Choosing packaging for your product is one of the most important decisions you will make for your business. Packaging is no longer produced purely to offer protection and stability for your products. With the huge expansion of e-commerce business, packaging is now considered an important marketing tool, helping to ‘build the brand’ of your company, far beyond the moment a sale has been made. Such sophisticated, multipurpose packaging can come with a hefty price tag, making it an important investment to consider.
With so many options on the market and countless companies to choose from, selecting a packaging supplier for your business can seem like a mine field. It’s often helpful to think carefully about exactly what you require from your supplier before making your choice.
Check out our handy hints and tips on how to find the right packaging supplier:
1. Consider how you want to ‘build the brand’
This is particularly important for e-commerce businesses; your packaging is another opportunity to wow your customers. If you are selling a luxury product, your packaging will need to be high quality, bespoke and probably printed to show some extra class. If you sell an eco-friendly product, you may want to show your commitment to sustainability by packing in used cardboard boxes. Consider using some printed tape or stickers to add branding or information on how your products are packed sustainably.
2. Think carefully about sizes and board grades
This depends entirely on the product you are packing and the ‘brand’ you are trying to create. A high end luxury hand bag manufacturer will probably choose a bespoke cardboard box, made to measure in a heavy board grade to emphasise the quality of the product. However, if you are packing a lower cost item you may wish to save money by buying a standard sized box and using void fill such as packing peanuts or shredded cardboard to give some added protection and prevent the product from moving around too much during transit.
3. Think about your re-order rate
This is particularly important if you are buying used cardboard boxes. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have found the perfect box for your product, only to find when you come to re-order, that they are no longer in stock. Talk to your supplier to make sure this box is on regular supply, or ask if they are likely to be able to source something similar.
4. Consider packing in used cardboard boxes
Whilst not ideal for everyone, used cardboard boxes can be the perfect solution for many companies. Used cardboard boxes are incredibly low cost, meaning you won’t be eating into your profit margins too heavily. They are also sustainably sourced and eco-friendly. By reusing boxes that would otherwise be destined for recycling or landfill, you are elevating waste up the hierarchy. Depending on your sector, many used cardboard boxes can be reused a number of times before they are eventually ready to be recycled. Used pallet boxes are a popular option for e-waste or medical waste companies as they are durable enough to be reused repeatedly.
5. Consider printing options
Getting your packaging printed is a professional and effective way to market your business. Many manufacturers will work closely with you to design a prototype incorporating your company logo or colours which can be approved before you place an order. This is a more costly option but ensures your packaging fits perfectly with your branding. A more cost effective option is to use low cost printed tape or stickers placed on the packaging. Amazon chooses to package their products in a simple brown box but then adds some colourful tape so their packaging is instantly recognisable.
6. Keep your costs down
Packaging your products doesn’t have to break the bank! There are a huge range of manufacturers, suppliers and brokers out there. It’s more important than ever to shop around to see what you can get for your budget.
7. Think about the environment
Buying sustainably sourced packaging is becoming more and more of a priority for many businesses, large and small. If your product requires brand new, bespoke packaging, using cardboard with a high proportion of recycled content could be the option for you. An even better way to show your company’s commitment to sustainability is to pack with used cardboard boxes. The great thing about cardboard is that it is easy to recycle.
There are also a number of eco-friendly void fill options to offer further protection to your products. These include shredded cardboard or starch based packing peanuts; an eco-friendly alternative to the Styrofoam option that dissolves when exposed to water.
8. Look for good service and communication
This is arguably the most important point to consider if you intend to select a supplier you are looking to work with long term. It is paramount that you are able to contact your supplier on a regular basis to discuss your requirements. Some companies will assign each customer to an account holder who is their point of contact. This can be helpful as the account holder will get to know your business and product. They can often source new lines of packaging for you and will be able to offer advice on packing and storage requirements.