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Costs calendar    Mar 22, 2022

Packaging (types, costs, common mistakes and best practices)

Packaging is a wide-ranging field that has become an art. Wondering how to choose the right packaging solution? Here you will find the answer.

Orders packing is a real art - nowadays industry offers a lot of non-standard packaging solutions, from sustainable and plastic-free materials for people who care about the environment, to fully customised packaging tailored to the needs of your brands' customers. 

But how to choose the right packaging solution - and maintain the highest quality while taking care of costs? How to select correctly the type of packaging for the shipped products? What mistakes to avoid and what best practices to implement...? 

If you are interested in the answers to these questions - we invite you to the magic world of packaging and check what details are worth paying extra attention to. 

Cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, paper envelopes, and bags, what else? 

There is a huge range of packaging products on the market - from the extremely wide selection of boxes, tapes, and foil, you can get a real headache.  

Before we move on to the advice on how to ensure the right choice of packaging for your needs, let's check (for example for ordinary business curiosity) what you can most often find among the full range of manufacturers' offers of this type of materials: 

  • postal boxes and mailers (including cartons, cardboard cubes, book wrap mailers, cardboard envelopes - perfect for packaging small accessories, compostable mailing bags, etc.),
  • food packaging (pizza boxes, gable boxes, twisted handle paper bags, grab bags, etc.), 
  • wooden containers (often used to pack delicate and luxurious items, such as wine, cigars, liquors, tea, coffee, and cosmetics),
  • typical shipping boxes (both single and double wall), 
  • void fill also called cushioning material (eco nutz, puff pack, kraft paper sheets, bubble wrap, air pockets), 
  • tapes (eg. eco paper tape and plastic tape). 

If you run some kind of other business, don't panic about your specific packaging needs. There are many packaging solutions and a wide range of packaging companies that have extensive expertise not only in the sale of packaging materials and their possible personalisation but also in advising small businesses from industry niches in the selection of appropriate quality products. 

What's more, don't focus just on wholesale packaging, and don't forget about bulk packaging - you don't always ship to the end customer. Sometimes you need larger and more durable packages to use when shipping to stationery stores or warehouses. They can be a bit less aesthetic and customised - and you can negotiate a really good price for them. 

It's all about (eco) packaging materials: recycled paper and company 

The primary goal of selecting a packaging supplier service is, of course, to find the one who will deliver the best quality boxes and bags to protect parcels against careless delivery guys, rough drivers, or damage caused by weather conditions. In other words - businesses bet on security against strong brutal force. 

However, these factors are not everything in the matter of wholesale packaging solutions - when choosing the type of packaging, more and more retailers are picking up products with eco-friendly credentials. Thanks to this, they not only take care of the condition of our planet but also... respond to the needs of consumers. Research shows that more and more buyers can pay more for environmentally friendly packaging (70% of respondents on average; including 83% of respondents under 40 years old). Even the outbreak of the Covid pandemic has not affected this trend - 67% of consumers consider recyclable packaging as a key choice. Therefore, putting on sustainable packaging is not only a nod to our planet but also a real response to the needs of the market. 

green fulfilment parcel

In addition to the customer satisfaction issue, as a business, you also get other additional benefits from the choice of environmentally friendly recycled packaging - as a rule, they are also slightly cheaper when purchased in bulk than traditional packaging. The offer includes not only popular cardboard boxes but also paper tapes and paper-based void fill to fill the spaces in between carton boxes. 

Sustainable packaging is not only just about materials based on recycled paper - but it is also referred to as biodegradable, home compostable, food-safe, and of course plastic-free maters. The zero-waste and re-use trends have become a real new black in the retail industry. 

The packaging itself, however, is not all you can do in the fulfillment process for the environment, if you are curious about what other eco-friendly tips for commerce you can implement, read our tips on running the eco e-retail business. 

Ideal packaging solution - the matter of customisation

Packing can play a role that goes far beyond securing the contents in the boxes - and it works in the service of your marketing, enhancing your branding by incorporating the logo and company name into the remarkable packaging design project. 

Nowadays, the sky is the limit in terms of customisation (especially in terms of wholesale - boxes, wrapping papers and paper bags can be printed freely, following your specifications in detail). Custom packaging designed with a little bit of creativity will stand out. 

