• April 3, 2024

How to Create Custom Packaging for Small Business: 7 Creative Ideas

The product packaging isn’t just there to protect your business’s valuable products; it’s also the very first thing customers will see and touch from your brand! 

In fact, 72% of Americans agree that packaging influences their purchase decision, with that number rising up to 81% when it comes to buying a gift for others.

The best way to make packaging impress customers? It’s not just the quality of materials but the overall design and presentation. 

In other words, it’s about customizing your packaging.

This article dives into exactly why and how you can create custom packaging for your small business, elevating the presence of your products on par with big-name brands.

What is custom packaging? 

As the name suggests, custom packaging means customized packaging. 

It’s not about squeezing your product into a standard or common unmarked, cheap box. Instead, it’s about creating packaging that perfectly suits, fits, and protects your product while also showcasing your store’s branding. 

The easiest way to explain custom packaging is to think about how big names in the industry pack the products they offer.

The leading tech giant Apple is well-known for providing white, sleek, and minimalist boxes for its iPhones that many reuse for other purposes. Similarly, the luxury jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. only packs its jewelry using packaging that features its iconic and unique blue brand color, creating a memorable unboxing experience.

Imagine how underwhelming it would be for consumers if Apple or Tiffany & Co. simply chose to ship their products to your doorstep using unlabeled brown corrugated boxes, right?

If you want to succeed as these esteemed brands have, you should also present like your business is already one. 

Don’t treat packaging as just a way to safely ship items. Consider it as the first impression you’ll make on your customers.

Benefits of custom packaging for small businesses 

Let’s run through some of the major advantages of customizing your business’s packaging. 

Customer experience

As a business owner, you always want to ensure customers “feel good” whenever they buy from you. If they feel even the slightest dissatisfaction or disappointment, they might hold back from repurchasing from your store, or worse, they could ask for a refund.

Making your products “dress to impress” through custom packaging is one of the best ways to give customers a “wow factor” immediately from the moment they hold your shipped goods.

It shows that you care for customers as a brand, making them more likely to come back to you or recommend your business to a friend or two.

A silent salesman  

customer experience
Source: Pexels

Custom packaging doesn’t just “introduce” your product to the customer who purchased it. 

Every time they interact with the package, it’ll remind them about your brand, and when others see your custom packaging, it can invoke their interest in your store as well.

Simply put, the packaging will act as a “silent salesman” for your brand, marketing your goods every time they’re out in the open. And the better your packaging design is, the more likely it is to catch the eye of the public.

To make this even more exciting, if your products land in the hands of someone who loves to make “unboxing videos,” your items will be much more presentable, desirable, and shareable for viewers to see. 

Fun fact: Just to put it out there, the term “unboxing” is searched 39,000 times monthly on YouTube, so there’s definitely an audience for it.

Product safety

Custom packaging, if done correctly, should make the box fit your product like a glove. 

You can choose the thickness and sturdiness of the materials based on how fragile the goods are and add extra cushioning if needed to guarantee their safety during transit. 

Doing so promotes enhanced safety and security during shipment, which standard boxes may not always provide.

7 small businesses packaging ideas

business packaging ideas
Source: Pexels

Custom packaging is all about making your store distinct and memorable. While the goal is to make your store unique, there are packaging ideas suitable for many brands. 

Let’s go over some of the best ones that can help your business stand out.

1. Brand the exterior 

Whether you’re using corrugated boxes, mailers, or bags to pack your small business products, don’t forget to brand the exterior of your packaging.

Some say the “unboxing” experience starts the moment a customer opens the package, but I personally believe that it starts the second they see and hold the unopened box. 

Many companies offer custom-printed packaging boxes and mailers. But if those services are currently over the budget, you can always use stickers, custom tapes, or stamps to slap your business logo and name outside the packaging. 

Trust me, even a single logo on the exterior box is gonna upgrade the quality of your packaging. 

Related topic: Branded Dropshipping: Comprehensive Guidance

2. Show your brand colors 

choose brand colors
Source: Pexels

When I think of Sup Dropshipping, I see the colors purple and light blue that slowly gradient towards the color violet in the middle. 

Similarly, when hunger hits and I start craving my go-to McDonald’s combo meal, I can almost see that distinct yellow and red combination in front of me.

See, brand colors make it easy for people to remember your business. Plus, colors evoke emotions, which can help your brand emotionally connect with your target market

That said, if you haven’t already decided on a color palette for your business, it’s time to do so. Then, start incorporating those colors into your packaging to give your customers’ unboxing experience a cohesive theme.

Pro tip: There’s no need to ensure that your entire box is dominated by your brand colors. If you’re using a plain white or brown box, for example, just add a simple lining, note, or thank you card that’s in your brand colors, and you’re all set to go. 

3. Use visually appealing cushioning materials 

Yes, cushioning materials are must-haves to guarantee the safety of your products. But let’s face it: not every one of them passes the vibe check when it comes to visual appeal. 

Bubble wraps and air pillows, for example, are classic veterans at protecting fragile items. 

However, if you think about the space they take up inside boxes and their appearance, they don’t really invoke a sense of “excitement,” right? 

So, if you don’t exactly have a super breakable item inside your box, you can definitely find better alternatives. 

Find the sweet balance between safety and your design when choosing cushioning materials. My go-to’s include shredded paper and paper bubble wrap. 

