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5 Mistakes E-Commerce Companies Make With Packaging

Woman scanning a package.

E-commerce changed the game for packaging designers. Instead of designing for esthetics or shelf appeal, they must work within the logistics of shipping or in-store pick-up. There are no signs these challenges will go away soon; e-commerce continues to grow at an average of 25% annually.

Companies are expected to leverage these trends either as a supplement to existing brick and mortar business or in new ventures designed around the convenience of online spending. But these efforts must take into account the possibility of packaging mistakes in a more mobile delivery system. Here are some of the packaging mistakes to avoid during any e-commerce initiative.

E-Commerce Packaging Mistakes

1. Too much or too little packaging.

Packaging mistakes can cost a retailer dearly; the data shows shoppers have a low tolerance for errors, and 30 to 50% will go elsewhere if they receive a damaged product. Retailers must balance too much or too little packaging to ensure their product arrives undamaged. 

The trick is to avoid overspending on materials by using the right amount of cushion to protect your delicate product. All shippable products must be tested thoroughly in a variety of scenarios to ensure the product arrives in one piece.

2. Inappropriate box size.

For retailers with a variety of goods, two standard box sizes simply won’t cut it. A small item will end up in the wrong size box, invariably using too much bubble wrap or other cushion. Your customer will judge you if this happens, likely wondering why you wasted so much box space for a tiny item. Also, the chances of the tiny item flopping about inside the packaging are high, which increases the risk of breakage. 

We don’t recommend you store a dozen different box sizes in your fulfillment center. But, planning shipping boxes around the products should yield a few solid combinations based on the most commonly shipped items.

3. Hard to open packages.

Every American parent has struggled with all the ridiculous packaging for children’s toys. It’s as much a rite of passage as stepping on a Lego. Packaging mistakes can include a frustrated customer struggling to open the packaging to get to your product. 

It’s a challenge to figure out how to ship safely, but a common packaging mistake is that retailers encase their product like Fort Knox so that the customer on the other end is left frustrated by the unboxing process. Check out Amazon’s “Frustration-Free Packaging Guidelines” to find out how to keep your customers satisfied.

Happy family with brown packages.
4. Forgetting to brand your packaging.

What’s a cake without icing? Branding packaging is an essential way to spread reach, but a common packaging mistake is to skip customization of the shipping package. Even a simple custom label or branded packaging tape can spread your corporate story. Give thought to how your package can sell more products. 

There are additional costs for custom-branding your shipping packages, but as brand recognition increases, there will be a corresponding jump in sales. Small touches like including a thank you card with a coupon are also smart ways to keep the customer coming back for more.

5. Missing the return packaging.

If you suffer from packaging mistake number three, the chances are high you’ll also suffer from missing out on return-friendly packaging. When customers are forced to damage your packaging so thoroughly to get at the product, this also inhibits their ability to return the item. If they have to come up with their own way of fixing the packaging so they can make the return, how likely do you think they’ll be a repeat customer?

Audit your packaging strategies and design and avoid these common mistakes for a better e-commerce experience for you and your customers.

PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!


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