The Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing Custom Boxes (+Tips To Save Money)

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There are so many beautiful options out there when it comes to custom boxes.  

By going custom, you can get exactly what you want.  

In addition to getting the perfect size box, you get to choose your colors, logo sizes, and anything else you want to adorn the box.  

Custom boxes are tailor-made to fit your products seamlessly, as well as pumping up that all important brand recognition.

But custom boxes can be a major investment, so you need to do your homework first.

Let’s take a look at a few things you should understand before placing your custom box order.

Get the Right Size

Buy the right custom packaging size measure

Creativity is an important element of custom boxes, but don’t forget the practical side.

Ultimately, your boxes need to fit your products.

Ever try to squeeze a bulky item into a too-small box? Yeah, good luck with that.  

When ordering custom boxes you need to think about your products and know your box sizes. Are they a uniform size? Do you sell different size products? Are your goods fragile?

Take a long hard look at your products.

If you only sell watches, you probably only need one size box.  But what if you sell handmade pottery and need to ship out everything from mugs to large serving platters?  You’ll obviously need a variety of box sizes.

Get to know the dimensions of your products, and measure carefully.

Don’t just eyeball everything.

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Shipping costs are based on both the weight and size of your box. Sometimes big savings can come down to trimming the size of your boxes by just fractions of an inch.

Another thing to keep in mind is that customers often order more than one item at a time, so you should have a plan for bundling products. When you order your custom boxes or branded packaging, you’ll want to design a larger box for multiples.

You’ll also want to ensure a snug fit for your breakables. You don’t want any of your products rattling around in empty space. Any extra space in your box will need to be filled with some sort of void fill–whether it’s bubble wrap, crinkle cut paper, or air pillows–all of which can jack up your custom box costs.

To get a feel of what size boxes to order, test your products in various size boxes you have laying around. You can even cut up a box, piece it together to fit your items, and then measure the dimensions.

Choose the Right Style

Choose the right custom box style

Alright, you know the box size. Now you need to decide on what style of box will fit your needs.

Your custom box should fit your brand identity, product and budget.

There’s box inspiration everywhere. Print out pictures of styles you like, or even take pictures of packages you receive that catch your attention.  This will give you an idea of the kind of packaging that appeals to you.

The mailer style box – also called the roll-end locking front with dust flaps – is the most common subscription box style, so you may want to start by researching these. There are plenty of ways to put your own style imprint on these boxes.

Don’t forget to always keep your customers in mind when settling on a box style. For instance, if sustainability is a priority for your ideal customer, consider spending a little more to get boxes made from post-consumer waste. Or if you’re selling luxury items, make sure your boxes reflect a high-end feel.

Sometimes a custom box isn’t even a “box” at all.

It’s important to consider the shipping and fulfillment aspect of your packaging. If you’re shipping items, such as t-shirts or other small unbreakable products, you may want to consider mailers. You can still have your logo and other types of branding printed on a mailer, but they cost a fraction of cardboard boxes.

Know Your Budget

Know your budget when buying custom boxes

Sure, it would be great if the sky was the limit and you could invest in all of your packaging whims.  

But with a business, you need to stay within your means. Otherwise, your bottom line is shot. So come up with a packaging budget that makes sense to you. You can always reevaluate this figure later and as your business grows you can tweak this number accordingly.

There’s no one size fits all packaging budget. Some people suggest spending about 1-3% of the product price on packaging, as a loose rule of thumb, but it will all depend on what you need.

One way to save money is to buy your custom boxes in bulk.  

Typically the price per unit goes down the more you order. Even if your budget is tight, predict how many boxes you’re going to need down the road and order accordingly. Stretch yourself if you can. You’ll appreciate the savings later.

Even if custom boxes aren’t in your budget, don’t give up on your branding aspirations.

With a little ingenuity, you can come up with a box design that doesn’t cost a lot of money.  

Think of the outside of your box as your storefront.  

This is where you want to show off your unique brand flair and draw customers in. If you can’t afford to have custom printing done on your boxes, there are other options that can give you the desired effect. Elements like logo stickers, stamps, and branded tape can make your box style pop.

And don’t forget about the inside of the box. Use it to further woo your customers and make them feel special. Inexpensive elements like colored tissue paper, ribbons or personal notes can really pump up the style factor on the cheap.

Understand What Packaging Can Do For You

Yes, custom boxes and packaging will cost you a little more upfront, but don’t let this discourage you. I’d even say that custom boxes can save you money. The benefits can be amazing. Just check out some of these stats on custom packaging:

  • About 40% of consumers said they’d show pictures of custom packaging on social media if the packaging was interesting or gift-like.
  • Around 52% of online customers would make another purchase if their items came in premium packaging.
  • About 90% of consumers reuse product packaging boxes and bags after purchase. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.

So, don’t leave your packaging as a mere afterthought. You don’t want to miss this valuable marketing boost custom boxes can give your company.  

Conclusion

When you peruse YouTube unboxing videos or check out the packaging eye candy on Pinterest, you may assume that everyone is ensconcing their products in expensive, gorgeous custom packaging, but this is not the case.

Take a look at the most recent packages that have landed on your doorstep.  

Chances are many of them are the boring, brown cardboard variety. Most companies are still going this route, so you have plenty of opportunities to have your packaging stand out and get noticed – even with just a little customization.  

So, what are you waiting for?

Go ahead and add some flair to your packaging.

Ready to think outside the box? Let's get started!

Get in touch with a custom packaging specialist now for a free consultation and instant price quote.