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13 Feb 2018 Box Insert Options for D2C E-commerce Packaging

Scored sheet insert, e-commerce packaging, Salazar PackagingBox Insert Options for D2C E-commerce Packaging

A quick search on the internet will confirm that there are many companies that sell boxes. Online catalog houses and retailer providers ranging from office supply stores to truck rental facilities all sell boxes in their basic, simplest form.
What we do is much more sophisticated and goes far beyond providing a shipping container to ship a product from the shipper to the on-line customer. We enhance the value of our shipping products by providing a variety of direct to consumer packaging design solutions that accomplish two critical things:

Protection – preventing damage in shipment
Presentation – delivering the best possible unboxing experience for the consumer

die cut 4 cavaty insert, e-commerce packaging, Salazar PackagingInserts of various types and styles

Inserts (inside protective packaging) is one of the ways we accomplish that within the box. We have created inserts, partitions and dividers in many different forms including molded and engineered foams, die cut paperboard designs, multilayer paper honeycomb designs, molded pulp and our most popular – die cut corrugated designs.

Why are die cut and scored sheet inserts the most popular option?

Primarily because it is flexible and versatile. It is also affordable on a per piece basis and in terms of tooling cost, which is minimal compared to other forms and options. If the product lines or count changes, the insert can easily be modified or replaced. It is also easier to use when packing and cleaner when unpacking. Decorative fill (peanuts, shredded paper, etc.) offers questionable protection because most often the fill product shifts and settles during shipment. As attractive as you may think decorative loose fill is, I have yet to meet a consumer who enjoys the unpacking mess and clean up.
Corrugated inserts are also a greener option compared to most because they are easily removed and recycled. They are printable and can also be made of 100% recycled corrugated board.
From a design perspective, they provide endless options and possibilities in structure and shape. Here are three different designs for the same four pack of deodorant sticks.
1. Scored sheet divider – this is a low cost, effective design that does not require a cutting die investment. Mailing and storage costs are also minimized because in this case the product does not require a protective perimeter air cell, for a very tight, clean, simple and economical design.
Angled presentation insert, e-commerce packaging, Salazar2. Die cut cavities – in situations where space around the product is desired the insert can be cut with as many openings or cavities as necessary. Most custom cutting dies require a $300 to $600 onetime investment but save hours of valuable packing time if designed properly.
3. Elevated and angled die cut design – For a unique presentation that really shows off the product, many products can be placed in an insert at an angle or eye-catching configuration. Reproducing the instore, retail experience when shipping direct to the consumer is not always easy but a creative design can help you create that Instagram worthy look.
This is just a brief look at a few things we can do to help you impress your e-commerce customer. If you want to learn more and discuss the specifics of your product and application, call us at 630-551-1700 or contact Salazar Packaging via email. We have designed and printed millions of boxes for thousands of customers, so we are confident we can use that experience to save you time and money while creating a great looking D2C package for you.

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DTC (Direct to Consumer) E-commerce Packaging for Start-up Companies and New Products

Printed Die Cut Corrugated Inserts for Ecommerce and Subscription Boxes.

Buyers Guide to Partitions, Dividers, and Die Cut Inserts for  E-commerce and Subscription Boxes

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25 Jan 2018 E-commerce Packaging for Feminine Hygiene Products

Packaging for feminine hygene products, e-commerce packaging, Salazar packaging, ecommerce, custom printingE-commerce Packaging for Feminine Hygiene Products

Whether the driving force is convenience, security, or privacy, feminine hygiene products have been a popular direct to consumer (D2C) market. They are also an ideal product for subscription programs.

We have done well over a dozen different boxes in that space and the photos below shows just a few of them. What they all have in common is:

  • Great graphics – attractive colors and designs that are typically low cost with only one-color printing.
  • Secure containers – pilfer proof and designed for privacy.
  • Compact – for the lowest possible shipping cost whatever the product or count.
  • Easy assembly and packing – Shipping multiples of any product can be laborious but proper design and inserts/dividers can minimize fulfillment costs.

A great unboxing experience made easy!

