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What is E-commerce Packaging?

No Comments    |        |    December 14, 2023    |    Reading time 8 minutes
Various types of e-commerce packaging boxes featuring integrated tape, retention system, unique branding design and efficient packing features like pop-up construction and flat supplied form

E-commerce has become an integral part of our daily lives - with more and more people turning to online shopping for convenience and accessibility. Behind every successful online purchase, there's a crucial element that often goes unnoticed - the packaging.

The design, efficiency, integrated features, consolidation, customisation, and sustainability of e-commerce packaging boxes play a vital role in ensuring the safe delivery of products to the customers. In this article, we delve into the various aspects that make up the anatomy of e-commerce packaging boxes, shedding light on their importance and functionality.

Table of Contents

Design Principles of E-commerce Packaging

When it comes to e-commerce packaging, design principles hold significant weight. A well-designed packaging box not only serves as a protective barrier for the product but also acts as a marketing tool for the brand.

Visually stunning ecommerce packaging branded unboxing experiences designed to create unboxing theatre with multi-layered branded messages.
Visually stunning branded unboxing experiences

Branding, Colour & Typography

The design should be visually appealing, capturing the attention of the customers and reflecting the brand's identity. It should also be functional, easy to assemble, and resistant to damage during transit. The choice of materials, such as sturdy cardboard or corrugated board, adds structural integrity to the packaging, ensuring the safe arrival of the product.

One important design principle to consider is the use of colours. Colours have a psychological impact on consumers and can evoke specific emotions. For example, using bright and vibrant colours can create a sense of excitement and enthusiasm, while soft and muted colours can convey a feeling of calmness and relaxation. The choice of colours should align with the brand's image and target audience.

In addition to colours, typography plays a crucial role in e-commerce packaging design. The font used for the brand name and product information should be legible and easy to read. It should also reflect the brand's personality and values. For instance, a luxury brand may opt for an elegant and sophisticated font, while a playful and youthful brand may choose a more whimsical and fun font.

Layout & Structure

Ecommerce packaging supplied form close up and description "Supplied flat for efficient palletisation and logistics."
Ecommerce packaging integrated peel and seal close up and description "Integrated peel & seal to reduce pack times and improve efficiency."

The layout and structure of the packaging design are essential. The information should be organised in a logical and easy-to-understand manner. Important details, such as product features, benefits, and usage instructions, should be prominently displayed. The packaging should also provide enough space for branding elements, such as logos, slogans, and taglines, to reinforce brand recognition.

Also to be factored are efficiencies in the way to package is manufactured, including built in retention, pop-up assembly for fast packing, integrated peel and seal tape with easy release paper backing to speed up packing times. Ultimately the end goal of ecom packaging is to consolidate your packaging usage and save your business time and money.

Ecommerce packaging integrated retention features close up and description "Integrated retention “wings” to eliminate void fill, reduce damage and ensure consistent unboxing presentation."
Ecommerce packaging closed box with efficient design and description "Pop-up assembly for faster dispatch times."

Sustainability Features

When it comes to sustainability, e-commerce packaging design should strive to be eco-friendly. Using recyclable materials and minimising excess packaging can help reduce waste and environmental impact. Additionally, incorporating sustainable practices, such as using vegetable-based inks and water-based adhesives, can further contribute to a greener packaging solution.

E-commerce packaging fundamental design principles cover many aspects, including visual appeal, functionality, choice of materials, colour psychology, typography, imagery, layout, and sustainability.

By carefully considering these principles, brands can create packaging that not only protects their products but also leaves a lasting impression on customers.

Efficiency Improvements of E-commerce Packaging

recyclable Peel and seal release paper with strong glue adhesive and paper based tear strip for opening
integrated peel and seal tape and paper tear strip opening system.

In an age where time's of the essence, efficiency is key.

E-commerce packaging has undergone significant improvements to meet the demands of continuously improving fast-paced delivery systems. Integrated features have been introduced to streamline the packaging process and enhance the user experience. Integrated tape with hot-melt high-tac adhesive properties that ensure a secure seal, retention wings that prevent the product from shifting within the box and provide consistent unboxing, and rapid pop-up assembly mechanisms that save time and effort are just some examples. These efficiency improvements not only benefit the e-commerce companies but also provide convenience to the customers. That's why e-commerce companies have been investing in innovative packaging solutions such as our FlyPak to meet these demands.

FlyPak innovative ecommerce packaging with built in retention - pop. up assembly and low cost per unit
FlyPak pop-up assembly

These efficiency improvements in e-commerce packaging benefit the companies whilst also providing convenience to their customers. By streamlining the packaging process, e-commerce companies can fulfill orders faster, resulting in quicker delivery times. This is especially crucial for time-sensitive products or customers who need their orders urgently.

Customers also benefit from frustration-free opening systems, such as tear strips and herringbone perforations. Other customer benefits include simple disposal and recycling, tamper evidence to reduce theft and improved damage protection thanks to integral product retention and solid construction.

The many efficiency improvements in e-commerce packaging have revolutionised the way products are shipped and delivered. From self sealing to retention wings and rapid pop-up assembly mechanisms, these innovations have made the packaging process faster, easier, and more convenient for both the e-commerce company and its customers.

FlyPak ecommerce packaging reduces storage requirement as it's better for palletisation
FlyPak storage efficiency improvement


Internet retailers are constantly striving to reduce costs and minimise environmental impact. One way they achieve this is through the consolidation of packaging (we have a whole separate article on packaging consolidation here). Features such as variable capacity in E-commerce packaging boxes helps to minimise void fill and reduces the overall size of the package.

In addition, by customising the packaging size to fit carrier tariffs and complying with shipping regulations, companies can save on shipping costs and minimise waste. This consolidation not only translates into financial savings but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable environment..

