Posted on August 17, 2020 by Dennis Salazar

FAQ: Packaging Design for Varying Counts and Multi-component DTC Products

How do you design for the unknown?

We have been doing this a long time and one of the most common situations, especially with brand new companies is not knowing how many products their customers are going to order at one time. For most start-ups that all important customer/order history and feedback simply do not exist, yet. Here are some questions we have been asked many times over the course of the last thirteen years:

How many different counts of product can be shipped in the same size box?

That obviously depends on the product, the count, the size of the product, and the size of the box. The old adage “you cannot put twelve pounds of potatoes in a ten-pound sack” is true and applies to any product. We know it is difficult in pre-launch, but ideally you should be prepared to answer as many of the above questions as possible.

What if I want an insert to display my products within the box?

3 different products and cavity shapes by Salazar PackagingThat could be a really important factor and the best advice we can give you is, if your THINK you may want to add an insert later, tell us up front when we make the box. On a die cut insert with multiple cavities, we try to allow at least ½” between products and ¾” around the perimeter. That is to facilitate product loading and avoid tearing the board on the insert. We will be glad to help you through this because planning for it now saves you big money and time later.

How do I determine the correct count for my products?

That is more of a marketing question than a packaging question. What we do advise is that your marketing and packaging are consistent. Do not design your packaging for a one, two, and three pack and then promote a four pack at an irresistible price on your web site. Sometimes it is about an average order size you want to hit, and other times it is wanting to match or better what a key competitor is offering on their web site.

Does every multi-product box and insert require a separate and additional cutting die?

Once again, the product and application will determine that answer. Some insert dividers do not require a cutting die, others do. In some cases, we can create inserts with multiple punch outs for different counts. (see tincture bottle photo) Remember our goal is to be your packaging supplier and that will likely happen if we minimize the number of packaging SKU’s if possible. From a production standpoint, we would rather sell you 3,000 of one well designed insert, rather than 1,000 each of three different. This results in a manufacturing and set-up savings which we pass on to youTincture bottle insert by Salazar Packaging

Can I add an insert and a different count later?

Yes, if that new count and configuration fits within the box dimensions. That is why we ask that you share current needs AND potential future needs so we can try to incorporate the needs of tomorrow into the design of today. No one knows what tomorrow brings but if we try, we may be able to help you avoid a costly, predictable change in the near future.

How expensive are custom inserts of different counts?

There are many different types of inserts available and even more dividers and partitions, but a good rule of thumb is about 40% of the box cost. This is just a rough calculation since most inserts use approximately one half as much corrugated board compared to the box they fit in. Other related expenses may include custom cutting dies, and possibly print plates, depending on the graphics. Examples: edge to edge flood coats do not require print plates. An insert with an image or text will require a print plate.

The number one takeaway from this post

round tin 4 pack by Salazar PackagingFind someone experienced that you trust and help them help you with open communications. This may be your first box or first attempt at an insert, but I assure you it is not our first attempt. Visit our gallery and see some of the beautiful multi-count product configurations we helped customers create.

Call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us at Our branded packaging advisors are sure to help you determine the best path forward for your e-commerce business.


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