Making Your Small Business Stand Out With Custom Packaging


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The ecommerce industry is more competitive today than ever before — and it’s only getting tougher.

In 2017, the global ecommerce industry was worth $2.3 trillion, and it’s expected to reach a whopping $4.88 trillion by 2021.

What does this mean? More players, a higher number of ecommerce customers, and the increasing popularity of online shopping among almost every demographic.

Consumer habits also show that shoppers are moving from desktop to the convenience of cell phones, making purchases available at the tap of a finger. In fact, we’ve even had customers tell us that more than 50% of their sales are done on mobile devices.

As ecommerce becomes more saturated, how can you stand out? One option is custom packaging.

Make a purchase memorable with custom packaging

In such a dynamic and competitive market, there is one rather underestimated aspect that is now beginning to gain importance: having a custom packaging solution.

High-quality custom packaging boxes are more than just a container for your product. It plays a variety of other roles. Here are notable reasons for your ecommerce business to begin using custom boxes and packaging today.

Create a great first impression

A crowded marketplace filled with a barrage of product messaging is confusing, but a unique first impression can make a brand stand out among the noise. We’re visual by nature, so we store information as we see it.  That’s why attractive brand packaging not only attracts attention but it also retains it.

“In my business, packaging is a huge deal. Sometimes I feel like, packaging sells better than actual results do. Having been in business for a year and a half, it was time that I got more responsible with how my brand is aesthetically presented.”


It’s also true that out of the many retailers offering similar kinds of products, people will remember those deliveries that were packaged in a more aesthetically pleasing way than the others.

Give them something to remember

Unique packaging designs make your shipments more memorable, which can help keep your brand top-of-mind for future purchase decisions. After a positive unboxing experience, your customers are more likely to return for a repeat purchase.

Make your brand stand out

You can safely add custom packaging to your branding and marketing plans. Full color or eye-catching packaging with your brand name and logo stands out more than retail packaging and helps create high brand recall. Use this opportunity to build your brand further.

Capture your brand’s personality. If your brand is all about delicacy, customize your packaging to reflect that image in custom labels, custom tape, subtle colors, stickers, and box designs. Likewise, if your brand image is rugged, utilize corrugated boxes with primary colors and bold designs to make a lasting statement.

Don’t have any design chops? Recruit some design contractors to draw your logos and designs for you. Twine, Fiverr and Upwork are great resources for this. To make sure your design files are ready for printing, they should be 300DPI and above as well as vector files.

Design with your customers in mind

Who are your customers? Would they prefer luxury packaging or quirky homemade details?

Companies like Man Crates literally ship products in a crate that needs a crowbar to open. Focusing on your customers will help you pick color schemes and imagery that best market to your audience.

What is your product and how is it shaped?

There are some funkily shaped products out there, but you want to make sure they’re packaged nice and snug. Figuring out the right combination of size, shape, and security of boxes can take some trial and error, but don’t be afraid to choose creative packaging options if you want a custom size or a unique box style.

Of course, nontraditional packaging may not always be safe for your products, especially if they’re fragile, so be sure to balance form and function.

How fragile is your product?

The type of packaging you choose can make a difference in whether or not your product arrives broken to your customers’ doorsteps as shipping fragile items can lead to damages.

You’ll want to keep your products snug, perhaps with some additional cushioning such as airfill and other dunnage. The two most popular types of packaging are shippers and mailers. Mailer boxes are ideal for keeping skincare, jewelry, and other smaller items safe.

Bigger items such as appliances and kitchenware should be neatly wrapped in bigger shipping boxes. When it comes to additional padding, crinkle paper, airfill, or bubble wrap can be economical options. If you have the budget, custom-fitted inserts are a great way to keep your products in place and safe.

The last thing your customer needs is to receive a pair of earrings in a large shipper box, layered in a million sheets of bubble wrap. That’s a waste of material and can increase shipping and logistics costs, so make sure you’re using the right packaging for each product.

