How massive growth in online retailing is affecting packaging

March 05, 2018   |   By

Demand for effective packaging solutions is at an all-time high.

With nearly 6 million parcels being delivered in the UK each day*, it’s no wonder that online retailers are looking for innovative, secure and cost-effective ways to pack and send their goods.

packaging for ecommerce

Online sales have definitely been the big retailing success story of the past few years. According to, in 2017 we spent a staggering £67.4 billion with the click of a mouse – representing nearly 1 in 5 of total UK purchases.

All those parcels traversing the country have been a major boost – not only for courier companies, but also for the packaging industry.

Choosing the right packaging

Choosing the right packaging for e-commerce products is a key part of your fulfilment process. Obviously it has a practical purpose – to protect your products from damage in transit. But that’s not all. Your packaging is the first impression your customer will get of your organisation – and first impressions count.

How do you choose the right solution to pack and send your products to your customers – safely and securely?

Standard packaging or bespoke packaging?

For maximum protection, you can’t beat bespoke packaging which can be designed to fit the product perfectly and cushion it in all the right places. However, if you sell lots of different products, the cost of manufacturing bespoke packaging for each product may be a step too far. Never fear – there’s a massive choice of standard packaging cartons available to suit your needs, in a wide variety of sizes, strengths and formats. And the range of lightweight filler materials available these days is just as impressive – in addition to traditional bubble wrap, consider also air cushion cells, polystyrene ‘peanuts’, shredded paper or wood, and expanding foam packing.

ecommerce boxes 6

Size is important…

As most parcel postage prices are based on a size/weight combination, it’s important to keep the size and weight of your package to a minimum, while still providing sufficient protection for what’s inside. Putting a smaller product in a large carton with lots of protective filler materials will increase your packaging costs and may increase postage costs too. Consider smaller, more robust cartons, providing good protection without the need for masses of filler materials.


Gone are the days when parcels were carefully handled by humans at every step of their journey. By all means stick ‘fragile’ tape on your parcels. But don’t expect it to be noticed by the complex automated machinery which will be doing most of the hard work in sorting and transporting your parcel to its final destination.

Branded packaging

More and more businesses these days are ditching plain cardboard cartons in favour of smart branded packaging to create that all-important good first impression. The options are endless – from simple branded stickers to fully-customised printed boxes. While branded packaging will usually cost more than plain brown corrugated cardboard, modern printing and production techniques mean that it doesn’t have to cost the earth to get your brand out there.

Going green…

Around 6 million parcels a day in the UK means a lot of waste. That’s why it’s important to consider the green credentials of your packaging, especially now that consumers are more aware of waste and recycling issues. So how can you do your bit for the environment? Look out for the growing range of packaging solutions that are made from recycled materials – and obviously make sure you encourage your customers to recycle packaging responsibly after use. All our boxes are 100% recyclable.