12 eCommerce Product Packaging Tips That’ll Make Customers Buy Again

15 min. read
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What packaging is used in eCommerce?

💡 Quick Answer: eCommerce packaging can vary depending on the product type and retailer’s preferences. The most common are corrugated boxes, poly mailers, and padded envelopes. It’s important for eCommerce businesses to choose packaging materials that provide adequate protection while considering cost, sustainability, and branding.


Picture this: You’ve ordered a product online, and it finally arrives at your doorstep.

You eagerly open the package.

What you see and feel in those first few seconds has the power to shape your entire shopping experience.

A well-designed package can tell a story. It can highlight your attention to detail and commitment to quality, and it can make customers super excited about your product.

On the other hand, it can also send warning signals that the product is low quality or just…bland and boring.

That’s the magic of eCommerce packaging.

It can make or break your online business.

Packaging isn’t just about protecting your product during transit. It’s an opportunity to create a memorable brand experience.

You can even convert customers into brand advocates that eagerly share their unboxing experiences on social media. And with the popularity of social media these days, this is especially important.

In this guide, we’ll share 12 expert tips and strategies to create unboxing experiences that truly wow online shoppers. You’ll also learn the must-avoid mistakes that can frustrate customers and damage your online store’s reputation.

Ready to unpack the secrets to eCommerce packaging design success?

Let’s dive in.

Importance of good product packaging

Before we get to the tips and strategies, let’s quickly recap why good product packaging is a vital element in eCommerce:

Creating a strong first impression

Your packaging is the first thing customers see when your product arrives on their doorstep.

It sets the tone for the entire customer experience. And it can make all the difference between a bad review or a customer becoming a repeat buyer.

Elevating brand identity and recognition

Product packaging is an opportunity to communicate your brand’s values, personality, and story.

Consistent use of colors, fonts, and imagery can make your packaging instantly recognizable. That can foster trust and loyalty.

Reflecting product quality

A premium package signals to customers that the contents inside are equally exceptional. It elevates the perceived value of your product and justifies the price point.

Custom packaging enhances the customer experience and can improve your brand’s reputation.

Product protection and reducing returns

It’s not just about aesthetics. Packaging plays a crucial role in protecting your product during transit. A sturdy package minimizes the risk of damage, reducing the likelihood of returns and customer dissatisfaction.

You can save both time and money while also keeping your customers happy.

If handling the packaging and shipping of your products is holding back your business, you could consider another type of fulfillment. Check out our eCommerce order fulfillment guide to learn more about your options.

12 eCommerce packaging tips that customers will love

So yes, you get it, eCommerce packaging is super important. But how do you create memorable unboxing experiences for your customers?

Here are 12 expert tips to take your packaging strategy up a level.

If you’re starting out or looking to take your retail store online, check out the resources below before you think too much about packaging:

1. Stylish internal designs

First impressions matter.

But what about the impressions that come after the outer box is opened?

The internal design is just as important as the exterior packaging. It can make a lasting impression on your customers.

Here’s an example of a stylish interior by Harry’s that serves functionality while creating a distinct impression:

How to implement it:

Consider using high-quality packaging materials like tissue paper and custom inserts. You can also add ribbons, stickers, and other decorative elements.

Textured materials can add a luxurious feel to the unboxing experience and create a sense of premium quality - think soft velvet lining or textured tissue paper inserts.

Get creative with the design and make sure the color scheme complements your brand identity.

Why customers will love this:

Stylish internal designs elevate the perceived value of the product. It can enhance overall customer satisfaction and foster a deeper connection with your brand.

According to a recent study, 30% of businesses have observed a significant revenue increase following packaging improvement.

What to avoid doing:

Avoid using excessive amounts of packaging materials. This can be wasteful and inconvenient for customers and these days lots of people are very environmentally conscious.

You also don’t want to sacrifice product protection for aesthetics. Make sure the product is secure within the protective packaging to avoid any damage during transit.

2. Use sustainable packaging

Focus on using eco-friendly or recycled materials for your product packaging. Try to minimize your environmental impact and promote responsible consumption.

A recent report revealed that 64% of UK consumers are more likely to buy from retailers that provide sustainable packaging options. And half are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging and delivery.

How to implement it:

Source carbon-neutral or biodegradable packaging materials. You can also use materials made from recycled resources.

Another good way to reduce your carbon footprint is to opt for a minimalistic design.

Make sure you tell your customers about your commitment to sustainability through clear labeling or eco-friendly certifications.

