Posted on February 9, 2023 by Dennis Salazar

Are Peel and Seal Adhesive Strips for Your E-commerce Packaging a Good Idea?

A popular request for the e-commerce boxes we make is peel and seal adhesive tape strips. They can be a great idea, depending on what you want and need them to do for you.

The most common reasons for using adhesive strips to seal your Direct-To-Consumer packages include:

For esthetics

Utilizing a peel and seal strip can potentially eliminate what can be unsightly box sealing tape. Whether it is plastic tape or paper tape, it can look unattractive depending on the way it is applied. Either tape type can look great when it is perfectly centered, and tapetails are flattened smooth. Unfortunately, the packer at the 3PL rarely has the time to apply tape the way the tape manufacturer suggests it be done. By hiding the tape under a closing flap, the tape becomes invisible, and does not interfere with your graphics.

For security

Unfortunately, clear tape is relatively easy to slit, open and reseal. Water activated adhesive paper tape, especially if it is custom printed is less so, IF it is applied with the right amount of moisture.

Usually, an aggressive adhesive strip of tape, seals the box so securely it becomes very difficult to open. We have all received a package that is nearly impossible to open and usually requires sacrificing one or more of your fingernails to get to the contents in the box. That is why we almost always recommend a tear strip be incorporated into the board design, especially if it is a reinforced tear strip, to make opening by the customer easier. This is as close as you can get to an e-commerce, “tamper evident” package for your valuable products.


For packing efficiencies

We’ve written a lot about trying to make your DTC packaging “3PL friendly”. Check out the first related post below. We have worked with customers who want to use “peel and seal” adhesive strips to speed up packing and box sealing. While I agree a well-designed adhesive tape sealing process can save time, only your 3PL can tell you whether or not it is going to reduce your per unit packaging price. I have heard of 3-PL companies who charge for extra clean up time at the end of each shift because of the mess peel strips can create at the end of a busy day. More on the negatives of sealing strips below.


For return (2-way ship) capability

You may have seen this option for the first time on an envelope, usually with two adhesive strips on the inside of the closing flap. This configuration has been widely used for years, for example, on documents and web sold soft goods such as clothing. It is great for the consumer, because if the item does not fit, they don’t like the color, or if the document requires sign and return, it can all be done with one (the same) envelope. The shipper/packer uses one of the adhesive strips to get it to the consumer, the consumer uses the second strip to return it to the sender.

The e-commerce industry started using double strips for two-way shipping, years ago. At first it was for security reasons, maybe for pharmaceuticals, or expensive personal care items. Then the age of the “free returns” hit the e-commerce world so providing the consumer an easy-to-use return package became a necessity for some businesses. The end result is that many companies now use a double or single tape package for their e-commerce customers, but it is not without its downside.

The potential negatives of peel and seal strips for e-commerce

The big potential negative is unit and upfront costs. Keep in mind adding peel and seal tape to any box is a separate and additional step in the box making process so the box cost may rise 20% or more. Several factors and variables can influence the additional cost so we will be glad to discuss your specific application and estimate the cost.

The upfront costs mentioned above for adding peel and seal tape on an existing box design, may also include a new cutting die and/or printing plates. If an extended flap on the box or a change to the basic design is required, a new cutting die will be needed with a cost range of $1,200 to $1,600.

Contact us via this site or call us at 630-551-1700. We look forward to learning more about your packaging requirements.

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