Packaging and Design

E-Commerce Branding: Building Your Business By Making All the Right Packaging Choices, Part Two

Great e-commerce businesses can’t exist without great products, no doubt about it. But this is also beyond debate: they can’t grow without great packaging. That’s because a truly delightful unboxing experience drives loyalty, the ultimate e-commerce business builder. This two-part series covers all the steps that a smart entrepreneur should take to create that truly effective branded packaging.

Basically, our aim in this series is to help you make something exceptionally important happen. When your e-commerce package arrives in the mail, we don’t want your customer to just thoughtlessly rip through the cardboard to get to the goods. We want them to receive a work of art, something that makes them pause, feel special, take a picture or a video, and share the experience. And most importantly, we want them to remember the experience and crave a repeat.

Packaging drives that outcome. When you get it right, you build your business. That’s why, in our extensive work with e-commerce clients, our goal is always to help them nail this essential part of the puzzle.

In Part One, we covered the thinking you need to do before actually physically creating your packaging. Now, in Part Two, we’re going to show you how to translate that vision into concrete reality. To that end, we’ll cover some of the steps you should take to create branded e-commerce packaging.

But first…let’s review why branding matters  

We cover the rationale for investing thoughtfully into your branded e-commerce packaging more thoroughly in Part One. But essentially, branded packaging matters in e-commerce because:

It’s your only physical touchpoint—we’re trying to replace whatever could happen in a full-service brick and mortar purchase experience

It determines the perception of value60% of e-commerce customers say that when a brand uses premium packaging, it makes the products feel more expensive and luxurious

It inspires sharingincredible on-brand packaging drives recommendations as well as social media sharing

It builds loyalty52% of e-commerce shoppers are likely to make a repeat purchase if they perceive the brand’s packaging to be premium

 …and loyalty is more efficient—Retaining a customer costs 5 times less than acquiring a new one, and repeat customers spend 65% more  

Bring the vision to life

The road to creating premium packaging that efficiently builds your e-commerce brand starts with “defining the intangibles.” In Part One, we covered them: knowing your customer, defining the lifestyle you’re delivering, and naming your values. This is all the thinking you do prior to actually building your packaging. Now, we’re going to talk about translating all of that thinking into physical branded packaging.

Visualize the unboxing

According to the marketing influencer Jeff Bullas, 67% of online shoppers say product images are more important than customer reviews or product descriptions. And we know that the “unboxing experience” is what drives social media sharing of those all-important images.

So, the question is: what is your packaging going to actually look like when it’s featured in your customer’s social media feed? Can you visualize that social media post featuring your delightful, beautiful, sophisticated, funny, or [insert the right brand descriptor] packaging?

Try studying similar posts by your target demographic, making observations about which packaging features tend to inspire the most excitement. Once you’ve built packaging prototypes, you can even create your own faux unboxing posts, just to test drive your creation.

drawing of a woman unboxing a product

Brand holistically

Of course, when you build your branded packaging assets, you’re going to consider factors like box types and printing styles. (By the way, we’ve previously written a comprehensive guide to creating subscription box packaging if that’s the type of e-commerce business you’re building! Click here for Part One and for Part Two)

But it’s so important to know that eye-catching design is only the start. E-commerce packaging affords the opportunity to communicate your brand in a holistic, multi-faceted way.

With all the thinking you’ve (hopefully) done to know your customer, define the lifestyle you’re delivering, and name your values, you’re well prepared to brand holistically. By that, we mean building your packaging in such a way that you consider all the possibilities for expressing your brand in an authentic way.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • If your brand is environmentally friendly, you could use only recycled and recyclable materials, including plant-based, biodegradable packaging materials.
  • If your brand is playful, you could build your box so that it opens up like a board game
  • If your brand is caring, you could include personalized (even potentially hand-written) notes inside

Get the picture? Stunning design is important, but it’s just the start. You can get truly creative when you start thinking of your packaging as an opportunity to express the brand holistically. Remember, the goal is always to spark the delight that drives those unboxing experiences.

Choose the components thoughtfully

We’ve previously written a post that covers the elements that go into your branded packaging experience, so check that out if you want a deeper dive. But essentially, these are the elements that can go into your branded packaging:

Box – You have to consider style and material (see this post to learn more about the options)

Notes—Including notes that thank your customer or explain the products is a great practice

Tissue Paper – Custom printed tissue paper makes an unboxing feel more like unwrapping a gift

Fill – When choosing your packing materials, don’t forget to be creative and on-brand

Labels –Labels can make a package really pop, and if you get creative about where you’re placing them, they can add a fun layer of interactivity

Tape– It may be functional, but that doesn’t mean tape can’t be visually appealing as well if it’s custom printed

We hope this series has been helpful to you if you’re launching or building your e-commerce business. As our clients can attest, e-commerce is an awesome avenue for creating dream businesses. Get the branding right—especially when it comes to your packaging—and you’ll spread the word and drive that business-building loyalty with ease.



Links to the Entire Blog Series

E-Commerce Branding: Building Your Business By Making All the Right Packaging Choices: Part One 

E-Commerce Branding: Building Your Business By Making All the Right Packaging Choices: Part Two


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