When you think of a subscription box, what do you see? Chances are, you’re picturing a well-packaged, aesthetically pleasing box—with lots of goodies inside, of course. The truth is, it’s not just “what’s on the inside” that matters when it comes to eCommerce products. Now more than ever, consumers care about how their products are packaged just as much as the actual products themselves. You wouldn’t want to order something and have it arrive wrapped in newspaper and scotch tape, would you? We didn’t think so. Nobody else wants that, either. Therefore, using custom packaging is always in your best interest if you’re an eCommerce business owner. It’s also the best way to keep your postage costs down!
What is Custom Packaging?
When packaging a product, you have two options: stock packaging and custom packaging. Let’s talk a little bit about both.
Stock packaging is basically just generic boxing you can pick up at any carrier location, including the Post Office. It’s cheap to manufacture and comes in a limited number of sizes and styles. Stock packaging is also cost-effective, so if you’re shipping a one-off item for personal reasons, it might make sense to use it. However, if you’re running your own eCommerce business, stock packaging won’t give your product that “wow” factor that consumers have come to expect.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, custom packaging is packaging that you can tailor specifically for your product. Pretty simple, right? With this option, you can customize EVERY little detail about your package. Such details include any printed designs, the color of your box, its shape, and even its outer dimensions to optimize for discount postage services.
Why Should I Use Custom Packaging?
There are several reasons why your small business should make use of custom packaging, but one stands out above the rest: standing out above the rest! See what we did there? Seriously, though: custom packaging gives your product a more refined and professional appearance, therefore helping your brand stand out among the masses. If you have an eCommerce business, we 100% recommend spending the money on custom packaging. After all, great branding is one of the cornerstones of every successful business.
Pro Tip: Custom packaging is obviously more expensive than stock, but don’t let that deter you. Believe it or not, it’s often cheaper to use custom packaging than using free flat rate boxes!
How Can I Use Custom Packaging for my Small Business?
In the past, you could only create custom packaging by purchasing specially-made tooling. It helps to think of tooling kind of like “packaging DNA.” Tooling involves crafting materials like cutting dies and printing plates—and those materials don’t come cheap. As a result, custom printing wasn’t always that approachable because of the high costs associated with. Color plates can cost around $800 each, and cutting dies can end up costing up to $1500. At the end of the day, it wasn’t uncommon for small businesses to rack up anywhere from $1000 to $3000 in upfront tooling costs alone!
That Was Then, This Is Now!
The new way of creating custom packaging is through digital printing. Just a few years ago, the quality of digitally printed boxes wasn’t that great or cost-effective, but it was still a nice way to print small batches. However, technology has drastically evolved since then, making it super easy and affordable for anyone to create custom packaging! There are websites like Pakible or Packlane where you can order a small batch of custom packages, and it ends up being quite cost-effective. Going through websites like these is quickly becoming the more attractive option for custom packaging, since it doesn’t require any of the upfront costs of tooling.
Custom Packaging and Priority Mail Cubic
One of the best perks of using custom packaging is your ability to take advantage of a “secret” USPS mail class called Priority Mail Cubic. Priority Mail Cubic is the cheapest AND fastest way to send parcels between 1 and 20 pounds with USPS. This mail class is so deeply discounted that it’s still the most cost-effective option to ship small packages, even after you factor in the cost of custom packaging!
We’ll spell it out for you as simple as possible. By using custom packaging and shipping Priority Mail Cubic, you can save money and give your customers a memorable unboxing experience at the same. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want that?
How Can I Ship Priority Mail Cubic?
Unfortunately, Priority Mail Cubic isn’t something the Post Office offers to common consumers. Traditionally, the only way to access this particular mail class is to enter into a contract with USPS. Those contracts have stringent requirements, like shipping at least 50,000 packages per year. To speak frankly, that’s a lofty goal for a lot of small businesses to hit! Therefore, Priority Mail Cubic discounts are mostly only enjoyed by big commercial businesses.
But wait—all hope isn’t lost! There are tons of shipping software options out there that will let you access Priority Mail Cubic rates. However, they’re all a little bit different, and some are certainly better than others. To find one out which one is right for you, check out our guide: Choosing the Best Shipping Software.
Pro Tip: If unique packaging simply isn’t in the cards for your small business at this time, don’t stress! USPS actually offers free boxes for Priority Mail Cubic that you can use to package your products.
Want Some Suggestions for Packaging Companies?
Looking for a place to start? Check out our Reviews page for a huge list of custom packaging companies!