How to Develop an Ecommerce Packaging Strategy

In order to safely transport your goods to your customers, it’s necessary to implement a comprehensive packaging strategy. If your business takes the time to thoroughly plan out a detailed and effective strategy, you’ll see minimal in-transit product damage, lower shipping costs, and more. Before we break down how to get started on developing your packaging strategy, let’s take a look at what it means to implement one. 

What is a Packaging Strategy? 

A packaging strategy is a comprehensive, actionable plan for how a company will contain and ship their products. Though it may sometimes feel like packaging is the last component to consider when working toward overall business goals, it’s actually an important way to align with and reach those ideals.

This means that developing an effective packaging strategy is not always a simple process, but when done correctly it can help your entire organization achieve its mission – often in more than one area. Use your packaging to accomplish goals in marketing, sustainability, profit, and more. Ultimately, this means you should look at your packaging from a top-down approach. It should reflect the values and objectives of your organization, and your industry, on a level that your customers will interact with before they ever see your actual products. 

The Elements of a Packaging Strategy 

There are a few key functions involved in developing a packaging strategy. You need to focus on what’s most important to your company, to your customers, and to your products. This means that the most crucial factors of your strategy are protection and security, convenience and ease of use, shipping costs, and brand recognition. These elements are essential to a packaging strategy that will protect both your bottom line and your products, while keeping your customers happy with your company and their purchases at the same time.  

Brick-and-Mortar vs. Ecommerce Packaging Strategies 

Oftentimes, packaging strategies are specifically focused on products that are sold in retail environments. While this is certainly nothing to ignore, it’s also necessary to emphasize the importance of ecommerce packaging strategies. Online shopping is explosively popular and won’t go away anytime soon, so we must develop packaging strategies to ship individual items directly to customers, rather than solely focusing on primary product packaging for items that will be palletized and sent to brick-and-mortar stores. There are many factors to consider when creating an ecommerce-specific packaging strategy, so let’s break them down.  

Product Protection and Security 

The first rule of shipping an item directly to your customer is that it must arrive safely and unharmed. This means that your packaging strategy must account for protective materials like void fill and cushions in order to keep goods safe while in transit. It seems easy, but you must be careful to not overdo your protective packaging with unnecessary components. Too much void fill leads customers to believe you’re wasting material and that you don’t care about sustainability. A simple way to ensure that you utilize adequate protection is to test your packages and materials to determine that you have enough packaging to secure your products without creating a detrimental impact on the environment.  

Shipping Costs 

Staying within your budget (or, better yet, under budget) is essential to the continued success of your business and shipping costs can be a huge part of that. Overspending on shipping could quickly lead to financial harm or the need to increase prices, which can also hurt your bottom line. This is why it’s important to understand how many of the major shipping and freight companies calculate cost. Your packages are often charged based on their dimensional weight, rather than their actual weight. Dimensional weight is the Length x Width x Height of your packages, which means that your packaging strategy must account for right sizing. Do your best to keep your containment materials as close to the size of your actual products in order to keep costs down.  

The Customer Experience 

You want your consumers to have a great experience with your brand at every point of their purchase process. This begins during their research phase and extends all the way until they open their new product when it arrives on their doorstep, so it’s easy to see how your packaging strategy is involved in the customer experience. Great packaging that protects your items, doesn’t waste material, and looks visually stunning goes a long way in enhancing your customers’ experience. In fact, customizing your shipping materials to show off your brand identity or company logos is an excellent way to excite your buyers. Most of us are familiar with unboxing videos and how popular they’ve become in recent years. That unboxing experience is an essential moment in the overall purchase experience, and it can keep your customers coming back for repeat business time and time again.  

A Thoughtful and Comprehensive Packaging Strategy 

Developing a meaningful packaging strategy is essential to maintaining your brand’s mission and achieving its goals. By crafting packaging themes that are implemented every single day and addressed as part of your company’s structure, you can easily see cost savings, brand loyalty, and many, many more advantages.