E-Commerce Packaging

E-Commerce Packaging: Types, Styles, Printing Methods

Table of Contents

The time has been revolutionized with exceptional growth in digital marketing; therefore, online purchasing has become a fundamental part of our lives. E-commerce is and it has evolved the market from a simple tool to lasting products for businesses. E-commerce packaging revolves around the protective perspectives of products, making them recognizable among the top-up brands, exploring more unboxing experiences, and gaining customer satisfaction with layered packaging. So, in this article, we will explain e-commerce packaging definition, key elements, types of e-commerce packaging, significance/benefits, and the difference between e-commerce and retail packaging.

What is E-commerce Packaging?

E commerce Packaging

Let’s get straight:

“E-commerce Packaging refers to how a brand or business enfolds its products while they are transported for long distances—from warehouse to customers.”

E-commerce packaging is a protective and secured packaging that demands travel-friendly material and boxes to protect products from damage. It includes:

How to Make Perfect E-Commerce Packaging for Products?

E-Commerce-Packaging-For-Products

The premiere purposes of e-business packaging are protecting products, enhancing the brand’s impressions, brand recognition in the market, cost-controlling transportation, customer’s fascinated unboxing experience, and many more. The business is successful when the client receives commodities and gives you good reviews; this is what makes a company a BRAND! Therefore, we will lead you with steps that get you perfect e-commerce packaging tactics for your products:

Step 1: Determine the Needs of Products

The first and most essential step is determining what type of e-commerce packaging will suit your product.

(Enhance your packaging with our design box ideas)

It is vice versa; you also need to understand the product’s demands like: 

Design of the Product: 

Every item sold on the market has its unique shape and style. Understanding these factors is an essential factor to underline while making the boxes. Almost 10-60% of products are packaged, so understanding the product styles is significant.

Dimensions: 

What is the size of the product? Knowing the proper dimensions is necessary; your items can be damaged if you do not measure them correctly. Learn how to measure box dimensions.

Product Material: 

Again, the factor to count is choosing the boxes according to the product’s material. Add foam or bubble sheets for more safety if the item is delicate. In e-commerce packaging, corrugated boxes and cartons (solid boards) are used.

Quantity of Packaging: 

Count the products in numbers, select respective e-commerce boxes and add inserts accordingly. 

In this process, innovations are endless, as is product design. So, the floor is vast and clear enough to create unique packaging boxes. 

Step 2: Create Die Lines and Box Prototype

It is best to have the box design before proceeding with further processes. Die Line gives you box templates using different software, like Adobe Illustrator, In-Design, etc. It will also give you a prototype picture of the box before you start manufacturing. 

Benefits:

  • You will get precise sizes and measurements. 
  • Errors will be excluded and corrected before initiating any physical processing.
  • It will save you much time, as you do not need to design every box. You can reuse the file and save it for the future.
  • The design price will be excluded, and you will get economical e-commerce packaging.

Step 3: Go For Innovative Designing E-commerce Packaging Ideas

Grab the boxing and packaging ideas as much as you can. According to a survey, almost 72% of People are influenced by product packaging. So, design and create multiple layouts for even a single product and pick the best one that will exceptionally fit the item and provide the highest level of protection. Moreover, always use reasonable and eco-friendly materials to keep the environment clean and trash-free. 

Ideas for Designing E-commerce Packaging 

Here are some elements that can shift your boring brown boxes to a wonderful WOW Box:

Print Brand Labels and Logos

Try to use labels and brand logos on e-commerce packaging boxes to help customers quickly identify the company. Additionally, the printed designs and logos help enhance the box’s outer look, not leaving an uninteresting sight at first sight by receivers. It is a meager process but much more productive for brand identification.

Use Colorful Tapes:

Leave using unwanted and old-fashioned brown tape. Various vivid and colourful custom tapes in the market will work as an add-on to make your e-business packaging attractive and catchy.

Brand’s Color Schemes:

Following the company’s colours will get more satisfactory customer results. Imprinting logos, labels, and other shipment information in the brand’s recommended colours will give you a high brand identity. Also, it will grab customers’ attention and loyalty, and such gestures will satisfy them as they buy from an authorized industry.

