How to pick effective small business packaging that fits your brand

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

You deserve packaging that’s as powerful as your products. From shipping online orders to bagging up in-store purchases, packaging has the potential to wow customers, boost your brand image and lead to repeat sales. Whatever your needs, there are plenty of small business packaging ideas to choose from, making it easier than ever to align with your brand.

This quick guide can help you get your options and build the perfect packaging suite to protect your products and delight your customers.

Evaluate your packaging needs (and wants)

Every piece of packaging has a job to do — for your customers and your brand. That’s why assessing your packaging needs is important before you hit the “buy” button. Some of the factors to consider with packaging include:

Size and dimensions

Product size helps guide other packaging decisions, so it’s a perfect place to begin. First, take measurements of all your product types and sizes, including their weights. Then, keep a running list so you can find products that might be able to share a single type of packaging.

In-store vs. online fulfillment

The way your customers receive products helps determine the ideal packaging type. For example, a mid-weight paper bag might be all it takes for a sweater to arrive safely at a customer’s home. However, you might need a sturdy box or padded mailer if it needs to be shipped. And remember to factor in shipping costs for online purchases — while free shipping can be a great promotional offer, remember, it’s not free for your business.

VistaPrint Tip

Sturdier doesn’t always mean thicker in the packaging world. For instance, you could save on shipping costs for items like apparel by using a lightweight poly mailer instead of a larger paper box.

Product protection

It’s less expensive to make sure products arrive intact than it is to replace broken products. So, before you finalize your packaging size, add extra room for any packing materials that will keep your sales safe and sound, such as crinkle paper or tissue paper. And for an eye-catching touch, select packing materials in your brand colors!

While you pay a bit more in total packaging costs, investing in the proper product protection can have two additional benefits: improved customer satisfaction and lower return rates.

Number of units

Typically, the more you buy, the bigger the price break. To help control costs, revisit the product dimensions list you made. By comparing measurements, you can see if a single packaging size and type can work for multiple products.

If so, you can likely buy fewer packing types but more units of each, which can score you better pricing. Otherwise, ensure your packaging budget accounts for the higher costs accompanying lower quantities.

Brand personality

Gone are the days of a brown paper box for every business. Instead, you can customize every packaging type under the sun to complement your brand. From adding your logo to paper bags and boxes to roll labels, stickers and postcards with your brand colors and fonts, it’s important to know what type of customizations you want to add to your packaging before you shop. You’ll be able to estimate costs better and find product packaging design options that fit your budget — and, once in hand, your custom packaging is sure to get a positive reaction.

5 small business packaging ideas you can bring to life

Once you have a rough idea of your packaging specs using the list above, it’s time for the fun part: diving into small business packaging ideas. Not only are the ideas below highly customizable, but they offer variations that can fit every brand look, budget and fulfillment type.

1. Place your logo on paper bags.

Paper bags come in various weights, sizes and colors, and you can put your logo front and center. And today, paper bags can score a second life once in your customer’s home and reappear as a lunch bag, gift bag or storage bag. The bottom line? Your brand stays in view for longer.

A custom paper bag

2. Go full color with mailer boxes.

If looks are everything, your brand should consider customized mailer boxes. With all-sides printing available in multiple colors, you can wow customers before and after they open your special shipments.

A custom mailer box

3. Flex it out with flat or stand-up pouches.

Have a small, soft product that can afford to flex a bit? Flat pouches not only protect your product, but their all-over product packaging design options are limitless. Food and beauty brands, take note.

Custom flat product pouches for packaging

If you make powdered products, your customers will love stand-up pouches that make pantry organization a breeze. These sturdy pouches are lighter than plastic containers and can help reduce your shipping costs — which is always a nice bonus for your bottom line.

Custom stand-up product pouches for packaging

4. Get creative with poly mailers.

Don’t sleep on poly mailers if you need a high-impact, low-cost way to ship flexible items like clothing, linens or the like. With countless design options and sizes, these tear-resistant pouches can benefit your brand personality and budget.

A custom poly mailer

5. Make a statement with branded shipping envelopes.

If it’s flat, here’s a fact: Branded shipping envelopes make a statement in your customer’s mailbox. They’re sturdy options for products like artwork and photos, or an elegant presentation for gift cards. And their light weight can make for low shipping costs, too.

A branded shipping envelope

Stand out with packaging add-ons

To round out these small business packaging ideas, remember the power of add-ons. These items can be budget-friendly while making use of your brand identity to create an enhanced experience for customers.

  • Branded stickers can add a sophisticated touch to any envelope, bag or box. Plus, sticker singles inside a package are a nice freebie that will also let sticker enthusiasts put your brand anywhere they see fit.
  • Custom labels and packaging tape can make shipping a breeze, help customers understand product information or just add a nice pop of color.
  • Postcards can slide into any packaging type and share discount codes, special offers, invitations to upcoming events and more. Add a QR code to give customers an easy way to follow you online.

VistaPrint Tip

If you’re on a budget, use labels and stickers to jazz up more cost-effective, plain packaging like paper bags and brown boxes.

With these small business packaging ideas and tips, you’re ready to tackle your packaging needs like a pro. Often, it takes time to find the packaging that best suits your brand and products. Your best course of action is to start small, evaluate each packaging type, add your brand to everything and invest your future budget in the options that check all the boxes. Pun intended.