Ecommerce Packaging: Why it Matters and How You can Leverage it for Your Brand

Cassandra Shaffer

August 9, 2021

Ecommerce packaging is what helps your product get from your hands to your customer’s hands in good condition, but functionality isn’t the only thing it can offer. Your packaging can tell your brand’s story, foster real connections with your customers, and make a massive splash for a first time buyer. All it takes is a little thinking outside of the box—and inside of it, too.

What counts as ecommerce packaging?

When we talk about ecommerce packaging, we’re referring to the packaging used to ship your products directly to your online customers and everything adjacent to it, like its design, filler material, and content. Anything that is wrapped around your product to move it from point A to point B.

Ecommerce packaging, from a logistical standpoint, is the difference between your product being scattered in pieces across the UPS truck or safely in the hands of your customer, but in 2021, it’s so much more than that.

Why does ecommerce packaging matter?

Aside from protecting your product, ecommerce packaging can be its own advertisement or the ticket that sells a new customer on your brand so they come back for more. It’s no longer just a means to an end: it’s a visceral, brand-crafted experience as well as a critical first impression.

Ecommerce brands have the unique challenge of only being able to provide consumers with a sticky, physical experience after they’ve made their purchase online. That can sometimes make it hard for a consumer to feel seen by and connected to your brand. This is something that comes more easily to brick and mortar stores, as a customer can physically hold a product before buying.

Because they’re able to utilize physical space, brick and mortar stores have a much wider range of opportunity to provide an engaging experience for their customers than ecommerce businesses. They can create elaborate product displays in their storefronts and windows, for example, or eye-catching in-store signage and shelving. Brick and mortar stores also have the advantage of providing customers with the chance to physically interact with and observe a product before they purchase. Ecommerce stores aren’t able to offer the same luxury, which is what makes ecommerce packaging so pivotal.

Ecommerce packaging gives your brand an additional physical touchpoint to engage and delight shoppers. When done right, it enriches the buying experience, lowers return rates, makes your customer feel like they and their product are cared for, and helps your brand stand out from the competition. Your packaging might be the last touchpoint in a customer’s journey or the tipping point for lifelong customer loyalty. (Seriously.)

As silly as it sounds, your packaging can be a walking advertisement. Whether you choose to dropship, work with FBA, or take a more traditional approach, by using branded imagery on the shipping box or specialty brand-emblazoned shipping tape you are putting your name in front of every person who touches the box–from the warehouse to the front door.

What are the different types of ecommerce packaging?

Ecommerce packaging comes in an assortment of shapes and sizes, but there are some fairly standard packaging types that most brands use: utility packaging and branded packaging.

Corrugated boxes:

corrugated boxes are the most common type of packaging because of their light weight—which doesn’t add to the shipping cost—their sturdiness, and their recyclability. This is essentially your standard cardboard box, just with a little extra layering to keep everything inside extra protected from shocks, moisture, and temperature changes.

Padded mailers:

padded mailers are envelopes with extra protection built inside of them so that they can safely and snugly carry small and delicate products, like books, jewelry, or handcrafted goods. Padded mailers are often reinforced with extra bubble wrap and paper, but keep in mind that this can add to the cost as well as be less eco-friendly.

Bags and envelopes:

bags and envelopes, specifically reinforced bags and envelopes like Tyvek envelopes, poly mailers, or plastic mailer bags, are best used for shipping items that are small and lightweight, but not so delicate they need padding for protection. Most standard shipping bags are strong, versatile, cost-effective, waterproof, and they’re easy to store. Bags and envelopes work great for products like clothing items.

Custom product packaging:

custom packaging refers to boxes and protective material that are custom fit for your product, optimizing your shipping, cutting down on much of the cost of fulfillment, and eliminating waste. Almost every industry can benefit from custom packaging. Food and beverage, health, and beauty products are just a few. When we say “custom” product packaging, we’re also referring to stylized packaging, like a box, bag, tape, or filler with your brand’s logo on it or inside of it.

How do you choose which packaging to use?

The ecommerce packaging you use depends entirely upon the needs of your business as well as the needs of your product, but there are several factors that are especially important to consider.

Of particular importance is weight and appearance. Ecommerce packaging that’s too heavy or too big will cost you an arm and a leg to ship, whereas ecommerce packaging that’s too light might not offer enough protection. Appearance and weight directly impact how your product ships, which is why many brands opt for custom packaging.

It’s also important to keep in mind what kind of product you’re shipping. If it’s a perishable good, you may need a specialty box to make sure your product keeps. If it’s a fragile good, protection is king.

For luxury or high-end brands, the appearance of ecommerce packaging can be as important as the product. A plain padded mailer might do the job for another business, but it may feel cheap and also diminish consumer trust if it’s coming from a brand that’s shipping something like expensive jewelry. The care that goes into ecommerce packaging (or the lack thereof) is a direct reflection of your brand, and that’s important to keep in mind. Think about Apple—their packaging is as sleek and minimal as their products.

Another thing to consider is sustainability. Customers prefer eco-friendly packaging, and if you’re a brand whose core identity centers on sustainability, it’s critical that your ecommerce packaging follows suit. Packages like corrugated boxes are easily recyclable, which makes them a great option. On the flipside, a padded envelope or corrugated box with loads of bubble wrap or styrofoam packing peanuts inside is not so eco-friendly and will reflect poorly on your brand.

As with other facets of your business, you’ll want to determine your budget for ecommerce packaging based on how much value said packaging will add for your business.

How can you take advantage of ecommerce packaging?

Ecommerce packaging can be the cherry on top of your customer experience, and there are lots of creative ways that you can leverage it.

Branding

Many businesses use their packaging as extra real estate for their branding. Rather than shipping their product in a plain cardboard box, a brand may ship a container with their logo on the outside or on the tape, making it instantly more memorable to shoppers.

Unboxing Experiences

Another way brands leverage their ecommerce packaging is by making the actual act of unboxing an experience that consumers can get hyped about. All you need to do to learn the value of unboxing is run a quick YouTube search.

Unboxing or “haul” videos consistently rank high in popularity on YouTube, and they drive large amounts of traffic through other influencer platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Consumers crave unboxing experiences, and they’re no longer a differentiator, but a must for your brand.

A good unboxing experience incorporates personalized touches like notes, colorful tissue paper, stickers, coupons, or bonus goodies that add an element of surprise. Thoughtful touches like these tell your brand story, and they also increase the delight your customer feels when they receive their package. Unboxing is a great way to drive brand loyalty and leave a great first impression.

Online Imagery

Your packaging doesn’t only add to the value of your product when it’s in the customer’s hands. You can also leverage it for web imagery to increase customer excitement and give them an idea of what they can expect to receive when they order.

Does it matter if you get custom packaging?

You don’t necessarily need custom packaging—it’s certainly not the entry price to have a product shipped—but custom packaging is an increasingly appealing option for brands because of how it optimizes and personalizes the shipping experience. Custom packaging takes a forgettable delivery experience and makes it a standout.

How do you create product packaging?

When it comes to creating a beautiful package that your customers will love, Pattern’s got you covered. Our team of creatives and designers work from the ground up to create powerful customer experiences with your brand, providing you with the tools and perspective you need to make a thoughtful, memorable shipping experience for your customers. We’re confident we can help design your ecommerce packaging for success. In fact, we’ve even won awards for it. Ready to up your customer experience?

Talk to us about your packaging needs.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 26, 2022

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.