The Challenges of E-Commerce Packaging

A person holding a credit card is about to make a purchase on an online website

E-commerce packaging presents challenges that brick-and-mortar outlets don’t face. They include being less wasteful, by employing reusable packaging or less materials; optimizing returns via the small parcel shipping environment; developing new ways to stand out amidst competitors on store shelves; and taking the unboxing experience to new levels.

To cut back on waste, e-commerce merchants are searching for innovative ways to cut the clutter. “The take-and-dispose model is becoming less appealing to consumers. To a degree, recyclable packaging is already part of a circular packaging supply stream – as long as they are continuously recycled….perhaps in the future, this type of system can be expanded so consumers can return their used containers for full ones with product,” said Emmy Corman, package design engineer at Dollar Shave Club. Corman also stressed the idea of ensuring to “right-size” the product to its packaging, which helps it move through transit and offers a better unboxing experience. This can be a balancing act – Corman says you need to make sure the size constraints of the package work in tandem with cushioning fragile products, such as cologne bottles.

For e-commerce, unboxing has replaced shelf presence. Corman said, “Product presentation as the consumer opens the box is essential – it needs to look neat and convey that it has been packed with care. There are a few ways to achieve this, such as with paper or plastic trays, inserts for the product, wrapping product with tissue paper, placing the product in a bag or using unit cartons to help present the product in a premium way.” The unboxing experience is also a way for a company to reinforce its brand values, such as demonstrating it’s green by using post-consumer recycled content and utilizing the least amount of packaging possible. Another way to elevate your brand using e-commerce is to add color to your corrugated packaging, whether it’s printed on the inside or outside of the shipper.

The best way to minimize product returns from e-commerce customers is to use on-spot naming, detailed descriptions, and honest product reviews. Working with your customer support team also helps to make sure the bulk of your customers won’t even think about wanting to return your products.

To learn more about how we can help your company answers questions about its e-commerce packaging needs, contact Pioneer Packaging today.

Scroll to Top