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With e-commerce fiercely on the rise, what was once considered just a shell for transportation has now blossomed into much more. The primary purpose of e-commerce packaging is to ensure goods safely arrive at your customer’s door, but beyond the protective envelopes and walls of cardboard boxes is an incredible marketing opportunity. If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider how packaging can elevate your brand by creating memorable moments with your customers.

Whether your business is strictly online or you are looking to build an e-commerce program in conjunction with your retail stores, packaging can play a key role in your strategy. In today’s post, we will discuss how to build a successful e-commerce program, from key packaging elements and logistics to trends in design that will help to build brand loyalty.



Packaging is a powerful and tangible way to express core values, brand aesthetic, and ultimately, help set you apart from the competition. That being said, a strong e-commerce program begins with a strong brand foundation. If you have established brand guidelines – good for you! If not, you might want to pause here and check out our recent blog, Brand Guidelines 101.


Logistics and Functional Requirements
Storage space, assembly time, DIM weight – these are three main factors to keep in mind when developing your packaging components. Warehousing, labor, and shipping costs can add pennies, nickels, and dimes to your e-commerce costs, and should be discussed prior to developing your program.


Structural & Creative Design
With clear brand guidelines in place and your logistical requirements understood, the structural and creative design process can begin. Inspirational mood boards are a great start to provide a basis for the design of your program. Shape language, textures, materials, print collateral, and color schemes are all things to keep in mind when building mood boards. This will provide your design team with the visual cues needed to create thematic graphic/structural concepts for your program.

Once you have the structure, look, tone, and feel decided, think beyond the box. What are other items you could explore to customize your e-commerce experience? From marketing collateral and custom shipping labels to return mailers and thank you notes, every experience matters.



How do you emulate a unique in-store experience through e-commerce? It’s all in the reveal. Think of how the design of your program invites the customer to engage in the unpacking process. Sights, smells, language, textures – every aspect of your packaging can be leveraged to evoke the senses of an in-home retail experience, in the absence of a brick-and-mortar store.

Here are a few trends we’ve witnessed in creating a unique customer experience:

Thoughtful Design

Design with your ideal customer in mind and define your intentions for the unboxing experience.  Depending upon your goals, thoughtful design can manifest in different ways including eco-friendly materials, unique structures, attention to detail, fun graphics, and more.

Example: Roseur

Sensory Engagement

Taking cues from in-store experiences and events, engaging the senses in e-commerce is unexpected and can help to create a more engaging and memorable experience for customers.

Example: CRP Holiday Box


It’s not a new concept, but it never gets old. Customers enjoy being taken care of and personalized details add a level of care and authenticity that is known to build brand loyalty.

Example: Kalla

Materials Selection

Materials matter. They have an intangible way of communicating a little bit about who you are as a brand, and selecting the proper materials can go a long way in reinforcing your brand story.

Example: Filson

Elevated Return Process

One of the downsides of shopping online is returning unwanted goods. If you can make the process easier for your customer, the happier they will be.



As with all great ideas, the best come out of collaboration. If you want to develop a unique, custom e-commerce experience, or simply take an audit of your existing program, we are happy to start a dialog with you. To get started, click on the following link to provide us with more information about your company and packaging needs, and a CRP representative will be in contact: E-Commerce RFP Form.


*Disclaimer – We worked on most of the projects you see here, but this can’t be all about us. To view more inspiring images, visit our Pinterest board.