Marketing Through Shipping – Article #2: Using a Branded Shipping Box

June 17, 2015


When it comes to ecommerce, marketing efforts tend to focus on online and traditional marketing, and social media. Marketing through shipping is usually pretty far down the list.

Yet the shipping process is incredibly important to consumers and they pay attention to it. Why not capitalize on their interest with some smart marketing tactics?

In this article, we’ll discuss your options for branded shipping boxes. We’ve written about companies who’ve used branded shipping boxes successfully (check out our posts on ShipStation customers LootCrate and Writeyboard). LootCrate is a successful subscription box company for gamers, and Writeyboard is a Mark Cuban-funded company that makes portable stick-on whiteboards, both with amazing premium packaging that serves as a shipping box.

You may be thinking: My company doesn’t offer subscription boxes, and we’re not ready to make a big investment in shipping boxes—are branded boxes still an option? The answer is yes!

Printed shipping boxes are a good option for many types of businesses, but not all of them. According to Dennis Salazar, of Salazar Packaging, your company should consider branded boxes if it meets the following criteria:

  • Your company has developed or wants to create an upscale image or wants to gain brand exposure and stand out in a crowded field.
  • Your company uses a small number of box sizes, generally less than six.

Salazar notes that there are many misconceptions about printed shipping boxes. These are the most common:

  1. The minimums for custom printed boxes are huge. Salazar’s minimums for custom printing most die cut mailer and RSC boxes is 1,000 and on some larger boxes they are able to run as few as 500, as long as the board minimum is met. Many companies also offer similar minimums.
  2. The lead time is too long. Salazar generally delivers first time custom printed orders within two weeks after the customer’s artwork is approved and they sign off on the print card proof.
  3. The cost is way too high. Customers are often surprised at how little a basic one color, exterior print adds to the cost of a box, says Salazar.
  4. Plate and artwork charges make it cost prohibitive. As long as the copy can be delivered crisp and clear, a PDF or JPEG is fine and no artwork fee is ever required. Plates are a onetime expense, can be re-used indefinitely and remain the property of the customer.

A Google search of “printed shipping boxes” offers a wide range of printed box vendors, including Custom Boxes Now and Brown & Pratt. In addition, many of the printed corrugated boxes are eco-friendly, which is also a selling point. Learn more from Kabbage’s post on Green and Sustainable Shipping Practices.

What if you use mailers? “Branded mailers, including eco-friendly ones, are also a great option,” says Salazar. Several vendors offer printed mailers, including and Eco Enclose.

As you can see, printed shipping boxes and mailers are an easy and cost-effective option for many retailers. This is a marketing tactic that is underutilized, and can help you stand out from the crowd. Let us know what success you’ve had using branded shipping options. We’ll keep the articles on marketing through shipping coming!