What's more, personalisation does not only mean choosing the type or size of the material or printing the logo on the box - you can go a step further and choose a production service that can, for example, adjust the colour of the filling or custom the ribbon when packing a gift - it all depends on your imagination and your budget.  

If you are not convinced that time is worth spending not only working on the appearance of the product itself but also on packaging design, check out a study published in the scientific Journal of Economic Psychology. The data collected in it clearly shows that attractive items packaging caused more brain activity of customers - especially in areas related to the impulsive system and centers of sense of reward. Even more so if you send the customer his first order - a good first impression can only be made once. 

Personalising the packaging and taking care of its implementation is therefore not only an industry necessity but also a scientifically documented fact in the field of neuropsychology - and allows even small businesses to take care of their excellent reputation. Choose the right production company, give it all the necessary tips - and enjoy the eye with aesthetic commercial packaging. 

And remember - make a sensible order in terms of the quantity, so that the materials are not stored in stock for too long a time. If you are planning a company rebranding or a small brand book lifting - you better wait for a moment with packaging customisation until you develop new branding guidelines. 

Things packaging - helpful hints and lifehacks

The more efficiently your businesses operate, the more items you ship - and the more you have to pack. Thus, you will have to employ more people, order more materials and... work on the efficiency and packaging price. Check out what factors to consider when looking for an ideal packaging solution - when running an e-commerce store or other businesses, you have to pay attention to even the smallest details. 

This can be achieved, among other things, by improving the storage and use of packaging. The most popular materials should be available at hand in stock and stored in an easily accessible place. If you ship huge amounts of parcels, invest in robotic technology for the assembly of cartons and boxes and make the whole process more efficient. It may also turn out that entrusting these tasks to an external company will be a cheaper alternative than hiring additional employees in-house. Thanks to this, even the largest number of parcels will be properly packed in less than one working day, and as we know - time is money in any business. 

Generally, the more you pack, the more room you have to maneuver - also in terms of negotiations related to the cost of orders. Discuss materials' prices with packaging supplier - I can guarantee that with a large number of orders you will be able to reach an agreement regarding the delivery of an offer for competitively priced materials. The mythical volume discounts exist in the real packaging service world- so it's worth asking for them. And remember: you have a huge range of suppliers to choose from. Even if one does not offer a satisfactory price, you can always look for good cost-effective solutions from other sellers. 

Choose the right size of the packaging - thanks to this you will minimise the number of materials used, take care of the environment, and the beard expenses, also those related to the storage in stock for a large number of too big or too small cardboard boxes. Also, remember that you can pack several items in the same pack when sending it to a single customer - as long as you ensure their safety by properly filling the spaces inside so that the items do not move and do not hit each other in the carton. 

Try to minimise the problem of returns - obviously having the right returns policy is key to your business, but the more returns, mistakes, and repackaging you have to deal with - the more costs you incur when it comes to things packaging. Regardless of whether you run a small business or a large company - don 'waste a lot of time and money on dealing with this issue. Remember - it is better to prevent than to cure, in other words - it is better to ensure customer satisfaction at the stage of creating the product and properly securing it in the package, than then having to replace it and send it again. 

Sustainable Logistics: the Need for Green Growth ebook is ready for download! Grab your free copy

Summing up

How many retail brands, so many packaging needs. The order packaging process and delivery itself can be a challenge at first glance - you have to choose a durable material that is also best suited to the environment's needs. In addition, you have to remember about its appropriate size, extra securing of the package, e.g. with a bubble wrap - but if you plan everything well and implement our bits of advice on avoiding the most popular mistakes, and give add a little personal touch and custom packaging- we guarantee that customers will appreciate your work and the effort you put into taking care of the details, and unnecessary packaging will not be left behind in stock. 

Take time to find the right solution for your brand (be patient - the search will take more than one working day, but the end result will be worth it) and ensure your buyers' great customer service. We keep our fingers crossed that all your parcels will be delivered on time - and their packages will make your customers smile and will be remembered for a long time. 

Head of Marketing at Linker Cloud who gained experience in the insurance and tech industry. She also has a marketing agency perspective.

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