Posted on September 9, 2019 by Dennis Salazar

The Pros and Cons of Built in Inserts for E-commerce Packaging


We have made millions of removable and switchable custom inserts for our e-commerce shipping boxes. We believe it is what sets us apart from the many people out there who sell boxes but do not understand inserts or how to design them.  As a result, we also received many inquiries every month from people who are interested in one piece or “built in” product inserts.

We can design both and manufacture both types of inserts, so we have no reason to promote one over the other. If you contact us, we will gladly discuss your specific application and freely suggest a path forward based on decades of experience and millions of boxes made for thousands of customers.  Below are a few things to remember if you are making a choice between available options:

The advantages of built in inserts: 

Cost – first and foremost is the fact that a one-piece design generally is going to be less expensive to produce compared to a separate (2 piece) e-commerce box and insert. The printing plate(s) and cutting die(s) also are typically lower in cost.

Time saving at all levels – rather than purchasing, shipping, storing and utilizing multiple packaging SKU’s, there is only one component to keep track of, so components are always on a 1 to 1 ratio. This saves valuable time, especially on the packing line. I cannot tell you how often I have watched a packing line come to a screeching halt because the packers ran out of one specific packaging component.

The disadvantages of built in inserts: 

Lack of flexibility – at the top of my list is the fact that a built-in insert is designed for one and only one specific product or assortment being shipped. If the product shape, count, or configuration changes not only does the insert change, but the box as well since they are attached to each other.

Single use – Once you create a box with a built-in insert, that box cannot be used for any other product, purpose or application. Knowing how quickly products and customer purchasing patterns can change, we usually create boxes with multiple potential uses in mind.


Die cut shipping mailers versus RSC style boxes – Standard RSC style boxes do not require a cutting die, which in part explains their relative low cost. However, when you add extended flaps, fold in inserts, etc. (see first related post below) you probably will need a custom cutting die for that custom application. A similar additional cost is added on a die cut mailer box when you customize it with an attached insert. If you use one of our 200 available die cut mailer sizes, you essentially use our available cutting dies at no cost. However, if you want to include an insert in your box design, you will have to purchase a new, custom cutting die. (typically, $800 to $1,000)

If this all seems very complicated, it really is not if you work with the right partner. One who is experienced and can explain your options and guide you to the best low-cost solution for your very specific needs. Please Contact us at or call us at 630-551-1700 for a no cost, no obligation consultation.

No matter if you ship DTC in die cut mailers or RSC style boxes, whether you need a simple insert or a complex one, our people can help you select the right option for you.

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