enclose the items.
These wraps provide continuous protection throughout all the dimensions of the product.
They can be used for literally every type of product and are best for absorbing shock and protecting against bumps. Bubble wraps are relatively cheaper.
They take minimum space inside a box and hence do not add to the size of the required box.
They can be made into any shape and completely wrap the product to provide another layer of packaging. However, since bubble bags are made with plastic, they do not decompose easily.