The Challenges of E-Commerce Packaging

Originally Published: 05 September 2019
Updated: 25 January 2021


Over the past few months, the e-commerce sector has grown exponentially, and online businesses have had to respond to the ever-evolving environment rapidly.

The rapid growth within e-commerce has provided many opportunities for new and existing businesses, but it’s also generated new challenges for those looking for a sustainable e-commerce packaging solution.

Rising Competition Within the E-Commerce Sector

The more popular e-commerce becomes, the harder brands need to try to stand out from the competition. Online retailers are opting to use bespoke e-commerce packaging, adding eye-catching artwork and using sustainable materials to capture their customers’ imagination. Not only does this enhance the customers’ experience, but it also adds to the customers’ perceived value of your actual products.

As a result, businesses who stick to using non-personalised packaging can appear generic to their valued customers. It can even go as far as devaluing their products, especially if the packaging itself doesn’t provide adequate protection during shipping.

Protecting Packages and The Environment

Consumers prefer buying sustainable products, so sustainable e-commerce packaging is a must-have for businesses selling their products online as well as on the high street. Globally operating companies have faced scrutiny from the public over the kind of packaging used to ship their products — falling foul of cheap single-use and non-recyclable plastics — so it’s advisable to use eco-friendly packaging wherever possible. It’ll almost certainly save you money in the long run, as well as protecting the environment.

Another challenge is to use enough packaging to provide protection, while also avoiding “over-packaging” your products. As an experienced eco-friendly packaging supplier, we can advise you on what packaging should be required for your products. Whether you’re shipping bottled beer or vegan pizzas, we’ll be able to make sure you avoid any packaging pitfalls and create bespoke e-commerce packaging that’ll complement your brand’s aesthetic. 

E-Commerce Packaging Design Trends

Keeping on top of e-commerce packaging trends is increasingly important for all businesses operating online since the consumer’s needs and desires are always evolving. As a result, your e-commerce packaging design should always reflect your customers’ wants and needs.

As we mentioned earlier, plastic packaging has fallen out of favour in recent years due to its highly negative environmental impact. Although you can recycle some plastics, most people would rather have their packaging delivered in more eco-friendly materials like cardboard. If you use plastic as part of your e-commerce packaging design, people will likely make negative associations with your brand. Years ago, it might’ve encouraged custom, but — in the current market — plastic packaging can make your business seem outdated and unecological.

Reducing Postal Costs with Sustainable E-Commerce Packaging

In a challenging economy, using the right-sized postal packaging for your product can keep your distribution costs to a minimum, as well as reducing the likelihood of negative customer responses to excess packaging. While it can be tempting to strip back your packaging to make your deliveries more cost-effective — like reducing the amount of internal packaging or using cheaper packaging materials — this can expose your precious products to the elements during transit. 

It’s much safer and more cost-effective to use the right kind of packaging for the right kind of product. If you’re shipping high-value, breakable goods, a double-wall shipping box will give your products the protection they need. If you’re distributing smaller, more delicate products, make sure to use eco-friendly void-fill to ensure your fragile shipments aren’t damaged during shipping.

The Best Packaging for E-Commerce Businesses

If you want your online business to stand out, creating a custom design will wow your customers, but it’ll undoubtedly leave others questioning the sustainability of your business — a significant factor when consumers decide on which brand to buy from. But, several packaging techniques will make people remember your brand. 


Interested in boosting your brand with a bespoke e-commerce packaging solution? Get a free quote today for some awesome eco-friendly custom packaging from the UK’s leading packaging experts.