Why customers will love this:

Sustainability is an increasingly important consideration for consumers. Online shoppers are more likely to buy from environmentally conscious brands. Using a sustainable design shows your commitment to reducing waste and preserving the planet.

What to avoid doing:

Avoid misleading claims when it comes to promoting the benefits of your packaging. Be transparent about the materials used, the manufacturing processes, and the overall environmental impact.

Clearly communicate the steps you’ve taken to reduce your packaging’s ecological footprint. You should also provide clear information on how customers can dispose of or recycle the packaging responsibly.

3. Include freebies inside

We all love surprises and extra goodies, don’t we?

Including freebies can enhance the unboxing experience and leave a lasting impression.

Whether it’s a free sample, coupon, or branded merchandise, freebies are a great way to delight your customers.

How to implement it:

Adding small free samples of your other products allows customers to explore more of what your brand has to offer. It’s a great way to generate interest and potentially lead to future purchases.

Make sure the freebies are relevant and contribute to the overall unboxing experience.

Expanding your range of products can be a great way to boost profits. You can learn more about the ways you can increase sales and grow your online store in the resources below:

Why customers will love this:

Freebies create a sense of value. Customers who receive something extra without any additional cost feel like they’re getting more than what they paid for.

It’s an instant boost to the perceived value of their purchase.

And who doesn’t love feeling like they’ve scored a great deal?

What to avoid doing:

Avoid generic and low-quality freebies. The last thing you want is to give your customers something that feels cheap or unrelated to your brand.

Freebies are an extension of your brand experience. So choose items that reflect your values and quality standards. Keep it relevant.

You should also be mindful of the size and weight of the additional items. Don’t compromise the integrity of the packaging of fragile items.

4. Interactive packaging

Interactive packaging engages customers and encourages them to physically or digitally interact with the packaging. It can include QR codes, augmented reality features, puzzles, or hidden surprises.

Here’s an example by Kissan that is designed to entertain kids while teaching them the importance of a healthy diet:

How to implement it:

Like Kissan, you can incorporate games, hidden messages, and puzzles on your packaging. It adds an element of fun and encourages engagement.

You could also add QR codes customers can scan to unlock exclusive content or access special offers.

Scratch-off elements and tear-off strips can also be effective ways to provide additional value and surprise.

Why customers will love this:

Customers love to engage with unique and interactive features. It adds excitement to the unboxing experience and can enhance overall satisfaction.

And instead of throwing away your packaging, customers will keep it around for a while. This can keep your brand top of mind.

What to avoid doing:

Make sure the interactive elements align with your brand and product. For example, if you sell luxury watches, a light-hearted game aimed at children isn’t a good fit.

The goal is to provide value and enhance the overall customer experience.

5. Ask customers for product reviews

Unless you’re a complete newbie to eCommerce, you’ll already know how important product reviews are. According to the latest online shopping review stats, nearly half of consumers trust reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations.

The good news is that you can actively encourage customers to share their feedback using your packaging.

How to implement it:

The easiest way is to include a small insert that asks customers to leave a review and provides instructions on how to do so.

You can also include a QR code that directs customers to a dedicated review page or a platform where they can leave a review. Just scan, tap, and share their feedback!

Why customers will love this:

Customers appreciate brands that value their feedback. By asking for product reviews, you demonstrate a genuine interest in hearing their thoughts and improving their experience.

What to avoid doing:

Avoid being too pushy in your review requests. Keep the messaging polite and non-intrusive.

It’s also important that you don’t offer incentives or rewards in exchange for positive reviews. This compromises the authenticity of the feedback. Offering incentives for reviews can also get you banned from Amazon and other eCommerce marketplaces.

6. Make your packages return-friendly

Did you know around 16% of all products ordered online are returned?

From wrong sizing to unwanted gifts, there are dozens of reasons why a customer might want to return an item.

And the best way to avoid negative feedback is by making the return process as seamless and hassle-free as possible. That starts with your packaging.

How to implement it:

Design your packaging so that customers can repack the product effortlessly if they need to make a return. Avoid excessive tape or single-use packaging that could frustrate customers.

Include detailed instructions on how to initiate a return and any specific requirements. You can also provide pre-printed return labels or easy-to-access digital labels to streamline the return process.

Why customers will love this:

Customers love return-friendly packaging because it saves them time and effort. When return instructions are clearly labeled on the packaging, customers can quickly find the information they need.

It eliminates frustration and ensures a smoother return process.

