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1. What is a packaging insert?

10 Packaging insert ideas to keep customers coming back

There's no better way to tell your brand's story and create an allure for customers than by using packaging inserts in every package you ship out.

Receiving an order in the mail can be an exciting experience for consumers; it's totally up to the brand what the unboxing experience is like for their customers. It can be bland, with the products tossed in a box, or beautifully designed with thoughtful add-ons, including a custom packaging insert, that leaves the shopper delighted and wanting more.

Numerous types of packaging inserts can be included in every order, and they can all offer some benefit for both your business and the customer. Package inserts can educate customers and help them get the most out of their purchases, driving customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. They also encourage repeat business and foster relationships with your customer base.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Packaging inserts increase customer loyalty and brand visibility while remaining a cost-effective marketing strategy.

  • The power of a personal note in every package shipped can drive significant sales for an online store.

  • Customer reviews and social media exposure can dramatically improve your brand visibility online.

What is a packaging insert?

A packaging insert is a small insert that online shops can include in customers' packages before shipping. Typically in the form of a small card or flier, packaging inserts spread awareness about a business, offer new customers an incentive to become repeat customers, and build loyalty with existing customers.

When implemented correctly, a personalized packaging insert can drastically improve your shop's ROI by offering shoppers more value at a discounted price or with some incentive.

At no cost to the business or the customer, a packaging insert can transform the customer experience from flat and typical to memorable and thoughtful.

If you've thought about implementing package insert programs into your company's marketing strategy, this post covers everything you need to know about the types of packaging inserts and how you can effectively add them to your orders.

The benefits of packaging inserts

Are you looking to optimize the packages you ship to customers? After all, it's the last chance to create a positive, memorable shopping experience with your brand! Fortunately, packaging inserts can help you elevate the unboxing process and constantly surpass customer expectations.

Provide additional value

Not only do packing inserts make your business look professional, but they also benefit your customers. You can share helpful product information, and drive upsells and customer loyalty through discount offers and codes while fueling brand loyalty and fostering authentic customer relationships.

Show off your brand

Packaging inserts also provide a unique moment to showcase your brand outside your website or online store. Share fun tidbits about your shop, background, and story to build rapport and let customers feel seen and heard by your brand.

10 Best packaging insert ideas for ecommerce sellers

Need ideas for your packaging insert options? Explore ten of the most cost-effective and creative types of packaging inserts to market your brand to new and existing customers in this section.

1. Personal notes and thank you cards

personal notes

Crafting personalized notes thanking your customers for their business is an effective way to create the face behind your small business. Including a thank you card as a packaging insert is a great idea as you build brand loyalty and make a name for yourself in your niche.

Whether you send a handwritten note or type one out, share small details about your business and how their purchase impacts your life.

Package insert thank you note ideas

Write things like, "Your purchase is helping pay off my student loans," or "The money I earn from my shop goes directly to my child's education" to create a connection with customers.

Use high-quality stationery for each thank you note to promote your brand's dedication to quality.

2. Free product samples

Think about the last time you received a package from a brand you love and discovered some incredible product samples inside. It creates a memorable unboxing experience and increases your enthusiasm for the brand, right?

Product samples are a fool-proof way to encourage other purchases from existing and new customers. For example, if you run an online beauty brand, including a few product samples in each shipment from the same skincare or makeup line they already purchased will drive more sales at a low cost.

Cross-sell customers with samples

If you want to offer samples, you can efficiently cross-sell customers by allowing them to try a relevant product before they make another purchase. Doing so will increase customer loyalty and retention as they trust your brand and the products you sell. It's pretty amazing that a simple packaging insert can do all that.

3. Discount codes & promotional offers

Express your appreciation for every purchase by including packaging inserts with discount codes in each order. This strategy will amplify customer loyalty and increase repeat purchases, as they feel like the discount code is too good to pass up.

Discount offer ideas

Consider your existing customers, their pain points, and any feedback about your products when deciding what your discount cards should offer. Whether it's a simple 20% off their next order, a free gift with their next purchase, or a bundle-and-save discount offer, be sure to make the cost savings tempting enough to increase repeat purchases and delight customers.

4. Free gifts

free gifts

Who doesn't love free stuff?!

Delight your customers by including an unexpected gift in the form of free samples or a more significant free gift in their order. This can be anything from a cute sticker to a small gift item from your shop, like a bracelet, hair tie, skincare product, or anything you feel comfortable giving away for free.

You can also give away branded items for free, like a water bottle, tote bag, or a drink koozie with your business name or logo. This tactic will extend your brand visibility (free marketing, anyone?!) and increase loyalty as customers appreciate the free item(s).