However, with the advent of variable capacity packaging boxes, such as the FlyPak (see below) or postal wraps, e-commerce companies can now consolidate multiple items into a single package without the need for void fill material. These packaging boxes are designed to adjust their size according to the contents, minimising the need for additional void fill materials. This not only reduces the overall size of the package but also ensures that the items are securely packed, protecting them from any potential damage during transit.

FlyPak ecommerce packaging with built in retention features
FlyPak retention system

But how does consolidation of packaging translate into financial savings for e-commerce companies? Well, it's quite simple. By customising the packaging size to fit carrier tariffs, companies can optimise their shipping costs. Carriers often charge based on the dimensional weight of the package, which takes into account both the weight and size of the package. By reducing the size of the package through consolidation, companies can effectively lower their shipping costs, resulting in significant savings.

Postal wrap example of variable height packaging

To sum it all up, the consolidation of packaging is a win-win solution for e-commerce companies. Not only does it result in significant cost savings, but it also helps create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly business model. By embracing variable capacity packaging boxes and customising packaging sizes to fit carrier tariffs and shipping regulations, e-commerce companies can optimise their operations and make a positive impact on both their bottom line and the planet.

The Impact of Sustainability on E-commerce Packaging Boxes

Sustainability has become a significant concern in today's world, and e-commerce packaging boxes have not escaped scrutiny. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they expect companies to adopt eco-friendly practices. E-commerce companies are taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging. This includes using recyclable materials, minimising excess packaging, and exploring innovative solutions such as bio-based or compostable packaging. By prioritising sustainability, companies can align their brand values with the preferences of their customers, thereby enhancing their reputation and fostering customer loyalty.

One of the key considerations in sustainable packaging is the choice of materials. Traditional packaging materials such as plastic and Styrofoam are known for their detrimental impact on the environment. However, e-commerce companies are now opting for alternatives that are more eco-friendly. For instance, many companies are using cardboard boxes made from recycled materials. These boxes are not only recyclable but also biodegradable, reducing their environmental footprint.

E-commerce companies are also exploring innovative packaging solutions to minimise waste. One such solution is the use of minimalistic packaging. Instead of using excessive materials to protect the products during transit, companies are opting for compact and efficient packaging designs. This not only reduces the amount of packaging waste but also optimises shipping space, leading to lower transportation emissions.

In addition to using recyclable materials and minimising on excess packaging, e-commerce businesses are also embracing bio-based and compostable packaging options. Bio-based packaging is made from renewable resources such as cornstarch, bio-plastics derived from seaweed or sugarcane, which reduces reliance on fossil fuels. Compostable packaging, on the other hand, can break down into natural elements when disposed of properly, leaving no harmful residues behind. These innovative packaging solutions not only contribute to a more sustainable future but also demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship.

FSC certification logo surround by hand drawn abstract prints of evergreen trees

By prioritising sustainability in their packaging practices, e-commerce companies can enhance their reputation and foster customer loyalty. In today's competitive market, consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on a company's ethical and environmental values. By aligning their brand with sustainability, e-commerce companies can attract environmentally conscious consumers who are willing to support businesses that share their values.

Also, adopting sustainable packaging practices can also lead to cost savings for e-commerce companies. By using recyclable materials and minimising excess packaging, companies can reduce their material and shipping costs. Embracnig innovative packaging solutions can optimise storage and transportation efficiency, further reducing operational expenses. These cost savings can then be reinvested in other areas of the business, allowing companies to innovate and improve their overall sustainability efforts.

Sustainability is a crucial consideration for e-commerce companies when it comes to packaging. By using recyclable materials, minimising excess packaging, and exploring innovative solutions, companies can reduce their environmental impact and align their brand with the preferences of environmentally conscious consumers.

The adoption of sustainable packaging practices not only enhances a company's reputation but also fosters customer loyalty and can lead to cost savings. As the world becomes more environmentally aware, e-commerce companies must prioritise sustainability to stay competitive and contribute to a greener future.

Final thoughts

To sum it all up then, the anatomy of E-commerce packaging boxes comprises various elements that are essential for the successful delivery of products to customers.

The design principles, efficiency improvements, integrated features, consolidation strategies, and sustainability initiatives all play a vital role in ensuring the safe arrival of products while meeting the demands of consumers and the environment.

E-commerce companies must continue to innovate and adapt their packaging strategies to keep up with the ever-changing needs and expectations of customers. By doing so, they can deliver not only products but also a positive experience to their valuable customers.

Ready to take your e-commerce packaging to the next level?

At The Packaging Club, we specialise in creating bespoke packaging solutions that elevate your brand and provide your customers with an unforgettable unboxing experience. Our expertise in custom printed packaging, combined with our commitment to sustainability, ensures that your products are not only protected but also presented in the most appealing and environmentally responsible way. With our access to the UK's largest packaging manufacturers, we offer unparalleled print quality, high-capacity production, and cost-effective solutions through innovative printing technologies like 8 colour flexographic, high output lithographic, and cutting-edge digital presses.

From high-speed gluing to special finishes like metallic foil and UV varnish, we have the capabilities to bring your vision to life. Don't let packaging be an afterthought—let The Packaging Club help you save money, reduce labour, and exceed your CSR sustainability goals with bespoke packaging made right here in the UK. Learn more about bespoke packaging and how we can tailor it to your exact specifications. Elevate your brand's packaging experience today with The Packaging Club.

Packaging for Three Mobile
Beautiful unboxing experiences - Three bespoke FlyPak

This article was written by...

Nathan Calvert

Nathan is Head of Digital at The Packaging Club. He has worked in the packaging sector for over 15 years across food, consumer electronics, FMCG ecommerce and more, both directly in-house or as a freelance consultant.

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