How to Customize Your Product Packaging
Packaging is so much more than the thing you throw away to get to the good stuff.
When you run a retail business, good packaging is an absolute necessity, whether you primarily sell online or in person. Packaging keeps your products safe and free from damage while also communicating something about your brand and the products inside. It can set your company apart from all the rest and cause your products to appear more expensive at a relatively low cost.
But investing in quality packaging, especially customized packaging, is just that: an investment. The default – using free boxes at the USPS store, sticking with whatever packaging your wholesale supplier provided, using old newspapers to keep your products from moving around in a cardboard box – is often MUCH cheaper and easier. Is customizing your product packaging worth it? And how can you customize your product packaging as a small-scale boutique owner with no design experience?
Customizing your product packaging can pay off in a big way. So if you’ve ever had any questions like...
- Do I need to customize your product packaging?
- Am I allowed to customize my product packaging?
- What types of product packaging can I customize?
- How do I customize my product packaging?
You’re in the right place! We’ll go over everything you need to know in order to start customizing your product packaging and upscaling your product presentation as a boutique owner.
Do You Need to Customize Your Product Packaging?
As a boutique owner, customizing your product packaging isn’t strictly necessary. It’s absolutely possible to sell your products in generic packaging, whether you keep them in whatever packaging your wholesaler sent them in or you use generic, unbranded boxes, envelopes, tissue paper, and the like.
However, customizing your product packaging gives it an extra touch of thoughtfulness. We’ve all experienced it – there’s a clear difference between receiving a package in the mail that’s a dented cardboard box surrounded by clear, wrinkled masking tape, or receiving a neat, patterned box that you immediately recognize as the package you’ve been waiting so patiently for, with your items carefully presented inside. And think about it – which of those packages would you be more likely to order a second time?
Nowadays, product packaging is especially important. Many customers even expect nice, branded packaging.
Thoughtful product packaging…
- Differentiates your brand from others. Good product packaging can help your products and packages stand out for all the rest.
- Creates brand recognition. It can solidify your brand, making it easier to spot when shopping in-person, browsing social media, coming across an ad, and more.
- Provides additional information about the product. You can use the back of a product box or wrapping to illustrate special features of your product, such as materials or how a customer might use it in their everyday life.
- Gives a strong first impression. Keep in mind that when a customer is shopping for products in your store, they’ll likely see the packaged state of your product before they ever even see the product on its own. But even if your customers order your products online, you can set them up to love the items they ordered by sending them in a customized package.
- Can influence a higher perceived value. High-quality packaging can give your products a premium look.
- Can be more functional. For example, custom packaging may be a good idea if you sell a very fragile or oddly shaped product.
- Protects your product. The last thing you want is for your items to break or become damaged in transit – good product packaging can help you keep your customers happy by keeping your products safe.
- Can reduce costs. Investing in packaging materials may come at a higher upfront cost, but it can actually reduce costs in the long run if you focus on keeping your packaging sustainable, minimal, and recycled.
While customizing your product packaging does involve significant effort and upfront costs, it can absolutely help you forge a connection with your customers and drive more first-time and repeat sales.
Can I Customize My Product Packaging?
Let’s say you’ve ordered a pair of earrings from Supplied. Initially, you purchased them because of the adorable product photos you saw online, where they were styled with other jewelry or displayed attractively on their own. Now, you’ve just received them in the mail. They’ve arrived in packaging – attached to an earring backer card with a pattern and a brand name you don’t recognize, inside of a crinkly cellophane package.
In this case, your question may not be whether you SHOULD customize your product packaging… but rather, whether you CAN! Is it okay to repackage wholesale products you’ve purchased with your own branded packaging?
The answer is yes! Even if the wholesale products you order from Supplied already come in packaging, you have the right to change them if you choose. You’re typically not under any obligation to the original manufacturer or wholesaler, unless otherwise stated. As a retailer, you have the freedom to alter the presentation of your products however you choose.
With our earring example, that means you could take the earrings off the backer card and affix them to your own custom backer card that features your logo and brand name if you’d like. Or you could sell them as is, of course!
Many Supplied customers love customizing the product packaging of Supplied products to make them suit their own brand. You totally have our blessing when doing so – no need to give us credit! (Though if you ever come across a boutique owner who’s looking for a new wholesaler, send them our way – you’ll earn a killer referral bonus!)
Types of Customizable Product Packaging
When you think of product packaging, you might first think of cardboard boxes or clear cellophane wrapping. But product packaging is actually so much farther reaching than that. Very rarely do you ever sell a product without some sort of packaging attached to it. Here are just a few types of product packaging you may find yourself needing in your boutique, along with suggestions on how you could customize each one.