Once we help you determine the best size shipping container for your products, we provide you with a die line so you can design your custom look. We know how to get the most out of one or two colors and have some great options:

  • White or natural Kraft (brown board)
  • Thin e-flute for a more retail, less industrial look
  • Triple white board eliminates the brown medium (middle) layer for a cleaner look
  • Inside prints for maximum print area on a small box usually dominated by a shipping label
  • Digital prints for complex graphics, sophisticated logos as well as variable or seasonal messages

Triple white e-flute board, e-commerce packaging, subscription packaging, Salazar PackagingYour e-commerce packaging partner

Whether you need a food referral to a fulfillment company or a graphic designer who understands packaging, we can help you assemble the correct people for your team.  This may be your first venture in subscription or direct to consumer packaging, but it is not our first time. After producing literally millions of boxes, we have the experience to help you create the best looking, most effective box at the lowest possible cost.

Please contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 for a free analysis of your packaging design or redesign project.

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18 Jan 2018 Buyers Guide to Digitally Printed Corrugated E-commerce Boxes

D2C intro special packaging, Salazar Packaging, e-commerce boxesBuyers Guide to Digitally Printed Corrugated E-commerce Boxes

Reason # 4 to go digital – limited run or “one and done” applications    

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts focused on digital printing to help potential e-commerce box customers determine when digital may be the best custom printing option.  The three other posts (linked below in related posts) suggests going digital:

  1. When printing complex and/or multi-color graphics
  2. To eliminate expensive flexographic print plate costs
  3. When printing multiple versions (flavors, scents, etc.) of the same box size and shape.

This post is focused on situations when a box is going to be run one time for a special promotion or event that is not going to repeat. It could be a new product introduction, special promotion, an award, customer gift, or other limited run (usually one time) event.

Printing plates are costly from many perspectives including the time it takes to design them. Add to that design time cost, the actual plate cost that is typically around $500 per color, inside or outside, and the total can easily end up being thousands of dollars. Yet flexographic printing (if the graphic design permits it) can be a best long-term investment because the cost per unit is usually lower. If you plan to run tens of thousands over the next several years, paying for flexographic print plates can be a wise and economical way to go.

However, what if you never plan to run the box again?

packaging for new product launches, Salazar Packaging, e-commerce boxesFor example, a gift going out to celebrate a 10th anniversary or a new product launch? Neither is likely to ever repeat so in that case, unless the volume is huge, it is probably a good idea to avoid the cost of flexographic plates and print using a plate-less digital process. The cost per box may be a bit higher (compared to flexographic) but not when you factor in the plate costs that are going to end up as waste at the end of the run. In that case running digital is economical and less wasteful.

Of course, we are talking about custom printing applications in general terms. Every situation and customer is slightly different and our branded packaging advisors are specially trained to provide you with facts that will help you make an informed decision.

Please contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 to speak with one of our people. For more online information on printing digitally, please check out the digital box printing page at or our newest web site:

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12 Jan 2018 Closure Options for Direct to Consumer (DTC) E-commerce Mailer Boxes

Closure Options for Direct to Consumer (DTC) E-commerce Mailer Boxes

front lock version of our 7x7x2 box, Salazar Packaging, e-commerce boxI’m proud to say we offer our customers innovative options to help them not only minimize cost but also to help them stand out in any increasingly competitive market. No matter what you are selling, there are new companies every day, trying to do it better, faster, and at a lower cost. Everyone wants to make sure their ecommerce packaging delivers a memorable and pleasing unboxing experience.

A few of the options we offer include:

  • Multi-color interior packaging to eliminate costly labeling.
  • Custom design inserts to protect and present while eliminating expensive and messy ancillary void fill.
  • Unique board combinations like our triple white structures (see related post below) for that finished retail look.
  • High speed, digital printing for maximum graphics (see our newest site: )

top tuck version of our 7x7x2 box, Salazar Packaging, e-commerceClosure Options for Ecommerce Boxes 

Unlike many companies, we offer three distinct ways to hold a box closed:

  1. Top tuck – This is when the top/lid of the box has an extra flap that folds INTO the box. This is probably the most basic, simple option, but can be difficult to close depending on the box contents and how it is packed.
  2. Front lock – The most secure option because the front flap “cherry locks” fold into the front of the box and hold it closed. This is the customer favorite because when combined with side “dust flaps” it is pilfer-resistant.
  3. Tab lock – Probably the most attractive option for customers who want a “less industrial/ more retail” look to their DTC packaging.

Tab lock mailer, Salazar Packaging, e-commerce mailerOver 150 Stock Cutting Dies Available!

