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Packaging is more than a box to protect a product. Sometimes, the outside is just as important as what is on the inside, especially when we’re taking about what is being communicated. 95 percent of new products introduced to the market will fail, mostly because the packaging isn’t sending the right message.

The whole process of unboxing a product is part of the buying experience, especially with millennials and Gen Z customers. Therefore, if you want to gain success and ensure continuous growth of your business, you need to master the art of great packaging. That means understanding poor packaging and how it impacts your business.

What Is Considered Poor Packaging?

First, let’s talk about what your packaging shouldn’t be. In a world that has come to value instant gratification and One-Day Expedited Shipping, you might think that sending out the shipment in any condition is fine as long as it arrives to its destination. But you also need to remember that first impressions are just as essential to the quality of a product as the craftsmanship of the item.

No one wants to receive a present that looks broken, battered, or stepped on. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that poor packaging is considered just that—damaged goods.

The Real Cost of Poor Packaging

Poor packaging results in more than just a negative first impression of the delivered product. It can create a ripple that gradually alters the entire buying experience and cause distrust within your customers.

Here are the ways poor packaging can affect your business:

Ill-Fitting Packaging

Boxes that are too small, too large, or somehow doesn’t properly fit together are going to generate complaints no matter what. Even if you don’t hear these complaints, consumers are not going to take kindly to the appearance of ill-fitting packaging.

Packing items incorrectly opens up the possibility of damaging the products. Durable products can easily become scratched or dysfunctional if jostled during transport. Not only this, but customers will get the idea that you don’t really care about the item or how your brand is represented.

Boxes that are too small makes it difficult to remove products and can increase the chance of ruining the purchased goods. Boxes that are too big allow items to bounce around. Packaging like shipping paper or envelopes with sizes should also be considered, since these can be exposed to the elements, ripped, torn, and dirtied easily, especially when ill-fitting.

Damaged Packaging

A survey conducted by Smithers found that 58 percent of customers said they wouldn’t buy a product if the packaging is damaged. This is true for both in-store items and those being shipped. Cheap materials for economical shipping, ill-fitting packaging, and improper packaging techniques for protection are a huge turn-off to shoppers.

Sure, you can save money using less protection or purchasing cheaper packaging supplies, but that only looks good in the budget plans. In reality, you get rewarded with an increase of returns and damaged item claims. This will hike up the price of labor time and processing fees, as well as increase the turnaround time. All of this damages your brand reputation and makes your business less credible.

Damaged Products

Since the shipping process is typically when products get damaged prior to reaching the buyer, you need to think about packaging goods to survive transport. Products should never be left unboxed, especially if there is a chance of it getting ripped, torn, dirty, or covered in mildew. PVC shrink wrap is just one way to prevent unfortunate things from happening during shipping.

Of course, if the product does reach the customer damaged, the manufacturer pays the price. You may have to refund the individual for the purchase, send compensation, or even discount the item to resell it to someone else. Furthermore, your business may take a hit if the customer mentions the damaged goods in a review.

Affected Brand Reputation

Another example of how poorly packaged goods affect brand reputation is inconsistency. Customers values credibility, authenticity, and consistency. In other words, if you aren’t using the same kind of boxes, or the quality of one shipment greatly varies from another, you are not upholding the promise of a consistent experience. Lacking a cohesive packing method looks unprofessional and disorganized. Ultimately, consumers will lose trust.

Decreased Sales & Incurred Losses

The biggest impact of poor packaging to your business is rather costly. Think for a moment about dealing with an unsatisfied customer. This includes the time spent discussing the issue over the phone or via email; the process of re-boxing the item and shipping it back to you or the manufacturer; the effect of the negative experience on the customer’s feedback; and even the cost of discounts and refunds.

Poor packaging, whether damaged or just poor by design, will deter people from selecting your products. Since most people are going to choose something with aesthetics and value, anything that looks unappealing, damaged, or flimsy is going to be disregarded.

Remember, even if it is one mishap, a single poor customer review is going to be seen by thousands—if not, millions—of potential customers. This will tarnish your brand, and it may be difficult to recover from such a blow.


The real cost of poor packaging goes beyond losing the power of a first impression or even establishing trust with a buyer. Poor packaging can negatively impact sales, revenue, and even the success of your business over time. Don’t let your poor packaging prevent your business from growing. Keep in mind that packaging is more than protection. It conveys a message—that you care about the buyer and want to create a lasting impression.

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