Posted on March 15, 2023 by Dennis Salazar

E-Commerce Packaging Trend: Simplicity to Reduce Cost

We are not sure if it is a Covid hangover effect, or a reflection of a deteriorating economy, but we are seeing an unmistakable trend to design or redesign direct to consumer packaging. The new objective is to utilize clean, simple packaging, and in most cases the end result is a lower cost per unit shipped.

What does “lower cost per unit shipped” mean?  

After decades in the packaging industry, we know our customers’ “cost” goes well beyond what they pay us for the box, bag, or mailer envelope they use to ship their customers’ orders. In many cases, those additional costs dwarf the packaging purchase price, but they may be much more difficult to calculate and determine. We tend to take a comprehensive perspective on packaging because price is almost always, just the tip of the expense iceberg. By the time you include inbound shipping, storage costs, pick and pack fulfillment, and out bound shipping, that “money saving”, bargain box you use, may actually cost you much more. In other words, lower cost per unit shipped, includes ALL of the costs resulting from the “out the door” use of any packaging design.

Who is steering the packaging ship?

In most cases, it depends on where the project is in terms of the launch cycle. Time and time again, we find that in the early phase of a new product or start-up company’s launch, sale and/or marketing are usually piloting the ship. We love those people because they are wonderfully creative and enthusiastic. Sometimes however they are almost too creative, because they come up with structural or graphic design ideas that are costly to produce and implement.

A year later, sometimes two, accounting and or operations have taken the rudder and the focus is on, you guessed it, the bottom line. This is usually when we are asked for ideas that will reduce the overall cost. Here are a few ways we can potentially simplify your packaging and produce a lower cost per unit shipped.

  • Reduce the amount of corrugated used. This solution may include a new box or insert design with board economy in mind. Many customers oversize their boxes because they are uncertain what to expect in terms of products, quantities and dimensions. Right sizing after you have some order history is always a good idea.
  • Reduce board thickness. In many cases, the initial or original board grade and thickness can be minimized, reducing the number of square inches of board used, as well as shipping and storage costs. Fewer pallets shipping inbound on a truck and fewer pallets stored on the racks.
  • Change internal packaging or modify an existing insert. With time comes experience and you may now have a better handle on your products’ vulnerability to shipping damage. In many cases we are able to eliminate loose fill, or other internal packaging with a basic insert that protects and displays your products for an enhanced customer unboxing experience.
  • Consider a different box design or style. We just saved a new customer over 40% in box cost by converting them from a very tall, die cut mailer to an RSC style box. With inside printing, nothing is sacrificed in terms of box appearance, and board usage is dramatically reduced. Or maybe going from a mailer box to a 100% recycled content mailer envelope is the best solution? We have many ways of simplifying your packaging design and saving you substantial money.
  • 3-PL’s love simple structural designs. The first related post below goes into more detail but essentially time is money so anything you can do to make your packaging easier to assemble and pack, may produce substantial savings for you. This is especially true of inserts that can be very difficult to assemble and use.
  • Simplifying your graphic design. Initially everyone wants what we used to refer to as “the wow factor”. A really great, eye catching first impression. We usually suggest that customers spend their design dollars inside the box, rather than the outside that more than likely will arrive banged up and covered with labels and box sealing tape. Allow us to review your graphic design inside and outside and suggest some cost saving ideas. We can show you how to get the most for your print dollar.

These are all savings producing ideas we have proven to be effective, for fifteen years. We were there, at the beginning of e-commerce and sustainability, so let us use our experience to save you time and money.

We also realize every situation, product and application is different so please call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via this website.


Related posts: