July 26, 2023

Being the first physical contact customers have with a product, packaging often determines their initial impression of a brand. In addition to protecting goods during transit, effective packaging can also enhance brand visibility and improve customer loyalty.

However, businesses sometimes make common packaging mistakes that can negatively impact customer satisfaction and sales. To avoid these pitfalls and ensure your e-commerce business thrives, it is essential to know these packaging mistakes and learn how to sidestep them. In this article, we will help you address these issues by sharing tips to enhance your packaging strategy and optimize the customer experience.

Oversized packaging

Excess packaging materials not only lead to waste but also increase shipping costs due to greater dimensional weight. In addition, it hurts the environment by contributing to resource depletion and carbon emissions. Customers also often perceive oversized packaging as unnecessary and wasteful, which can impact their perception of a brand.

To fix the oversized packaging problem, consider optimizing your packaging dimensions based on the size, weight, and fragility of your products. Begin by analyzing the existing packaging size used for different items and identifying areas where reductions are possible. Next, consider package designs that are adjustable to fit various products or invest in packing materials that are space-efficient, such as air pillows or void fill options.

Amazon, for example, has developed a specialized program called Frustration-Free Packaging, which includes reducing package sizes and efficiently utilizing space. This initiative not only minimizes waste and transportation costs but also simplifies the customer experience by reducing the steps needed to open and dispose of packaging materials.

Neglecting branding and package aesthetics


As a key touchpoint between customers and a brand, visually appealing and well-branded packaging can create a memorable unboxing experience, elicit positive emotions, and strengthen brand identity. This ultimately contributes to customer satisfaction and loyalty. Impack confirms that one of the main reasons customers love their biodegradable mailer bags is the designs and how some particular designs “match perfectly” with their brand colors.

On the other hand, lackluster packaging is easily forgettable and may even create a negative impression. That is why neglecting branding and package aesthetics can undermine a business’s image and customer experience.

To avoid this issue, consider investing time and resources in designing unique packaging that aligns with your brand values and visual identity. Start by collaborating with graphic designers or in-house creative teams to create visually appealing, memorable, and unique package designs that reflect your brand’s personality and message. Using brand colors, fonts, and patterns consistently on packaging materials can also help establish a strong brand identity.

Apple is a prime example of a company that excels in package aesthetics. Its minimalist packaging design complements its sleek and sophisticated products while reflecting the brand’s commitment to simplicity and elegance. The unboxing experience feels like a premium event, leaving a lasting impression on customers and driving loyalty.

Inadequate protection of products

Inadequate protection of products during shipment can lead to damages, resulting in customer dissatisfaction, negative reviews, returns, and ultimately a loss of trust in the business. Many e-commerce companies try to save on packaging costs by using inferior materials or providing insufficient cushioning; however, this can backfire by increasing costs due to returns and harming the brand’s reputation.

To ensure the proper protection of products, focus on selecting appropriate packaging materials and techniques based on the fragility, weight, and size of the items to be shipped. Start by assessing the specific needs of your products in terms of protection during transit.

For fragile or breakable items, consider using cushioning materials like bubble wrap or foam inserts. Use sturdy box materials like corrugated cardboard for heavier items to minimize the risk of damage. Ensure the packaging is secure with quality seals and reinforcements like packing tape and corner guards if necessary.

For example, Dell, the computer manufacturer, uses recyclable cushioned cardboard for their computer packaging. Besides being environmentally friendly, this material effectively protects delicate electronic devices during shipment. It also allows Dell to ensure that its products reach customers in perfect condition while showcasing its commitment to sustainability.

Complicated or difficult-to-open packaging

A user-friendly unboxing experience is an opportunity to enhance the overall shopping journey, and it is essential for customer satisfaction. Packaging that is hard to open or filled with excessive materials can leave customers with a negative impression, which may discourage them from making future purchases or recommending the brand to others.

To create a user-friendly unboxing experience, it is crucial to design packaging that is simple to open and dispose of, without any unnecessary complications. First, reduce the use of excessive adhesives or difficult-to-open seals by opting for easy-to-tear perforations or peelable closures. Also, ensure that packaging instructions, such as where to cut or pull, are clear and easy to follow, either through visual indicators or brief text instructions.

An excellent example of simplified packaging is Amazon’s aforementioned Frustration-Free Packaging initiative. They eliminate wire ties and plastic bindings, which reduces the overall packaging materials and helps ensure a positive unboxing experience for their customers.

Failing to offer free or affordable shipping options

High shipping costs can be a roadblock for potential customers and hinder e-commerce sales. Customers are more likely to abandon their carts if they perceive shipping costs to be excessive. On the other hand, offering free or affordable shipping options can incentivize customers to complete their purchases and may even encourage them to buy more items to reach a free shipping threshold. This ultimately benefits your bottom line.

