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6 Custom Packaging Ideas for Shopify Stores on a Budget


There are a number of reasons to use custom packaging for the parcels you ship.

Custom packaging, both inside and outside of the parcel, is essential in creating the personal connection that can be so lacking in our fast-paced, online world.

Of course, not every brand can afford to outfit each of their parcels in custom packaging completely. Even very large brands may find they don’t have the budget to go all out. So we put together a list of six cost-effective custom packaging ideas for any budget to help take your brand to the next level. Use them together or apart.

1. Include personal notes.

The most effective way to make your packaging stand out is to personalize it – and if you’re looking to make a personal statement about how much you value your customers, you should do just that. Writing a note with genuine expression to include in your packaging is a classic and cost-effective way to build a connection with a customer.

Chewy has used this strategy of sending customers a variety of thank you notes and even condolence cards to become a mega-force in the pet retail space. An approach like this delivers a rare personal touch for a seemingly mundane aspect of business.



The best part is you don’t have to overthink it! You can write it on a note card, or straight on the packaging in marker if you want to be eco- or budget-friendly. Seriously, it’s the thought that counts with this one.

2. Include bonus items for added value.

Providing more than your customers expected with your packaging is a guaranteed win (if the bonus items are thoughtful).

Shefit, a sports bra company, provides a stellar example of how to create true added value with your bonus items. They include a delicate bag to wash the bra in and a measuring tape for future fittings at home. These items are directly related to the product, helping you maintain a long life for the bra you’ve just bought, and offering you an easy way to purchase more in the future. Even using custom labels and stickers can leave your mark on the customer as something extra that they weren't expecting.

Personally, I love when brands get creative for these items. Some of my favorites are items that have lasting, or potentially sentimental, value, as opposed to things that incentivize me to buy more. As a kid, I remember buying a pair of Nike football cleats online and in the packaging I received a poster with some of my favorite athletes at the time. I still have that poster to this day because of how happy I was when I first saw it.

Adding items to a package can obviously get expensive, so there are some other cost-effective ways you can evoke some of these same feelings with:

  • Provide a discount for their next purchase.
  • Partner with a complementary brand to offer discounts on their products.
  • Include samples of your items

3. Utilize limited edition packaging.

You can provide a special unboxing experience for customers by adding some exclusivity to your packaging practices.

Think about big brands that have done this in a unique and memorable way: Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, Starbucks’ annual holiday cups, Snapple’s cap collection. All of these were great for engaging with customers that wanted some individuality and uniqueness from brands they already loved.

Even though major brands have successfully implemented this limited edition packaging, you can do it on a much smaller scale. For low-budget effectiveness, you could:

  • Make hand-written notes that are 1 of 100 and randomly assigned to the orders you receive (or make them for your first 100 orders).
  • Or you could provide a lifetime discount code for a random selection of orders (or, again, your first few orders).
  • If it’s feasible, you could even create a set of limited edition stickers, pins, patches, etc. that are only included in a certain amount of orders shipped, that identify a moment in time for your brand.

Whether you’re searching for low-budget solutions or you have financial flexibility to create custom packaging like some of the bigger brands, the focus is on providing something that will tie your customers to that special moment in time when they receive your product.

4. Use printed tape.

Another great way to customize your packaging with some distinctive flair, in a budget-friendly way, is to add custom printed tape for your packaging. Tape is a cheap alternative to a fully custom box, but still provides branding and uniqueness. Consider enhancing your packaging even further by incorporating custom dome stickers for added personalization and a unique touch.

Companies like Sticker Mule provide custom taping at an affordable price. They’re also environmentally conscious, as all of their tape is eco-friendly and recyclable!
(Sticker Mule)

5. Use stickers/stamps on the package.

If tape is too expensive, you can think smaller. Try placing a sticker with your branding on the box.

Vistaprint is one of the best sites available to create expertly-designed, professional grade stickers for your brand that you can be confident about, all at a reasonable price.

You can even take things a step further and opt for cost-effective stamps if you’re looking to branch away from stickers. Stamps are a distinguished way to leave your mark on the packaging you use. While stamps have been around a while, they’re still very much en vogue and still do the trick for solidifying a certain level of respect. Luckily, Vistaprint has you covered for that as well.

6. Wrap products in custom tissue paper.

If you’re looking to round-out your packaging with detailed professionalism, you should look no further than adding custom tissue paper to your fulfilled orders. Using tissue paper is like tucking in the precious contents of your orders. It’s a way to provide an added sense of security for your customers and is a complement to the quality of work you provide.

While you might be apprehensive about the use of paper in your packaging, there’s no shortage of eco-friendly options on the market. Companies like noissue put sustainability first and still allow you to create glamorous custom printed tissue paper for your brand. (And they also have your sticker needs covered too.) noissuetissue
(noissue.com via Pinterest)


With all of that said, you can think outside of the box by considering what you put in it as a way to generate some memorable moments between your customers and your brand.

Your brand has a story, and the goal should be to let your customers feel like a part of that story — because they are. Give these ideas a thought the next time you’re looking to set your brand apart in this global ecosystem of consumerism.


Jordin Smith

Jordin is a Customer Success Associate at ShopPad. He has a passion for interpersonal communication, storytelling, and all things sports. Most often you can find him seeking practical solutions for merchants, but he likes to unwind by exploring his curiosities in the arts.

This article originally appeared in the ShopPad blog and has been published here with permission.

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