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Harness the
Power of Packaging

First impressions can make or break a customer’s experience. Does your package wow from the doorstep, or is your branding buried?

With innovative packaging, your shipment can stand out from basic brown delivery boxes. Adding thoughtful visual and interactive elements can make a world of difference for your customers and your business.

Scroll on to explore six packaging innovations that will set your business apart.

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Announce your brand from the outside in with thoughtfully-designed packaging. 52% of consumers surveyed say premium packaging makes them more likely to purchase again from an online retailer.1

Add printed designs and elements to your shipping boxes.* These additions help build brand recognition and anticipation for customers.

A branded box can display a logo, a brand message or a promotion to download an app or follow the brand on social media. Some companies—most notably monthly subscription box services—create fully designed packages which recipients collect and post about on their social networks.

Boxes are also a creative vehicle for marketing campaigns. Tout a recent campaign or product launch right on your shipping box.

*A minimum of $250,000 in new annualized Expedited (Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express) postage is required to customize USPS Branded Shipping Boxes. Additional requirements may apply. For details on eligibility and requirements, contact your USPS sales representative.

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Let your package leave an impact on your customer — not the environment. 56% of Americans surveyed want more sustainable options for product packaging.2

Simple adjustments can make shipments more sustainable and add brand value. Communicate your business’s environment-friendly practices to your customers.

Determine how much space is really needed to pack an item. Can it be mailed in an envelope or bag instead of a box? Does it need protective padding? Opt for the smallest and lightest packaging to save packing time and potentially cut shipping costs.

Some larger boxes do need filler material. Choose ones that can be recycled or composted. Bubble wrap or other plastics can be replaced with lining made from recycled denim or biodegradable packing peanuts made from corn. Instead of rigid plastics and styrofoam, try recyclable cardboards to keep items firmly in place.

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Connect a package to your brand’s digital presence. 11 million U.S. households are predicted to have users who have scanned QR Codes by 2020.3

Including QR Codes® on or in a box puts your digital assets into the customer’s hands.4 When scanned, each unique code can lead to any link.

A QR Code printed on the outside of a shipping parcel could connect to a welcome page, blog post, or mobile app. It could also link to social media profiles, encouraging customers to share their unboxing experience and tag your brand.

Inside a box, QR Codes can help cut down on the amount of paper included in a shipment. Instead of sending assembly manuals or paper receipts and coupons, host them online and link customers to them via QR Code once the box is open.

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Link to informative content with the tap of a phone. 17.9% growth is projected for the global NFC market through 2025.5

NFC technology makes it easy to transfer data without pairing devices or having an internet connection. Nearly every smartphone on the market has an NFC chip embedded, and by tapping a phone against a programmed NFC tag, customers can connect to a webpage or mobile app.

Preformatted NFC tags are more affordable than ever, and prices could continue to fall through 2018.6 Program your tags to connect to webpages that host instructions, product information and digital experiences. Many are available in sticker format, making it easy to stick them on a box and direct customers to tap with their phones.

NFC tags are also useful for packages carrying fragile or perishable items. When combined with sensors on the box, an NFC tag can connect a customer to information about their specific package, showing dangerous changes in temperature or levels of impact it may have gone through.

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Make a physical package into an immersive digital experience.

AR technology is on the advanced end of packaging innovations. If it’s within your means to develop an AR experience and mobile app, you can transform your package and create a memorable interaction for customers.

Develop an interactive introduction to the product and brand, share a demonstration of how the product can be used, or show products that pair well with a customer’s purchase using this immersive technology.

Link to the app on your box with an NFC tag or QR Code as well as in your email messages to customers to make sure people download and enjoy what you’ve created.

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Enhance your unboxing experience with specialized printing technology. 90% of customers surveyed said they expect to see flexible and printed electronics integrated into commercial products by 2019.7

These buttons are developed from specialized printing technologies. Using conductive ink, batteries can be printed onto boxes. When touched or pushed, the buttons trigger lights, sounds or displays that enhance packaging.8

Turn your product unboxing into a spectacle with light-up logos or sound effects. We recommend keeping this technology on your internal product boxes (rather than external shipping boxes) to avoid security issues.

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Final Thoughts

One small change can elevate your packaging. Whether you opt for visual enhancements or interactive add-ons, you can find budget-friendly ways to make an admirable — even enviable — first impression. Put these creative packaging decisions in play to help you differentiate your brand and grow your business.

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Find out more about these innovations.
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  1. Richard Lazazzera, “How To Create a Memorable and Shareable Unboxing Experience for Your Brand,” Dotcom Distribution,, 2013.
  2. Ian Lifshitz, “The Evidence Is Clear: Consumers Want More Sustainable Packaging Options,”, Dec. 22, 2014.
  3. “U.S. households with users who scanned QR code on smartphone 2018 to 2020,” Statista, July 2018.
  4. QR Code® is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED.
  5. “Global Near Field Communication (NFC) Market Analysis & Trends – Industry Forecast to 2025” Accuray Research & Analytics LLP, September 2017.
  6. “What does 2018 hold for NFC- and RFID-enabled smart packaging?” Labels and Labeling, Dec. 18, 2017.
  7. Andrew Manly, “Putting the power of printed electronics in packaging,” Packaging World, Dec. 8, 2014.
  8. “Thinking Outside and Inside the Box: RARC Report,” Office of the Inspector General USPS, April 24, 2017.