Off-the-shelf Vs Bespoke Packaging: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Online Store

Off-the-shelf Vs Bespoke Packaging: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Online Store


Perfect damage-resistant packaging for any product plays a vital role in creating a great purchasing experience for a customer with a brand. The Indian packaging industry is now seeing a surge owing to the eCommerce wave. The revenue of the packaging market in India is expected to expand by 26.1% between 2021 and 2027

This data speaks volumes of the importance of packaging, be it bespoke or off-the-shelf packaging. Ensuring that you ship finished products in a way that they endure no damage is crucial. This is essential because it prevents returns and refunds and enhances customer experience. However, eCommerce businesses find it challenging to decide on the right packaging solution that lets them ship products within their budget. 

A key decision that any eCommerce business must make is choosing between bespoke packaging and off-the-shelf packaging to ship the products. Both come with their special features, pros, and cons. Thus, a business must weigh several factors and choose the option that works best for them.

Let’s explore the off-the-shelf and bespoke packaging and understand which is more suited for your business. 

Bespoke Packaging for eCommerce

Bespoke packaging is a custom-made packaging solution designed specifically for a brand’s products. It’s a form of luxury packaging that becomes the face of a brand. Those companies that use bespoke packaging showcase their products lavishly to impress their customers. It is a brilliant way of presenting high-quality products. The fact that the packaging is customised makes the buyer more eager to purchase them. 

Bespoke packaging is completely based on the tastes and choices of the business owner. They can be made available in several colours, designs, and sizes. This type of packing is more expensive but always receives appreciation for the time taken to design the box and pack the purchased merchandise.

Bespoke packaging is also a marketing strategy. In today’s modern world, the impression you leave on your customers determines whether or not you will have an organic flow of buyers. 

The Perks of Bespoke Packaging

The perks of bespoke packaging include the following:

  • Stunning first impression: 

When a customer receives a parcel that has bespoke or tailored packaging, they naturally get impressed at the very sight of the parcel. This type of packing represents luxury and superior quality. When a parcel arrives at your doorstep with normal packaging, even if the product is good, the whole package won’t give an impression. Furthermore, it also acts as a marketing strategy at affordable costs.

  • Better brand visibility and recognition: 

Establishing and finding new customers is only half the battle won. The true and tangible profit that a business shall see will only come from its existing clientele. Getting buyers to link your brand to a specific genre of products or even a single product requires extra effort to maintain the values and aesthetic of your brand. By choosing tailor-made packing, you can gain more attention from your existing clients. Customers are more likely to recognise and choose your brand when it comes time for their next purchase if they are exposed to your logo more often.

  • Low rates of damage and return: 

A well-packed product does not get damaged during shipping. When you use standard packaging materials, the dimensions might not meet the needs of your product. Hence, the product will be improperly packed. This increases the chances of damage, and the rates of dissatisfaction and returns will be greater. With bespoke packing, you can customise the packaging to meet your needs, minimising damage and returns. 

  • Immersive buying experience for your customers: 

In-store purchasing and physical store sales have substantially declined post-COVID-19 pandemic. People prefer shopping in their own spaces, and today, it has almost become the norm. Bespoke packaging helps you create a more immersive brand experience for your customers when they shop online. 

  • The power of social media: 

The marketing power that social media has today to influence people to purchase things is astronomical. Bloggers and influencers can help you showcase the entire shopping experience, and having bespoke packaging will only impress your viewers further.

  • Enhanced functionality: 

Durability, reusability, and protection are three areas where custom packing shines. You can enhance these aspects to provide better and more sustainable packing to your customers. 

The Limitations of Bespoke Packaging

Regardless of the benefits bespoke packaging offers, it also comes with several drawbacks. The limitations include the following:

  • Greater initial costs: 

High initial costs are probably one of the biggest demerits of bespoke packing. It requires greater upfront operational costs due to custom design and manufacturing. Unlike standard options, which can be readily available at all times, bespoke packing needs prototyping, designing, and optimising. All of these cost the business hugely. For smaller businesses and beginners who are limited by minimal budgets, this expense can be a great barrier.

  • Lengthy lead times: 

As mentioned before, bespoke packaging requires dedicated designing, prototyping, optimisation, and manufacturing. Hence, it requires a greater time to arrive and can be challenging for e-commerce businesses that need to launch quickly and adapt to dynamic demands. Hence, it is vital to plan and make sure that your supply chain is capable of accommodating such lengthy production timelines. 

