Posted on January 16, 2023 by Dennis Salazar

E-Commerce Packaging for Large and Small Start-Up Companies

We have been fortunate and blessed to have worked with many new companies during pre-launch such as Harry’s, Madison Reed, Plated, Sackcloth & Ashes, and countless other e-commerce companies. We have served some of the largest and some of the smallest DTC companies in America, ranging from these e-commerce market leaders to home based, kitchen table, startups. From the inception of our company, we have always attracted new, startup companies, because we take pride in being an exceptional resource for information and education. This blog as well as our site feature search bars where visitors can find exactly what they need.

In 2007, e-commerce, DTC, branding, and sustainability were all relatively new terms and people were attempting to understand and define them, so they could apply them and their new, startup companies. At that point, our key people already had between twenty and thirty years of packaging experience, so we not only understood what these terms meant, we also knew how they could be used to communicate a company’s focus and purpose. Fortunately, many of those people and companies looked to us for guidance.

Eco-Consistency and Sustainability in DTC Packaging  

No matter how complicated some people try to make it, eco-consistency is simply – ship your green, sustainable product in green, sustainable packaging. The bad example I have used many times over the years is 100% organic cotton baby clothes shipping in a plastic mailer, a shipping package that bears a strong resemblance to, let’s face it, a really well constructed garbage bag. Today some of those plastic mailers are touted as being 100% recycled content or even compostable, but are they really? The vast majority are made overseas, so in my mind, material content is always suspect with or without a “guarantee”. Then of course there is the visual perception and impact, when there are so many people out there who are vehemently opposed to plastic in any form.

As a “best option” designer of packaging solutions, we can’t afford to be totally anti-plastic, because there are times, flexible packaging brings some unique characteristics and lower costs to the application. A great example is inserts for shipping boxes. Molded foam or plastic can provide that great, upscale “I-Phone” look. However, minimums and tooling cost make those designs cost prohibitive. Depending on the product being contained and displayed, we can usually create a low cost, low minimum, paper-based solution for them.

A Great Unboxing Experience at Home

Much like sustainability which means different things to different people, a similar variety of thoughts and opinions exist when it comes to creating “a great unboxing experience”. Some people are very focused on the ease of unpacking, for example, the much-touted Amazon “Frustration Free” packaging.

For other customers (especially marketing people) it is 100% about appearance. Ideally products are displayed in a beautiful custom printed insert, within a custom printed (properly fitted) box interior. We do a better job of custom printing e-commerce packaging compared to most suppliers, but we also know that a good unboxing experience begins with product being delivered, safely, in one piece and undamaged. The first Related Post link below explains how we balance presentation and protection to provide the best possible customer experience. Remember, we go back to the beginning and cut our DTC teeth on delivering the now rarely used “WOW Experience”.



Regardless of Company Size, Some Things Are Common           

To be frank, most customers want it all. Just a few of the requests include:

  • A great packaging design with materials and graphics that “pop”
  • Maybe some embossing or debossing
  • 100% recycled materials
  • Easy assembly
  • Low weight for shipping
  • And of course – low cost

We have enough experience to be able to guide a new company through the potentially treacherous waters of e-commerce packaging design. We are also very straight forward in telling people what the probable impact is of their expectations and requirements. “Yes, we can do that for you, but here is the down side….”.  We’ve been doing this long enough to witness many companies having to do a major redesign, after the initial launch. The first design is usually marketing driven, the second is usually led by accounting or operations. Needs change and it is good to work with a company who understands that and is able to help you achieve your initial or later goals.

If you want to discuss your specific application and needs, feel free to contact us via this web site, or call us a 630-551-1700. Our branded packaging advisors are eager to help you whether you are a multi-million dollar company or just starting out. We have packaging solutions for all sizes and tastes.

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