Ottemo Blog

Packaging essentials to delight customers

by Mark Swanson

Posted by Mark Swanson on Jul 22, 2016 1:09:20 PM

How you decide to package your products depends on what you are shipping and to whom. The first rule in packaging is to get the contents to your customer in pristine condition. Think about what you are shipping and how much protection it will need on the journey to your customer. Assume it will be handled roughly, with or without "Fragile" markings.

Next, think about your audience. Are they looking for a surprise and delight moment when the package arrives, or are they concerned about the environment where use of plastic or excess filler will get an unfavorable mention on social media?

Packaging options to avoid when possible

  • Packing peanuts. Even though many types of peanuts are now "green", they still make a mess during unboxing.
  • Plastic bubble wrap when kraft paper or other recyclable filler and padding) is available and useful. Used boxes.
  • A used box, especially if covered in old crossed-out shipping or product labels. While it may be super-green to reuse, beat up boxes will not protect as well, and old labels may cause shipping delays as they can confuse the carriers.

Subscription Boxes and Gift-Type Packaging

Presentation is a major factor in the unboxing experience for subscription boxes and other gift-type shipments. These are often thought of as eagerly-anticipated "presents in the mail".

There is a balance of using the proper amount and type of protection in materials and the actual look and feel you are going for. Using the correct size box or outer packaging is important. Too small and it could look like you simply stuffed the box. Too large and you have too much open space and will require more padding (also known as dunnage) which takes away from the presentation.

A great way to accomplish protection and presentation is to use krinkle and tissue paper. Krinkle is paper cut and compressed, accordion style, which fills the voids and protects items from damage. A single sheet of tissue laid down first in the box and then folded over the contents makes for a great opening experience.

There are many colors of krinkle and tissue from which to choose. All components are available at online packaging suppliers or your local corrugated (cardboard box) supplier. For a medium-sized shipment, expect to spend $.60-$1.00 per box and components.

Packaging components

  • Box
  • Tissue
  • Krinkle

Non-presentation-based Packaging

A more simplified and less expensive approach is available to retailers who are not concerned with the "wow factor" during unboxing. This is how most companies, including Amazon package shipments.

Filler can be crumpled up kraft paper which is cheap and effective. Air pillows (what Amazon uses) require a special machine and material and a less eco-friendly option then kraft paper. Simple corrugated boxes or padded envelopes work fine depending on what you're shipping. For a medium sized shipment, expect to spend $.40 - $.75 for box and filler.

In summary

One of the most reliable ways to know what to use and what not to use is to simply think back to packages you have opened. What seemed over-done, not done enough, frustrating, delightful and fun? You get the idea. Select what works best for your customers and compliments your products.

When purchasing, get quotes from several corrugated suppliers as pricing can vary significantly. Ask for their best pricing based on the total amount of packaging you will be purchasing throughout the year.

A knowledgeable advocate or consultant can assist with the entire process from strategy thru negotiations and implementation.

Topics: shipping, ecommerce packaging, boxing, innovative, packaging

Mark Swanson

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