Is packaging part of your marketing strategy? If not, it should be! Personalized packaging is an opportunity to make a memorable first impression that delivers surprise and delight before the customer even sees the product inside.

In the world of online retail, a thoughtful approach to packaging is one of the few opportunities you have to build a personal connection with your customers. Attention to detail transforms a purchase into an experience and helps your e-commerce business stand out from the rest, so it’s worth a little extra investment.

Unbox your brand’s potential

If you’ve been paying attention to the growing popularity of unboxing videos, you already know that packaging matters. It has the ability to create anticipation, generate excitement, and maximize the aesthetic impact of your product.

Packaging is also a great way to convey a message. As consumers become increasingly concerned about environmental issues, using eco-friendly packaging is a powerful way to show your customers that you share their values and priorities. In the most recent E-commerce Consumer Study by Dotcom Distribution, 42% of participants stated that sustainable packaging was the factor most likely to make them want to shop with a brand again.

Respondents also indicated that branded and/or “gift-like” packaging makes them more likely to become a repeat customer. This was especially true among consumers aged 45 and younger.

The great news is, there are plenty of ways to make your packaging both elevated AND eco-conscious! From small, inexpensive gestures like a handwritten thank you note on recycled paper to a fully customized line of sustainable branded packing materials, there’s a solution for every business size and budget.

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Think outside the box (about the outside of the box)

Since the first thing a customer sees when a package arrives on their doorstep is the outside of the box, an interesting, recognizable exterior is an opportunity to deliver excitement. Start with a paper-based box or mailer that can be easily recycled. Bonus points if it’s made out of recycled and/or compostable materials! Then have some fun with branded printing or custom art (like Alltrue’s seasonal boxes) or sustainable design (like Rothy’s signature shoeboxes). is a great resource if you’re going this route.

If yours is a smaller business and custom packaging doesn’t make sense for the volume of shipping you do, consider branded packing tape (like this eco-friendly option from Sticker Mule) or a logo stamp like this one from noissue, a brand committed to making products that are recycled, reusable, compostable, or some combination of the three.

Open up an experience

Once the box is open, there are plenty more opportunities to impress! Check out Etsy for colorful washi tape and eco-friendly tissue paper. Crinkled paper or excelsior are a lot prettier than plastic pillows, packing peanuts, or bubble wrap, and they’re much better for the environment, too.

The 2021 E-commerce Consumer Survey mentioned above indicates that surprise gifts and coupons are among the top three customer-preferred packaging perks. Sending free samples or “VIP” coupons along with each order is a great way to make customers feel seen and special.

If free product and discount offers aren’t in your budget, a short handwritten note is a cost-effective but powerful form of surprise and delight. Eco-friendly stationery offers a more polished look, but you can also keep costs down and sustainability up by writing a message directly on the box like Australian-based brand Flora & Fauna does!

Save money, save the planet

While choosing sustainable packaging may seem cost-prohibitive, it doesn’t have to be! After candle brand Biotika partnered with Packhelp, the company not only created a memorable unboxing experience but also was able to decrease its fixed packaging costs by 12% by switching to a more sustainable approach.

Once you’ve found the perfect personalized, eco-friendly package to represent your brand, ensure it gets to your customers on time and intact by trusting DHL with your last-mile delivery. Apply for a DHL Express Business account here to get started!

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