“It’s the last thing on your mind but the first thing your customer sees” is a line our marketing manager came up with some time ago to communicate the importance of secondary packaging. 

As a manufacturer, you have countless things to manage, ranging from labor costs to raw material availability. As a distributor/reseller of product, the focus is on packing or repacking the product as cost-efficiently as possible so it arrives at the customer safely. In either case, very little thought is typically given to the packaging materials used to pack and ship the order to the waiting customer. 

First Impressions
The box, tape or void fill material used on an order may not seem very important, but in many e-commerce cases, it is the very first and perhaps only tangible contact your company has with your customer. Your package and packaging has taken the place of the handshake, smile or even the friendly voice that we once used to receive whenever we made a purchase. 
That is why many companies are now seizing this terrific opportunity to reinforce their message and brand to their customers, making sure the arrival of the eagerly awaited package is a positive and memorable experience. 

This is even more critical if you are selling a green product to a green consumer because what we have all learned is that the green consumer scrutinizes everything coming into their home, including your packaging. Rarely does a week go by that we are not contacted by a seller/shipper who received a customer complaint such as “love the product, hate the packaging.” 

If it seems I may be exaggerating the importance of packaging, please remember that very few of us offer an exclusive product that our customers cannot find somewhere else on the Internet. Even though we offer competitive prices, we know there is always someone out there selling the same product for less. In that competitive environment, everything becomes important and “good enough” often times is not. The best part of branding secondary packaging is that in most cases, it adds little or no cost. 

Easy and Low-Cost
We all try to make a good impression on our customers so they’ll remember us and want to come back to buy more of our products. I believe we send a message whether we are trying or not, so the trick is to make sure it is a good one. Whether you promote your company to be green, neat, fast or professional, your packaging can easily and in most cases inexpensively reinforce that positive message. 

Which Option Works for You?
What are some of the products that a shipper can brand or custom print?
Boxes- Perhaps the easiest to accomplish with little or no additional cost, compared to plain, unprinted RSC or die cut boxes. In some cases, a small increase in purchase quantities can minimize the printing cost.
Tape – In some cases, printed boxes are not a good option because of the number of box sizes, or the volume simply does not permit it. In those cases, printed water activated paper tape or pressure sensitive plastic tape may be the solution. 
Paper Void Fill – Almost every packaging paper is available custom printed, including heavy duty Kraft and even lightweight industrial tissue. Customers can’t miss your logo or message if it’s obvious and literally in their hands. 
Inflatable Void Fill – Once reserved only for the very largest companies, it is much more affordable and easier done than people think. Bubble wrap on demand and void fill air pillows can be custom printed with your company name, logo, website, etc. 

“Printing is Problematic”
It’s a misleading line often delivered by shortsighted vendors with limited custom capabilities. They talk about long lead times, expensive printing plates, high cost, large minimums, etc. but the fact is these points usually prove false. 
If you are contemplating private branding your packaging, do not hesitate to ask about a supplier’s capabilities and experience and also, don’t forget to ask for samples. A qualified potential supplier will be glad to show you the branding options available to you as well as examples of work they have done for others.