Do you know that product packaging is something more than just the way to protect the product from damage during shipping? In our post, we’ll show you how you can turn ecommerce packaging into a powerful tool for customer retention.

The biggest mistake of online store owners is that they underestimate the packaging and don’t use its hidden marketing opportunities. While the product packaging along with shipping is one of the crucial touchpoints of customers with your company.

What is the main goal of ecommerce packaging?

When you are a beginner in ecommerce and are on the stage of planning and preparation, pay more attention to the question of packaging. This is the first thing how your brand communicates with customers and it can tell them a lot of information about your company. So, you should not just take care of safe delivery, but also put a certain message on it.

The main goal of the product packaging is to create additional value for your company for the client: you should make a good impression and show the customers that they do right by choosing your online store. It would be perfect if you manage to evoke pleasant emotions from customers and stay in their memory. The achieving of this task leads to improving the profitability: satisfied customers return to the store and make more purchases.

That’s why businessmen learn branding and companies create a unique packaging design for their goods.

What is the value of packaging for the business?

Online stores have not so many touchpoints with customers as offline stores do. Hence, you should use all opportunities to show all your benefits to the customers. When you deliver them a pleasant experience of packaging and unboxing, they will prefer you to your competitors.

As the Dotcom Distribution research shows, 40% of customers are ready to make repeat purchases if they get their order in a premium package. Such kind of packaging increases the level of expectation of delivery from customers. Loyal customers buy more products, bring the company more income and you are no longer dependent on searching for new customers. The strategy of customer retention costs less than customer attraction.

On the other side, high-quality packages give the company feeling of its exclusivity. Also, thoughtful packages can work as advertising: people like to share their experience and unpacking content is very trending in social networks. Any of your customers can be your “advertising agent”, and this obstacle helps a lot of brands to become top-rated ones, well-known among a large number of people.

What are the most popular types of ecommerce packaging?

Let’s consider what are the most popular and useful types of ecommerce packaging if we are talking about safe shipping.

Corrugated boxes 

This is the most popular and typical kind of packaging among online stores. They can be designed in any size, suitable for any kind of product: from fresh vegetables to glass. If you work with heavy goods, you can use double-walled boxes for additional strengths. Another benefit of these boxes is that they are lightweight and can be recycled. The trend on wise consumption gives this type of packaging additional points.

Padded mailers

If you offer small or unbreakable products, jewelry, books, etc, a padded mailer is a perfect choice. Also, you can add recyclable paper, bubble wrap if your product requires extra protection.

Envelopes or bags

If your products are lightweight but durable, you can ship them in Tyvek envelopes, poly mailers, or plastic mailing bags. This kind of product packaging is easy to store, convenient at work, you can brand them or find zero-waste ones.

Custom packaging

You can develop a package design or create a unique shape of packaging that meets your product requirements and tell customers about your goal, mission, and values. There are no limitations to your imagination: it can be a simple pin with your logo or tactile pleasant tissue inside the box, whatever you choose to give your customers an unforgettable experience.

Check the offers at the Shopify app store to find useful services that help you prepare the perfect package. Also, Shopify Fulfillment Network can implement all your ideas about packaging, product inserts, and store your goods in warehouses.

What makes a custom packaging experience?

The box or the envelope isn’t enough for good working packaging: you need something extra to bring the customers emotions. We gathered several elements that can represent your exclusive packaging. You shouldn’t use all of them to overload your final picture, but choose the most suitable ideas. Take a deeper look at what packaging details can be the most valuable for your clients, and give them what they want.


You should be very attentive when choosing the material of packaging: simple white or brown corrugated boxes now aren’t the single, but the cheapest option. They, as well as bags or padded mailers, protect the product but don’t create the “wow” effect. You can choose extraordinary compostable mailers, the packages made from corn, coconut, or a mushroom filament: they are eco friendly, biodegradable, but expensive. So, calculate all variations and find the middle ground for your brand.

Tissue and filler

Tissue paper in the package increases the anticipation and excitement of the unboxing. So, if you are interested in creating such an experience you can use colored tissue or custom printed tissue paper.

The filler is used for fragile objects and can be different types: packing peanuts, air pillows, foam inserts, and our beloved bubble wrap. We all like to burst bubbles, but it’s not suitable for premium packaging. If you are looking for eco-friendly fillers, pay your attention to wood fibers (excelsior) or crinkle paper (colored or unpainted).

Stickers and tape

If you are looking for an affordable and simple way of branding, think about the stickers. With their help, you can decorate your packaging, use the sticker with your logo, or seal the tissue paper. Also, you can add some fun stickers as a small gift to the customers’ orders. If you can make your clients smile, you are on the right way.

Clear packaging tape is not the only option available now. You can use a colorful one and make it a part of your branding like giant platforms do. A unique tape can expand the level of the recognition of your company, so if it sounds good for you, pay more attention to all the details.

Souvenir cards, custom notes

Put a nice souvenir card inside your packaging to show your customers that you appreciate them. Also, you can use:

  • a personal note (maybe, even a handwritten note) with the gratitude for their choice;
  • promo samples of other products that can be interested in this customer;
  • special recommendations, instructions, if your product requires them;
  • newsletter with the history of your brand, etc.

It is needed to deepen your connection and increase the level of your product value for customers: they see your warm attitude, care and as the result, trust you more.

Packing slip

If you want, you can customize your packing slip and brand it for your marketing goals. For example, Shopify allows its users to print their packing slips and customize them with the help of a special template language, Liquid.

Also, think about the moment of unboxing: the clients open the packaging with the long-awaited product, so what they see first?

It would be more pleasant to see the desired object rather than packing slip, receipt, invoice, etc. So, put the documentation under the product or even a simple envelope. A good idea is to print on the bill a coupon code for the next purchase: doing so, you increase the chance to get a loyal customer in the short term.

How to avoid pitfalls during your work with ecommerce packaging?

While ecommerce packaging can be a powerful marketing tool, its design can take a lot of time and require significant costs.

That’s why you should calculate what type of packaging is proper for your company, based on your average order size and your profit. Decide what you can do for the customers to give them a pleasant experience of unboxing and at the same time not to incur losses for your business.

Custom packaging, boxes, and mailers deliver unique unboxing experiences, but also cost much: you should create your packaging design, and find the company that is ready to print the packaging on the right size and material. Pay attention to what is the minimum order and what is the cost and weight of one box or mailer.

There are a lot of services that offer out-of-the-box solutions, so you can find eco-friendly kinds and choose the most suitable ones among their assortment. Explore the marketplace or turn to AliExpress: there you can find a lot of things needed for packaging, and the packaging itself.

Our recommendations

  • A corrugated box is perfect, but it weighs more than a mailer and other types. So, it would be money-saving to choose light-weighted packaging.
  • As a rule, the more items you order, the cheaper they cost. So, find your perfect kind of packaging and make a wholesale order.
  • Prepare in advance for the hot season for your products, holidays, BFCM, etc, and make sure that you have enough packaging, filler, and so on to meet the demand.
  • Explore the marketplace to find ready-to-use solutions to translate your ideas: print stickers, tissue, cards, create tape, etc. By doing so, you can save money on creating exclusive ones.
  • If you are just looking for fresh ideas to start your ecommerce business, you can test yourself in the ecommerce packaging niche. Think, what services you can offer to online stores and how you can help them to increase the level of the customer unboxing experience. As the research shows, the packaging market is constantly growing and it will achieve more than $61 billion by 2025.

We hope that our post will help you to start your successful project or online store. You can find a lot of useful guides and tips in our blog that inspire you to create your ecommerce business from scratch.