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Packaging 4 min read

Why Small Businesses Need Custom Packaging

By Rand Whitney December 19, 2017


Why you need to care about custom packaging

The word custom can instantly scare small businesses. Anything custom is instantly thought to be more costly than its generic counterpart. So it is no shock that custom packaging can feel out of reach for small businesses and startups. They know they need some type of product packaging, but why would they pay to customize something that will just be thrown away?

The answer is simple, custom packaging isn’t as expensive as people think. Plus, for e-commerce online only companies, your packaging is your customer’s first physical interaction and impression of your brand. Remember the old saying; you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Traditional brick and mortar stores have it easy. They create their first impression with a mix of carefully crafted in-store experiences; displays, music, floor plans, employee interactions; the list goes on and on. Online companies don’t have these opportunities to physically interact and impact a customer’s senses, that is, until a customer orders online and receives a package in the mail. That shipping box is your customer’s first physical interaction and impression of you.

Think of your packaging as your company’s brand ambassador whose job is to tell your product’s elevator speech. What type of story do you want it to tell?

There are many ways you can use custom packaging to promote your product and increase customer brand awareness. Use a unique box style or shape to standout, even subtle differences will be noticed compared to every other standard shipping box. Or, ditch the bubble wrap and use a custom insert to create a wow moment for your customers. A custom insert will protect your product during shipping and properly display your product. Using multiple materials will enhance the presentation; these include corrugated, foams, papers, recyclable materials and numerous textured coatings.

Once you decide what style and materials best exemplify your brand, adding graphics that support this message are key. Custom graphics aren’t limited to only the exterior box either. A hot new trend is creating an unforgettable ‘unboxing experience’. Customers will share this ‘unboxing experience’ online, and if it is eye-catching enough social media will spread your brand like wildfire.

Custom Boxes

Here is an example of combining these elements to create a custom packaging experience that promotes your brand. Anne’s Bakery is looking for a unique way to package their cookies bought online. They want to tell their customers that even though the cookies are bought online they taste as fresh as if they were just made. To promote their brand and tell their unique story, Anne’s Bakery can use a box shaped like an oven with a side opening. Inside the box they can use a corrugated insert shaped like a cookie sheet that has small inserts to hold the cookies flat in place. Lastly, add custom graphics to transform outside of the box to look like an oven. Anne’s Bakery customers will feel like they are taking the cookies fresh baked right out of the oven!

Custom packaging is within reach for small businesses.

All of this sounds great, but is it really feasible for small businesses financially? The answer is 100% yes! New and advancing digital print technology allows for custom packaging to be made with zero tooling costs. That means you can have any custom shape, number of colors, amount of graphics and size without any setup, cutting die or print plate charges. With these barriers to entry for small companies eliminated there is no reason why any company should be settling for a standard brown box.