7 Ways to Reduce Packaging Costs: A Guide for eCommerce Businesses

As an online retailer, there are a few easy ways to reduce your packaging costs dramatically, but the fast growth in plastic-free packaging has challenged businesses in the sector and resulted in greater overheads.

From the type of material you use to the overall design constraints, many factors seek to push your costs up. As the UK’s plastic-free packaging experts, we’re here to help you find ways to cut packaging costs and slash your carbon footprint.

What Contributes to High Packaging Costs?

No eCommerce business wants to compromise the look or functionality of its packaging. Packaging is the first physical thing their customers encounter, so it needs to make a good impression. 

Besides, changing your packaging to reduce costs can cause numerous problems further down the line, including damaged deliveries and countless customer returns. So, how can you reduce packaging costs without hindering your current packaging process?

The answer lies in finding out where inefficiencies lie and resolving those issues with cost-effective packaging solutions.

Let’s look at a few things that commonly influence packaging costs for businesses:

Parcel Weight

Heavier packages will naturally raise your handling and transportation costs, which should be factored into your pricing. Dimensional weight (DIM) — sometimes called volumetric or cubed weight — will also influence the overall cost of shipping your packages.

Empty Space

If you don’t have the right size packaging, you’ll pay more to ship empty space, referred to as the void area. Sometimes, this can’t be avoided if you’re shipping unusually shaped items, but there are plenty of examples where packaging selection could cost you.

Material Selection

Fragile items can move around boxes if unsecured. This is called migration in packaging and happens when items aren’t secured within packaging boxes. If left unsecured, packages can become damaged in transit, or the packaging could be compromised, exposing your goods to the elements.

Shipping Fragile Products

Breakable items need greater packaging protection, proper labelling and careful handling. Additional packaging can add to the package’s dimensional weight (DIM), so it’s important to seek out the most effective packaging solution for your product to minimise packaging costs.

Longer Transit Journeys

Your costs can jump significantly if you’re shipping your products outside the UK. More fuel and handling are required to complete your delivery, but the risk of damage is also higher on longer journeys, so packaging costs are further increased by the additional protection your goods require.

Stock Products - postal boxes, carry packs, envelopes, tape

Reducing Packaging Costs with Effective Strategies

Alongside these challenges, brands need to bear in mind profitability and sustainability, so how can brands combat these factors without compromising some aspect of their business?

Here are more ways to make savings on your packaging costs:

1. Reduce Excess Packaging Materials 

How much tape needs to wrap around your boxes to make them secure? Self-seal postal boxes offer an alternative that mitigates the need to use tape and improves packing time. Single wall shipping boxes are sturdy enough for most larger, light to mid-weight products if you need something more heavy-duty while remaining cost-effective.

2. Seek Out Alternative Packaging Solutions

The rising cost of plastic packaging can’t be avoided, so finding alternative packaging solutions can help reduce costs. Paper and cardboard packaging has many benefits and, in many cases, can replace plastic-based packaging without compromising functionality. 

Check out our online shop for plastic-free packaging.

3. Use Custom Box Inserts

To keep fragile products secure in transit, implementing a bespoke packaging solution that incorporates custom inserts to hold your products in place is often more cost-efficient. This can reduce the amount of void-fill packaging materials used and the box size. 

This is a particularly useful technique when shipping cosmetics. The inserts add extra security and create an appealing way to display your products.

4. Outsource Fulfilment Tasks

Are your packing lines manually operated? By moving the responsibility of picking and packing your products to a dedicated fulfilment provider, you can focus more on running your business. 

Our cost-saving third-party logistics (3PL) service can help you improve packing efficiency while also helping to communicate accurate shipping information to customers.

5. Inventory Management Software 

The right inventory management system manages your stock levels and serves to improve productivity. Automation at this level offers numerous benefits, including error reduction and minimising storage costs. 

6. Increase the Volume of Packaging Orders

If business is going well, wholesale packaging is more cost-effective than ordering packaging in smaller batches or only when needed. By ordering packaging in bulk, you can take advantage of wholesale prices, reduced shipping fees for fewer deliveries and improved cash flow. The same applies when ordering custom packaging in large runs,

7. Use Fewer Packaging Suppliers

Maintaining one point of contact for all your packaging needs can save time and money. At Packaging Supplies, we offer a comprehensive range of plastic-free packaging, plus a wealth of custom packaging options.

Best of all, our complete packaging services cover your packaging design, printing, inventory management and fulfilment. No matter your requirements, we’re here to help!

Related: How to Create Stylish and Sustainable Subscription Boxes

Can Eco-Friendly Packaging Save You Money?

You can reduce your carbon footprint and lower long-term packaging costs with eco-friendly packaging. Opting for compostable, recyclable and biodegradable packaging requires a marginally higher initial investment. Still, you’re essentially future-proofing your business and extending your appeal to a growing market of eco-conscious customers.

Here are some of our favourite sustainable packaging products that can help you minimise packaging costs and protect the planet: 

Self-Seal Postal Boxes

Need to do away with endless amounts of packaging tape? Self-seal postal boxes come with an adhesive strip that makes packing simple. It also creates a memorable unboxing experience, thanks to the tear-away strip included in this packaging.


Compostable Mailing Bags 

Compostable mailing bags are a great alternative to plastic poly bags for businesses shipping locally and nationally.

No form of single-use plastic packaging will impress your customers, so why not swap it out for something with the same functionality? These bags will degrade naturally and can be composted at home.


Printed Sleeve Boxes

Need a cost-effective, custom packaging solution? Look no further than our printed sleeve boxes

If you don’t need a fully bespoke solution, you can add your artwork and messaging to a sleeved box. This will maximise the impact of your branding without breaking the bank! 

They’re available in various sizes and unit quantities with lead times of just 10 days.


Let Us Help Reduce Your Packaging Costs!

Keeping on top of your packaging costs isn’t easy, but our packaging experts are on hand to help. We’ve helped brands across multiple industries reduce their packaging costs without compromising quality, sustainability or their bottom line. As a carbon neutral packaging supplier, we know a thing or two about eco-friendly packaging practices that reduce waste and minimise costs.

Get a FREE quote for your next eco-friendly packaging solution within 48 hours.