Holiday packaging is a vital component to running a successful Christmas campaign as an e-commerce business.
Being the first touch-point between your product and the consumer, packaging must convey your brand message, the quality of the product within, and considering the time of year, it has to have a festive feel!
The inevitably hectic period brings both opportunity and pitfalls.
Inability to fulfil the influx of hurried orders means your customers go to competitors, and who knows if they’ll ever come back.
Don’t wait until the last minute to get ready for the holidays, plan ahead and you’re ready to ship when the orders come flooding in, you can do so by taking a look at the special Black Friday Packaging discounts we’ve got on offer to kick-off the holiday season.
Holiday Packaging FAQ
In this guide to preparing your e-commerce business packaging for the Christmas period, we’ll answer your most pressing holiday packaging questions:
- How far in advance should I order packaging for the holidays?
- What can I do if I run out of packaging in the middle of the holiday season?
- What are the most important holidays coming up? When do I need to order packaging for each holiday?
- What type of packaging do I need for my holiday orders?
- Can I customise my holiday packaging?
How far in advance should I order packaging for the holidays?
Year after year an almost identical cycle repeats, companies rushing to fulfil last-minute orders, desperately hoping to not lose customers to competitors.
Shipping companies are already overburdened at this time of year which results in inevitable delays, a usual 3 days shipping turns into 5, 6 or more, and the hordes of companies failing to order holiday packaging well in advance will only magnify this.
We recommend allowing at least three to four days for delivery of standard packaging orders and two weeks for customised packaging.
Use last years performance as a benchmark, and incorporate this into your planning.
What can I do if I run out of packaging in the middle of the holiday season?
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to predict your need with 100% accuracy, but don’t worry, nobody can, that’s why we say use last year as a guide so at least you’re on the right track.
Last years results will give you an indication of consumer behaviour in your industry at this time of year, and therefore what to expect, whilst your overall performance during the last twelve months can provide a reliable baseline for what to order.
Have sales increased steadily in the past twelve months? Then you’ll likely need to order a higher volume of packaging. Have sales hit a plateau? Then it’s unlikely you’ll need to increase your order by much.
When you combine the two, you can predict fairly accurately how much holiday packaging you’ll need to order.
Choose DS Smith ePack as your packaging supplier, and with low minimum order quantities for standard and custom packaging, you are able to quickly adapt and be flexible when reacting to fluctuations in demand.
Last year for example, a client of ours, an e-commerce selling electronics/CDs & DVDs, believed they had ordered a sufficient supply of biodegradable jiffy bags.
However, they underestimated the enormous demand they would experience during the Christmas period.
The huge demand is great news, but it would have been a lost opportunity had they not been able to restock the eco-friendly postage bags, but thanks to our low minimum order quantities, they were able to adjust quickly and restock, problem solved!
The last day you can order packaging is December 20th, orders will be delivered again on January 2nd.
What are the most important upcoming holidays for e-commerce?
Every year, there are ALWAYS sales & product managers tearing their hair out trying to source packaging in time to meet last-minute or unexpected orders.
You don’t want to be the one left scrambling trying to fulfil orders, explaining to customers and your manager why you’ve had to pass the sales off onto a competitor because you hadn’t planned sufficiently.
Don’t let that be you.
We’ve put together a shortlist of some of the most important (and stressful) dates related to e-commerce/retail that are likely to cause you problems, in order for you to get a plan formed around them and have your holiday packaging ready to go.
When do I need to order packaging by for each holiday?
Important Holidays for E-commerce 2019
Date: Friday, November 29.
Black Friday marks the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, and retailers of all kinds are offering heavy discounts, resulting in one surefire thing: increased sales volume.
All those orders your shipping out are going to need some packaging to protect them on their way!
We’ve got you covered with our special discounted Black Friday packaging in order to help ease the strain on your budget!
Date: Mon, December 2.
Cyber Monday is a key holiday shopping date for e-commerce retailers.
Setting new sales records every year, Cyber Monday consists of deals that are only available online.
The holiday is especially appealing for shoppers who prefer to buy online instead of in brick-and-mortar stores.
Date: Wed, December 25th.
