E-Commerce is here to stay. Once that is out of the way, businesses need to pay attention to the changes that it brings. From manufacturing to last-mile delivery, E-Commerce has completely changed the game. Packaging has not been left untouched.
Today, the packaging of your product can make or break the bond businesses have with their customers. This is because the customer needs to be assured that their package arrives in an undamaged condition with all the product qualities intact.
From the size of the product to the distance between the hub and the customer, there is a multitude of factors that a business must consider while selecting its e-commerce packaging solutions. Here, we discuss some of the crucial ones.
1. Weight – This is important for deciding the type of material to be used for making the packaging. The more the weight of the product to be shipped, the sturdier the material needs to be selected.
2. Product – Needless to say, the type of product will need to be taken into consideration while selecting the packaging. For instance, perishables like leafy vegetables will need a different packaging than pre-packaged products. Similarly, delicate products such as cutlery require additional protection.
3. Size and shape – While we say that the size and shape of the product will have an impact on the packaging itself, it needs to be remembered that in e-commerce, not every product has its customized package.
More often than not, e-commerce companies insist on getting standardized packaging material made in bulk in order to enjoy the benefits of large-scale production. This is why we see small shampoo bottles coming to our doorstep in big parcels which feel unnecessary but are business decisions in the real sense.
4. Material – The cost of packaging is highly dependent on the material used to make it. This in turn is dependent on many of the factors listed above. Paper packaging is used to a large extent. Cardboard packaging is also seen in a lot of businesses. Easy-to-break items are protected using bubble wraps and cling wraps. The cost of all of these materials varies from cheap to expensive.
Apart from paperboard boxes, other materials used in e-commerce packaging include corrugated boxes, plastic boxes, plastic bags and bags sealed with aluminum foils.
5. Packaging method – There are two packaging methods that are widely used.
- Single box method – In this method, a single box is used along with fillers in the form of the thermocouple. While this offers minimal protection for the products inside, it is suitable for non-fragile items. The box can be double-walled for some extra protection.
- Double box method – In this method, the product is first placed inside a box by the manufacturer. As an added layer of protection, this box is then placed inside another box with fillers. This is suitable for fragile items like glass.
While selecting the packaging solution, it is important to keep in mind which method is appropriate for your needs and decide accordingly. The double box method makes sense for fragile items and not otherwise.
6. Branding – At the end of the day, you are a business and marketing is one function you cannot ignore. As an e-commerce brand, you might want to consider imprinting the packages you use for shipping products with your logo or trade name. This not only increases your name recognition but also reduces costs if you do it right.
Further, many brands have made their packaging a product in itself. Remember those grocery bags from your favorite childhood brand? Or that ice cream cup that could be converted into a toy?
7. Safety – Last but not least, safety can only be ignored by businesses at their peril. From the flight to the truck to the doorstep, it is the packaging that keeps the product secure. It must be strong enough to withstand wear and tear during the journey. If the customer receives a torn package, doubts about it being tampered with may arise and lead to further complications.
A package is what first meets the eye of the customer. If this first impression is positive, it makes a lot of difference. Apart from the customer, the packaging also comes in front of lots of other people in the process of delivery. If done correctly, branded packaging can get you more traffic on your e-commerce site.
While it is said that you should not judge a book by its cover, it is certainly correct to judge an e-commerce business by its choice of packaging.