A Great Example Of Product Packaging Design For Ecommerce

June 27, 2018

I recently developed something of a hot sauce addiction. It started with some basic hot wings from a local establishment, and then grew into ordering a bunch of specialty sauces online. I recently ordered a couple of sauces from Heatonist, a hot sauce company from New Jersey, and was so impressed with the way they package their ecommerce orders that I feel the need to break down everything they did right.

But before we get to that, we need to talk about the polybag for a second. I know they’re easy and convenient, but at Packsize, we’re not big fans of them. Single-use plastics are causing a lot of problems for the environment, and they take a very long time to decompose, if ever. Corrugated cardboard is a much more sustainable packaging material. We’ve written more about the differences between plastics and corrugated in this blog post.

Okay, now let’s get to the contents of the bag; because it’s all highlights from here on out. The polybag contained an invoice and a box.

In a nice touch, the invoice is marked with a stamp telling you who packaged the order, and that it was packed with love. I can immediately tell this company cares about its packaging because of this stamp. While most companies think of packaging as an afterthought, Heatonist is proud to call attention to their packaging and their box, and they should be. Let’s take a look at the box.

Packsize’s business revolves around making boxes, so we say this from a place of authority: this is a beautiful box. This is a FEFCO Series-04 folder-type box. More specifically, it’s a Roll End Top Tuck Slot Lock Box. Yes, box names can get pretty convoluted. At least this one is fun to say.

Roll End Tuck Top (RE TT) boxes are designed for customer experiences. By creating a box with a lid and a front side, a company has more control over their customers’ unboxing experience. When someone opens this box, they will always open it from the top and with the front side facing them. A standard Regular Slotted Container (RSC) box, by contrast, might be opened from the top, bottom, front, or back because the top or front of the box is not immediately apparent. Of course, many companies that ship RSCs probably don’t care much about which way the box is facing when it’s opened. However, those that do might be able to alleviate that issue with, say, a custom sticker?

RE TTs are regularly used for smaller items, glassware, and bottles, but it can also work for longer items such as window blinds. This particular variant trades ease of assembly process for less waste in cutting. Here’s a diagram comparing a standard Roll End Tuck Top to a Roll End Top Tuck Slot Lock:

As you can see, the RE TT SL will produce less waste when it’s cut from a corrugated sheet or z-Fold®, However, there are more folds (dotted lines) and cuts (solid lines). That said, the box is still easy enough to fold with a little training.

To increase the cosmetic appeal of the box, Heatonist opted for white corrugated with a custom sticker on top. Both of these are fairly easy to implement for any company that would like to produce similar packaging.

Now for a look at the inside the box. You’ll notice “#STAYSPICY” is stamped on the inside of the top flap. To reiterate, an advantage of the RE TT box is that it helps customers see the stamp at the correct orientation when they open the box.

Notice too that the contents of the box are two bottles of hot sauce and a sticker. I want to draw special attention to how right-sized this box is. There isn’t a single inch of wasted space here, which is pretty impressive.

Lastly, some void filler was required to pad the box. Kudos to Heatonist for using sustainable paper-based filler. While others would use void fill as an afterthought, “Perry” was very deliberate with the placement of the protective packaging filler..

This goes to show that an excellent unboxing experience doesn’t require your company to package its products with special packaging for each product. Obviously, we can’t all be Apple, but putting a little extra care into the way products are packaged, and the way they’ll appear to the customer will pay off. Going this route doesn’t break the bank, and it shows your customers that you care about every part of their experience, which enhances your brand.

To learn more about boxes and how they can improve your packaging, download “The Corrugated Cardboard Primer.” This handy guide gives you the basics of corrugated cardboard, and the boxes it’s used to produce. Fill out the form below for a free download!

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