Custom-Printed Packaging: Looking for Pros and Cons?

Posted by Bob Janik on Jul 24, 2023 8:44:00 AM


When it comes to selecting the packaging you will use to ship your products, you certainly have a lot of options.

One of those options is electing to have custom-printed packaging made with your company’s branding. There are many reasons why someone might choose to do this, as well as many reasons why they might prefer not to.

Here are our professional opinions on some of the pros and cons of ordering custom-printed packaging.


The Benefits of Custom-Printed Packaging

Custom-printed packaging has many unique benefits associated with it, such as:

  • Making an impact
  • Improving customer experience
  • Opportunity to raise awareness
  • Optimizing protection
  • Reduced shipping costs
  • Advocacy and sustainability


Making an Impact

Custom packaging makes your brand memorable. When you're solidly into brand-building mode and need to make a serious impression on your customers, nothing stands out the way that custom packaging will. 

Custom printed boxes will stand out, making people acquainted with your customers ask what they received or quietly look your company up in the background. 

If you've done a good job of creating a good impression with your customers, this can lead to a lot more sales.


Improving Customer Experience

Instead of simply receiving a product that has been tossed in a plain cardboard box with some packing materials, the customer can have a better experience as a result of the product’s presentation. 

The presentation also provides an opportunity to be more inclusive, connecting with your customer on a personal level. Packaging that not only proudly displays your brand but also shows the product is protected improves the experience of each customer opening a box.

This allows you to present your product in the best possible light, improving the overall customer impression and building an expectation of quality.


Opportunity to Raise Awareness

Opting for custom-printed packaging is two-fold in spreading the message about your brand. It garners attention for each box as it travels from Point A to Point B, and it also makes customers brand ambassadors. They show their interest in and support for the brand simply through their purchase.


Optimizing Protection

When you have oddly-shaped items, the packaging may not protect them as desired.

Custom-printed packaging can be useful because you can tailor the packaging to your products instead of having to make do with ready-made materials. Design your packaging starting with the product and working outward to the protective packaging, followed by the custom-printed exterior, sized to fit snugly around the interior elements without constriction. 

This allows you to drastically reduce your losses with specific cushioning and suspension points designed for your products.


Reduced Shipping Costs

Based on the product, opting for custom-printed packaging may reduce shipping costs. If your product's size requires you to step up to a much larger ready-made box, custom packaging can be ordered in a more appropriate size, saving you on shipping expenses. 

These savings may very well provide you with a reason to make the jump to custom packaging, allowing you to take advantage of its other benefits as well.


Advocacy and Sustainability

How much thought are you putting into your brand’s social or environmental impact? With every sale, is your company donating to save the orangutans of the Siberian rainforest? 

Do you use sustainable, recycled packaging? Your customers may never know if you don't tell them. Custom packaging lets you tell your brand’s story every time a customer opens the box.

Looking for guidance on eCommerce shipping? Consider this resource:

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The Drawbacks of Custom Printed Boxes

While there are many benefits associated with custom-printed packaging, there are some drawbacks that deter people from choosing it, such as:

  • Cost
  • Discretion (or lack thereof)
  • Lead times


Custom packaging is often more expensive. Because it is not in a standard size, color or format and requires design and production, custom packaging is typically more expensive than ready-made packaging options, which may put it out of the reach of some businesses.


Discretion (or Lack Thereof)

Depending on the products, consumers often value discreet packaging - especially when ordering items that they’d prefer to keep private. 

Custom packaging isn’t inherently guaranteed to expose the contents of a shipment, but displaying your branding and maintaining some modicum of discretion could prove to be difficult to do at the same time, and would likely require extra time and money to achieve.


Lead Times

One downside of custom packaging is that it is pretty much guaranteed to take longer from start to finish than standard, ready-made materials.

Because it takes time to develop a design, create the packaging and print the design, then ship it to your warehouse, you'll either need to keep plenty of stock on hand or plan on working around the issue should you run out during a particularly busy period of time.



Wrapping Up

Though there are benefits and drawbacks to opting for custom-printed packaging to ship products, there is no concrete answer as to whether or not any particular company “should” or “shouldn’t” utilize custom shipping materials.

The decision should be made by considering the pros, as well as the cons, and ultimately deciding if the benefits would outweigh the potential risks.

Download the Protective Packaging Guide

(Editor's note: This blog was originally published in 2020 and was updated in July 2023 to include the most current information.)


Topics: Packing Materials, Product Packaging, Custom Supplies, Brand Packaging