A Complete Guide to eCommerce Packaging

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Packaging is the physical touchpoint a customer has with your brand, and e-commerce packaging plays a vital role when it comes to initial customer impressions. Interior as well as exterior presentation is critical to crafting an enjoyable unboxing experience. This is also why selecting the right packaging is key to not only showcase your brand’s identity but to protect your products during shipping and delivery while keeping costs minimal.

In this guide, we’ll provide some tips and suggestions for e-commerce packaging so that you can streamline your order management process and contribute to an unforgettable customer experience.

a complete guide to ecommerce packaging simple global

Types of Packaging

Rigid Boxes:
Rigid boxes (also known as set-up boxes) are sturdy and unlikely to collapse, making them a good choice for high-end or easily breakable products. This type of box is also used to protect heavy items that may need extra support.

Corrugated Boxes:
Corrugated boxes are typical brown cardboard boxes used to pack orders or move belongings – most commonly used as standard shipping boxes for smaller parcels.

Double Wall Boxes:
Similar to corrugated boxes, double-wall boxes are made with double-layered corrugated walls in order to ensure that no products are able to drop from the bottom or pierce the layers. These are some of the most secure types of packaging available to online sellers. They’re also preferred by many renowned couriers due to their durability and resilience.

Another packaging method that helps protect fragile products is known as ‘overboxing.’ This is an effective method of safeguarding fragile equipment (such as electronics) from damage.

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4 Main Types of Infill

Packing Peanuts:
Mostly made out of polystyrene, these are a very common type of infill used by e-commerce businesses to protect products from damage. It’s recently emerged that polystyrene has a high risk of being carcinogenic, with many countries beginning to ban the use of the material.

Now it’s possible to purchase environmentally-friendly packing peanuts (made from corn starch or recycled paper), though these options are far more expensive and heavier, which may increase shipping costs.

Kraft Paper:
Kraft paper is paper (or paperboard) that is crumpled up and used to fill spaces within cardboard boxes in order to keep product movement to a minimum. This is an inexpensive choice for infill and the most popular choice for e-commerce businesses around the world.

Air Pillows:
Air pillows are inflated plastic pockets of air, made from polyethylene bags. This is a great way to cushion a product within a package during transit. Since it’s relatively lightweight, it is unlikely to negatively impact shipping costs.

On the flip side, air pillows require additional machinery in order to inflate the pockets with air. These can often be a costly investment. Also, despite air pillows being recyclable, it can be difficult to do so as they can only be disposed of at specific drop-off points, and most are made from non-biodegradable polyethylene – lasting for literally hundreds of years and negatively impacting the environment.

Bubble Wrap:
Bubble wrap is lightweight, flexible, and provides the necessary protection and cushioning for even the most fragile items, making it an essential choice for all brands.

Branded Packaging

E-commerce packaging is a powerful brand element and one that can be used to add value to your brand while targeting the initial response and reaction of your customers. Actually, 70% of customers form impressions on brands based on packaging alone, while 55% say they’ll return to an online store if an order arrives with branded packaging.

Adding personalization shows your customers that you care about their shopping experience – from the moment they click the checkout icon, all the way to the unboxing stage. Customized packaging is a vital way to stand out from your competition and can be used as a brand differentiator.


Customers are becoming more environmentally aware and expect e-commerce businesses to rise to the task of promoting environmentally friendly practices. Legislation is increasingly being put in place to meet sustainability goals, and your brand should adopt some form of green initiative to retain customers and take one step toward a cleaner business practice.

Fun fact:
81% of shoppers believe that companies should invest more of their resources to protect and improve the environment, with more than two-thirds of customers willing to pay more.

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Every Aspect of the Customer Experience Matters

A positive unboxing experience will generate positive impressions toward your brand. When a product is delivered to your customers, the determining factor of whether or not they’ll shop at your store again is the unboxing stage (if smooth shipping is successful of course). After all, it could prove to be the beginning of a customer’s journey with your brand. In turn, packaging can elevate your brand’s reputation, and lead to customer loyalty and retention.

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