E-commerce businesses take a wide range of approaches to packaging their products for final delivery to customers. From completely nondescript brown boxes to unique branding that is unmistakable and plenty of options in between, the strategies are almost endless.

Understanding the many factors involved in branding for shipping boxes, from costs to visibility and the influence of branded packaging on customers, helps your organization make more informed and effective decisions. Similarly, recognizing the impact of dimensional weight standards on packaging allows your company to avoid waste no matter which sort of branded or unbranded packaging it chooses to use.

An array of cardboard boxes.Standard cardboard boxes have their applications in e-commerce, but so do branded options.

How effective are branded shipping boxes?

Understanding the usefulness of branded packaging can depend on the context. For example, a company that is committed to differentiating their boxes from those sent by other e-commerce retailers, whether as a part of a branding exercise or to make their packaging easily identifiable, may view cost as a secondary concern. On the other hand, a company that emphasizes low costs for customers may find branded boxes and their additional costs simply don't fit into their budget strategy. Additionally, companies on the fence about their course of action may be most interested in the measurable return on investment that branded packaging provides as compared to its price tag.

With so many factors influencing the price of packaging, and with the unique circumstances of customers having a major influence on how many people besides the purchaser interact with your packaging, a definitive conclusion is difficult to reach for individual companies. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • McKinsey & Company found word of mouth is a primary factor for 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. When your company's packages are seen by neighbors, family, friends and coworkers, it may be the first step in attracting new customers.
  • Efficient packaging is a major concern for businesses that understand the changing costs of shipping and how they can impact the bottom line. Quartz shared data from industry group the Fibre Box Association, which detailed how overall cardboard shipments have remained relatively steady in the U.S. despite the drastic increase in e-commerce sales since the turn of the century.
  • There are a variety of branded packaging options that businesses can leverage. While full custom printing with high-end materials and coatings is the most expensive, there are a number of intermediate options ranging from a simple logo or graphic printed on standard cardboard to stickers and branded packing tape.
  • For customers who live in buildings with shared mail rooms and similar arrangements, branded packaging can make it that much easier to quickly identify a box and move on with their day.
  • Necessary packaging costs, whether the design of a custom box to keep product secure or the use of specific packing materials, must also be considered.

How do shipping costs influence branded packaging?

Companies that don't take dimensional weight into account when making packaging choices – whether they decide to use standard brown boxes or a totally custom option – leave money on the table. With major shippers all factoring the dimensions of a package as well as its weight into their pricing structures, wasted space means lost funds. Fit Small Business offered a dimensional weight calculator that provides a good starting point for calculating the costs of domestic shipping through a few major carriers, as well as an international option.

Whether your business plans on having boxes custom made – either due a desire for custom packaging design or to keep products within secure – or using standardized, premade containers, checking the costs of shipping each package ahead of time is an especially important consideration. Sharing shipping costs with customers is essentially a requirement in the modern e-commerce environment as well.

While finding the most inexpensive packaging in terms of dimensional weight will require a little work up front, it definitely pays off in the long run. With confidence that money isn't wasted on shipping items to customers, there's more money to be put toward more pressing needs and an ability to assure shoppers that the shipping process is as cost-effective as possible.

Branded boxes aren't quite as important as ensuring you offer a high-quality product, ship inventory efficiently and offer strong customer support during the fulfillment process. However, they provide a unique way to differentiate your organization's offerings from the many other pieces of packaging your customers potentially receive each day, week or month. With a strategy that addresses dimensional weight costs and ties into your overall brand strategy, your company can use packaging as a way to stand out and build brand awareness without drastic increases to the associated costs.

Landmark Global handles all types of packing for your shipping needs, helping you reliably and confidently bring orders to your customers. To learn more, get in touch with us today.


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