Customizable eCommerce Packaging
Cardboard boxes – Create customizable outer packaging for shipping purposes. You can add colors, prints, or messages to the outside or inside of your box for a fun unboxing experience. They’ll be able to easily spot yours as the package they’ve been patiently waiting for!
Box fillers – Keep your products from moving around too much during the shipping process by adding fillers, or inner packaging, like colorful tissue paper, packing peanuts, or confetti. You could customize this by using your brand colors or closing the tissue paper with a branded sticker. Consider more sustainable, recyclable inner packaging options, too, especially if your customer base is eco-conscious.
Tape – Even if you’re planning on using generic cardboard boxes and other packaging, small details can go a long way. Consider ordering custom tape printed with your logo and brand colors. (That’s what we do here at Supplied!)
Inserts – Create business cards or flyers to add to your packaging. Whether your packaging is ultra-customized or not, this can help you add a personal, branded touch at a low cost. (Bonus points if you include a personal note to your customers!)
Customizable In-Store Packaging
Product boxes – keep your products protected in a beautifully designed, on-brand box. You can make your products more eye-catching this way.
Jewelry packaging – keep delicate jewelry protected and untangled with pretty jewelry packaging. You could customize ring boxes, earring backing cards, necklace pouches, and more.
Hangtags – hangtags are typically affixed to the tags on articles of clothing. You can customize hangtags with your logo, your brand colors, unique paper stock, metal grommets, custom strings, dozens of printing and sizing options, and more.
Bags – create a sturdy, high-quality branded shopping bag your customers can carry their new purchases in as they continue shopping or bring their items home.
Shoeboxes – keep pairs and sizes together in sturdy shoeboxes, embellished with your logo and brand colors.
How to Customize Your Product Packaging
Now that you have a better feel for why you may want to consider customizing your product packaging and some of the packaging possibilities, it’s time to learn how to actually do it! Nowadays, there are plenty of options out there for creating customized product packaging. The best one will depend on your budget – but most of the process is the same regardless of the manufacturer you partner with.
Solidify the product
Before you even start thinking about the packaging itself, you’ve got to make sure you have a really good idea of what’s going inside of it. What products do you sell? What are the dimensions of those products? What customers typically buy those products? This will help you make sure the products actually fit the packaging you create and that the packaging style is targeting the right sort of people.
Figure out what you need
As we’ve already discovered, “packaging” is a very broad term. Are you looking for outer packaging, such as cardboard boxes? Are you looking for inner packaging, such as tissue paper or packing peanuts? Are you looking for product packaging, such as the small box your jewelry comes in? First, identify what sort of packaging you need to create and purchase.
Then, identify your budget – and be realistic. Chances are, you’ll have to budget for a one-time cost of designing your packaging as well as a recurring cost of reordering packaging as you run out. Your budget will influence whether you can afford to create expert-designed, full-color cardboard packaging or if you’re better off going with a more generic option you can stamp your logo onto yourself. (Both are great!)
Design your packaging
Next up, start brainstorming what you’d like your packaging to look like. Consider the colors, logo, shapes, and images you already use across your shop, website, and social media pages. If you consistently use certain colors and fonts, use them in your packaging as well to keep the look cohesive.
If you have the budget for it, consider hiring your packaging design out to a freelancer or agency. This will help you create eye-catching, professional-level packaging at a one-time cost. If you’d prefer to tackle this on your own, try using a platform like Canva to create your packaging design or partner with a packaging manufacturer that offers design services along with printing.
Create your packaging
Now, it’s time to produce your packaging! Alternatively, you could find a local printer that’s capable of producing your designs. Companies like Packlane, The Custom Boxes, Bags and Bows, Vistaprint, Pakible, Packwire, and more can all help you create custom-branded packaging on-demand, with convenient online product creation. Get a quote from a few different companies and compare reviews before settling on one.
If you’re looking for backing cards or hangtags, The/Studio is another great option, with no minimum order quantities and fair pricing. You can also create branded stickers with their DIY product creation tool. The/Studio also offers free design services with every order, making it an affordable way to have your packaging expert designed.
If you don’t have the budget to order customized packaging, you can still DIY generic packaging to give it a personalized touch. Order custom stickers at a low cost, create a custom stamp to add to all of your boxes, or simply go to your nearest Target and choose some brightly colored tissue paper to add to your packages – it’s not customized, but it’s still something unique! Just be sure to keep your packaging neat, thoughtful, and consistent. And it doesn’t cost a thing to add personal touches like a handwritten note or thank-you card.