March 12, 2021

Considerations for high-end packaging: Retail vs online

The e-commerce industry is booming. There is no doubt that brands need to be selling their products online nowadays, as well as targeting traditional retail outlets. By using both platforms, a brand will be able to maximise sales and grow its target market. But is there a difference when it comes to packaging products for online versus retail? In short, yes.

Online shopping doubled in popularity and traffic in 2020 – a trend which is expected to continue in the coming years. Nearly one-third of all consumer goods, including luxury products, are purchased via the internet and delivered to the destination. This growth means that brands must adjust their designs and strategies to suit the online marketplace.

What packaging designers can change for online sales

Many brands now have two separate strategies; one for retail and one for online. Packaging designers should look at the durability of the materials being used, as well as the brightness and simplicity of their packaging designs for e-commerce stores. 

Retail sales have traditionally had the advantage of tangibility and in-person viewing. Allowing designers to create packaging that is tactile, detailed and more complex. Designers have had to also consider stackability and background display elements.

In the digital world, however, products displayed on a  screen, whether it is a phone or computer, are usually small. This means that fine details of a design may have less impact. Simple, high-contrast designs are easy to recognise and display well on a screen, which can then help to entice the buyer. The challenge is to ensure the box or pack stands out on a website without losing the brand identity that loyal customers know and expect. 




©Luxe Digital


This does not mean that packaging designers should do away with unique designs and quirky boxes – after all, the unboxing experience still matters a great deal when the product is delivered. In summary, more focus needs to be given as to the brand’s primary sales strategy and where the most impactful visual message needs to be made.

What packaging developers can change for online sales


In addition to visual design challenges, products that are delivered around the world go through a rigorous journey to reach their destination. This means that the packaging must also be durable and tough enough to withstand the bumps along the journey and through sorting facilities.

Packaging for luxury goods encompasses many different substrates. While some of these substrates may look and feel beautiful, they can be easily damaged in the shipping and delivery stage of online shopping. Durable materials should be used as much as possible and protective packaging should be at the forefront of considerations for e-commerce.

The objective should be on protecting the look and feel of the secondary pack but of course, ensuring that the luxury product inside remains intact. The packaging also needs to be compact and secure without adding additional weight. Heavy packs add to the cost of shipping, so material use and size are important considerations.

The increasing popularity of e-commerce is not going to slow down, so world-class packaging companies need to embrace these changes and remain ahead of the game.


IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and manage the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to get an insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our News section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.

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