What Is Ecommerce Packaging?

Learn why businesses use ecommerce packaging and how it differs from retail packaging.

Ecommerce packaging refers to containers used to ship physical products to customers. 

Let’s say you ordered a phone from an online retailer. The outermost box or wrapper that the phone arrives in is considered ecommerce packaging. Its purpose is to protect the product from damage during shipping.

That’s the simplest way to describe ecommerce packaging.

ecommerce shipping box
Shipping Box for Ecommerce

But there’s more to unpack here. 

In this post, you’ll learn why businesses use ecommerce packaging and how it differs from retail packaging. You’ll even find information on what good ecommerce packaging looks like — just in case you’d like to make your own.

There’s also a section that shows how you can create your own packaging.

With all that out of the way, let’s get started.

Who Needs Ecommerce Packaging?

Short answer: Anyone who needs to ship products to customers.

Customers don’t want to receive products that are in terrible shape. It’s your duty as an online seller to get them from point A to B in excellent condition. Otherwise, you’ll end up dealing with customer complaints and issuing refunds.

Why Is Ecommerce Packaging Important?

There are other practical reasons why businesses rely on ecommerce packaging.


Ecommerce packaging will typically include information that shipping companies and customers might need. 

For example:

Depending on how fragile your product is, you might need to add handling instructions. It’s also a good idea to indicate how much the package weighs. 

Printing the point of origin of the package alongside compliance marks will help. For the unfamiliar, compliance marks refer to recycling symbols and other certifications required by regulatory agencies.

Make your customer’s life easier by including instructions on how to open the package. This reduces any chance of products getting dinged during unboxing.


Having a distinct design will make your ecommerce packages easier to identify.

custom shipping box

If all your packages arrive in plain brown cardboard boxes, you won’t know what’s inside unless you read the labels or tear them open. At some point, you must have forgotten what you even ordered online, right?

Online sellers know that.

That’s why they go through the trouble of printing their own packaging. They want you to know right away who the package is from and what might possibly be inside. 

And if the customer gets excited over seeing their package arrive, doesn’t that make printing custom packaging worth all that effort?

It’s a small thing but it makes all the difference in the world.


Branding is probably the biggest reason why companies go all out on their ecommerce packaging. 

They all want to be remembered. So they add their logo and brand colors to packages. Including contact information like phone numbers and email addresses is a necessity at this point. 

All of them use consistent design elements. Some even go the extra mile by sealing packages with custom branded tape or labels.

branded roll circle label


We’ll dive deeper into branding and designing ecommerce packages in a later section.

What’s the Difference Between Ecommerce and Retail Packaging?

It’s simple, really.

Ecommerce packaging is primarily used for shipping products to customers. The purpose of retail packaging is to highlight the product and its benefits. It makes it easier to display products while offering some protection against dust and dirt.

Retail packaging also goes by another name — product packaging.

Remember that phone example earlier? A responsible retailer would never send a phone in its retail packaging. At the very least, it will be placed inside a poly mailer. However, shipping it in a custom box would make more sense in this scenario.

But you get it, right?

You put your product inside a retail package to protect it from scratches and dirt. Then you put your retail package inside an ecommerce package when you’re ready to ship it.

What to Consider When Printing a Package

Printing your own ecommerce packaging makes you look more professional in the eyes of your customers. It’s a no-brainer — you have to do it.

But before you set off to print packaging materials, take a look at all the things you have to consider first. That way, you get the most out of your investment.

Packaging Product

You may not even realize it but there are a lot of products you can use to ship items to customers.

Below are the most popular options among online business owners.

Shipping Boxes

Shipping boxes are the perfect solution for transporting one big item or several smaller ones. They’re incredibly tough — strong enough to withstand the rough conditions some boxes go through during shipping.

Mailer Boxes

Mailer boxes are smaller than a shipping box and have a built-in locking mechanism. You just insert the flaps into their slots and they should be secure. You’d still want to seal all of them with tape though. 