It’s the big one! The main focus of most holiday shoppers. Their concern is receiving their orders in time to give items as Christmas gifts.
More Important Dates for e-commerce in 2019
Small Business Saturday
Date: Sat, November 30.
Free Shipping Day
Date: Sat, December 14.
New Year’s Eve
Date: Tue, December 31.
What type of packaging do I need?
You’re well aware that different products will be better suited to different types of packaging, so whilst recycled paper mailing bags/ paper postage boxes are perfect for non-fragile items such as clothing and stationary.
Let’s say your e-commerce is centered around more fragile items such as glass or jewellery.
Products such as beer or wine subscription boxes would be more suited to any of the plethora of corrugated cardboard boxes in our store.
Single-wall cardboard, boxes, double-wall, white postal boxes or one of our latest editions, a cardboard wine box are perfectly suited to this job.
This is because the single & double-wall protection prevents any damage during transport, even from dropping, whilst the bottleneck separators prevent any kind of movement or rubbing of the bottles.
Shipping fragile items is fraught with hazards, jewellery is no less fragile than glass bottles, but requires a different type of packaging, whilst bottleneck separators are a bit of a god send for bottles and vases, they would do nothing for delicate jewellery such as a necklace or earrings.
Instead, jewellery is best shipped in black postal boxes or luxury gift boxes, if you go to the product page you can see that the box is designed to your fragile product snug.
When you combine this with void fill in the form of tissue paper or shredded paper, your product is safe from damage (not to mention the great unboxing experience!).
But these are just a few examples, choosing the right type of packaging is important for several reasons. The packaging must:
- Safely transport products to customers without damage
- Protect contents without using excess material (due to the cost of production, transport, environmental effects etc).
- Create an unboxing experience that adds value to your product and perception of your brand.
- Leave customers delighted and singing your praises all over social media.
Holiday packaging must do all this and a little extra, helping get consumers in the festive spirit adds so much value all around, and can be achieved immediately with a great unboxing experience.
Which brings us onto our next point, packaging customisation, specifically for the holiday period.
Can I customise my holiday packaging?
We’ve spoken before about the benefits of customised packaging, and you can take a look at in-depth in our customised packaging case study with artisan coffee subscription box, Craft Coffee Club.
Custom packaging can really tip the scales in the value perception of your product, it’s a simple change that makes an immediate, lasting impression on your customer.
Take a look at a few examples (just click the customize button to take a look or request a quote on anything that piques your interest!).
You put so much effort into designing the coolest product possible, why should the very first physical contact your customers have with your product be any different?
Make the experience memorable, the competition in e-commerce is so fierce you have to do something to make your brand and your product stand out, if you can make your customers feel the experience, your ensure they’re not going to forget it.
This leads to repeat custom and also, some of them will share an enjoyable unboxing experience, and you’ll be reaching parts of the market that you would simply never reach by yourself.
With the custom packaging you can add little touches that go a long way; maybe a promotional offer or a personalized message, it means a lot to consumers, and therefore adds value to your product.
Send your products in a custom printed gift box in a variety of colours (red, white or black). Add a ribbon in gold, red or white and include a personalized message to the recipient on a round gift label.
The customization possibilities enable you to create a variety of designs, for example, a black box with a gold ribbon is elegant, a perfect demonstration of premium quality for subscription boxes year-round, while a red box with a white ribbon is much more festive, perfect for holiday packaging.
The environmentally conscious amongst you will find the perfect wrapping solution in our imitation kraft paper, when you combine it with coloured tissue paper (red, blue or yellow shredded paper) your customers are sure to not only enjoy the unboxing, but probably spread the word about the whole experience.
Help with Holiday Packaging: Prepare and Be Stress-Free
Are you ready for the holiday rush? Or do you need help figuring out what packaging materials are the best fit for your e-commerce business?
Drop us your company name, email and a little about what you need from your holiday packaging in terms of volume or customisation, and we’ll guide you through the process step-by-step.
You can get in touch with us on 0808 1691030 or by email at email@example.com, we look forward to hearing from you!
Everything you can control has been taken care of, so you can rest easy knowing that you’re prepared for the rush, while your competitors are left scrambling, something you’ll be ready to take advantage of.