Posted on December 11, 2018 by Dennis Salazar

E-commerce Custom Box Printing and Production FAQ

Most FAQ questions about e-commerce custom box printing and production

We have learned a lot over the course of the last eleven years, during which time Salazar Packaging has become one of the leading providers of e-commerce custom printed branded boxes in the country. Many of our new customers are start-ups and inexperienced packaging buyers, so we have eagerly shared volumes of industry knowledge and information. Occasionally, I like to write a blog post that lists some of the most common concerns and questions people contacting us have so others can benefit.

What is flexographic/ flexo printing?

It is the most basic print process where ink is transferred directly to the corrugated board using a rubber plate, much like an ink pad and stamp but at very high speeds. Flexo is by far our most popular print process because the cost per box is the lowest possible with a ONETIME cost of flexographic print plates. Flexo printing does have some limitations as explained in this post.  If flexographic printing is not going to work with your graphic design, we also have long run digital printing to offer. You can learn more about digital printing at our newest site:

What is the cost for an e-commerce subscription box?

That is the equivalent of calling a shoe store and asking for a price on a pair of shoes.  There are different styles of both boxes and shoes and certainly different sizes. Pricing can vary, but unlike shoes, the key factor in the cost of custom printed or custom size boxes is quantity. For example, 2,000 boxes are usually around 15 to 20% less expensive compared to an order for the same box at our 1,000-minimum order.

What is “semi-custom” printed boxes?

Semi-custom is a term we created to help customers and take advantage of the fifty cutting die sizes we had to offer eight years ago. Today we have over 160 stock dies that you can use at no cost. You can still create your very own custom printed box design but the die size, box style, number out and board grade have already been pre-determined for you. A semi-custom size can also save precious time and resources since a new cutting die does not have to be made or stored.

What do you mean by number out or number up?

When a cutting die and plate are designed, the equipment and production plant determine how many boxes they need to print or stamp out with each cycle for best efficiency. Usually the smaller the box, the more boxes we need to cut at one time to help minimize the cost per box. For example, a 12” x 9” X 4” box may be produced two out to maximize board size and production efficiency. A box that is only 5” X 5” X 2” may have to run four or even six out to help reduce the cost per box. Cutting die costs, print plate costs and of course, cost per box and insert are all impacted.

Salazar Packaging, e-commerce boxesCan you quote shipping costs for my potential order?

That is much more difficult for us to estimate because of different factors that impact that cost. Even with the ship to ZIP code, we don’t know if there is going to be an over run or under run, how they will be palletized and the delivery requirements at the ship-to address. Do you have an unloading dock a standard truck can back into or is it a residential address?

Still we do enough shipping coast to coast that we can give you a rough estimate based on our previous shipments to that area. Keep in mind that shipping cost is always a pass through for us, so we do not add on any costs or margin. What we pay is what you pay, and you have the cost benefit of a company that ships truckloads of boxes every week.

Are all your boxes 100% recyclable?

Absolutely. The 100% recyclability is a given, but the recycled “content” will vary depending on board grade and graphics. For example, white board is usually made of virgin white paper, so it cannot be 100% recycled content. Specialty 100% recycled content white is available on as limited basis depending on your box size and order quantity. However, no matter what board color or combination you use, if we print using our flexographic equipment, and our water-based inks, your boxes can be stamped and promoted as 100% recyclable all the time.

If you want a specific answer to these or any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via email or call us at 630-551-1700. You may also want to take a quick tour through our gallery at In the very rare occasion when we do not know the answer, I can assure you we know where to get it.

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