These dies include a wide variety of sizes and all three closure methods, so the objective is to match what you want with what we have. Since each custom die costs around $800 it saves you time and money if you can work with a die on hand. However, if you need a specific size, and/or specific design, we can be very creative with the one -time, prepress costs to help you totally customize your box.

Tab lock mailer, Salazar Packaging, e-commerce mailerWhat combination of box features is best for your specific application? A brief chat with one of our branded packaging advisors can help you quickly determine that for the most attractive, lowest cost packaging design for your customers and products being shipped.

Contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 for a no cost, no obligation evaluation of your ecommerce goals and requirements.

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21 Dec 2017 Buyers Guide to Digitally Printed Corrugated E-commerce Boxes

Buyers Guide to Digitally Printed Corrugated E-commerce Boxes

Various copies and bar codes easily handled, digitally printed, Salazar Packaging, e-commerceReason # 3 to go Digital – multiple versions of same box size  

As branding becomes more geographic and market specific, the challenge is how to custom print them without spending thousands of dollars on flexographic print plates for every “version”.

The most obvious example of this is how companies market their product in conjunction with sports teams. Customers in southern California have little interest in New York teams or personalities so companies produce packaging that will appeal in a specific geographic area. Another great example is different flavors, seasonal product shifts, or even for holidays and events. A Valentine’s Day print has little appeal on February 15th.

You can always print a generic box and then customize it with stamps or labels. You see this most often for varying scents, colors, or flavors. That is not only costly, it rarely delivers the look or image desired.

Digital Printing – Varying copy with no print plate costs

The major disadvantage of flexographic printing is that every ink color that is being printed in or out, requires its own print plate. Flexographic plates vary in cost. but we always use $500 as the average anticipated expense.

Different flavors, same brand, Salazar Packaging, e-commerce packagingIf the packaging for every version (size, color, scent, etc.) requires a change of color or copy, a new plate must be produced and used. You can see how this can really add up quickly if a company is producing five or more versions.

Digital printing allows these changes in color or copy to be made electronically so no print plates are required.

Brand Consistency

Just as important as saving money, digital printing makes it easier for companies to maintain their overall brand identity while creating different colors to attract and make it easier for customers to find what they want. We can connect you with a graphic artist who understands this and can help you maximize the impact of your branded, custom printed packaging, at minimal cost.

Please contact us at Salazar Packaging, call us at 630-551-1700 or check out our newest website to learn more about how and when digital printing is the best printing option for you.

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15 Dec 2017 DTC (Direct to Consumer) E-commerce Packaging for Start-up Companies and New Products

e-commerce packaging, Salazar Packaging, DTC (Direct to Consumer) E-commerce Packaging for Start-up Companies and New Products

Creating e-commerce packaging is easy if you have the time, money, experience and history to be able to design and produce what you want. Unfortunately, most start-ups and even mature companies with new products usually don’t have those luxuries. As listed the challenges include:

Time – by the time they get around to packaging, projects tend to be late with launch deadlines looming. Or they have been talking about packaging for months and no commitments nor decisions have been made. We understand this and have a long list of products we delivered within two weeks of receiving final artwork.

Money – same as with time, much has been spent to get to where you are. The packaging budget that at one time in preplanning might have been $2.00 is now ideal at under a dollar a unit as the realities of storage, shipping, and other expenses kick in. We can do a lot with a little by being creative, redesigning, and offering many money saving options and ideas to help reduce the cost per unit.

e-commerce packaging, Salazar PackagingExperience –  After ten years, and making millions of packages for thousands of companies, we know how to fast track a project without sacrificing quality. As I often tell customers, “we know where the potholes in the road are and will help you avoid them.” The less experience you have in designing e-commerce packaging, the more you can benefit from having a good partner to work with.

History – many of our packaging recommendations and the pricing are based on usage and order size. What do you do when you have no history to work from? You create versatile packaging that will enable you to make modifications and changes as necessary. Chances are, we have worked with a similar application in the past and that can help us help you.

e-commerce packaging, Salazar PackagingWe specialize in creating incredible e-commerce packaging quickly and at minimal cost. Please check us out at or call us at 630-551-1700. You can also contact us through our web site contact form to connect with one of our branded packaging advisors or visit our gallery to see examples of recent work we’ve done.

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12 Dec 2017 E-Commerce Success: Congratulations to Owl Crate for Forbes Article!

