Essential Product Packaging Rules and Materials

In the overall scheme of your business, it’s easy to dismiss packaging as simply another step in the shipping process. This mentality may cause you to miss out on some key opportunities with your consumers! 

Understanding the essential product packaging rules and materials can help to give you an edge and drive more traffic to your business, while encouraging repeat buyers, too. 

Packaging is just as important as marketing and even the product itself when it comes to making an impression on your customers. The way that an item is presented can tell a story about your company and influence your customers in unexpected ways. 

If you’re wondering just how much of a difference some paper and boxes can make, read on to learn how this often overlooked step can affect your business.

What is Product Packaging? 

At its core, product packaging is the process of securing a product for transport to your buyer. This includes everything from the box it goes into to the materials used to keep it from moving around, like packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and tape. 

In essence, it’s everything that helps to move the product from your business or warehouse to the customer’s door. 

Main Functions

The importance of packaging reaches far beyond ensuring the item’s safe transport to your customer. While safety is undeniably important, it’s far from being the only purpose. 

A plain cardboard box that’s full of packing peanuts may guarantee that your item arrives safely, but it won’t leave a lasting impression on your buyers. It’s not memorable. 

Custom product packaging makes a statement. From the durability of materials — which tells the customer you care about its safe arrival — to the care and attention to detail that you put into its presentation, everything directly to the buyer. 

Product packaging helps to:

  • Provide information about a product
  • Create brand identity and recognition 
  • Sway your customers’ purchasing habits
  • Make your brand stand out
  • Attract customers to your products

If your customer likes the custom product packaging that you design, they’ll remember it, which may mean that they will be more likely to purchase from you again. 

Three Packaging Levels You May Need

To show just how much it matters, a study composed by Dotcom Distribution revealed that customers appreciate thoughtful, interesting packaging so much that 40% of participants said they’d be more willing to return to an online retailer based on their packaging. 

While colors, shapes, and creative design can go a long way toward achieving this, it’s important that you don’t forget about size. The amount of packaging that your product arrives in also makes a statement all by itself. 

For example, a small item in a large box not only allows the item to move around too much, which could lead to damage, but it also looks wasteful in the eyes of the consumer. 

Likewise, a box that’s too small for the product won’t protect it. By the time it arrives, the packaging may have broken open. The worst-case scenario is a damaged product. The best-case scenario is that it just looks bad. 

Avoid both of these issues by carefully considering the best levels for your product. You may need to use more than one material to accomplish attractive packaging that provides safety, too.

Outer Product Packaging

Also referred to as the tertiary packaging, the outer product packaging includes the envelope, box, or tube that your product will be shipped in. This is the first thing your customer will see when their purchase arrives at their doorstep. 

This layer will be handled the most, too, so it’s important that it’s sturdy enough to hold up to the task. 

Inner Product Packaging

This layer includes everything that keeps the product safe during transport, such as packing peanuts, shredded paper, and air pillows. It may also include inserts that hold the product in place, booklets, and advertisements. Inner packaging takes into consideration everything in the box that isn’t the product.

Primary Product Packaging

Primary packaging is the layer of packaging that physically touches the product. It contains the finished product and all its parts. It protects a product from contamination. It’s the main thing that separates your product from surrounding materials.

Types of Packaging Materials

There may be many layers of packaging required to safely ship your product, but there are also various options to choose from. Before you begin designing your product packaging, you’ll need to know what materials you might be working with. We’ll take a look at some of the most common materials below.

Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated boxes are one of the most popular choices for shipping due to their combination of strength and flexibility. 

Unlike regular cardboard, corrugated cardboard is comprised of three layers. A fluted layer is glued firmly between two outside layers, giving the package additional durability. These boxes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.  

Folding Carton

If you’re looking for something that is light, flexible, and cost-effective, folding cartons might be just what you need. Folding cartons are made from paperboard. They are ideal for packaging multiple small, lightweight items. 

Bags and Envelopes

For small orders like jewelry and clothing, bags and envelopes are the way to go. You can choose something thin and flexible, such as a manila envelope or poly mailer, or you can opt to use something that offers just a little more protection, like a padded envelope that’s lined with bubble wrap on the inside for extra cushioning. 

Custom Product Packaging

If you want to make a statement, custom product packaging provides the opportunity to take boring packing materials and turn them into something memorable. 

You can showcase your brand name or logo printed directly on the box, spruce it up with the colors of your choice, and create an experience for your customer that rivals the excitement of the product itself. 

Beyond the basic components that protect the item and hold it in place, custom design may include stickers, business cards, and promotional materials that will help to keep your customers coming back for more. 

When it comes to packaging, a little creativity goes a long way.

How a 3PL Fulfillment Company Can Help Your Business Grow

Creatively curated packaging is vital in any competitive market. Understanding the essential rules and materials involved in creating an exciting and memorable packaging solution for your customer is only half the battle. 

If you’re ready to start innovating your packing and shipping process, Print Bind Ship is here to help. Our skilled team of creative experts can help with everything from design to product storage. We even offer fast, reliable shipping you can count on. 
Contact us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help to take your business to the next level.