What to avoid doing:

Avoid using flimsy packaging materials. Customers expect their returns to arrive safely and securely, so investing in packaging that can withstand the journey is crucial.

You also want to avoid any confusion around your return policy. Make sure your packaging includes explicit guidelines and any necessary deadlines.

It’s always best to avoid returns when possible by selling a great product. If you’re looking for product idea inspiration, check out the following free resources:

7. Branded sealing tape

Branded sealing tape adds a touch of professionalism to your packaging. It demonstrates that you take pride in your products and the entire customer experience.

Every detail counts when it comes to creating memorable brand experiences.

How to implement it:

Design and order tape that showcases your brand identity. You’ll need to consider your logo, colors, and any unique design elements.

Use the branded packing tape to seal your shipping boxes, creating a professional and cohesive look.

Why customers will love this:

Branded tape can reinforce customer trust and confidence in your brand.

When your package arrives, the branded tape strengthens customer affinity for your products. It’s a visual reminder of their positive experiences with your products.

What to avoid doing:

Avoid using low-quality tape that easily peels off or doesn’t adhere properly. You also want to ensure the tape is consistent with your brand’s visual identity.

It’s also important to avoid using excessive amounts of tape that makes it difficult for customers to open the package.

8. Make your eCommerce packaging easy to open

Everyone has experienced frustration and even anger when opening a package. This experience is so common that it even has its own name - “wrap rage.”

It can even be dangerous.

In the UK, more than 60,000 people require hospital treatment each year after injuring themselves opening difficult packaging.

Making sure your packaging is easy to open is essential for eCommerce businesses.

How to implement it:

You can use tear strips, pull tabs, or perforations to make opening the package a breeze. This inclusive approach enhances the user experience and demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Test the packaging yourself and gather feedback from others to ensure a smooth and frustration-free opening experience.

Why customers will love this:

Customers appreciate a hassle-free unboxing process. It’s a small detail that holds tremendous value.

When packaging is easy to open, it saves customers time and effort. Easy unboxing creates a positive first impression and sets the stage for a great customer experience.

What to avoid doing:

Avoid using packaging that is overly complex or requires additional tools for opening.

The aim is to make the outer packaging secure enough to protect the product during transit but not so excessive that it becomes difficult to open. Strike a balance between security and ease of access.

9. Promote your brand

Your packaging is an excellent opportunity to showcase your brand and what makes you different. You can use visual elements and messaging to communicate your brand identity and unique selling point.

How to implement it:

Consistency is key.

Make sure that your custom-branded packaging aligns seamlessly with your overall brand identity - colors, typography, and logo.

Consider using custom-printed stickers, tissue paper, or inserts with your brand logo and messaging.

Why customers will love this:

Showcasing your brand in the packaging creates a sense of familiarity and connection.

It reinforces your brand values and personality. You can make your customers feel like they are part of a larger community.

In a recent survey, 40% of consumers said they were willing to post photos of products with unique and branded packaging on their social media accounts.

What to avoid doing:

Avoid generic packaging that lacks personality. Inconsistent branding can also dilute the impact, so make sure your packaging accurately represents your brand.

You should also beware of the temptation to overcrowd your packaging. Try to balance showcasing your brand and not overwhelming your customers with excessive information or visual clutter.

10. Use product inserts

Product inserts can be a super-effective tool for your eCommerce company. It’s a small piece of paper or card included inside the packaging.

You can include instructions for product use or express gratitude to your customers and ask for a review.

How to implement it:

Inserts are a great place to include instructions, tips, or guidelines for your product. It gives your customers all the information they need to make the most of their purchases.

It’s also an opportunity to express gratitude or invite customers to connect with you on social media or leave a review.

Why customers will love this:

Product inserts show that you care about their satisfaction beyond the immediate transaction. They can encourage repeat business and inspire customer loyalty.

Customers love the convenience of having all the necessary information about the product at their fingertips. It enhances their overall experience and fosters customer satisfaction.

What to avoid doing:

The key is to provide value to your customers. Be selective in the information you include and make sure it aligns with the customer’s needs.

Overwhelming them with too much information or including content that doesn’t add value can lead to confusion and frustration.

Keep the inserts concise, visually appealing, and aligned with your brand’s tone and style.

11. Custom box inserts

Custom box inserts are specially designed compartments or dividers placed within the packaging to protect the product during transit.

These inserts can be a great way to make your packaging more memorable. When done right, they can even inspire customers to make unboxing videos.