Step 4: Compose Your Budget for Cost-Effective Packaging

E-commerce packaging is a big platform that includes ordinary and luxurious products. The budget established depends on the requirements and demands of the product’s value. You can not pack a premiere product in an ordinary box; you must wrap it in sufficient layers to protect it. 

The figured budget must include costs for:

  • Shipping Boxes
  • Original price of the product 
  • Inserts
  • Packaging Supplies
  • Packaging Fillers
  • Shipment Time
  • Profit Margin
  • Anticipated Sales
  • Return Policy

Compiling all the points, there are two types of costs:

1- Visible Price: 

Packaging Price and Design cost

2- Hidden Price: 

Breakage, filler, additional inserts, return policy labels, breakage, and more travelling time are needed.

It would be best to count all the factors to fulfill the packaging costs. To secure the shipment, you can make a contract between you and the buyer to program a successful e-commerce packaging transportation. 

Step 5: Prefer Volume Selling

Printed products are more budget-friendly and of higher quality than customized ones. If you sell products on a one-to-one policy, they will fetch you much higher than a bulk shipment in the e-commerce market. Therefore, to avoid such unreasonable expenses, we must set a budget, get more money with more production, and use digital printing for more flexible product manufacturing. 

Step 6: Choose Cost-effective Printing Methods

Cost Effective Printing

Do not go for expensive and time-consuming printing methods. To save money and time, first consider the cost factor. With innovation, the technology has evolved and introduced multiple printing processes for packaging printing as:

1- Lithography Printing:

The most used, low-price, sustainable, and recommended method is lithography printing in e-commerce packaging. 

“Lithography printing is a printmaking process in which a design is imprinted from a prepared metal plate to the sheet surface using ink and chemicals.”

It makes a single design on multiple boxes without further customization. You do not need to change the plates again, as the metal material is sturdy and unbreakable. If you use this technique, include an additional point of printing cost in your budget. When you want to change the design, you need to get another plate to design the layout and start your box printing again.

2- Flexographic Printing:

Flexography is an economical, long-lasting, flexible, and fast turnaround method

“Flexography is a printmaking process that uses flexible plastic or silicon plates to impose designs on a sheet, creating take–out image prints.”

The tool prices of flexo machines are affordable and low, so you can customize them in short intervals and get new designs. The printing time is speedy as it mainly uses water- and oil-based inks that cost less. For large-scale design, it can be the best way to get multiple designs for e-commerce packaging boxes. Compared to Litho, the quality could be a lot higher, but it is an inexpensive method, so do not bother with such invisible things. Get your designs with beautiful designs at a very high seed.

3- Digital Printing:

Digital printing is the latest technique for imprinting designs on e-commerce packaging.

“Digital Printing is a printmaking technique using digital-based images – the highest quality image-focused imprints.”

This method is usually used for small businesses. It is the best option for you if you are running a business but at a trim level. You do not need to check the plates, prepare ink, or use chemical solutions; just add an image from your computer or laptop, order the machine, and get your prints in seconds. 

Step 7: Use Additional Finishing Methods

Additional coating layers will make your packages sturdy so you can lift and bear the weight of products more effectively. Also, these layers provide an amenity to boxes – a valuable move to get catchy packaging at low prices. So, here are some paper coating and finishing strategies that you can adopt:

Coating Methodologies

These below are the main coating types used for custom packaging.

1- Lamination:

You should go with a matte or glossy lamination or whatever suits your packaging. 

Matte looks elegant and sophisticated, while glossy creates a shiny and vibrant look with more protection from dust and moisture.

2- UV Coating:

UV coating is the application of a UV protective layer using spot application and flood application. 

Spot coating applies the chemical in thick layers to the selective part to extrude the visuals with more impact. At the same time, flood refers to the entire package application and uses less UV chemical. 

Both techniques give a glossy look, vivid visuals, and rub/scratch-free results.

3- AQ Coating:

Aqueous Coating is the process of layering water-based coatings on packaging boxes, leaving faint gloss finishes. 

This technique is fast drying, eco-friendly, and environment-friendly. 

4- Varnish:

It is a layering method using transparent inks—gloss, matte, or satin. In flood varnish, ink is applied all over the sheet, while spot varnish is applied to the spotted portion.

This method is eco-friendly, reasonable in price, and stands the least on the list of protection perspectives.

