Ecommerce Packaging: Things to know

If you’re unfamiliar with e-commerce packaging, this post is for you!

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on the economy. Across the globe, a significant percentage of businesses closed due to the plethora of issues brought on by the pandemic. Businesses worldwide became increasingly reliant on their e-commerce arms to generate profit and stay afloat. As a natural result of the growth of e-commerce over the past two years, the world has also seen a boom in the use of e-commerce packaging.

If you’re unfamiliar with e-commerce packaging, we can help you out. By reading this post, you’ll learn about everything you need to know about e-commerce packaging.

What is e-commerce packaging?

In a nutshell, e-commerce packaging involves multiple layers of packaging that protect your product during shipping and ensure that the product arrives at your customer’s doorstep in pristine condition.

ecommerce packaging
packaging for ecommerce

E-commerce packaging includes elements such as:

  • Shipping box
  • Retail packaging (product packaging)
  • Infill, void fill, or cushioning (packing peanuts, bubble wrap, foam, etc.)
  • Tape
  • Packaging inserts (coupons, business cards, flyers, etc.)

Why is e-commerce packaging a crucial part of your business?

E-commerce packaging is much more than just protection for your products. With e-commerce packaging, you can:

  • Reinforce your branding
  • Highlight your brand values
  • Make your brand and products stand out from the crowded e-commerce landscape
  • Enhance the customer experience
  • Encourage brand loyalty
  • Improve your profit margins
  • Lower your business expenses

Well-designed e-commerce packaging that places your logo and brand name front and center can help reinforce your branding. It can also keep your business top of mind for customers.

The packaging is what your customers will see first when they receive your product. You can use custom branded packaging to create a memorable unboxing experience that significantly improves your customer’s experience.

Improving your customer experience through your packaging also encourages brand loyalty and repeat purchases, which, in turn, allows you to increase your profits. After all, happy customers are much more likely to buy from you again and recommend your brand to other people.

You can also lower your business expenses through proper e-commerce packaging. Poorly packaged products are likely to suffer damage in transit, which will result in product returns and unhappy customers. On the other hand,  if you pack your orders securely, they will arrive in perfect condition at your customer’s doorstep.

Carefully considering the appropriate size and weight of your packaging is another way you can minimize costs. Avoid using packaging that is too big for your product. Oversized packaging requires more infill, which increases the overall weight of the package and raises shipping costs. Furthermore, couriers like the United States Postal Service (USPS), UPS, and FedEx charge additional fees for oversized packages.

What are the different types of e-commerce packaging solutions?

E-commerce brands have plenty of options when it comes to packaging. Here are the most common types of packaging that e-commerce brands use today:

Corrugated board boxes

Corrugated board boxes or cardboard boxes are the most commonly used type of packaging in the e-commerce industry. Corrugated board packaging is highly versatile, durable, recyclable, and relatively inexpensive. Cardboard boxes are also lightweight, which means they won’t add significant weight to your packages. Therefore, using this type of packaging enables you to control your shipping costs.

E-commerce brands use different styles of corrugated board packaging that includes:

  • Roll End Front Tuck (REFT) – Most common style of corrugated packaging
  • Roll End Tuck Top (RETT)
  • Tuck Top Lock Bottom

You can use corrugated board boxes to pack a wide variety of products—from food to large electronics. One example of corrugated board packaging you’ll see every day is the pizza box. Order pizza from your favorite place and it’s a guarantee that you’ll get the pizza in a corrugated board box.

corrugated board box
corrugated board box

For small items such as food, you can use single-walled corrugated packaging, which is lightweight yet durable enough to protect different kinds of products.

For fragile or heavy products, it’s best to use double-walled corrugated board packaging. Double-walled corrugated packaging is stronger than its single-walled counterpart, and it provides an additional layer of protection to your products.

Whether you opt for single-walled or double-walled corrugated board packaging, each type is available in varying degrees of strength and thickness. The stronger the packaging, the more weight it can handle, so make sure you ask your supplier the right degree of strength for your products.

Keep in mind that stronger and thicker corrugated packaging is more expensive than its less durable counterparts. As such, your choice of packaging is going to affect your costs.

2. Bespoke e-commerce packaging

If highlighting your branding and improving customer experience are your top priorities, then take advantage of bespoke e-commerce packaging. Also known as custom packaging, bespoke e-commerce packaging has a ton of benefits that include:

Customized design

The biggest benefit of bespoke e-commerce packaging is the fact that you have complete control over the design of your boxes. You can print whatever logo, image, text, and graphics you like on your packaging. You can use any color you prefer. You can even choose which sides of the box you want to print your design, whether it’s the inside of the box, the outside of the box, or both.

custom ecommerce mailer box
custom ecommerce mailer box

Exact sizing

With bespoke packaging, you can customize your boxes according to your exact specifications. You can choose the best possible size for your products, thereby avoiding the use of oversized packaging.

