E-commerce packaging tips for your best holiday season yet

3 minute read

Is your e-commerce business ready for the busy holiday selling season? It’s so important to be prepared because once the orders start rolling in you won’t have time to adapt.

Sad but true, people tend to judge a book by its cover. Is your branding ready for the holidays?

E-commerce holiday planning: The right packaging

The packaging you choose can speak volumes about your company to a consumer.

Many items you sell during the holidays will be given as gifts, so it’s important to attractively brand your packaging. When the recipient unwraps their present, your brand should be top of mind for them, potentially helping you acquire them as a customer.

Of course, not everything you sell during the holiday rush will be gifted in its original packaging. Some customers may opt to have their items shipped to their own address and then wrap and transport the gifts themselves. Either way, you might want to make your packaging more festive during this special time of year.

Three holiday packaging strategies to try

Want to satisfy your customers and their gift recipients this holiday season? Use these 3 holiday season packaging strategies to create a great receiving experience:

1. Protect holiday season shipments with plain packaging

Sometimes, simple is best – at least on the outside. Porch pirates are far more active during the holiday season than they are at any other time of the year, so it’s important to protect your shipments. If you get a delivery from Apple, for instance, they will deliver the manufacturer’s box inside of a plain unmarked brown box. This deters theft, concealing the branded items inside of the shipping box.

Another good reason to ship in plain packaging is that some insurance providers will deny a damage claim if a parcel was shipped in a manufacturer’s box. They can argue that the box was constructed from a flimsy material that couldn’t withstand the rigors of transport.

A brown box sits on a front stoop.

Protecting your parcels from damage and theft is never a bad idea, so using plain packaging can be a wise move. After all, it’s what’s inside that really counts. If you go this route, plan to incorporate a touch of festivity into your branded materials inside each shipment.

Get our 2019 Holiday Success Guide for insights and tips that will help your online store thrive.

Get our Holiday Guide

2. Create an unboxing experience

When you mail a present to someone, the unboxing experience can fall a little flat. Opening a brown shipping box is a little underwhelming compared to a wrapped present. If you are planning to ship holiday orders inside of brown shipping boxes, try to include something festive and inviting inside.

According to a survey by Dotcom Distribution, 61 per cent of online shoppers reported that branded packaging made them feel more excited to open their parcel. An engaging unboxing experience can be memorable and shareable, potentially garnering your brand more positive attention and good word of mouth.

Rocky Mountain Soap Co.’s holiday boxes are a great example of clever branding. They feature a cheerful design on the outside and contain similar designs on the inside.

A Rocky Mountain Soap Co. box branded with colourful packaging. Source: Rockymountainsoap.com

A Rocky Mountain Soap Co. box branded with colourful packaging. Source: Rockymountainsoap.com

3. See beyond the box

The contents of a shipment are the real star of the show. After all, most of us keep the presents and throw away the packaging. In fact, The Canadian Press reported that every year, Canadians throw away 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper and gift bags.

But what if the packaging was worth saving, too? The shipping box will probably be discarded, but there’s ample opportunity to include a few keepsakes inside the box that will brighten a recipient’s day.

Consider including things like festive coupons in the box, or a pamphlet of other items you offer. Include copy like, “Start your new year off right with 15 per cent off on your next purchase!” Engaging existing and new customers is critical in the returns season that immediately follows the holiday rush.

One last thing

When you design your packaging for the holidays, maintain your brand’s look. You want your holiday season customers to be able to recognize your company year round. Be creative yet consistent.

For more insights into how your packaging strategy can enhance your customers’ shopping and receiving experiences, read “Why your packaging strategy is more important than you think” and download ShipStation’s branded shipping ebook.

Happy Holidays from ShipStation!

Effectively navigate the holiday season.

Download ShipStation’s 2019 Holiday Prep Guide.

Download the guide
James Messer
James is a copywriter at ShipStation, a leading provider of shipping software for e-commerce fulfillment.Read more by James Messer