Ecommerce packaging - How do brands want to be perceived?

Extra Extra Read All About It! Today’s headlines scream urgency of our ever-growing ecological crisis. Packaging waste is at an all time high. Sustainability is the mantra of the day and rightly so.


Everywhere we look we are reminded of the overwhelming amount of discarded materials in the water systems, in our streets, and overflowing our landfills. How do we curb this escalating crisis when our product consumption grows daily? Amplified by packaging, the articles demonizing excessively wasteful ecommerce packaging are piling up like that stack of discarded shipping boxes in your recycling bin.

The emergence of ecom has placed brands in uncharted waters. Not only must they adjust their seasonal forecasts to accomodate unanticipated consumer trends, they also need to understand how packaging affects their customers. There is an emotional component that enters the equation when we receive a box at our door. This is the moment of truth that marketing companies like to speak of. What quality is the packaging and is it appropriately sized to the product? Does the packaging of the product reflect the values of the consumer?

The younger the customer the more they desire to spend their hard earned money with brands that demonstrate sustainable practices and show consideration to their impact on the planet. Are you shipping your product encased in foam and/or airfill bladders because your shipping carton is too big? Can you replace those materials with renewable materials or better yet create a more precise shipping carton suite to accurately accommodate your products?

Brands are eating tremendous costs for the sake of getting their product to their customers. It’s not uncommon for brands to double box their goods in order to survive the rigors of third party shipping and handling. This waste is not necessary. Rather it is an opportunity to reevaluate the purpose and life cycle of packaging. By taking into account the additional touchpoints in the supply chain and ultimately it’s end use, you can introduce handling improvements and streamline your ecommerce packaging with minimal effort.

Most sustainabilty initiatives require substantial investment. These could include advanced production methods, new machinery, or more aggressive compliance measures. Sustainable packaging on the other hand can be achieved through minimal investment of time and money and can immediately introduce savings throughout the supply chain. By properly sizing shipping cartons, employing more robust board specifications, and introducing handling features (think reshippable cartons for returns) you can minimize your ecom shipping spend. All to the benefit of improved distribution center efficiencies, material reduction, and ultimately boosting customer satisfaction.

This is the moment where brands need to decide who they are and how they want to be perceived by their customers. More so than ever before that moment of truth transpires on the front porch.  

Ryan Gaither

International Sales Executive

Portland, OR

+1 503 720 8468

Ryan Gaither is an International Sales Executive. From his early days as a teenager operating a rollpress diecutter at his family’s tool and die shop in Southern California to traveling the world in various capacities as a designer and in sales, he has spent over 25 years in the packaging industry. He has a passion and natural curiosity for all things packaging. As he is fond of saying, ”almost everthing comes in a box” and he is keenly aware of how packaging plays an intricate part in our daily lives and is dedicated to sharing the story of sustainability through renewable packaging.

He resides in Portland Oregon with his partner Johanna and loving cat Hobart.

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