Custom product packaging brings BIG value

Investing in custom packaging shows customers that you value their experience and business. Here’s how to leverage custom packaging for maximum value.

Increase perceived value of a product

Premium packaging and shipping improves overall brand perception. When it comes to shoppers, 61% of them said premium packaging makes a brand seem more upscale. That makes sense considering 49% of shoppers say that when they receive nice packaging, they are more excited about the brand.

Get more shares on social media

Custom packaging can be a great way to spread the word about your products on social media. Instagram is filled with creative packaging photos. Create hashtags for your brand (and have them printed on your boxes), then share pictures of excited customers posing with your beautiful packaging.

Consider adding custom packaging to your branding and marketing plans. Colorful or eye-catching packaging with your brand name and logo creates high brand recall.

Create better brand loyalty and customer experience

When it comes to brand loyalty, 44% of shoppers said that when a product comes in premium packaging, it reinforces their confidence in the amount spent. That’s a win because that involves less buyer’s remorse means that these customers are more likely to purchase from you again and recommend your brand to others.

What’s included in custom packaging?

As mentioned earlier, the most popular ecommerce packaging types are mailers and shippers. These are available as plain boxes — sometimes called white-label — as well as custom printed boxes. Here’s how you can customize your packaging inside and out.

Exterior printed packaging

A popular and economical trend in the packaging business is digital printing. It’s fast, high-quality, usually hassle-free,  and applicable to orders of anywhere from 10 boxes to 500. This is Arka’s bread and butter. You can take your packaging to the next level with just some simple designs, quickly printed within two to three weeks.

Filler and promo materials

Filler, tissue paper, insert cards, and inserts are a great way to surprise and delight your customers. It makes receiving a box order from your brand feel like receiving a gift.

You can use printed inserts as a promotional opportunity as well — include discount codes, thank you notes, special offers, and more.

Additionally, offering branded, personal gift notes to your shoppers will make the unboxing experience even more memorable (you can even let your customers add a custom gift note at checkout if they are sending a present to someone special).

Cost of custom packaging for your small business

While custom packaging can be a great investment for small businesses, it can also be unnecessarily expensive if you’re trying to cut costs. If you’re not ready yet for custom packaging, unbranded boxes and mailers can still be a great option, with or without branded inserts.

That said, if you’re ready to take the next step into branded packaging, prices can range from $0.10 – $10.00 per box. A lot of factors go into the cost of custom packaging, including size, materials, quantity, ink coverage, and tooling. And as the quantity goes up, the price goes down.

Custom packaging with Arka

ShipBob partner Arka is a one-stop custom packaging shop for ecommerce packaging at highly competitive prices. Merchants can use an advanced design tool to mockup product packaging in minutes. Our team of experts and designers will assist you through the entire design proof and production process. Plus, we accept minimum order quantities as small as 10 boxes.

Whether you need 10 boxes or 5,000, Arka is ready to help. Contact us today for competitive custom packaging deals for your ecommerce business.

Need help fulfilling custom packaging orders?

ShipBob is a full-service fulfillment provider offering the best solution for brands that have custom packaging. Request a custom quote below to see if we’re a good fit for you.

Custom packaging FAQs

Here are the answers to the most popular questions about custom packaging.

What is customized packaging?

Customized packaging is packaging that was specifically designed for a product or a company. The goal of custom packaging is to both protect the product and help it stand out from standard packaging. 

Is custom packaging worthwhile?

It can be! Custom packaging is a great way to build brand recognition and better communicate brand values.

What are the benefits of custom packaging?

There are many benefits of custom packaging. Some of the most popular ones include protecting the product, creating a memorable experience for the customers, and helping improve brand recognition and loyalty.

Written By:

Niva LaRue is the Lead Designer at Arka. She's a strong leader in the mission to create an efficient way for merchants to purchase and design custom packaging. She has previous, heavy experience in B2C ecommerce and even contributed to a subscription box company's $100 million acquisition.

Read all posts written by Niva LaRue