ecommerce packaging

Common Packaging Pitfalls in eCommerce

The days when we could ship in an unmarked or an irrelevant box without judgment are long gone. The worlds evolving into an oversaturated eCommerce market, making brands’ voices lost in white noise. At the same time, plain packaging materials and a lack of brand identity may be the leading culprits to brand white noise. 

Packaging has many benefits for brand owners. For instance, a study conducted by Dotcom Distribution revealed that “40% of consumers will post photos on their social media accounts of products with unique and branded packaging”, proving that packaging establishes brand awareness.

We see a similar increase in revenue. 30% of businesses report an increase in revenue after improving product packaging (source: Packaging of The World). While the advantages are remarkable, you may ask, “What’s the catch?”

Packaging, like everything else in eCommerce, is a deceptively tricky game. While it may sound simple, packaging has many pitfalls to avoid, taking precision, caution, and the general know-how. But, before we discuss packaging pitfalls, let’s touch on custom packaging benefits:

Custom Packaging Benefits


Customized packaging aesthetics defines a brand perception and delivers an additional customer experience (CX). If truth be told, 70% of consumers accepted that they form their impression of a brand based solely on the packaging, according to Packaging of The World.

For better customization, it’s common for brands to develop a customizable insert that aids their product in a meaningful way. Suppose a hair care brand instructs consumers which products to use in order (e.g., shampooing first, conditioner or mask second, serums or oils third, gel or mousse fourth, hairspray fifth, etc.). In that case, they can use these steps in their unboxing experience and creative packaging.

However, personal human touches are one of the best ways to establish a connection. A shocking article by Inc. stated that the open rate for personalized missives was nearly 98%. Because of this payout in retention, beauty brands often ask fulfillment providers for personalized notes with the recipient’s name handwritten on a letter, card, or box.

Nonetheless, customizable inserts are another great way to form an impression. There are thousands of ways to implement customizable inserts and packaging: gifts, trial products, partnerships with other brands, etc. Nevertheless, brand owners just need to find what works best for them and their products. 

Common Packaging Pitfalls


While customized packaging is a personal connection with the consumer, we must find ways to keep it practical. Often, marketing professionals will have a vision set out for packaging, and while being a brand visionary is excellent, those ideas may get messy during the process.

Review these common pitfalls to avoid for the best results:

  • Excessive Packout Variants. Some brands may desire a diverse boxing approach to stand out from the crowd. Although this may be tactical with 3-4 box variants, anything above that number becomes difficult for the fulfillment team. Through cost analysis and examination, brands will spend more for storage and fulfillment when there are many box sizes.
  • Complexity. Here at OceanX, there was a situation with a client whose packaging was a complicated design, so complex that we could not assemble it. Packaging designs rely on more than a good presentation but functionality for everyone involved.
  • Durability. Durability means the most with transit damage. We have a running joke in the fulfillment industry that shipping companies hire a package kicker. With a 3PL, you gain remote control over the safety of your deliverables, but there’s no guarantee they will arrive safely. Developing a protective packaging ecosystem is essential for better peace of mind during fulfillment.
  • Non-Environmental Friendly Packaging. In the Green Revolution, brands that utilize sustainable packaging and raw materials lessen waste and their carbon footprint; practicing approaches like biodegradable packaging and raw materials are a great start.

Packaging pitfalls are common in every industry, especially in the beauty and wellness industries. But, for businesses to maximize their benefits with safe handling, protection, and customization throughout the board, check out our article on 3PL’s impact on quality control

Avoid Packaging Pitfalls with OceanX


While finding a functional yet pleasing packaging ecosystem for our consumers, we need to step in their shoes and think back to the last enjoyable time we unboxed an item, despite the category. In these cases, the packaging created an experience that we, as the consumer, admired about the brand. 

Packaging is crucial to keeping a good brand reputation, yet it’s often an after-thought for business owners. Although there are many pitfalls to packaging, it’s important to remember the value that unboxing creates for consumers.

If you struggle to avoid the packaging pitfalls or want to have a comprehensive conversation about them, consult with one of our 3PL experts today!