Finishing Strategies

1- Foil-Stamping:

Foil stamping is a high-quality process that leaves a standard mark on the boxes. It is vital to attract customers’ attention and make your e-commerce packaging stand out. 

2- Embossing and Debossing:

If you want to make your boxes look stunning, then go for embossing (creates a raised surface) and debossing (creates a depth area) 

What is ISTA Testing for E-commerce Packaging?

ISTA-Testing

“ISTA stands for Internationl Safe Transit Association – a non-profit organization that encounters protective packaging conditions to secure products from any damage-causing factor (compression, shocks, moisture, atmospheric hazards, and vibrations) during air or land shipments.”

These tests are done in e-commerce laboratories, such as Amcor’s, a renowned company that addresses all the facts and figures of packaging boxes associated with ISTA and APASS. Vendors and sellers must pass the tests for secure and reliable shipment with frustration-free packaging.

What is Apass in E-Commerce Packaging?

APASS is Amazon’s Packaging Support and Supplier Network, which provides Frustration-fee to e-commerce packaging companies to help them check packaging designs, supply, and packaging tests. Also, it guides them with standard instructions and 3 Tiers of Certification:

  • Tier 1 (Frustration Free Packaging)
  • Tier 2 (Ships-In-Own-Container)
  • Tier 3 (Pre-Free Packaging).

Benefits of ISTA Test in Packaging

These are the following:

  • Trial shipments reduce any risk of damage in transportation.
  • Lower cargo prices give sellers more profits. 
  • It makes sure that the packages will reach their destination on time.
  • Advanced verifications and certifications make the parcel cross the checking points more quickly.
  • It guarantees the survival of packages in environmental hazards.

What is E-Commerce Frustration-Free Packaging?

E-Commerce-Frustration-Free-Packaging

E-commerce frustration-free packaging is designed with recyclable material to make the delivery easy and smoother to keep the seller and customer less worried about product safety. These packages are low in waste and have an economical driving fee. The advantages are sure:

  • Low shipping price
  • The least environmental impacts
  • Improve customer experience
  • Fast shipping procedures
  • Stress-free delivery

E-commerce Packaging Materials and Types

E commerce Packaging Materials And Types

The material of e-commerce packaging depends on the type of products and the packaging styles. Corrugated and poly mailers are the two most common boxes for e-commerce products. So, let’s get a detailed knowledge about them with us:

1- Corrugated Boxes:

Cardboard is a heavy-duty material used in the shipment industry to make folding cartons and other wrapping items. The holding strength of these boxes makes them worthy and versatile for carrying heavy and more products. 

Which Material Is Used In Corrugated Boxes?

In e-commerce corrugated boxes, two types of paper are used: Kraft and simple paper. Other papers get thicker together and increase the strength of sustainability for high protection. 

Kraft Papers:
  • Kraft paper covers layers 
  • Made up of 70-80% virgin fibre pulp.
  • Brown papers are natural and directly used for printing.
  • White-bleached papers produce vivid and high-quality printing results.
  • Natural white accepts colouring and all types of printing, which is effective for digital printing.
  • These are more in price than testing papers
  • Smoother in texture and water-resistant 

What is Flute in Corrugated Boxes?

“A flute is a component of corrugate boxes that line up to provide insulation and compression-resistant property for more protection and storage.”

There are flutes between the inner and outer liners with single, double, and triple walls to maintain the required thickness of the boxes per product requirements.

Types of Flutes in Corrugated Boxes

A-FluteB-FluteC-FluteE-FluteF-Flute
1/4″ thick1/8″ thick3/16″ thick1/16″ thick1/32″ thick
33 flutes per linear foot47 flutes per linear foot39 flutes per linear foot90 flutes per linear foot125 flutes per linear foot
the biggest fluteMuch thinnerThin Extremely thinThe narrowest 
For fragile thingsFor counter displays or canned itemsFor shipping boxesFor folding carton For printed designs and boxes

Walls of Corrugated Boxes

There are multiple walls in corrugated boxes:

Single-faced wallSingle WallDouble WallTriple Wall
On one side of the corrugated sheet One sheet in between inner and outer papersTwo sheets in between inner and outer papersthree sheets in between inner and outer papersWith four liner board facings
Available in rolls Comes in sheetsComes in sheets
An extra padding layer for fragile itemsUniversal corrugated sheet for shipmentMostly used for POP DisplaysFor industrial parts and making containers
Soft Flexible and softLess flexible Hard and 
Thin layerThick layerThicker layerThickest layer
High printable mediumPrintable mediumNot easy to print Difficult to print 

2- Folding Cartons: 

Folding cartons are sturdy, customizable, and recyclable paperboard packaging. These boxes are highly compatible with everything from food to beverages, cosmetics to pharmaceuticals, and clothing. 