Better branding

Custom e-commerce packaging enables you to reinforce your branding because you can design your boxes however way you prefer. You can put your logo, brand name, and brand colors front and center to make your brand instantly recognizable.

Lower costs

Since you can customize the size of your packaging according to your exact specifications, you don’t have to worry about using boxes that are too large for your products. You avoid shipping heavy and oversized packages and therefore avoid hefty shipping fees.

3. Paperboard boxes

Paperboard boxes are made of thick paper-based material. Paperboard packaging is lightweight yet relatively strong, easily cut and formed into different shapes, and highly affordable. E-commerce brands use paperboard on small and non-fragile items.

ecommerce folded carton product box
ecommerce folded carton product box

E-commerce brands commonly use paperboard packaging to pack products such as shoes, toys, personal care products like soap, and food items such as coffee, snacks, and breakfast cereal.

What are the different types of tape used in e-commerce packaging?

To secure their packages, e-commerce brands use different kinds of tape that includes:

1. Water-activated tape

Water-activated tape is the tape of choice for the majority of the e-commerce industry. The tape itself is made of kraft paper while the adhesive is starch-based. The adhesive on water-activated only turns into an adhesive when you apply water to it.

Water-activated tape creates a strong seal when you use it on corrugated packaging. The tape bonds with the box and becomes part of the packaging, making the box difficult to tamper with and protecting it from damage.

Since water-activated tape is made of paper instead of plastic, it is also more economical and sustainable than plastic-based tape.

2. Heat-activated tape

The e-commerce industry uses these three different types of heat-activated tapes:

Acrylic packing tape

Acrylic packing tape is a lightweight and inexpensive adhesive that is ideal for small items that are packed in plastic-based packaging.

Hot melt packing tape

Hot melt packing tape is stronger than its acrylic counterpart and is ideal for use on corrugated board packaging.

Solvent packing tape

Solvent packing tape has the strongest adhesive among the three types and is the best choice for heavy-duty packaging

3. Custom tape

Using custom branded tape is an easy and affordable way to add more branding to your packaging.

custom packaging tape
custom packaging tape

What is inside e-commerce packaging?

To protect their packages from the inside, e-commerce brands use infill. Also known as void fill or cushioning, e-commerce brands add infill to their packages to prevent the product from moving inside the box during transit. Infill also provides additional padding that protects the product from damage to ensure that it arrives at your customer’s doorstep intact.

packaging and fillers
packaging and fillers

The most common types of infill are:

Bubble wrap

Bubble wrap is a great infill to use for fragile and heavy items such as flat-screen TVs and kitchen appliances. Your customers are likely going to enjoy popping the individual bubbles after opening the packaging. Just keep in mind that bubble wrap is made of plastic and is therefore not easily recyclable.

bubble wrap
bubble wrap

Kraft paper

Kraft paper is versatile because you can rip or cut it into whatever size you need. You can even crumple the paper to fill the spaces in the box.

kraft paper
kraft paper

Packing peanuts

Packing peanuts are common and easy to use, but they can be a mess to deal with—for you and your customers. Another downside is that packing peanuts are usually made of styrofoam, which is not recyclable and therefore not eco-friendly. There are packing peanuts made from cornstarch, which dissolve in water but are still messy to deal with

packing peanuts
packing peanuts

Air pillows or air cushions

Air pillows are small pieces of sealed and air-filled plastic that usually come in a tube shape. Air pillows are an economical choice of infill because they don’t add much weight to your package. However, since they’re made of plastic, they are not environmentally friendly.

Is sustainable e-commerce packaging available?

Despite many brands still using plastic packaging, sustainable packaging has made increasingly big waves over the years. If you to achieve sustainability in your e-commerce packaging, follow these tips:

1. Get from a sustainable source.

Get your packaging from a source that uses sustainable materials. At PackM, we use corrugated board packaging made of sustainable materials. We can provide you with sustainable shipping boxes, mailer boxes, and other types of sustainable e-commerce packaging.

2. Use non-plastic infill.

Avoid using bubble wrap, air pillows, or styrofoam packing peanuts. Use kraft paper or packing peanuts made of cornstarch instead.

3. Use water-activated tape.

Use kraft paper-based water-activated tape to secure your packages. Water-activated tape is not sustainable, it is also strong and tamper-resistant.

By practicing sustainability, you help prevent pollution. You also show your customers that you care about them and the world they live in, which makes them much more likely to do business with you. That’s a win-win situation.


If you need custom e-commerce packaging, we can help you. At PackM, we are ready to help with all your custom packaging needs. We can provide you with durable, sustainable, well-designed, and easily customizable e-commerce packaging. We can even assist you in creating your custom design. Head to our website or call us at (424) 271- 0700. Our experts will be more than happy to help you create the perfect packaging for your small business.

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