Owlcrate JR Outside print, Salazar Packaging, e-commerce, subscription packagingCongratulations to Owl Crate for Forbes Article!

One of the things we most enjoy about doing what we do is watching and helping e-commerce and subscription start-ups become great success stories. I cannot describe the pleasure and pride we feel when one of our DTC (Direct to Consumer) customers is featured in a magazine, newspaper or even on TV.

Owlcrate Jr. Inside print. Salazar Packaging, e-commerce, subscription packagingOne of our oldest and favorite customers is whose artistic creativity does not fail to challenge our print capabilities. The result is always a great looking box that is cost effective and memorable, delivering the maximum positive unboxing experience.

Check out the December 12th issue of Forbes magazine (page 30) to read all about this neat company and their packaging.

Salazar Packaging, e-commerce, subscription packagingWe are so grateful for the opportunity to play even a small role in the success of our customers. We have grown steadily by helping our customers please their customers and attracting attention in this increasingly competitive market place. Kudos to Owl Crate and the many companies we serve, who work hard, work smart, and understand the value of quality packaging.

Are you getting the most from your e-commerce packaging? If you would like to discuss your branding or rebranding application, please contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 for a confidential discussion on how we can help you.

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07 Dec 2017 Packaging Sustainability in E-commerce – How to fix it!

e-commerce packaging, Salazar PackagingPackaging Sustainability in E-commerce – How to fix it!

I think we all agree that as consumers, we LOVE e-commerce. How can we not appreciate the incredible variety and selection of products now, almost instantly available to us with a few clicks on our favorite internet linked device?

Companies are so focused on efficiency that quite often it is accomplished at the expense of sustainability. As we approach that busiest time of the e-commerce year, fulfillment companies scramble to fill orders quickly and they become even less careful about what they ship out or its impact on the environment.

An example of terrible packaging

The photo above is a great example. The wireless keyboard we ordered measures 18” X 8” X 2-3/4” or 396 cubic inches. Unfortunately, it was shipped in a box that is 23” X 14” X 7-1/2” high or a whopping 2,415 cubic inches. That means this product shipped in a box that was over SIX times larger than it really required. The only way to correct this mismatch was to add more packaging, in this case eighteen feet of an inflatable void fill product. Some might look at the cushioning material and say, “at least it is a green, recyclable, void fill product”. I am not going to debate its environmental merits at this time, and I am not going to question the wisdom of shipping such an oversized box in the days of dimensional shipping rates. I will however call it what it is – totally unnecessary packaging!

Smart e-commerce companies do the right thing in terms of sustainability!

Salazar Packaging, e-commerce packagingCompare that photo to the one on the left for a similar size set of the Misen knives. Check them out at It is an excellent company, and while they care about packing and shipping efficiency, they are also concerned about presentation and packaging sustainability as well as shipping economics. The box looks great, and it is perfectly sized, so it does an excellent job of protecting the product being shipped without additional cushioning or void fill material. For all the benefits of their packaging choices, you might think they are spending more, but the fact is the opposite is true. They recognized the value of sustainable packaging and the positive impact it has on every aspect of their business, including the “unboxing experience” they want their customers to have and remember.

Sustainability is complicated, perhaps more than it needs to be. Some companies try to dazzle with details and science. Years ago, we coined a term that still applies: “common sense sustainability” and it begins with using the minimal and right packaging product for each application. There is no one size fits all solution and there are many variables, so we always suggest discussing your specific needs with someone who understands sustainability, as much as they understand e-commerce.

Please contact us via our Salazar Packaging web site or call us at 630-551-1700 to discuss your project with one of our experienced, trained branded-packaging advisors. I am confident we will be able to help you create an attractive, eco-friendly, e-commerce package design at minimal cost.

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27 Nov 2017 Buyers Guide to Digitally Printed Corrugated E-commerce Boxes

Salazar Packaging, flexo printing, custom printing, print platesBuyers Guide to Digitally Printed Corrugated E-commerce Boxes

Reason # 2 to go digital – the cost of flexographic print plates

As we often tell callers, “we are in business to sell branded packaging for e-commerce, not print plates and dies.” In other words, it is not our intent or desire to load up customers with expensive print plates. Yet, we can’t print lower cost flexographic without plates, so when does digital make more sense? The quick answer: digital is usually the best option when the plate cost exceeds the cost of the boxes being printed.

