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Box It Up: A Small Business Guide to Shipping Boxes

Are you a small business who needs to ship?

Good, this guide is for you. Whether you’re a small business (or a big business that likes to operate as a small business), shipping boxes can be a challenge.

The reason why is no secret: Shipping can be expensive when not done correctly, and that’s why it causes many headaches for business owners no matter the size of their company. However, in the current economy — where brands are going DTC faster than you can say, “yes I’d like delivery insurance with that box” — shipping is a necessary part of your day-to-day. It can also be inefficient if you’re not working with the right box, meaning your customers get a less-than-satisfactory experience when they open their order. And who wants that?

So how can you fix it and optimize your production? By paying close attention to a few key details when it comes to getting your product from the warehouse (or kitchen/living room/in-house design studio) to your consumer.

In this guide, we’ll help you learn what to expect from the shipping experience, and also give actionable insights that you can use to make sure you’re saving money, efficiently packing, and delivering the best customer experience possible.

The delivery can be the first impression you have with your customer, and that matters. Here’s what you need to consider to make it count.

First up: Pricing. Are you paying too much for shipping boxes?

When you’re on the market for shipping boxes, there are PLENTY of options. The good news is, you can skip the hours of searching around for the best price because we’ve sorted through the noise and gathered a list of questions that can help you pick the best option from the competitively-priced options with ease.

Here’s a quick checklist of things you should be asking when it comes to price:

  • Do custom shipping boxes cost extra?

Custom can mean lots of things: adding a logo, changing the color of a box, including a full-fledged color ad — you name it, there is probably a custom box option for it. When you have that in mind, the dollar signs can definitely add up. However, just because there are options out there that cost extra, it doesn’t mean that EVERY opportunity has to cost extra. At Brandable Box, we deliver custom logo options that can give personality to a plain box without adding any additional pricing at all. 

  • What is my discount if I buy in bulk?

When it comes to a bulk discount, the rate can vary by order size. If you’re interested in seeing how some of the leaders in the sphere offer bulk pricing, check out this resource here.

  • Will you charge me for shipping my materials?

Shipping costs money — even when you’re shipping box materials. While you can pay for this service, it’s easy for a small business to save additional money by working with Brandable Box, a shipping box provider that ships materials for a low or discounted price.

With these questions in hand, you can quickly understand where a shipping boxes provider stands, allowing you to make a swift decision in your company’s best interest. Want an additional asset to help you decide your best options? Check out our side-by-side comparison of brand boxes prices below, which outlines how quantity ordered affects the costs from several leading shipping boxes brands:

Next up — the ever-familiar brown box.

Let’s talk boxes. How are you boxing your items?

Chances are, you’re using a brown box — the same brown box made famous with the boom of online shopping and one-click-order giants like Zappos and Amazon. And there’s a good reason for that: They deliver high quality but offer a low margin method for safely transporting goods to consumer’s doorsteps. With a wide variety of sizing options available, the brown box also provides the versatility most businesses are looking for in a shipping option.

So what are we telling you exactly? Just this: Your choice of a brown box is a good one.

Brown boxes are a smart purchasing decision to launch your ecommerce presence because they offer minimal effort and cost — two things that small and medium-sized business owners can appreciate. By working with shipping boxes providers like Pratt Plus, businesses of all sizes can easily order boxes directly to their address, which can streamline your ordering database with automatic reordering or saved order recalls.

Brown boxes are good — got it. Should I even consider customization?

The answer to whether you should customize or not is easy, but instead of just answering your question, let us ask you one first. When was the last time you received a box from Amazon Prime that didn’t have the Amazon logo all over it? Or an at-home delivery from Target that didn’t have their iconic bulls-eye logo? Their boxes are brown, but they’re also splashed with a company logo, pictures, and even in some cases, full-on ads.

So back to your question: Should I even consider customization? It’s simple to answer: The big players are doing it, and so should you. Placing a business logo on a shipping box is an easy way to get more eyes on an established company looking for new, creative ways to showcase their brand, and it’s also an excellent, simple way to get a new brand in front of the consumer in a delightfully clever way. Even though small businesses might not be investing too heavily in significant brand graphics, a logo alone is a great way to craft an impressionable shipping package look. It’ll supply the extra mile for brands looking to grow their customer loyalty.

