Branded packaging: is it really worth the cost?

Everyone can ship fast now – it’s time to ship differently. ECommerce brands increasingly use branded packaging to make significant and lasting impressions on customers before they even try the product.

But is branded packaging an expensive gimmick that reduces operational efficiency, or is it a customer experience you can never put a price on?

What is branded packaging?

We’ve all received a generic brown parcel that looks like it’s done a few rounds in the sorting office and hitchhiked a ride to your doorstep, and branded packaging is the complete opposite. 

Branded packaging is sleek, professional and customised to your brand, ready for delivery to your customers. 

It can be as simple as branded graphics outside the packaging or creating a memorable unboxing experience with the use of bespoke designed packaging and inserts. Either way, branded packaging aims to elevate your brand and enhance the customer experience at first sight.

What are the benefits of branded packaging?

Packaging is incredibly powerful – protecting goods until they reach their ultimate destination. Branded packaging takes this power one step further, bringing benefits including:

From leaving the warehouse to landing at the recycling centre, branded packaging advertises your brand to anyone seeing it in person or online. And it’s not just your logo or website that makes an impression.


Customer experience
They say first impressions last, and they’re not wrong. Branded outer packaging makes your delivery stand out from the rest and can help drive excitement for the delivery of your package. Meanwhile, branded inner packaging creates a memorable unboxing experience that brings joy and engagement to an otherwise mundane task.

Together, these make customers feel more positive about your brand, driving repeat purchases and referrals.

eCommerce Branded Packaging


Branded packaging is an extension of your brand, helping you craft your narrative. This can be fun and friendly with quirky designs, expensive and luxurious with polished boxes, or eco-friendly and minimalist with sustainable inserts that reflect your brand’s commitment to sustainability.

Social proof
Finally, branded packaging is something people like to talk about. Whether it’s a photo on Instagram, an unboxing video on YouTube or a conversation with friends – when your packaging impresses one, it’s shown to thousands. 50% of shoppers will recommend products if they come in gift-like or branded packaging.

What are the disadvantages of branded packaging?

Despite its significant benefits, branded packaging isn’t for everyone. Potential disadvantages for businesses considering branding their boxes include:

Branded packaging is more expensive than unbranded packaging. The price difference depends on your economies of scale, the intricacy of your designs, and your product profit margins. Whether this cost is worth it depends on the ROI. However, on the other hand, you may reduce your damaged returned items with the correct sized packaging.


Branded boxes and unboxing experiences can affect operational efficiencies. Switching between packaging, adding inserts, and correctly positioning products can take up the time you’re paying for both wages and shipping speeds.


Not all 3PLs support branded packaging fulfilment or have the expertise, equipment or processes to support the use of branded packaging. While internally, not all in-house fulfilment operations can handle the volume of work that comes with branded packaging.

Six considerations for branded eCommerce packaging

To ensure branded packaging is suitable for your eCommerce business, let’s look at the key considerations beforehand.

Reason to outsource usa a 3PL fulfilment partner 1

Brand strategy

First, it’s essential that the branded packaging used complements your overall brand strategy.

For example, an eco-friendly brand’s packaging should be sustainable and minimal, while a luxury brand’s packaging should be high quality and indulgent.

Reason to outsource usa a 3PL fulfilment partner 2

Target audience 
Next, will your target audience appreciate branded packaging? A customer ordering a £250 handbag expects high-quality, detailed packaging, including a box, ribbon, tissue paper, and protective bag – the complete works. A customer ordering a £5 handbag neither expects this service nor wants to pay for it.

Reason to outsource usa a 3PL fulfilment partner 3

Form and function
Packaging is designed to protect what’s inside, so it must do so. Sacrificing protection in favour of design will cause damaged items, returns, and complaints – destroying any ROI. Additionally, when designing your branded packaging, it’s crucial to consider the practicalities of building your packaging and the impact on your operational efficiency. Involving your 3PL partner or operations team during prototyping can help optimise your design and implement packaging best practices.

Reason to outsource usa a 3PL fulfilment partner 4

eCommerce 3PL
It’s crucial that your eCommerce 3PL can handle branded boxes and packages. However, it’s not just about whether they can provide bespoke packaging but also if they have implemented the right processes and technology to do so efficiently.

Reason to outsource usa a 3PL fulfilment partner 5

The downside of beautiful packaging is that it’s more susceptible to theft. Adequately protect your customer orders by ensuring your 3PL uses a reputable and reliable courier service that works hard to prevent doorstep thefts.


Branding packaging and unboxing experiences are exciting considerations for any growing eCommerce business. On the one hand, they elevate your brand, excite customers and reinforce your value proposition; on the other hand, they can take more time, money and patience to get right. 

Want to talk about branded packaging with an expert?

Get in touch. At Synergy Retail Solutions, we have years of experience shipping branded and unbranded orders for medium to large eCommerce and high street retailers. 

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Gary Rees

Gary Rees

Gary Rees is the owner of Synergy Retail Support, one of the leading SME fulfilment centres in the UK. Having successfully grown the business for over 30 years and with relationships with most household brands, he now looks to partner with customers rather than just act as a supplier so that both parties can grow together. Gary has extensive knowledge in retail compliance, production technologies, shipping details and customer service.

Feel free to contact me personally if you’d like to discuss your business.

01604 412 290