These are great for smaller products like makeup, small jars, gaming peripherals, small electronics, and more.

Pizza Boxes

It may not seem like an obvious option but some businesses have found creative ways to use pizza boxes to ship their products. It really depends on your product’s measurements. 

For example, one PackM customer uses pizza boxes to ship cookie cakes.

Custom pizza boxes
Cookie Cake Box by Madkind Design Studio

Poly Mailers

If your product isn’t fragile at all and it’s already inside retail packaging, poly mailers are a more convenient way of shipping items to customers. They take up less space than a box. Customers like the fact that they’re easier to open and dispose of.

Bubble Mailers

Bubble mailers are just as convenient to use as poly mailers. The main difference is that the former provides cushioning. If your biggest concern is that you don’t want your products rattling inside the ecommerce packaging, bubble mailers are the way to go.

Ecommerce Bubble Mailers
Ecommerce Bubble Mailers

Rigid Mailers

Rigid mailers are used to ship flat products and paperwork. There aren’t that many products that would fit inside this ecommerce packaging. But your product might. It’s worth mentioning at the very least.

Size Options

When you buy ecommerce packages for your business, you have to consider their size. 

If you’re only placing one product inside one package, you can buy ecommerce packaging that’ll fit your product like a glove. 

What happens when a customer orders two items? You’ll need a box that can fit both. But what if the customer orders more than that? You’ll need an even larger box.

Point is:

You need to have multiple ecommerce packaging options at your disposal at any given time.

This will allow you to process orders no matter how many items a customer orders.


How much can you spend on ecommerce packaging? 

Just because you’re trying to save money on shipping costs doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. There are plenty of ways to save when you print custom packages.

For instance, econo shipping boxes are less expensive than custom ones. The only difference is that you’ll have fewer customization options. The printing quality stays the same which means the colors will still be good.

Can You Customize Ecommerce Packages?

Yes! Very much so.

Printing companies like PackM let you create ecommerce packages with your branding on them.

You get to choose what material your packaging will be made of. Setting a custom size is possible too. And there are other product-specific options as well. 

More importantly, you have absolute control over the design of your ecommerce packages. You can add whatever details you want and use any colors you wish.

After all, it’s all about your brand.

How to Create a Packaging Design

You or a professional graphic design expert can design packages using software like Photoshop. When it’s done, you can simply send that to an online printer like PackM so they can have it printed.


Not everyone has access to graphic design software nor do they know how to use one. If you’re the same way, you’d be happy to hear that you can design packages from scratch at PackM using our design tool.

PackM Design Tool

Our design tool was specifically built with non-designers in mind. You can customize your package, add design elements, and insert text even if you’ve never touched design software before.

Or you could give us a call and ask about our free graphic design assistance. We’ll help you create a design you could be proud of.

Examples of Ecommerce Packaging

Don’t know where to start?

We feel you. Coming up with a packaging design can be daunting, especially for first-time customers. 

To give you an idea, here are a couple of packaging designs that our customers shared with us.

econo mailer boxes by purpleth studio
These are econo mailer boxes made by Purpleth Studio.

ecommerce mailer boxes by isla sierra co.
Isla Sierra Co. printed these colorful ecommerce boxes for its business.

bubble mailers by unicorn eclipse
And how about these bubble mailers from Unicorn Eclipse? Aren’t they adorable?

mailer boxes by skylar grace co.
Look at Skylar Grace Co. adding that gradient to make its boxes visually appealing.

ecommerce shipping box by raven gift co.
Here’s an example of an ecommerce shipping box courtesy of Raven Gift Co.

If you need more inspiration, check out the PackM Design Hub.


There’s no question:

You need ecommerce packaging if you’re going to ship products. You need it to make sure that your customers receive their products in mint condition.

And if you want to reinforce your branding, you’ll want to print custom packages. Work with PackM to make yours today. You can upload your design file or create one right on our site. 

You can also call us at +1 (424) 271-0700 or use our live chat feature to ask about our free design assistance.

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