Keep in mind that flexographic printing will almost always be less expensive than digital printing. So, if the plates are likely to be reused repeatedly, flexographic could wind up saving you money in the long run if you can meet the MOQ, in most cases 1,000 boxes.

Flexographic versus digitally printed boxes – do the math

custom printing, Salazar Packaging, custom packaging, flexo printing, print platesIf a one-color print on a digitally printed box is going to cost you $1.60 and you only need 200, your total cost is $320.  The same box printed produced on a flexographic press might be lower in cost at $.90 each but the MOQ is 1,000 and let’s say the print plate is a onetime cost of $500. The total cost running the first order flexo will be $1,400. (The plate cost would NOT repeat on future purchases of the same box and design) That is a big difference if you only need 200 boxes. However, the onetime cost of the plates is easily covered if the quantity of boxes needed is 1,000 or more.

Other cost influencers – flexo versus digital boxes

There are other very legitimate reasons why digital is the better choice. A major one is if your graphic design cannot be printed flexographic: photo quality images, more than a couple of colors, complicated gradients, etc.

The style and size of the box may also be an issue as well as the ink coverage inside and outside.

Combine different printing techniques for maximum savings and best results  

If your box is going to be printed inside and outside (highly recommended), it is possible to use two different print processes on each side. While most of our boxes are printed flexographic in and out, and some are printed digitally in and out, a growing number use both flexo and digital to create unique looks and minimize cost. Flexo out and digital in or the opposite – digital out and flexo in.

Not only is flexo going to be less expensive, it also creates a softer, matte look which sometimes is preferable.

As stated above, there are numerous factors that influence cost and help determine the best approach to branding your e-commerce or subscription box. Please feel free to check out the information we have provided on this website as well as our new web site. There you will find a popular, helpful FAQ but if you have a question that is not covered, please contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700. Over the course of ten years we have printed millions of boxes for thousands of customers and we would love to help you as well.

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24 Oct 2017 E-commerce boxes for beauty, health and personal care products

beauty, health and personal care packaging, Salazar Packaging, e-commerce packagingE-commerce boxes for beauty, health and personal care products

We all want to look better and for some like me it may prove to be too late. However, for the vast majority of people out there, there are a number of excellent beauty and personal health care products that can help make a person feel better and look younger.

The types of products differ greatly but they all require packaging that is consistent with the marketing approach and branding. Products can be modern and glitzy, or relatively simple and natural by design. The packaging we have created for this market includes paperboard rigid boxes, litho labeled shipper boxes, as well as digitally printed, and of course, flexographic printed boxes.

What is the best printing method for your box?

As we improve and increase our digital printing capabilities, that question occurs more often. While flexographic continues to be the printing of choice for most people (low, 1,000 MOQ, lowest cost), digital printing offers some unique advantages. (see this page on SPI web site) Some companies have short run digital equipment and are able to run small orders as low as 50 boxes. We have high speed digital capability only, so in most cases our MOQ will be at least 1,000 boxes.

Litho label has the design printed on high quality litho paper and then laminated to the corrugated board. It is always an option for people who want or need something special and are willing to pay for it. The minimum tends to be higher (3,000 to 5,000 depending on size) but the quality is remarkable.

After reviewing the many other factors including cost and order quantity, a quick look at your graphic design will enable us to help you make a good decision that will serve your needs now and as your company grows.

beauty, health and personal care packaging, Salazar Packaging, e-commerce packagingWhat about internal, protective packaging?

Many personal care, beauty and health products come in kits or product combinations and assortments. This means that presentation (unboxing experience) is increasingly important as is product containment to make sure there is no product to product, internal damage.

Some people prefer loose filler such as wood shavings or shredded paper products and for some people it makes sense. However, how the product looks when you ship it out is not nearly as important as how it looks when it arrives to your customer. Controlled ship testing will usually show that loose fill tends to shift and clump in transit. This not only looks bad, it can also result in product damage.

Our ability to design customized but low-cost inserts is extremely important because as we often say, lots of people make boxes, some of them even know how to print them well, but very few know how to design and manufacture good internal packaging.

Our branding packaging consultants are standing by and ready to help you select the best product, the best size and the best printing method. Give us a call at 630-551-1700 or contact us at Salazar

We would love to help you take your beauty, health or personal care products to market with beautiful, effective e-commerce packaging.

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