In this eCommerce-driven world, using plain shipping bags or boxes is a missed opportunity as a brand. If you want to truly stand out from the crowd as a business, then custom packaging is the way to go about it.
The great thing about packaging in this day and age is there are so many avenues you can go down to showcase your brand story through design. From cards, stickers and stamps to tape, tissue paper and, mailer bags, there’s a lot of creativity that brands can have by using their packaging as an artist’s canvas. Plus, everything from the material you’re using to the colors, patterns, and illustrations can be personalized.
Not sure where to begin? Here’s eight unique packaging ideas that will inspire you to think outside the box and try something different.
1. Custom Cards Telling the Story of Your eCommerce Business
One of the ways custom packaging works in favor of digital brands is that it helps extend your customer experience from the online into the offline world. A custom card is a great way to tell your customers the story of how your business got started, or show some appreciation for them choosing to shop with you. Designer Joanne Hawker demonstrates this through putting a card with every order featuring a picture of her and a thank you message. Shoppers love to support small businesses, so it pays to remind people of the human on the other end of this exchange, instead of them feeling like the product has come straight off a production line. Highlighting the friendly face behind your brand is also a great way of personalizing the experience for the customer and forming a connection with them.
2. A Product That Leaves No Traces Behind: Compostable Mailers
While eCommerce has been one of the most game-changing developments for shopping in modern times, it has come at a price to the environment. The commonly used poly mailer bag that’s used to ship online orders out is made of polyethylene film (aka plastic) and takes hundreds of years to decompose, leaching out harmful chemicals in the process. Thankfully, there are alternatives on the market, such as compostable mailer bags. Mailers like the bag sustainable blog Impact For Good uses above are made of natural materials such as field corn and wheat straw. This means they can be eaten by worms and break down in 90 days in a commercial compost and six months in a home compost, leaving no traces behind. Your customer will be appreciative of your brand for being part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
3. Custom Cards That Customers Can Re-use for People They Love
Custom packaging can help add a thoughtful touch to your product, like Kat Schneids has done with her custom cards. Rather than being just a promotional tool for her brand, they’re designed for her customers to pay it forward by writing a note of appreciation to give to another person. This shows as a brand, you’re wanting to create a meaningful experience for your customer that goes beyond a sales exchange by helping them share the love with the special people in their life. It’s also a smart marketing technique that ensures your work reaches an audience other than your initial customer.
4. Custom Stickers for That Beautiful Finishing Touch
A custom sticker may be a smaller touch when it comes to packaging, but it can have a big impact for your design. They are a perfect way to emphasize your brand’s name or logo or add a fun, playful touch to the rest of your packaging. They also complete the experience by making the parcel look sealed, polished and beautifully put together. Illustrator Rachel Burt from Bowe and Burt chose to compliment her detailed tissue paper design with a cute two-tone sticker greeting her customers. The custom stickers she’s used are also made from recycled materials and are home compostable, which is a win for the environment.
5. A Custom Stamp to Show Off Your Branding
We all know the thrills of stamps through playing with arts and crafts as a kid, but stamps are also an incredibly effective way to market your brand. When it comes to packaging, they’re a convenient and visually beautiful way of emphasizing your logo and business name on every order shipped out. It also gives your packaging a home-made, personalized feel, which is a big win for customers who want to feel like they’ve received something unique and special. Homewares brand Evka Home shows us how it’s done with their custom noissue stamp, which is self-inking, sustainable (it’s made from 65 percent post-consumer plastics), and lasts for over 10,000 uses.
6. Colorful Custom Tape to Decorate Boxes and Parcels
Like the stickers we featured earlier, custom tape packs a punch on each package it’s featured on by adding a dash of creativity and design flair through illustration. It can also be used to emphasize a brand’s logo and colors and is a great way to liven up a plain shipping box or bag. Clothing brand Tazia has used the power of color to showcase a retro design on tape that seals each of their eCommerce orders shipping boxes. This ensures their brand personality is on full display, even when using plain packaging. The tape they’ve used is also environmentally friendly, made from recycled materials, and water-activated, which means it doesn’t leave a sticky residue behind like other commonly used tapes.
7. Detailed Custom Tissue Paper
When it comes to having packaging that can act as a canvas for showcasing great design, custom tissue paper is the go-to. It’s an incredibly versatile material that can be used to gift wrap products, cushion a product or line a shopping bag or mailer. The more creative you get with illustrations, patterns and colors, the more exciting your product’s unboxing experience is for the customer. Homeware brand Slowdown Studio demonstrates this beautifully with its custom two-colored tissue paper featuring elements of its unique brand identity. It’s a sure-fire way to make sure your package is memorable – and will increase your chances of photos and videos of this experience being shared by customers to social media. Plus, the custom tissue paper used by Slowdown Studio is eco-friendly due to being made of cellulose fiber and being free of acid, lignin and sulfur. This means it won’t leave any chemicals behind when decomposing in the waste, and it makes it more durable, too.
8. A Custom Kraft Mailer
If you’re shipping out items that you don’t want to be folded, scrunched or knocked, such as art prints or cards, then a custom Kraft mailer is your answer. Unlike mailer bags and much like an envelope, it is stiff and holds its shape while also being an easy and fun way to show off your branding. Designer Laura Lhuillier has used her Kraft mailer to showcase her design prowess by decorating the entire exterior with her illustrations. The result is a unique package that will arrive in the mail to surprise and delight her customers.
Wrapping it Up
We hope you’re feeling inspired after looking at these eight different ways to use packaging for your business. Remember that it’s a missed opportunity to opt for no branding, as the first moment a customer interacts with your package in the physical world is an important touchpoint for eCommerce brands.
There’s also so many ways you can get creative with custom packaging, from the colors you select, to the materials you choose, to the packaging product itself.
If you’re not so design inclined, then don’t fret – good packaging platforms will help connect you to creatives who can help you come up with stunning visuals for your brand.