Posted on August 20, 2019 by Dennis Salazar

Outside print on an e-commerce mailer – the best bargain in packaging.

We are sometimes surprised by the number of people who contact us asking for pricing on an unprinted mailer box. They do so because they assume or have been told that custom printing on an e-commerce box is very expensive or requires huge minimums. I will confidently tell you that that even though some areas and products for custom branded packaging can be costly, there truly is no better deal anywhere in packaging than a basic one or two-color flexographic print on the exterior of any direct to consumer (D2C) mailer box.

Why is outside print comparatively so inexpensive?

It really has everything to do with set up costs. Die cut mailer boxes are usually run through the die cutter with the outside of the box facing up. As a result, when you decide to print the outside of the box, it happens simultaneously, printing from above the corrugated sheet while die cutting from underneath. So, it does not require a second pass through the machine and there is no additional set up costs. The only price difference between an unprinted box and one that is printed on the outside only, is the cost of a little water-based ink which is relatively inexpensive. BTW, the MOQ for any custom size or custom printed box is 1,000 so the minimum is not higher for a printed box.

How much does inside print add to the cost of an e-commerce box printed on both sides?  

one color exterior prints by Salazar PackagingInside print on most machinery does require a second pass and set up which typically adds between 20 and 30% to the cost of the box. For example, on a box costing $.80, adding inside print will probably add less than twenty cents to the price. You get a lot of bang for your money for less than a quarter per box.  A short visit to our gallery will show you that inside print can make a great box, even better.

Keep in mind that when printing flexographic (which is how most boxes are printed), every color inside or outside will require a print plate which is a onetime expense, usually around $500 PER COLOR. Unless you are doing an edge to edge solid flood coat with no text or copy, that allows us to use a stock matte print plate at no cost to you. If this sounds at all complicated, contact us, we will be glad to explain the process in as much detail as you may want.

New development in two-sided box print 

We are working with manufacturing partners who are in process of setting up new equipment capable of printing inside and outside a box as it is being run and die cut. This is going to take a bite out of higher set up costs on any box printed on both sides whether it is a mailer box or even an RSC style shipping box. If you have a box you would like to print on both sides, let us know and we can show you how to do it at minimal cost for maximum impact.

Hey, I thought this post was about outside printing?

one color exterior print RSC style shipping boxes by Salazar PackagingIt is, but it is difficult to discuss outside print without also talking about inside print. The story on outside print is simple – it adds minimal cost and is available in low (1,000) minimums and at very little additional cost.

Consider it entry level branding for any e-commerce or subscription box. The beauty of working with a company like ours is that you can start out and launch with a basic, inexpensive box and then add custom interior printing at some later date. Many of our customers use this approach to minimize their cash outlay in the early stages of their business development.

Again, check out our gallery because most of the boxes shown there are simple one and two-color designs and they look great. Basic and simple does not have to be boring as you can see there. If you have a good graphic designer who can help you accomplish that, great. If not let us know and we will connect you with a designer who understands flexographic printing direct to corrugated.

Let us know if you have any questions contacting us via email or call us at 630-551-1700 and one of our experienced branded packaging advisors will be glad to help you.

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