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Send in style: 7 creative packaging ideas for small businesses

June 5, 2024 | Published by Faire

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a shopkeeper's hands wrap socks and items in green tissue paper

The first thing shoppers see when they receive an online delivery isn’t the product—it’s the packaging. Even though customers know exactly what’s in the box, there’s still something special about opening a new package. 

The anticipation of opening a beautiful package adds to the whole experience … so much so that unboxing videos have become huge on social media. Why? Because creating an enjoyable unboxing process with quality materials, branded designs, and thoughtful details elevates the overall customer experience. It shows customers you care about the little things and that you’ve taken the time to create something special for them. Thoughtful touches can boost your reputation and encourage customers to shop with you again. 

Ready to build memorable unboxing experiences? Here are some packaging ideas for small business goods. 

1. Custom boxes

Send your products in a box that reflects your brand and the products you sell. For example, you might send travel accessories in a box shaped like a suitcase or your ocean-inspired haircare products in a shell-shaped box. 

Receiving a delivery in something other than a standard cardboard box is a pleasant surprise for customers and should spark a little delight. But make sure your box design aligns with your brand, products, and customer interests—you don’t want to confuse customers before they’ve even opened their package. 

Fly by Jing sells a highly designed box set of its popular chili crisps. 

2. Custom stickers or ribbons

Custom stickers are a cost-effective way to personalize packaging. You can keep them simple with your logo design or flex your creative muscles by printing a sheet of stickers that relate to your brand and product. 

For example, you could create a collection of sea creature stickers for the ocean-inspired haircare brand or little airplane stickers for travel accessories. Alternatively, print your brand colors and illustrations onto a ribbon and wrap it around packages. 

You can add extra stickers and ribbons to the box for customers to use in their homes and on their accessories. 


  • Sprinkle extra stickers in with the product to help spread the word about your brand.
  • If you don’t want to use ribbon, try using recyclable washi tape in your brand’s colors. 

3. Handwritten notes and inserts

Heavenly Tea includes a step-by-step illustrated guide to brewing on recycled paper. 

Keep the surprises coming by tucking a handwritten note inside the package or adding a beautiful insert that shows customers how to use a product or find out more about your brand. This little touch builds loyalty by creating a personal connection with shoppers who are then more likely to shop with you again. 


  • Add a QR code to any inserts so shoppers can quickly find out more information. 
  • Keep your handwritten note short and on brand for maximum impact. 

4. Samples and freebies 

Everyone loves a discount. Show shoppers your appreciation by adding a free sample or a coupon to your small business packaging. This not only lets customers try something new but also encourages future sales—if a customer likes the sample, there’s a good chance they’ll come back to buy it. 

According to research, 76% of shoppers would like free samples in their online orders, but you can also add full-size freebies, personalized promo codes, and coupons to drive more sales. 


  • Showcase new products by offering small samples. 
  • Match the samples to the main products for the best results (or let customers choose which freebie they want). 

5. A cohesive color story 

Because it’s such a critical part of the buying process, custom packaging for small business goods must match your brand colors, design, and visuals. You wouldn’t want to receive a package that’s completely at odds with the product inside. 

Creating a cohesive color story with a similar color palette and relevant visuals creates a seamless unboxing journey that feels polished and specific. 


  • Keep it simple with small splashes of color from your brand palette. 
  • Make sure illustrations and visuals are also in the same style as your branding
Sock Talk matches its box designs to the product for a cohesive look.  

6. Interior packing materials 

Once your customer opens the box, there’s still the inside to consider! Think about what materials you might use on the interior too. For example, a luxury item would look out of place in a plain cardboard box. The experience can be enhanced with premium interior materials, like silk wrap or high-quality tissue paper. 

Here are some common interior packing materials: 

  • Packing peanuts
  • Bubble wrap 
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Foam
  • Plastic wrap
  • Cotton bags 

If possible, match your interior packing materials to the design and style of your products. If your logo is pink, use pink tissue paper. If your shampoo bottle labels are made from recycled paper, can you incorporate that into your packaging too? 

The Candle Brand uses dried flowers, packing straw, and rope-made florals for a special unboxing experience. 

7. Sustainable materials 

More than half of consumers have changed their shopping habits with sustainability in mind. Many actively seek out brands that use eco-friendly materials and ingredients, and this extends to packaging. 

Show your commitment to the planet by incorporating sustainable, green packing materials and including information about your carbon footprint. 

Showing shoppers that you share their values increases the likelihood of them buying from you again in the future. 

Tip: Don’t go overboard—use packing materials sparingly to prevent waste. 

Final thoughts

Shoppers today are looking for delightful experiences that extend beyond the checkout. When you take the time to craft beautiful boxes, sprinkle recyclable materials inside, and deliver more than “just a package,” customers can see that you care. For an independent retailer, a personal touch goes a long way toward building loyalty and connecting with your shoppers. Investing in little details shows off your store’s personality and is part of what makes small businesses unique. 

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