Posted on March 15, 2019 by Dennis Salazar

How to Be a Better Buyer of E-commerce Packaging

The Start UP and New Entrepreneur’s Guide to E-Commerce Packaging

We work with a lot of start-up companies and new entrepreneurs who have never bought packaging before. We have spent hundreds of hours teaching people about everything packaging including subjects like triple white board, custom designed inserts, mailer envelopes versus mailer boxes, how to produce good graphics for direct to corrugated flexographic printing, and when digital printing is the right way to go, just to name a few popular topics. Use the search box on your BLOG on our web site to see the volumes of product and industry information we have made available to help you get started.

Today we’re giving our inexperienced first-time packaging buyers and readers is a how-to on effectively purchasing packaging; what to say and what information you should provide to help the potential supplier to quickly determine if they can become valuable partners and resources to you.

Don’t misunderstand, we hope you will decide to purchase all of your packaging materials from us at Salazar Packaging, but the five tips below will prove helpful, with any potential packaging supplier you may be engaging.

  1. How many boxes or mailer envelopes do you plan to order currently?

Wrong answers include – it depends on the price, only fifty now but my forecast is for half a million next year, and my personal favorite – give me pricing on various quantities from 100 to 100,000.

The fact is that every manufacturer has a minimum order quantity (MOQ) and that is at least in part determined by the type of equipment they operate. The potential vendor is trying to determine if your requirements and their equipment are a good match. Prices are very much determined by order quantity, not the other way around. We never have a problem providing order/price bracket quotes, but they should be realistic. Here is a truth, after 20,000 or 30,000 the price of any box is reduced very slightly with additional or larger purchase quantity because the economies of scale are diminished.

  1. Salazar Packaging - a wide array of boxes for your e-commerce shippingWhat size box or envelope do you need?

The worst answer is I need 2,000 small, 1,000 medium and 1,000 large. Unfortunately, these are not pizzas that are being ordered and those size descriptions mean different things to different people. There are no “generic” sizes, or “standard” sizes to be had.

Everyone in the packaging business domestically is used to working in inches in order of length (side to side) X width (front to back) and height (top to bottom). We also quote INSIDE dimensions so let the person you are talking to know if you want or need outside dimensions such as for tier shipping charge calculations.

  1. I have asked numerous companies for pricing.

That is probably the worst thing you can say to a potential vendor.

Certainly, soliciting several prices from different potential suppliers is your prerogative and not a bad idea if you really don’t know who you want to work with. But essentially telling someone you are a shopper and they are just one of many bidders does not help you at all. If the goal is to create a competitive situation, with low beginner order quantities, that comment is much more likely to result in a “no quote” than a highly motivated seller eager to compete for your business. The fact is that time is money and if you sound like a poor investment of time, most good vendors will refuse to get involved in your project.

  1. What is your price?

That may be what you ultimately want or need but you must be prepared to provide the potential supplier all the information they need to give you an accurate estimate. See the first related post below.

Also, please don’t expect a complete formal quote unless you have provided artwork. After all, we should know what we are printing in order to be accurate with our pricing.

  1. Go ahead and quote all five options.

Asking for anyone to quote four or five options is an indication that you really don’t know what you want, yet. Take the time to study, consider your options, and narrow your quote request to a minimal number of options. There is no good reason to quote five packaging options if only two are legitimate possibilities.

The key objective should be to get the best price on the correct packaging option for your specific application. If you don’t trust your potential vendor to give you the best recommendation based on his or her experience, you probably need to find a different supplier. Remember that saving a nickel on any box pales in importance to getting the best, most attractive packaging for you and your customers.

The beauty of the internet is the incredible amount of information available to you on virtually any subject or product. We include our company blog and our experienced, well trained people as some of the best resources the industry has to offer.

Call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us at Salazar Packaging for all the help you will need for a successful product launch or perhaps for a long overdue DTC packaging redesign.

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