Online Seller? Tips for Creative Packaging & DIY Labels!

(Note, the below text in this article is not a duplicate of the video, although there is some overlap)

If you have an online business, preparing packages for shipping is part of your day.

I was surprised to read that for many business owners this is their least favorite part of their job.

Creative packaging will not work for everyone.

For some business owners, as well as some buyers, focusing on packaging is "irrelevant fluff" (if this is you, you may want to skip this article). Also, the creative packaging I'm suggesting will not work for employees of large businesses, with strict controls, where they are required to package a certain quantity of shipments/boxes per hour.

You may ask, "What about a printed, full color, custom designed box?" First, these can be pricey, especially at lower quantities, in case you need to pivot. Second, you'll still need to purchase an additional outside shipping box that is rated for strength, 32 ECT (edge crush test) is minimum for shipping in. My preference is to invest the additional packaging expense on the "inside" of the shipping box.

So, who is this for? The small business owner and/or decision maker who has control over packaging.

On a weekly basis, I ship a variety of packages. Most are new products, and some are pre-owned products. They often vary in shape, size and weight.

If I'm preparing to ship something that is strictly utilitarian, for example, a "used cordless drill", I would not wrap it in tissue paper! But because of the potential for it to be left outside exposed to damp weather I would still seal it in a poly bag. I would also add a "Thank You" sticker.

In contrast, if I'm shipping a product that people wear, or a gift type item, then I see an opportunity to be creative with my packaging.

I look at packing and shipping as my last and final opportunity to be an artist, to be creative, and to make a positive statement at that critical time when the buyer first opens the package that I created.

I can't change the product I'm shipping, it's either going to work for the buyer, or it isn't. But when it comes to packing the product I'm getting ready to ship, I love having the freedom and control over how it's packed.

To me as a business owner, the cost in extra time and materials to do creative packaging is worth the investment. Consider all the options buyers have when online shopping. More and more people are buying online, and there are more online sellers than ever before.

If you're like me, you shop online and receive packages on a regular basis. Looking back, when I think about all the packages I've received, the majority are similar in one regard, the packer had one primary concern, efficiency.

As a small business owner I love being different in this regard, I enjoy packing in a creative way that has more to do with artistry, and less to do with efficiency.

It costs me more in time and materials to do it this way, I accept this.
But in the process I'm having more fun ... Maybe it's because, based on actual written feedback, buyers see the difference and appreciate it too.

In designing your packaging it may be helpful to start with a question. When your buyer opens the box you packaged, what do you want them to see first? It may be your color scheme, it may be your logo or brand name, you may want to emphasize a certain shape that defines your brand or product.

With regard to this first impression, I think keeping it simple and not too cluttered will have more impact. I also think that when your buyer first opens the box they should not see your product immediately. Unwrapping and seeing your product will be visual number two.

These first few minutes of your buyer opening the box sets their experience with you as the seller and your product. It doesn't mean you'll have a loyal buyer forever, but it's an opportunity for the first positive step. I know if I can succeed at this first impression, I'm in contention for long term loyalty and possibly referrals if my product suits the buyers needs.

I hope the sample photos of my packaging inspire you to be creative with your packaging!

One more suggestion, include a packing slip, even if it's only a one quarter sheet of paper, on it include your email address. Buyers may need to contact you immediately for some reason. Online sellers debate this issue constantly. Sellers against including a packing slip claim the buyer has your contact info when they ordered (true)..."save time, do not include a packing slip". I've read multiple comments from very successful sellers who claim a packing slip is not necessary. I think it's important to make it convenient for the buyer if they need to contact you. 

The supplier I use for all my labels is, and please note, I have no financial incentive to mention them for this article. I just keep ordering their labels because I like the variety of sizes they offer, plus the paper types, quality, pricing, and the fact that not once have any of their labels caused a "jam" in my printer!

The supplier I use for tissue paper is, and please note, I have no financial incentive for mentioning their name. I've ordered from them regularly because I've tried several other suppliers and have concluded that I like the weight of their "SatinWrap" brand of tissue paper, plus the variety of colors available is amazing!

If you need an attractive, well made bag for carrying your essentials, please check out our new "Hand Bag", the main material is polyester and the leather accents are "real leather" (faux leather is not used), it's about 11 inches long, big enough, but not too big... for a limited time we have a promotional price of only $25.77

Aapporto Hand Bag
Headshot of Paul Freeman