Material:

The raw materials for making Folding Cartons are the following:

1- Solid Unbleached Sulfate (SUS)
  • The most preferred material for folding boxes is unbleached kraft paperboard.
  • With 80% virgin-unbleached wood pulp
  • Pulp is coated with a thin layer of kaolin clay and titanium dioxide
  • Tear resistant, stiff, and strong enough to hold heavy-weight Packaging: Electronics, hardware, food, beverages, detergents, dry fruits, soap, etc.
  • It can be treated with a moisture barrier.
2- Solid Bleached Sulfate (SBS)
  • Referred to as Bleached Kraft
  • The most expensive paperboard substrate
  • Bleached virgin wood pulp with clay-coating
  • It can be treated with a moisture barrier
  • Applicable in high-end packaging 
  • Packaging: health products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, frozen foods, beauty items, etc.
  • Coating and printing processes are applicable.
3- Coated Recycled Board (CRB)
  • Also known as clay-coated news back (CCNB)
  • Highly recyclable and dominant material
  • Made up of newsprint, recycled old corrugated boxes, and other papers
  • 100% recycled
  • Eight or more layers of bleached or semi-bleached fibres
  • Low-cost folding cartons
  • Multipurpose packaging: Cereals, pet foods, laundry detergent, etc.
  • With printing and coating qualities
4- Thermal Mechanical Pulp Board (TMP)
  • Also known as Folding Box Board (FBB)
  • A type of paperboard with a middle layer of mechanical pulp
  • The middle layer is sandwiched between chemical pulp layers
  • The upper layer is bleached and color-coated
  • The lower layer is cream in colour
  • It is ideal for newsprint because of its high opacity and long fibres
5- Uncoated Recycled Board (URB)
  • With 100% recycled fibers 
  • Stiff and rigid with folding qualities
  • A multipurpose paperboard with no coatings
  • Meagre cost of packaging material

3- Mailer Boxes:

A type of paperboard packaging that stores and protects small items. These boxes are available in different styles, sizes, and shapes to manage a range of products. Interlocking flaps and wings lock the box; you do not need adhesive tape. Moreover, the double side walls are potent to hold the item firmly, making the shipment durable and more protective. Commodities like jewellery, art supplies, clothes, books, wallets, mobile accessories, perfumes, and other small items can be packed without extra padding.

Three Categories of Mailer Boxes

The categories of E-commerce Mailer Boxes are described below in the table:

BagsEnvelops Padded mailers
Material Plastic bags with self-sealing fold-over liphigh-density polyethylene fibersEnvelopes with thick paper, bubble wrap, or foam
Sustainability Flexible and Durable Difficult to rip or tear and Layered with inserts and provide high protection
Size In different sizes larger than 8½ x 11 envelopesCome in various sizes
Weight and CostLight and inexpensive materialLight and inexpensive materialWith high cost and light 
Purpose For clothing and different items For Fragile items and clothesFor iPads, jewelry boxes, expensive products

E-commerce Packaging Inserts/Infills

E Commerce Packaging Inserts

Safety, protection, and secured delivery are the basic features of using e-commerce packaging boxes. Sometimes, products require extra layers of protection. Therefore, sellers use packaging inserts or infills to fulfil the safety requirements—only depending on the product category. Fragmentary items like glass products, cosmetic items, etc., need shackle-free packages to avoid breakage. These infills are not obvious or necessary to use or put in the box, so you can choose according to the product you want.

