For online shoppers, eCommerce packaging is often the one point of physical contact a customer will have with your brand.
It provides an opportunity to make a lasting impression, stand out from your competitors and create a fantastic customer experience.
As well as influencing purchasing decisions, great eCommerce packaging motivates repeat business and encourages buyers to share your products on social media or leave a positive review.
The importance of eCommerce packaging
A recent survey found that buyers of luxury items are even more likely to share a package on social media, with 38% saying they’ve done so.
On Instagram, #unboxing has been used 1.3 million times. So it’s clear that opening packages is an experience often savored by many consumers and, for businesses, it provides a great opportunity to build brand awareness.
Current eCommerce packaging trends
It’s critical for online sellers who care about their brand to be on top of the latest consumer trends and opinions. For instance, there’s an increasing dislike for wasteful, over-sized packaging and a growing preference for sustainable eCommerce packaging.
This trend shows signs of becoming more pronounced as time goes on. Sustainability is more important to younger shoppers, with 74% of 18-29 year-olds saying it impacts their purchasing choices.
13 eCommerce packaging ideas
Packaging is a crucial element of your eCommerce marketing mix. Here are 13 inspirational ideas from companies thinking outside the box!
1. Stylish internal designs
French beauty brand L’Occitane is well-known for the thoughtful packaging it provides in its physical retail stores. But it also offers on-brand eCommerce packaging too.
Customers open its plain brown boxes to reveal a bright yellow and white pattern, alongside a thank-you note and yellow tissue paper.
The packaging is classy and stylish which reinforces brand image and perception of quality.
2. Ask customers to leave reviews with stickers
Positive feedback is vital to the success of an eCommerce company, so why not ask your customers for a review before they have a chance to forget!
Stickers can be used to communicate many marketing messages, including thank-yous, brand logos and Twitter handles. Check out these star-studded, personalized stickers which request customer reviews.
Important note: do not try this with purchases made on Amazon – it’s against their terms and conditions and could lead to your account being suspended!
3. Use reversible packaging
Like L’Occitane’s eCommerce packaging, these packages have designs on the inside. But Charapak’s reversible boxes can be turned inside-out and used again as gift-wrapping. Any rough handling isn’t obvious on the brown cardboard exterior. This is extremely convenient for customers and more sustainable than traditional gift-wrap.
4. Use a sustainable design
A great example of sustainable eCommerce packaging comes from Italian brand Portrait Eyewear. Their odd-shaped cardboard boxes really make a statement, but they don’t require any glue to hold them together either. This allows customers to easily flatten and recycle the box after delivery. It is also made entirely from recycled materials.
5. Try reusable eCommerce packaging
Reusable shipping bags like RePacks are growing in popularity, particularly among clothing retailers that don’t rely on bulky, protective packaging. Big brand names like H&M and Zalando have tried this new approach to sustainable eCommerce packaging in a bid to make online shopping more sustainable. H&M even offers discounts to customers who return the bags by post or in-store.
6. Make packaging too nice to throw away
Cosmetics company Rituals presents its gift sets in beautiful, reusable boxes. This gets rid of the need for wrapping paper and its labels encourage customers to retain the boxes as a keepsake for storing items.
In a drive to use more sustainable eCommerce packaging, the brand also made its boxes more compact and replaced any plastic inlays with compostable alternatives.
7. Get FSC certified
Environmentally conscious brands like Rituals and Portrait Eyewear use FSC-certified and recycled paper wherever possible. This means their packaging materials are sustainably sourced. If you want to appeal to a young, eco-conscious audience, consider doing the same.
8. Try selling refills
With consumers becoming more intolerant of unnecessary packaging, eCommerce sellers need to consider what they can do to reduce theirs. If your logistics carbon footprint can’t be cut down, perhaps your product packaging can.
Hairstory is a brand that’s passionate about the environment and demonstrates this to customers by selling refills of its shampoo. Pouches can save on packaging, as well as shipping costs.
9. Use embossed metallic stickers
If you use plain or minimalist packaging to reduce costs or increase sustainability, using embossed stickers is a great way to add a sense of quality and luxury to your eCommerce packages.
10. Put free stuff in your packages
49% of consumers want to receive giveaways in their packages. Whether this means stickers, magnets or free samples, it will surprise and delight your customers. This eCommerce marketing technique significantly increases loyalty and motivates repeat purchases.
French beauty brand L’Occitane is known for including a selection of free samples in its shipments and make-up brand Glossier boosts exposure with its branded stickers.
11. Use custom packing tape
Using brown cardboard boxes is often the most sustainable and cost-effective option for eCommerce packaging. (Usually, they contain more recycled material than white cardboard).
This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your branding. Try using custom packing tape or stamps to make your mark on deliveries.
12. Get creative with your packing slips
Although most consumers want more sustainable packaging, the huge majority still want packing slips and pre-printed product return labels too. So figure out how you can use these elements to promote your brand, while also providing great customer service. Some brands have been taking the opportunity to share doodles with their customers.
13. Showcase your brand
Great brands communicate their voice and values at every opportunity, including on their eCommerce packaging.