Branded packaging: is it really worth the cost?

In today’s competitive e-commerce landscape, standing out from the crowd is crucial. Branded packaging goes beyond just a box – it’s a strategic tool to create lasting impressions and elevate the customer experience. But is it worth the investment?

What is branded packaging?

Branded packaging is all about creating a customised experience that reflects your brand identity. It can be as simple as adding your logo and colours to the exterior or go all-out with bespoke designs, high-quality materials, and branded inserts. The goal is to transform a regular box into a mini-marketing campaign and an exciting unboxing moment for your customer. This approach strengthens brand recognition, builds customer loyalty, and sets you apart from the competition.

What are the benefits of branded packaging?

Packaging plays a crucial role in protecting goods during transit to their final destination. Branded packaging, however, adds even more value by providing the following benefits:

Advertising
Branded packaging helps promote your brand to anyone who comes into contact with it, whether in person or online. It’s not just your brand logo or website that makes an impression but the entire packaging design.

Branding
Branded packaging is an important aspect of your brand since it helps you to build your story. You can create quirky designs with a fun and friendly tone, polished boxes with an expensive and luxurious feel, or minimalist and eco-friendly inserts that reflect your brand’s commitment to sustainability.

eCommerce Branded Packaging

Customer experience
First impressions are essential in building brand loyalty, and branded packaging can help create a lasting impact. Branded outer packaging can help your delivery stand out from the rest and generate excitement for the package’s arrival. On the other hand, branded inner packaging can provide a memorable unboxing experience, adding joy and engagement to an otherwise ordinary task.

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

Social proof
Additionally, branded packaging is an excellent way to generate user-generated content (UGC) and social proof, as people love to talk about it. When your packaging impresses someone, they might post a photo on Instagram, make an unboxing video on YouTube or share their experience with friends. Research shows that 50% of shoppers are more likely to recommend your products if they come in gift-like or branded packaging.

What are the disadvantages of branded packaging?

Although branded packaging has numerous benefits, it may not be the best option for every business. Companies that are considering branding their boxes should be aware of the potential downsides, including:

  • Costs: Branded packaging is more expensive than unbranded packaging. The price difference depends on various factors, such as the complexity of your designs, economies of scale, and your product profit margins. Whether this cost is worth it depends on the return on investment. However, using the correct packaging size may help reduce the number of damaged or returned items.

  • Efficiency: Branded boxes and unboxing experiences can impact 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; however this typically becomes more accessible with economies of scale. 

  • Fulfilment: Not all third-party logistics (3PLs) support branded packaging fulfilment or have the expertise, equipment, or processes to support the use of branded packaging. Similarly, 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 that branded packaging is suitable for your eCommerce business, it’s important to consider a few key factors.

Reason to outsource usa a 3PL fulfilment partner 1

Brand strategy
One of the most important considerations is that the branded packaging should complement your overall brand strategy. For example, if you have an eco-friendly brand, your 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 
It’s also important to consider whether your target audience will appreciate branded packaging. Customers ordering a £1,000 handbag expect high-quality, detailed packaging, including a box, ribbon, tissue paper, and protective bag. On the other hand, a customer ordering a £5 handbag neither expects nor wants this level of packaging.

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 effectively. Sacrificing protection in favour of design will lead to damaged items, returns, and complaints, which is not good for your ROI. 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
Ensuring that your eCommerce 3PL can handle branded boxes and packages is important. However, it’s not just about whether they can provide bespoke packaging but also whether they have implemented the right processes and technology to do so efficiently.

Reason to outsource usa a 3PL fulfilment partner 5

Carriers
The downside of beautiful packaging is that it’s more susceptible to theft. Therefore, it’s crucial to adequately protect your customer orders by using 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 can elevate your brand, excite customers, and reinforce your value proposition. On the other hand, it may take more time, money, and patience to get right.

If you’re interested in discussing branded packaging with an expert, feel free to get in touch with us. At Synergy Retail Solutions, we have years of experience shipping both 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