Types of E-commerce Packaging Infills

Following are the famous types of these packaging boxes:

Kraft Paper:

  • The most versatile and economical inserts
  • Available in different sizes and thickness
  • Light-weight with low cost – add no weight to shipment cost
  • Recyclable and environment-friendly material

Bubble Wraps:

  • The best material for highly delicate products
  • Light-weight and low-cost inserts
  • For glassware, art supplies, and fragile items
  • Non-recyclable and challenging to store

Crumbled Paper:

  • The most basic infill type
  • For custom packing
  • A highly recyclable material 
  • Costly material for long-term use

Shredded Cardboard:

  • Inexpensive and eco-friendly material
  • Pieces of cardboard sheets
  • May add weight depending on quantity and thickness

Green Wrap:

  • Beautiful and recyclable material
  • A blend of die-cut kraft paper and tissue paper
  • It comes in a honeycomb pattern

Styrofoams:

  • Hard and sturdy material
  • Similar to cardboard family
  • Usually used for televisions and oversized items
  • Holds weight firmly
  • Non-biodegradable material a

Pulp:

  • Made up of newspaper or secondary paper mash
  • For wine storage, appliances, kitchen stuff
  • Expensive to purchase
  • Adds weight to packaging
  • Biodegradable material 

Air Pillows:

  • Small plastic air-filled bubbles
  • Superlight and gives very high protection
  • Easy to store and not environment-friendly
  • Cost-effective and with low return cost

Package Peanut Inserts

  • The Least appealing material
  • Difficult to recycle and Non-biodegradable
  • Offer high product protection
  • Cost-effective but challenging to manage 

What are Popular E-commerce Packaging Styles?

E-commerce-Packaging-Styles

The dimensions of boxes are measured using length x width x height formulas. Corrugated is available in different sizes and types to make your products fit them. From fragile to heavy-weight commodities, these boxes provide every-inch protection. So, here are the most popular and recommended e-commerce care packages:

Regular Slotted Container (RSC)

  • The most common packaging box
  • Standard shipment box
  • Flaps with the same length, width, and height
  • Two flaps meet in the middle when the box
  • Need tapping to bind it

Full Overlap Container (FOL)

  • The outside flaps completely overlap each other
  • Make a double-layered (two bottom layers, two top layers) box
  • With high holding strength
  • Need taping to bind
  • For heavy and unstable items

One Panel Folder (OPF)

  • Folds up in a box form when placed
  • Sleek boxes 
  • One-piece box – made of one-panel
  • No need to assemble – Self-locking
  • The product is laced in the middle of the box
  • Flaps are folded over the top
  • For books, albums, and other flat objects

Complete Telescopic Design (FTD)

  • A tube box with two tray covers
  • Encapsulate the products in-between top and bottom
  • For bulky machinery and large items 
  • A fully-formed box

FAQs

How can I order customized e-commerce packaging boxes?

We, Ibex Packaging, offer a great range of Commerce packaging boxes, including Corrugated boxes, Poly Mailer boxes, Folding Cartons, Sustainable Boxes, Eco-friendly packaging boxes, etc. From more minor to larger scales, we provide free shipping and accessible design.

What Printing Styles do we offer?

We offer our customers all three types of printing: lithography, Flexography, and Digital Printing. From 100 units to unlimited, we offer every printing variation with multiple design options.  

What packaging is best for my product?

Packaging provides protection and enhances the product’s look. The boxing directly depends on the items’ styles, shape, size, fragility, and weight. In our Style Catalog, we offer a direct hand in choosing your desirable packaging style so that we can customize it according to the dimensional aspect of your product.

Visit our Style Catalog.

What is the best packaging for e-commerce?

Corrugated Packaging is the best packaging for e-commerce, as it provides high-level protection, sustainable strength to hold weight, and is made with recyclable material. Also, corrugated boxes or shipping boxes come in different sizes, shapes, thicknesses, and printing processes that can easily be applied to such boxes.

Conclusion:

It is crystal clear that E-Commerce Packaging has become an essential and integral part of online shopping. People have become more indulgent in online products in the last decade, so brands have become more conscious of their packaging styles and sustainability. We, Ibex Packaging, offer a versatile range of e-commerce packaging boxes at economical prices and with more protection for our customers. Also, our designing and shipment processes are FREE.

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About Stephen Fowler

About Stephen Fowler

Meet Stephen, our skilled writer at IBEX. With a degree in Packaging Sciences, Stephen brings expertise in simplifying every industry detail more efficiently. His years of experience in R&D and technical expertise have always been helpful for our audience. The best part about Stephen is that he has always provided consistent and valuable insights into the packaging industry, ensuring that our reader is always up to date with the latest practices.

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