Online Shop Packaging Basics: What You Need
When I was getting started with my business, one of the biggest challenges that I ran into was figuring out how to package my orders and where to purchase packaging supplies. I thought that a post covering all of the basics might be helpful for those of you facing the same thing. Let's get started! Here's an idea of what you will need, along with photos of what I use for my shop...
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1. Inner Packaging
This is the more "pretty" packaging for your items. If your item was being sold in a brick and mortar store, this is the packaging that it would be shown in. The purpose of this is first of all to make the item look nice and professional, and secondly to protect it a bit as it's sliding around inside of the outer packaging / shipping materials.
Inner Packaging Ideas...
- Prints / Stationery / Flat Paper Items: clear sleeves
- Jewelry / Accessories: jewelry boxes or small stamped bags
- Stamps / Other Small Items: stamped muslin bags, tissue paper with washi tape or a sticker
2. Extra Protection
This is the stuff that has no "pretty" factor at all - it's purpose is simply to protect your items.
Extra Protection Ideas...
- Prints / Stationery / Flat Paper Items: Cardboard sheets to keep the item from bending
- Fragile Items: Bubble wrap, inflatable protective stuff, recycled paper, kraft paper, newspaper, etc.
3. Promotional / Branding Materials
This usually includes some type of card that portrays your brand and provides links and other information to keep your customer coming back and/or subscribing to your social media. It also might include a logo stamp or stickers for the outside of your packages. I design my own and have them printed by my printing company that I use for all of my shop items but there are lots of places online that can print these types of items for you, or you can contact a local printing company in your area.
Promo Material Ideas...
- Business cards
- Larger cards that tell your story / show photos
- Custom tissue paper
- Custom packing tape
4. Shipping Materials
This is the outer protection for your package, and what will be arriving at your customers' doors. Depending on the size and shape of what you sell, this might be either a box or a flat mailer. Shipping materials also might include a shipping label printer (I use this one), sticky labels, and the invoice for your order. Rather than including an invoice with prices, I always just include a gift receipt. I get a lot of requests to not include prices in the packaging so since I already send a full receipt via email, I don't include the prices in any of my orders. This is your personal preference.
Shipping Material Ideas...
- Flat mailers
- Bubble / padded mailers
- USPS flat rate boxes and mailers (note: this can be a great option depending on the weight of your items. I recommend weighing the cost of shipping flat rate vs. using your own box or mailer and seeing what works for you.)
- Shipping Label Printer and Sticky Labels
- "DO NOT BEND" self-inking stamp - this is a MUST for those of you who sell flat items that cannot be bent.