Unboxing videos are the fourth most influential content type social media users consider helpful when making purchase decisions.

How to implement it:

First, you’ll need to consider the dimensions and fragility of your product. Then, you can design inserts that snugly fit the item and prevent it from shifting or getting damaged.

You can use foam, cardboard, or molded plastic to create custom inserts that provide optimal protection and presentation.

Why customers will love this:

Custom packaging inserts show your commitment to delivering products in pristine condition. Instead of a box arriving with the product rattling around inside, your custom insert helps your product look great during the unboxing.

Customers appreciate the extra care and attention to detail, creating a positive impression of your brand.

What to avoid doing:

Avoid box inserts that are too tight or too loose. They can lead to product damage during transit.

You also want to avoid materials that shed particles. For example, don’t use styrofoam balls. These annoying package fillers can interfere with the product and make a mess during the unboxing.

It’s also important to account for the cost of premium packaging in your pricing. You may be able to charge more for your products if you deliver a much better experience than your competitors.

Check out our guide on eCommerce pricing strategies to learn more about how to price your products for maximum sales and profits.

12. Personalized messaging

You can personalize your packaging to create a more individualized and meaningful connection with the customer. That could include a tailored message printed on the packaging or a handwritten note like the example below:

How to implement it:

Consider using personalized thank-you cards or customized messages based on the customer’s purchase history. You can address the customer by their name and reference their specific order.

It’s an opportunity to acknowledge their support and express gratitude.

Why customers will love this:

Personalized messaging adds a human touch to the customer experience. It makes customers feel valued and appreciated.

Consumers are more likely to remember and engage with personalized messages, increasing the chances of repeat purchases and positive word-of-mouth.

A recent survey revealed that 89% of marketers see a positive ROI when they use personalization in their campaigns.

What to avoid doing:

Attention to detail goes a long way in making your customers feel valued and appreciated.

Double-check the names and details to ensure accuracy before sending out the package. There’s nothing more disheartening than receiving a personalized message with a glaring error.

You should also avoid using generic messages that don’t feel sincere or genuine.

6 product packaging mistakes to avoid

Product packaging can significantly impact the experience of buying from your store.

And it’s not always positive.

There are a few crucial mistakes to steer clear of, including:

1. Poor quality materials

Using low-quality materials sends a message that your brand lacks attention to detail. Flimsy cardboard boxes or packaging that easily tears during transit can lead to damaged products and disappointed customers.

2. Excessive packaging

Overpacking products with excessive materials creates a frustrating unboxing experience for customers.

Don’t annoy your customers with excessive layers of bubble wrap or plastic. It’s time-consuming and inconvenient for customers to unwrap and dispose of, leaving them with a negative impression of your brand.

3. Inadequate protection

Customers expect their purchases to arrive in pristine condition.

Failing to provide sufficient protection for the product during shipping can result in damaged goods upon arrival. If the product is not securely protected, it may break or become unusable.

4. Inconsistent branding

Inconsistent branding can confuse customers and dilute brand recognition. Using different colors, fonts, or logos on your packaging can create a disjointed and unprofessional look.

Consistency is crucial for establishing brand identity.

5. Poor graphic design

Low-quality designed packaging reflects poorly on the quality of the product inside. Inconsistent colors, cluttered layouts, illegible fonts, or unattractive visuals can diminish your brand’s overall appeal and professionalism.

6. Lack of sustainability

Modern shoppers want to buy from brands that prioritize sustainability. Using excessive plastic packaging or non-recyclable materials is not a good look for your brand.

Use eco-friendly packaging solutions that align with customer expectations and contribute to a greener future.

You can learn more about online shopping preferences in our ultimate list of eCommerce statistics.

Create a memorable unboxing experience for your customers

Product packaging is a crucial element in eCommerce.

Whether it’s through visually stunning designs, sustainable practices, or value-added extras, the choices you make with your packaging can significantly impact your business.

By understanding the importance of good packaging and implementing the right strategies, you can create an unboxing experience that delights your customers.

But good packaging won’t matter if you don’t have great products to sell.

That’s where the SaleHoo Directory can help.

It’s a valuable resource for finding reliable suppliers. You can browse millions of products sold by over 8,000 vetted manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers.

And if you’re struggling to find winning product ideas, use Market Research Labs to discover hot and trending items to sell.

These tools give you the insights and opportunities to grow your eCommerce business.

If you have any questions about product packaging or anything eCommerce related, don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated 24/7 support team.


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