Marketing Tips

Optimizing eCommerce packaging for the holiday season

July 6, 2021
minute read
eCommerce box with custom tissue paper printed with Seaman Paper branded trees

Last year’s online holiday shopping season saw record growth. With brick-and-mortar stores back open, this year’s volume likely won’t be on par, but certainly, there are behaviors from the 2020 peak season that are likely to carry over into 2021. In September 2020, 38% of shoppers said they’d begin holiday shopping in October; 60% said they would start before December, which would likely lead to another extended shopping season. As the holiday shopping time frame expands, it’s crucial that retailers and direct-to-consumer brands plan their packaging strategies well in advance.

Early promotions and other marketing tactics are strong components of a successful holiday sales program, but one area that can’t be overlooked is packaging design. In a previous blog post, we discussed the importance of gift-like eCommerce packaging during the pandemic holiday shopping season. Fewer visits with friends and family segued into an influx of gifts ordered online to be delivered directly to loved ones. This put responsibility on brands to think about how to leverage their external and inner packaging, rising to the occasion – literally – of creating a gift-like unboxing experience.

Designing custom, festive packaging that delights customers is essential, and there are many ways to capitalize on this part of the fulfillment process. With so many options, we thought it might be helpful to provide some guidance based on the most frequently asked eCommerce packaging questions and topics we discuss with companies of all sizes across the globe every day.  

Is a holiday theme better than a traditional packaging design?

Putting a seasonal spin on design that coincides with the holidays is a nice touch that shows you care about your customers’ experience – and they value that. Repeat customers will take note of the change in design, too, which makes the reveal feel different and special. Playing to the emotions that come with the holiday spirit enhances the overall encounter. Along with custom printing options, Seaman Paper’s SatinWrap line also features holiday-themed prints, making creating a holiday-themed unboxing quick and convenient.

Should the packaging design feature branded elements?

The goal of a premium unboxing experience is for the person opening the package to have an emotional response. If the elements that comprise the packaging put your branding front and center, these feelings are more likely to be associated with your business. If you need convincing, look to Package InSight’s consumer study, where two-thirds of respondents said they would be more likely to share photos of products packed with branded tissue paper on social media. Today, consumers rely heavily on product reviews and other customer-generated content, so an investment in materials that your customers want to share their experience with others is a surefire way to reach more prospects.

What kind of artwork do I need to provide? 

All you’ll need is a vectorized art file of your logo or desired design in .ai, .pdf, or .eps format. Your artwork should display your branding to help customers immediately associate the experience with your business. Once we have that, we’ll be able to step and repeat your graphics to fit the tissue paper best and take it from there.

How much do I need to order to have a customized print on my tissue?

For a simple order of one-color print, the minimum order volume is as low as 10 reams (4,800 sheets). These sheets are 20 inches by 30 inches. Knowing exactly how much you’ll need is key to maximizing benefit and offsetting costs. This allows you to ensure that every holiday order is clad with special-edition packaging, and you won’t be sitting on too much stock of tissue paper, which frees up valuable storage space.

Am I limited to just one ink color? 

We can print up to six colors at Seaman Paper’s facilities, including a four-color process; however, the additional ink colors require higher-order minimums. Our experienced team of experts will guide you through the process of picking out the perfect packaging design!

How cost-effective is branded tissue paper packaging?

Like all luxuries in life, premium eCommerce packaging will incur more costs than traditional materials. The key is to determine if the added value will outweigh these expenses. In the Package Insight study mentioned above, respondents viewed items wrapped in branded tissue as more valuable than those wrapped in traditional void fill materials. Plus, a unique package design can earn the attention of any number of consumers creating unboxing content, which can be leveraged as a useful marketing and customer acquisition tactic.

Another study performed by the Journal of Business Logistics discovered that visually enhanced packaging reduces eCommerce return rates by nearly 7%, suggesting that packaging is one of the better value-for-money last-minute improvements for online retailers.

What are the environmental benefits of branded tissue paper? 

Paper products are among the few inherently sustainable packaging materials. They come from renewable resources, are biodegradable, and are among the most recycled products in the world. Better yet, we at Seaman Paper continuously examine the processes that go into making our tissue paper and are always finding ways to enhance our sustainability performance. From fiber-sourcing to greenhouse gas emissions, water treatment, and everything in between, our Soft Steps Forward initiative encourages us to measure our progress, so we know exactly what to do to improve our impact on people and the planet. As an added benefit, utilizing eco-friendly materials can win over customers who share this environmental consciousness. According to Dotcom Distribution’s eCommerce study, nearly half of consumers would be more likely to shop with brands who use sustainable packaging, so opting for tissue paper can provide more long-term benefits for your bottom line.

Will adding custom packaging slow down fulfillment operations? 

It doesn’t have to! While it’s true that implementing a high-touch packout requires a little more time, specific solutions have been developed to maximize efficiency in the process. For example, our automated void fill solution allows you to combine two branded sheets of tissue paper at once to streamline the order fulfillment process. When implemented properly, you can maximize the benefit of your packaging design without sacrificing fulfillment efficiency.

The holiday shopping season is approaching more quickly with each passing day. To capitalize on the expected 2021 peak eCommerce volume, this means retailers and brands need to get their packaging strategies and supplies in order now.

Learn how Seaman Paper’s expansive portfolio of premium packaging materials can help your eCommerce brand reach new shoppers and strengthen customer loyalty.