Top Challenges of eCommerce Packaging


Top Challenges of eCommerce Packaging

eCommerce brands face multiple challenges in product packaging, which 3PL providers can help resolve. In this blog post, we will explore the eCommerce packaging challenges that will help you keep updated.

If you belong to the majority of consumers, you likely purchase a significant portion of your goods, ranging from food to electronics, through online channels. The eCommerce industry has grown significantly in recent years and is projected to continue growing. In fact, according to Adobe Analytics, online retail sales achieved a new record on Black Friday in 2022, reaching $9.12 billion, compared to the previous year’s $8.92 billion. It thus surpassed the 2020’s pandemic-fueled record.


You can leverage the opportunities that come with this upward trend. However, you must be aware that the eCommerce process differs from traditional brick-and-mortar retail. Consequently, it is imperative that entering the eCommerce market, you will face various challenges, which also include that of appropriate packaging of your products.


eCommerce Packaging Challenges


From ensuring product safety during shipping to optimizing packaging for efficient logistics, you must adapt to meet the specific demands of online sales. Additionally, environmental considerations, sustainable packaging solutions, and minimizing waste are becoming increasingly important in the eCommerce landscape.


Let’s look at the packaging challenges prevailing in the eCommerce market:


• Lasting and Sustainable Packaging


As an eCommerce brand, you must take extra precautions to ensure the durability and protection of your packaging to safeguard products. Compared to standard packages, eCommerce fulfillment involves more touchpoints, increasing the risk of product damage. Consequently, it often requires more robust materials, which may lead to increased use of resources. However, it would help if you considered sustainability and waste reduction, as consumers prioritize eco-friendly packaging that influences their purchasing decisions.


Excessive packaging materials can deter buyers and drive them toward competitors. Striking the right balance between product protection and material efficiency is essential for customer loyalty. Some strategies include using thicker paperboard for rigid set-up boxes and reducing filler paper quantity. Alternatively, you can opt for environmental-friendly materials, such as post-consumer waste paper, recycled content, or material certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®).


• Creating an Unforgettable and Outstanding Unboxing Experience


In the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience, consumers typically choose a brand based on the packaging that catches their attention among a limited selection on store shelves. In the eCommerce landscape, the competition is unlimited without physical boundaries. Also, consumer expectations are higher online, as they anticipate the same level of service provided by major e-retailers. Given the larger and more intense competitive landscape, it becomes crucial to create amazing packaging designs. However, since physical shelves are no longer relevant, you must find alternative ways to stand out.


In eCommerce, the unboxing process becomes the initial point of interaction between the consumer and the product, rendering on-shelf presence irrelevant. Hence, it is essential to make a positive first impression that meets consumer expectations. Offering a delightful unboxing experience, where consumers receive, open, and engage with both primary and secondary packaging, leaves a lasting impact. A seamless or enjoyable experience enhances customer engagement and fosters loyalty toward your brand.


Additionally, presenting the product in a clean, neat manner that reflects secure and careful packaging evokes a positive response. Incorporating inserts, utilizing structured boxes with easy folds, or using paper trays effectively conveys this message.


• Ensuring that the Actual Product Matches the Online Rendering


Given that consumers only interact with your product once it is delivered to them, their expectations are solely based on what they see online. It is crucial to ensure that your product aligns with the consumer’s expectations upon delivery. Failing to meet these expectations can result in disappointment and reluctance to make future purchases from your company.


One effective approach to ensure expectations are met is promoting your product online and in the physical world. Concept stores that effectively communicate your brand’s story through beautiful displays can provide consumers with an accurate understanding of what your company offers. It helps bridge the gap between the expectations formed from online impressions and the actual performance of your product.


• Cost-Efficiency


The expenses associated with packaging can constitute a substantial portion of the overall cost of an eCommerce product, compelling companies to seek cost-reduction strategies to maintain competitiveness. Nevertheless, identifying cost-effective packaging solutions that are locally produced and align with customer expectations for sustainability can pose a challenge. In recent years, the South African packaging market has been primarily controlled by suppliers subject to fluctuations in international supply and market-related expenses.


• Safeguarding the Product


To ensure the safe transportation of your eCommerce products, it is often necessary to use secure packaging that provides adequate protection. However, this requirement can result in larger and more complex packaging solutions, which may pose challenges regarding recycling or proper disposal. Furthermore, safeguarding delicate items such as glass or electronics can incur additional costs in the packaging process.


The Emergence of Inflatable Bubble Packaging


It is crucial to select the right eCommerce-ready packaging to stay ahead of the curve and attract customers. Currently, Inflatable bubble packaging has emerged as a cost-effective, space-saving, and environmentally friendly solution that effectively addresses most of the challenges we discussed above.


This type of packaging proves to be an excellent choice for electronics packaging due to its ability to provide superior protection. The air cushions act as reliable shock absorbers, making them an ideal option for safeguarding delicate items like laptops, smartphones, and tablets during transit. Even if one air cushion deflates, the remaining chambers protect the product’s safety.


Utilizing inflatable bubble packaging leads to increased efficiency, boosting productivity and freeing up valuable warehouse space. Since it primarily consists of air, it allows for more efficient storage while generating less waste for customers to manage.



To conclude, we have to agree that despite all the above challenges, the eCommerce packaging industry has the potential to play a significant role in reducing waste, creating more sustainable packaging solutions, and improving customer experience. You will be well-positioned to succeed in the dynamic and competitive eCommerce market if you invest in finding innovative, cost-effective, locally sourced, and sustainable packaging solutions.


Moreover, a third-party Logistics [3PL] provider can help you overcome all these packaging challenges as they have the required expertise and domain knowledge to handle all supply chain challenges. Hence, one smart decision is to hire a 3PL partner to take care of your logistics and fulfillment while you focus on your product and marketing.


About XPDEL:

XPDEL is a leading hi-tech provider of Fulfillment and Logistics Services on a mission to enable growth for eCommerce companies. We are futuristic in our vision and constantly work on creating technology that helps us meet customer expectations for today and tomorrow. We have a wide network of Fulfillment centers that enables us to efficiently handle nationwide delivery in the US – same day, next day, and 2-day delivery. Being closer to the end consumer, we deliver much faster than others.