These cushioning materials aren’t the sturdiest, but they sure elevate the visuals of your packaging, which would likely impress customers more than thick packaging. 

4. Don’t forget the inserts

Inserts are add-on materials that are vital to every shipment you send out. Think of them like a little surprise you leave for customers when they receive your product. 

Now, why are these inserts such a big deal?

Well, inserts can really make a big difference in how your customers view your brand. After all, they give you a chance to uniquely tell your brand’s story, promote your products, and connect with your customers on a deeper level. 

Interested in using inserts to leave a lasting impression on your customers? 

In that case, here are some of the top recommendations on my list:

  • Thank you note cards: Give your customers a heartfelt message expressing gratitude for their support.
  • Request for reviews: Encourage customers to share their thoughts and experiences about your product. You can even offer incentives to those who leave a review. 
  • Fun facts about your store/products: Share some interesting tidbits or trivia about your products to spark curiosity in your customer’s unboxing experience.
  • Discount codes: Provide customers with exclusive discounts as a token of appreciation for their purchase and to encourage future orders.

Don’t forget to get creative, as always! 

5. Sneak in freebies

thank you card is a good idea
Source: Pexels

Come on, who doesn’t love freebies? They’re an unexpected small gift along with the purchased product, and customers absolutely adore them!

I remember ordering a coffee maker from a small online store last year and finding some coffee-flavored candy in the package. It was such a refreshing and fun touch to their packaging that until now, I am reminded of the brand whenever I see coffee markers or candy! 

If you also want to create lasting impressions for your store, sneak in at least one or two tokens of appreciation per box you ship out.

Freebies don’t have to be expensive. Just make them related to your products or the brand itself!

6. Make it feel personal 

Sometimes, connecting with a brand feels so much easier when they feel like a close friend. That’s because, by nature, most of us are used to talking to people, not companies or businesses. 

On that note, try to make your packaging feel personal in the simple ways you can. 

For example, if you don’t have a large customer base yet, you can include a simple handwritten note or a thank you card with the customer’s name in every box you ship. 

Sure, this would take up a little bit more of your time. But at the same time, customers will feel a stronger connection with your brand, which increases the likelihood of them remembering you and becoming repeat customers. 

7. Opt for eco-friendly materials.

choose eco-friendly materials
Source: Pexels

Consumers have become more eco-conscious over the past decade. As a matter of fact, according to a recent study, 73% of shoppers prefer buying from eco-friendly brands. 

If you want to appeal to the majority of consumers, it’s wise to use eco-friendly and sustainable materials in your packaging whenever you can.

Finding the right balance between your brand image, user experience, and eco-friendliness can be a challenge. But with so many eco-friendly packaging alternatives in the market now, it can definitely be accomplished. 

3 factors to consider when creating custom packaging 

Before you hop straight to attempting the packaging ideas above, make sure to take these three factors into consideration, as they’ll influence the success and practicality of your custom packaging.


Making your packaging as appealing as possible is ideal, but don’t forget – packaging is still part of your costs. So, determine a packaging budget and stick with it if you don’t want the hassle of adjusting your product cost to accommodate higher packaging expenses.

Remember, there are tons of affordable options out there. Going overboard isn’t always the answer.

Product size  

Consider the dimensions and weight of your product when designing your packaging. Sure, you want to leave space for extras like inserts and cushions, but avoid making the packaging too big. 

Surely, you don’t want a ring-sized product drowning in a shoe box, right? 

Apart from ruining the aesthetics, oversized packaging can also lead to increased shipping costs


Yes, aesthetics are important, but if you’re selling delicate items, such as eyeglasses, for example, don’t overlook their safety.

Choose packaging materials that can provide enough protection from impacts during shipping, and before you give your packaging a final clear, try to test its sturdiness. 

After packing, for example, you can give your package a few semi-aggressive shakes and rattles to imitate rough handling. Then, double-check if your items inside remain undamaged.

How much does it cost to customize packaging? 

cost of packaging
Source: Pexels

It really depends on various factors, such as the packaging style, size, and how customized you want your packaging to be.

If you only customize your packaging using stickers and tapes, for example, then your extra cost for the customization process would only be in cents.

However, if you opt for a more wide-scale, comprehensive customization, you may end up spending a couple of dollars for each packaging.

Customization is always key

I’ve said this time and time again, but believe me, the world of eCommerce is fierce, so if you don’t strive to stand out, you can easily get crushed to the ground. That said, one of the fastest and easiest ways to differentiate your store is to customize your small business packaging.
Branding your packaging doesn’t only set your store apart from other competitors. It also allows you to advertise your products, impress customers, and ensure every item you ship reaches the hands of your customers safely.

If you need professional help to streamline the customization process of your brand’s packaging, feel free to contact Sup Dropshipping. We offer specialized logo engraving and branding support to dropshipping stores and other small businesses online. 

Drop us a line or shoot us an email, and we’ll be more than happy to find the ideal packaging solution that suits your branding style and budget.

About the Author

Jack Han
Jack Han

Jack is a SEO manager and blog writer at Sup Dropshipping. He holds an MA in Linguistics and Education. He has got over 10 years experience in E-commerce, and 5 years of experience in SEO. Jack is an enthusiast to share his recent knowledge learnt from peer experts in the industry.

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