Best Packaging Materials for E-commerce Businesses

Ecommerce Packaging

There are a few different types of e-commerce packaging materials available. Mailers and other materials can protect products during transit, but finding the right one is key to reducing shipping costs. Whether you're using cardboard boxes or a specialized mailer bag, it should fit your items snuggly. Using the wrong size could result in customers having to cut through the plastic and into your product accidentally. On the other hand, loose packaging could result in your item getting damaged easily in transit. Make sure you choose the appropriate packaging size to protect your items properly, especially fragile products. There is also the aesthetics side to consider, among other things.

A Shift to Focus on Sustainable Packaging Options

Across the world, governments, and brands are adopting sustainable practices in choosing packaging materials. Vancouver banned single-use plastic bags, and major cities followed suit. Legislation has also been increasing in support of sustainability, with California Assembly Bill 793 requiring that all packaging materials for e-commerce businesses contain 15% post-consumer recycled content by January 1, 2022, and increasing to 50% by 2030. Recent price increases and shortages of certain plastics have increased interest in sustainable packaging.

Reusable Ecobags

Ecofriendly Sacks 📷 by Sarah Chai

Most importantly, consumers are also more environmentally conscious. More and more research is pointing out that people would be willing to pay a higher price to shop from brands using ecofriendly packaging than traditional plastics.

Paper Packaging

 As mentioned above, many customers take the packaging of their favorite brands into account when choosing a brand. And paper packaging is one of the reasons why. It can be recycled or broken down easily if ends up in nature, compared to plastics.

Other benefits of paper packaging include protection in transit. It can provide protection against breakage and damage and can be as durable as corrugated materials. Additionally, this material is extremely versatile. Paper can be adapted to fit your business's unique requirements, and it can be printed on both sides of the package. For eCommerce businesses, paper is an excellent choice for exterior packaging. In short: It's durable, easily customizable, and easy to recycle.

This baby clothing brand @shopsiyanagrace use paper to protect their cute baby clothes

Biodegradable and Compostable Mailer Bag

Environmentally friendly packaging options for your eCommerce business include compostable and biodegradable mailer bags. Compostable mailing bags are often made from biopolymers such as corn, combined with a binding agent.

The small shop @bohemelifecollection uses compostable bubble mailers for their products

On the other hand, Biodegradable mailers use an agent (usually d2w) to help break down the bags into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass, leaving no toxic residues. Compostable mailers need to be taken to a commercial composting site, while biodegradable can be recycled or taken to most major grocery stores to be sorted.

Although they are slightly more expensive than plastic mailers, also known as poly mailers, they are definitely better for the environment. They are perfect for shipping flexible items such as clothing, yarns, or even outside your paper packaging boxes to protect them from rain and dirt. You never know where your package will end up.

Bubble Mailer Bag in Canada

Double protection for your fragile small products by Impack's bubble mailer

How can you minimize the use of unnecessary packaging?

Just last year, Amazon delivered 3.5 billion packages via its last-mile delivery network! That means almost 10 million packages a day. Think about all that waste and other materials going into landfills or ending up being thrown away when not properly disposed of. Luckily, there are ways you can help out:

  1. Use recycled padding for fragile products, like used paper, and old cardboard boxes. Or you can choose to use biodegradable packing peanuts.
  2. As an alternative to bubble wrap, if you have smaller products, choose padded mailers or bubble mailers. It can work like 2-in-1 internal and external packaging.
  3. Encourage multiple purchases. Create discounts, special vouchers or buy one, get one promotion. One-time shipping means less packaging.
  4. If you can't avoid using padding and additional protection for your products, choose ecofriendly packaging like biodegradable mailers, tapes, etc.
  5. If your customers are ordering more than two items at once, consider if they can fit inside one box or one mailer bag. Consider if the size of your bag or box is too big for your item.
Cutting down your packaging will have a big Impack (pun intended). Consider reducing your environmental impact by 15%-20% and work towards finding ways to recycle, use sustainable packaging options, or reduce the amount of materials used in production as well!

    Making an Impression

    Biodegrdable Bags

    Which ones stand out more, the standard white packages or the printed floral ones in the middle?

    Gone are the days you are buying packaging supplies based on how well they can protect the items inside alone. The unboxing experience dictates the customer expectation of your product before they even start using it, so why settle for boring brown boxes and bright pink mailer bags?

    There are more and more tailor-made packaging options nowadays, from custom printing to ready-made options. While you can have your own logo and design on the custom print packaging, it usually requires a high minimum order quantity (MOQ) which would take up a lot of space AND cost you a pretty penny upfront.

    For paper boxes, even if you don’t do custom printing, you can still make them stand out by investing in gummed tapes, where you can choose from a ton of beautiful prints to help the boxes stand out.

    Gummed Tapes

    Use printed tapes to make cardboard boxes look good

    Ready-made mailers are becoming more popular, and you can expect to see new designs every month. Just search for “mailer bags” on Amazon or Etsy, and you should be able to find something that matches your brand aesthetics. *Spoilers*: We are one of the mailer brands, and the advantage of buying ready-made packaging supplies from brands like us is that:

    • Since we have in-house designers, it's easy for us to introduce new designs frequently. Instead of sticking with one design of 10,000 bags or more, you can get a summer-vibe design, then switch to a Halloween/Christmas theme anytime.
    • Because of the low minimum, you don't need extra storage for these packaging supplies, nor do you have to put aside a small sum to pay for them in advance. Just buy what you need. The same goes for any other ready-made packaging supplies brands out there.

    For ideas on what kind of packaging designs are ready-made, you can check out our biodegradable mailer bag and bubble mailers in our shop.

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