The Power of Good Packaging

There’s something about opening a box that just adds excitement to your purchase. Whether it’s something you ordered online or something you bought at a store, we turn into a kid who’s opening a gift on their birthday. Why is this? Is it anticipation, mystery, excitement to use the product, or a combination of all of these?

Even if you get a small unexpected package in the mail as part of an advertisement, you have to open it to see what it is! It’s the mystery and fun of opening a package.

opening a box is exciting

“There could be anything in there! …It could be a bowling alley!” “How are they going to deliver a bowling alley?” – Christmas Story

As a t-shirt business, we can capitalize on this experience. Your customer will already knows what’s in the box. They ordered a custom t-shirt so it’s no mystery of “what could it be?”. However, after planning and ordering, the wait for the shirt has now come to an end and your customer can’t wait to see how it turned out. So you have the anticipation to see the cool new shirt. Why not add more excitement with good packaging?

Good packaging is definitely memorable. Maybe I’m just a pack-rat, but have you ever bought something and kept the box it came in because it was just too cool to throw away? You might have even used the box for something else then. Good packaging gets noticed, and it leaves an impression on a customer about your brand before they even open the box. If the box is re-used, your brand is still sitting in front of your customer and possibly even in front of others as well.

In a previous post, we talked about building your t-shirt company’s brand in a short brand guide. Packaging is part of your brand. It goes beyond just a container to deliver your shirts. It is a touch point between your t-shirt business and your customer. Your packaging is almost a whole other part of the product. Packaging has a broad range, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.

If you have a large budget, you can do some really cool custom printed boxes. On the other hand, you can still have great packaging on a smaller budget, too. By doing a quick search online, you will find many box suppliers. Don’t limit yourself to a box, either. Think outside the box… literally. Would it be beneficial for you to individually wrap each shirt in a bag? Even in a group order, this would allow you to reach each individual on a personal level instead of the putting the order in one big box.

individually wrapped uniform

If you individually wrap each person’s shirt, you can include your branding on each bag along with a flyer inside.

Once the packaging is open, comes the next step in the unboxing. How are your shirts (and company) presented once your customer opens up the box? This is another point that can really wow your customer. Depending on your average order size, some of these are more realistic than others. You can decide on what works best for you.

When the packaging is opened, what is the first thing your customer sees? Tissue paper is an easy way to add in some fancy in-box decorating. Craft paper is another option for more of a rustic kind of feel. Combining this with the use of twine or string can really add another dimension. These types of products are inexpensive and you can find them in bulk online.

materials for t-shirt packaging

Craft paper and natural twine is a popular look for t-shirt packaging.

Use the paper plain as is, or you can even get custom printed paper. You can always print on plain paper too with a stamp. Custom stamps online are very reasonably priced. If you are creative, you can even create your own with a stamp kit.

custom stamped paper

You can custom stamp your own paper for added branding.

Conversely, make sure you don’t use some sort of material that is a hassle and pain for your customers to unwrap or that makes a mess. This can have a negative effect. Your inside packaging should enhance the opening experience, not make it annoying.

packaging can be a mess

Be mindful of your inside packaging. Some can be messy and annoying to open!

On the same note, since you are delivering t-shirts, the wrapping is not needed to protect the item, it is more for a decorative experience.

box with fragile

“Fra-gee-lay. It must be Italian.” – Christmas Story

Business Cards and Hang Tags
Adding your business card inside is also very inexpensive. Consider using your business card as a hang tag on each shirt. In a group order, now every person has your business card. If you really want to add some branding, get some custom printed hang tags. Again, you can even cut out your own tags out of card stock and use a custom stamp to brand it.

Stickers are a great add-on for packaging. There are several ways you can use these. If you don’t want to get custom printed boxes, adding a sticker to brand the outside of your packaging is much cheaper. On the inside, if you used tissue paper or craft paper, seal it off with a small sticker.

Including an additional sticker in the box is also a good idea. This is a free little gift to the customer and they can use it as they wish, whether they stick it on their car, laptop, etc. If they like your brand, they will display it. This is part of building your brand with fans. The displayed sticker is free advertising for you!

Everyone loves a free sticker with their t-shirt! Share on X


ideas for custom t-shirt packaging

A few examples of some ways to package t-shirts.

Free Gift
Besides a sticker, is there anything else that you can include in the box for your customer that goes with your brand? Maybe the size of an order would determine the gift size. These gifts can be as simple as candy, or in a larger order with a bigger profit margin, maybe your budget would allow for a sample of a cross sell item, such as a cap or cinch bag.

Other Promotional Information
Don’t forget to include a flyer in your packaging. You probably already include a packing slip or receipt, so even if you add some information on the bottom, this is additional promo space. Include an upcoming sale, or other items that they may also like to order. The possibilities are endless here. Another option is to include a hand written thank you note.

Packaging is a big part of delivering your finished shirts to your customer. Don’t overlook the potential impact this can have, either positively with a good packaging experience or even negatively with a poor packaging experience. People get excited to open a purchase, especially with the anticipation to see their custom shirts that they have been waiting for, so make it memorable!

You might be surprised who they share your packaging with, which could result in additional sales for you. A positive unboxing experience could also mean a returning customer.

free online t-shirt class

For even more inspiration and ideas on packaging and displays, watch our webinar!