For cost-effective shipping solutions, you can begin by analyzing your current shipping costs and identifying areas where savings can be made. Negotiate better rates with your shipping providers and explore the possibility of securing volume discounts.

In addition, consider optimizing your packaging to reduce weight and dimensions, further lowering shipping costs. You can also offer free shipping thresholds, such as free shipping on orders above a certain amount, to encourage customers to purchase more items while covering the cost of shipping through increased sales.

Amazon Prime is a prime example of the power of free shipping. Their subscription service offers free two-day shipping for a wide range of products, which has proven to be a significant factor in driving customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

Overlooking potential packaging customization

Overlooking the potential for packaging customization is a missed opportunity for e-commerce businesses to create a unique and engaging customer experience. Custom packaging helps brands stand out, adds a personal touch to the purchasing process, and is more likely to trigger positive emotions. This can result in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. If a business fails to personalize packaging, then it might lose out on enhancing its brand image and the chance to connect more deeply with customers.

To customize packaging, a business must first understand its specific customer base and identify the elements that could resonate with them. Start by brainstorming ideas for personalized elements, such as branded stickers, packing tape, or tissue paper. You can also add handwritten notes or discount codes to make the unboxing process feel special and appreciated. Keep in mind that customization should be executed while staying within budgetary constraints and paying attention to sustainability concerns.

One business that excels in packaging customization is Glossier, which is recognizable pink bubble mailers and reusable makeup pouches. To further personalize the packaging, they also include a sheet of branded stickers, which customers can use as they please. This small touch adds personality and charm to the packaging, strengthening the brand identity and amplifying customer satisfaction.


Ignoring sustainability and eco-friendliness

Sustainable packaging is more important than ever, as customers are becoming more environmentally conscious. Ignoring sustainability and eco-friendliness can hinder a business’s reputation and growth. Consumers increasingly prefer to shop from brands that prioritize eco-friendly practices and values, so it makes financial sense to care for the environment while catering to these preferences. When you adopt sustainable packaging solutions, you can potentially enjoy increased customer engagement, higher sales, and reduced environmental impact.

To make your business more sustainable and eco-friendly, consider evaluating the materials and processes used in your current packaging. Once done, you can identify areas where you can reduce waste, use biodegradable or recyclable materials, or minimize the use of harmful substances.

When choosing environmentally friendly materials, consider their ecological footprint, recyclability, and the availability of renewable resources. It is also important to communicate your efforts to customers so they understand the impact of your initiatives.

A great example of a sustainable packaging solution is using biodegradable mailer bags. Many brands have embraced this approach, discovering that it promotes a positive image and increases trust among environmentally concerned customers.

Impack, a company dedicated to sustainable packaging, offers biodegradable mailers that provide necessary protection for products while reducing environmental impact. They also offer free shipping on orders over $50, which further supports their eco-friendly packaging products by making them more accessible to customers.

Poor inventory management and inefficient packaging processes

Poor inventory management and inefficient packaging are other packaging mistakes that should be avoided. Poor inventory management can lead to delays in order fulfillment, errors, stockouts, and dissatisfied customers. Such inefficient handling of inventory affects the overall performance of an e-commerce business and may even result in increased costs and losses.

To improve inventory management, consider having a thorough assessment of your current workflow and identify areas that might be causing inefficiencies. Implementing software tools or inventory management systems that track real-time stock levels, automate routine tasks, and provide analytics can also help with decision-making. This way, you can ensure that your inventory is well-organized and updated, which can lead to quicker order turnaround times and improved customer satisfaction.

On the other hand, inefficient packaging processes can result in a disorganized workflow and impact the overall efficacy of e-commerce businesses. However, when optimized, these processes can contribute to streamlined operations and enhanced customer satisfaction.

To address inefficient packaging processes, consider consolidating packaging materials and centralizing inventory storage to make it easier for employees to access necessary resources quickly. You can also invest in training to ensure all staff members understand the importance of efficient packaging processes and established best practices.

A great example of inventory management and packaging optimization is Zappos, the online shoe retailer. They use a sophisticated inventory management system that enables them to track all stock in real time, which helps streamline their packaging processes while minimizing order errors.

Wrapping It Up Right: Steer Clear of These Packaging Pitfalls

Addressing common packaging mistakes is essential for e-commerce businesses to ensure customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and a positive impact on the environment. Companies must prioritize strategic and sustainable packaging approaches, such as optimizing dimensions, adopting eco-friendly materials, and focusing on aesthetics and customization to create exceptional customer experiences.

We hope that the strategies discussed in this article will help you navigate common packaging pitfalls and distinguish itself in the competitive e-commerce marketplace. Be the change in the e-commerce experience by embracing sustainable and customer-focused packaging solutions. It’s time to wrap it up right and revolutionize your packaging game!



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