5. Request for a review or social sharing

This could be your final interaction with a customer. Feel free to ask for something valuable to your business, like a review, or share their experience on social media platforms.

Customer reviews can help you determine where improvements need to be made and what you are doing well as a business. The more shoppers leave feedback on your social media accounts, the more your business can grow and meet every customer's expectations.

Use friendly, positive language like "Happy with your purchase? Leave us a review!" and include your social media handle or a QR code they can scan with their phone to be taken to your social pages.

By validating your business online to their followers, your customers can improve your shop's social proof and help to build your credibility as a legitimate business.

6. Product information

Empower customers to confidently use your products by including helpful product information on your packing inserts.

If you sell skincare or makeup, share tips, and tricks for using the products or share a link to your YouTube channel or social media platforms for tutorials, behind-the-scenes details, and other helpful information.

Say your online store sells custom hoodies and t-shirts; include care instructions and styling tips for your apparel to inspire your customers when they get dressed.

Packaging insert ideas don't have to be over complicated; by simply providing additional value post-purchase, you are helping customers get the most out of your products and (hopefully) become repeat customers!

7. Referral cards

referral cards

Establish your brand's social proof and spread the word about your business by offering new and existing customers referral cards in every package shipped.

Referral marketing is one of the most significant tactics used in the industry; consumers rely on their friends and family to inform them about the brands they love and trust. This provides a massive opportunity for companies to ask for referrals without investing additional money.

Referral schemes are particularly beneficial for small businesses that must build a customer base. Use upbeat, encouraging language like "Refer a friend, and you can both save 20% on your next purchase!" Referrals drive new traffic to your website and organically increase sales without requiring you to spend a dime.

Create discount offers unique to the customer journey so you can track where purchases are coming from. In this scenario, you can use a referral code like "FRIENDS20" to track how many purchases are coming from referrals.

8. Return shipping label

You may be wondering how it's effective to provide an easy way for customers to return their items. Think about the big players like Amazon. They make returning items so easy and efficient that we don't hesitate to shop there, knowing that the return process is consistently seamless.

If you've ever shopped from a small business and had a nightmare experience trying to return an item, chances are good you won't shop there again. By providing a return shipping label and supporting your customers' wants and needs through your products and your policies, you'll establish yourself as a trustworthy business.

Providing customers with a return shipping label on your package inserts will increase customer loyalty. By knowing your shop's return process is straightforward, customers will be more inclined to shop with your business again because there are no headaches or hoops to jump through should they need to return an item.

Convenient shopping experience? Check. Customer-focused approach? Double check!

9. Brand information

Create connections with your customers by including essential details about your brand on a product insert. Sharing your business's mission and background can help foster relationships with customers that you wouldn't otherwise have been able to.

Include things like:

  • Your "why" or the inspiration behind your business

  • The history of your company and personal details you feel comfortable sharing

  • How many customers you've served

  • Upcoming product launches and goals for your business

Sharing this information will create a connection between your customers and your brand's story, your products, and the value your business offers them.

It may seem small, but knowing personal details and behind-the-scenes information about a brand can forge a quick connection with customers, turning into long-term loyalty.

10. Branded packaging

branded packaging

Your packaging is like an elevated business card; it should give your customers a general concept of the brand, what your business stands for, and your story.

Branded packaging is an effective fulfillment strategy for many small businesses because it creates an additional opportunity to leave a lasting impression on customers. Receiving a fun envelope or embellished package in the mail can elevate the unboxing experience and encourage repeat purchases for many customers.

Some suppliers, like Gelato, offer branded packaging for your products. As a Gelato+ customer, you'll have access to branded packaging for variants of Posters, Framed Posters, and Ready-to-Hang Posters.

Branded packaging will vary depending on the supplier, but it's an effective approach to spice up your shipments to customers and encourage excitement about future orders.

Build a competitive business and encourage repeat customers

As an ecommerce business, you're always on the hunt for innovative ways to excite and delight your customers without spending an arm and a leg in the process. Some marketing strategies feel old and tired, while others dip too far into your budget and aren't worth the investment.

Packaging inserts offer a cost-effective way for online stores to leverage their product offerings, advertise promotions and upcoming sales, and offer customers discounts, special gifts, and freebies.

From a simple thank you note to a branded tote bag or a product tutorial, let your imagination run wild as you brainstorm the packaging inserts you'd like to include for your customers. Remember your shop's value as you determine what item(s) will best serve your customers and encourage future orders.

As you grow and scale a successful ecommerce store, packaging inserts are just one piece of the puzzle. Explore Gelato's print on demand services and discover how our versatile product catalog, approach to sustainability, and customer service can help take your business to the next level.


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