Here are three quick reasons you should be customizing:

1. Custom boxes with your logo can improve your overall branding experience, and open up the doors to a multitude of post-purchase customer engagement that keeps people not only coming back for more goods but also gets them to share your products with their friends.

2. Having a branded box can increase the legitimacy of your business. Branding your shipping boxes can serve as the match that sparks the feeling of legitimacy when consumers think and talk about your business because you clearly care about the details.

3. Custom shipping boxes can enhance your social media presence. Ever heard of an Instagram unboxing? This trend was born from great packaging, and with a brown box sporting your logo, you can bridge the gap between unknown and known faster than ever. The simple fact is when something is cool to look at, people will post on social about it, and your logo on your box is cool. If you want a few more ideas, think about adding a prompt on your box that asks for a review, a tag on social, or a question — these low-cost, high-return initiatives can encourage customers to be a part of your brand story. And when they love you, you’ll see more return business.

Money Saving Pro-tip: People hear the word customization nowadays and immediately think dollar signs — but that doesn’t have to be the case. Brandable Box provides not only bulk-buy discounts, but also flat pricing so your business can save money on costs, all the while promoting your brand at no added cost. For the same price you’d pay for a plain box, Brandable Box offers a box with a logo. 

Now it’s time for branding. Is your shipping boxes reflecting your brand?

If you’re a small business, getting your brand out there is key, especially in the early stages. It’s one of the more simple ways to develop more brand awareness and create a memorable customer experience. Though a simple enough detail, it doesn’t always mean you want the most straightforward option, especially if you’re a mid-level or a high-end brand. So what do you do? You have to think outside the “plain brown box” and consider premium branded boxes.

Let’s talk about a particularly beautiful case study: Tiffany’s.  

Whenever someone gets a box from Tiffany’s, you know it’s a box from Tiffany’s. That’s because the patented “Tiffany Blue” is all over it, there’s a beautiful white bow, and the logo is stamped across the top. Why does Tiffany & Co. do this? Because it creates an incredibly memorable experience. Getting a Tiffany box is as much about what’s outside as it is what’s inside — it’s a sneak peek into the quality, caliber, and the brand experience before the recipient even opens the lid. That’s how incredibly powerful their packaging is, and they do that with premium branded boxes.

So if you’re ready to deliver the ultimate customization and build a premium branded box, you’ll not only be serving up an extension of your brand, but you’ll also communicate how your business values itself, it’s customers and its overall experience.

Customers care about reusability. Are your options sustainable?

In this day in age, businesses are becoming more conscious of their environmental impact. Why? Because their customers are demanding it, and statistically speaking, your customers are too.

In a world ruled by businesses like The Honest Company and Tesla (who have significant sustainability agendas), the customer’s desire to be loyal to companies with sustainable practices has only grown. In fact, 88% of consumers want you to help them make an impact according to a recent study by Futerra. An easy way to do that? Smarter shipping choices.

With cardboard making up over half of the waste for many businesses, it’s easy to see that boxes can be a significant hurdle when it comes to trying to be more eco-friendly on the job. However, with the rise of biodegradable, non-toxic and plastic-free options, a business looking to be smart about their environmental impact can do so easily. If you’re beginning a zero waste initiative, or any sustainability efforts, using shipping boxes made from recycled cardboard is the best, most efficient place to start.

Check out this infographic to see the full impacts of choosing recycled shipping packages:

The takeaway? Choosing sustainably-made shipping boxes is a great way to show your customers that you value what they value, creating another reason for them to choose you over your competition. The best part is, you can make environmentally-friendly decisions without paying more money, too.

Your end goal: A box that fits your brand.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what size business you are, you’re always going to make the smartest investment for your business so that you can grow. We get that, and it’s why we offer shipping options that are tailored to fit any budget or any branding need at Brandable Box while supplying 100% recyclable options at the same price as a plain, uncustomized shipping package. It doesn’t sound possible, but it’s real — just check out how it works here.

If you’re ready to get started shopping our boxes, click here. If you have questions, explore our FAQ page or send us an email: We look forward to hearing from you.

This was written by our marketing agency, MarketWake

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