  • Minimum quantity orders: 

When you decide to customise your packaging, you must buy a minimum quantity set by the manufacturer. Hence, you might be obligated to buy larger quantities than needed and tie up your storage and capital. 

Off-the-Shelf Packaging: A Quick Look

Off-the-shelf packaging, more popularly known as stock or standard packaging, is a simple solution to every eCommerce business’s packing requirements. It is a practical option for those businesses that have investment constraints and small budgets. Hence, it is extremely suitable for beginner companies. These are pre-made, mass-produced packaging options that may be bought without requiring customisation.

The Upsides of Off-the-Shelf Packaging

Here are the primary benefits of standard packaging:

  • Cost-effective packaging: The primary benefit of this standard packaging solution is that it is quite cost-effective. It can help those businesses drastically reduce packaging costs that don’t want to spend a big amount on it. Off-the-shelf packaging is pre-designed and ready for use. It’s entirely different from bespoke packaging in this aspect.
  • Fast availability: In the realm of eCommerce, momentum is crucial. You can get packaging materials fast with off-the-shelf packaging and avoid the waiting period that comes with custom designs. This way, you can react quickly to shifts in the market demand or in the range of products you offer.
  • Small order minimums: Ordering quantities for off-the-shelf packaging are less than those for bespoke packaging. This flexibility is especially helpful for startups, smaller eCommerce companies, and companies with erratic sales. That means you won't have to worry about having too much inventory, as you can order exactly the needed quantity of packaging to satisfy your demands.

The Drawbacks of Off-the-Shelf Packaging

Even standard off-the-shelf packaging comes with drawbacks, including the following:

  • Branding limitations: 

If you prefer unique packaging, choosing off-the-shelf is similar to putting on a ready-made suit instead of a customised one. Both may have the same basic function, but like a tailored suit fits you perfectly and shows off your unique style, custom packaging blends in flawlessly with your brand and shows it off. Off-the-shelf packaging presents limited branding choices that can result in a lost opportunity to create a distinctive and powerful brand identity.

  • Minimised protection of the product: 

Off-the-shelf packaging can jeopardise your items' protection during delivery, which is a serious disadvantage. Most typical packing choices probably provide sufficient protection, but a custom solution gives you the surety that the packaging will protect your product.

  • Unsatisfactory unboxing experience: 

It's important to stand out in a market with competitors and identical products competing for the same clients. Sadly, pre-made packaging frequently results in a lack of originality. Customers may find it difficult to distinguish your brand from others because of how similar your packaging looks to your rivals. Using generic, uninspired, off-the-shelf solutions also frequently lessens the pleasure and anticipation of opening a package, a moment that can be a potent touchpoint for fostering consumer loyalty.

Your eCommerce Packaging Partner: Shiprocket’s SR Packaging

Packing needs differ from business to business. Understanding what the business needs are and choosing the package type can make or break the profit margin. Shiprocket has several experienced professionals who can give you the right advice and help you with your packing needs. They provide appropriate solutions to all your packaging demands while ensuring maximum customer satisfaction. With high-quality packaging materials and a platform supported by data, Shiprocket Packaging offers SMEs a unique packaging solution that maximises fulfillment. Reduce weight disparities and map stock-keeping units (SKUs) to packing materials for easier order management. Shiprocket’s packaging solutions are cost-effective, and they use the best materials. 


The way a packaging material is designed can actually impact the condition in which your product arrives. Considering both your goods and your carrier, decide on the type of packaging. Certain objects may be brittle and must be packaged carefully to prevent damage during transportation. Hence, choosing between bespoke and standard packaging is crucial for a business. Although bespoke packing provides a more customised and immersive experience, when you are on a tight budget, standing packing is the way to go. Both have merits and demerits, and a business must evaluate what suits its needs before making a choice.


Is custom packaging worth it?

Yes, primarily because it increases your brand’s value. Your customers are highly likely to recognise and remember your products. Eventually, it increases customer experience.

What are some of the eco-friendly packaging materials used today?

Some of the environment-friendly packaging solutions are compostable packaging, recycled packaging, corrugated packaging, glassine packaging, cellulose packaging and cornstarch packaging.

What is the most preferred packaging for packing fragile items?

Fragile goods are usually packed in double-walled corrugated boxes. These are designed to be rigid and, hence, offer more support.