e-Commerce Packaging

Everything You Need to Know About eCommerce Packaging in 2021

From an early age, we are taught not to judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean that as consumers, we aren’t susceptible to first impressions and split-second judgments. 

In the world of eCommerce retail, a customer’s first impression isn’t of the goods they purchase from an online retailer, it’s the packaging. After all, 63 percent of consumers have purchased a product again because they were delighted with the packaging. 

What else should you know about the importance of packaging?

  • It only takes 3 seconds to form a first impression, but it takes 20 encounters to repair a bad first impression
  • Ninety percent of the information we process in our brains is visual
  • Nine times out of ten, visual appearances will determine the emotional reaction to a product’s packaging
  • Eighty-five percent of consumers will purchase a product based on its color

Packaging matters. Online retail brands aren’t looking to gain a bunch of one-time purchases, they’re looking to build lifelong relationships with their customers, and one major way to do that is to use impactful packaging to send the message of what the brand is all about. 

The eCommerce Packaging Process


For something that appears as simple as a box, there’s a lot of thought that goes into direct-to-consumer (DTC) packaging. Items have to arrive without damage after surviving the shipment transit process. Fulfillment centers and shipping experts must ensure they are using the right packaging products, which requires a lot of considerations which include:

  • The correct size box to avoid waste, overspending, and damage to products
  • Adequate packing material (like air pillows or bubble wrap) to demonstrate to the buyer that you care about their purchase
  • The potential inclusion of gifts like free samples to make the right impression
  • The proper kitting and packaging of multiple items or kits for a great unboxing experience

The other essential component of packaging? Returns. 

One-third of online orders are returned. When it comes to packaging, this means that online retailers need to consider that boxes—and the products inside—might need to make a round trip, and return without damage. Boxes need to be sturdy enough to be reusable and may need to include a return shipping label. 

Plus, with so many items coming back for return, the buyer should be able to get to the contents without completely damaging the packaging.

This matters because as many as 80 percent of online buyers will shop elsewhere if they have a negative shopping or return experience.  

Unboxing: The End-User Experience


There’s a noticeable difference when you open a box with a product you ordered online when it’s just been tossed in a brown box versus when it was thoughtfully packaged in a stunning box or mailer. 

Just how important is the packaging to overall customer satisfaction. One need not to look further than the popularity of unboxing videos—videos, usually shared on YouTube, of consumers opening packaging and taking a product out of the box while sharing their first impressions. These videos are so popular that Think with Google shared the following astonishing statistic:

“The amount of time consumers have spent watching unboxing videos just on their phones is the equivalent of watching the holiday classic “Love Actually” more than 20 million times.”

Packaging is so much more than just the box or mailer that transports your product; it’s a commodity. It’s been described as an online DTC retailer’s “second product;” the touchpoint customers associate with a brand in lieu of an in-store retail shopping experience. 

Consumers will associate how the product looks and feels in a space—in this case, the box—with the product’s perceived value. It can even boost brand loyalty. OceanX client Glossier does this quite well, sending off beauty and wellness products in a now-iconic pink bubble mailer. It’s become a symbol of the company, and customers love seeing the pink mailer show up on their doorstep.

The importance of packaging is something Apple understands—they know that lack of visibility is the reason that 80 percent of new retail products fail. Apple values the importance of this visibility so much that they employ a designer whose sole job is focused on creating breathtaking packaging. 

They’ve created a striking box and an entire sensory experience; one that communicates their brand without any words and without so much as a logo. It’s elegant, minimalist, and clean. This aesthetic catches the eye. 

The Challenges of Packing eCommerce Goods


There are a vast array of challenges that accompany packaging products purchased online. A few of them?

  • To be less wasteful by using less packing and reusable packaging to keep costs low
  • To provide brand presence with branding and graphics, which can elevate the unboxing process and delight customers
  • To anticipate the need for returns and optimize this process

Not only do online retailers need to consider creating an eye-catching, memorable design that makes a lasting impression, but they also need to do so in a way that makes financial sense. 

Additionally, kitting, bundling, and picking and packing can be a labor-intensive, costly process—especially in a large warehouse. Other issues include:

  • The potential for human error
  • The need to pay additional hours to bundle, pick and pack, and assemble kits
  • The danger of falling behind after a rise in demand or spike in orders

One way around this is to employ the services of a third-party logistics provider who has access to automation technologies.

OceanX: The Packaging Experts


OceanX got its start in packaging and fulfillment. More specifically, we got our start specializing in exceptional kitting and bundling services for subscriptions. And, we’re the only subscription platform that marries eCommerce technology solutions with recurring orders and billing, DTC fulfillment, and customer service. In that time, we’ve learned a thing or two about the importance of packaging. 

In the time we’ve been in operation, we’ve obtained extensive experience with kitting for brands. We’re pioneers in the world of kitting, in fact. How can we impact your packaging and fulfillment needs?

  • Thoughtful box and packaging design
  • Exquisite kitting and bundling
  • Efficient, cost-effective picking and packing
  • Smart packaging optimization and automation

To discover more about how packaging is the equivalent of your digital store’s storefront and how packaging can enhance your customers’ experiences with your brand and keep products safe in transit, access our latest webinar, then request a quote today