Case Study: KURU ecommerce footwear packaging

When KURU’s custom footwear did not fit their packaging, they decided to make a change.

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KURU shoe company is a forward-thinking footwear brand that designs incredibly comfortable shoes and sells them 100% online. The existing KURU packaging was not properly designed and optimized for their e-commerce model. The product was being shipped via air freight in traditional shoe boxes packed inside larger, inefficient transport boxes, costing them more money than necessary.


They were looking to make their packaging match the impeccable engineering and styles of their footwear.


Some of the packaging challenges KURU shoe company faced included:

  • KURU shoes need additional shipping boxes for ecommerce
  • The rising cost of paper packaging products in China
  • Changes in freight billing increased their shipping costs
  • Low-quality packaging, resulting in a poor customer experience
  • Customers had difficulty returning products in their packaging
  • Limited quality control from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

With these challenges in mind, KURU turned to Billerud Managed Packaging for expertise.


The KURU brand prioritises the experience they provide to the customer. As a direct-to-consumer ecommerce company, they recognised the importance of packaging as the customer’s first physical point of contact with their footwear product.

Box Kuru_web.jpg

“KURU wanted customers to have that ‘self-gifting’ experience when they open their box for the first time,” said Tim Stone, Manager of the Packaging Design & Engineering team for Billerud in Portland. “When customers order their shoes online, they don’t get that personal experience like they do when they’re in the shoe department⁠—trying them on. We wanted them to have a moment of reveal when they open the box for the first time.”

KURU prioritised the following goals when making a change to their packaging:

  • Improve the customer experience of their packaging to match their footwear products
  • Save money on shipping
  • Optimise the transportation aspect of their packaging
  • Make products easier for the customer to return

KURU’s unique products and non-traditional retail space created an opportunity to reach these goals, with the help of packaging and materials experts.


To reach these packaging, shipping and customer experience goals, KURU shoe company partnered with Billerud. The packaging designers and engineering professionals at Billerud began development of packaging that would improve each of these concerns.


The Managed Packaging team implemented the following solutions to meet their goals:

  • Packaging design evolved to a tray inside of a sleeve
  • An unsealed box means greater quality control, and enables inspection when the order is pulled
  • New tray and sleeve design with strategically placed tear and adhesive strips allowed for returns in the original packaging
  • Quality assurance checkpoints were implemented to ensure color, style and size are up to specification
  • High quality materials replaced the previous OEM packaging to improve customer experience and returnability




When these changes were implemented into KURU’s new packaging design, KURU saw a remarkable improvement in each one of their packaging challenges. Not only were dimensions and weight reduced, but streamlined packaging resulted in a reduction in shipping costs. As an ecommerce-only company, the reduction in shipping costs had a significant impact on their bottom line.


As for customer experience, the new design contributed to a surge in positive online reviews and unboxing videos:

KURU Case Study Download