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Designing Packaging For Retail vs E-commerce


29 September 2023

Designing Packaging For Retail vs E-commerce

In the fast paced world of fashion, brands are constantly trying to find new ways to entice customers and ensure that their branding stands out on the market.

In the fast paced world of fashion, brands are constantly trying to find new ways to entice customers and ensure that their branding stands out on the market. With many brands now choosing to operate either mostly or solely online, a crucial part of business marketing – packaging – is often forgotten or an afterthought. Packaging plays a crucial role in conveying brand identity and attracting customers, and many consumers or influencers will share beautiful and original brand packaging online or even keep luxe packaging in their homes.  Whether it’s for traditional retail or the rapidly growing e-commerce sector, fashion brands must carefully consider the design, functionality and sustainability of their packaging. Join us here at HYSCULPT as we will explore the key differences between designing fashion brand packaging for retail purchases compared to e-commerce purchases. 


When it comes to designing packaging for retail purposes, you must remember that often packaging is already visible to the customer before they’ve made any purchases. Therefore, the packaging needs to capture their attention and desire – great packaging design will sometimes convince a shopper to make their purchase. To stand out in the store amongst all the products, good packaging design will often feature bold graphics, tactile textures, and vibrant colours to stand out on the shelves. The packaging should also be recognizable and resonate with the branding of your fashion business. If there is a bespoke or memorable pattern, print, illustration or graphic associated with your brand, be sure to include it somewhere on your packaging – you want passersby to see your shopper with your packaging and either immediately recognize the branding, or grab their attention enough that they want to uncover which brand the packaging came from. 

Want help to create a totally unique feature for your packaging? Check out our bespoke packaging and custom services here, where we can help you to create beautiful illustrations, prints and graphics that ensure your brand shines! 

However, aesthetics aren’t everything. Don’t forget that retail packaging must also be designed to fit neatly on store shelves, racks or storerooms, and be at least resistant to breakage hazards such as rain. There is nothing worse than shopping on a rainy day only for your bag to break from the water or worse, your clothes to get wet before you’ve gone home!  Traditional retail packaging tends to use a variety of materials, including cardboard, paper, plastic, and even fabric. The choice of material can significantly impact the overall look and feel of the packaging.


When it comes to creating your brand packaging for e-commerce purposes, practicality and functionality must be prioritised over aesthetics. This is because your product and packaging journey is much longer and more hazardous than retail. The function of your ecommerce packaging is to protect the product during shipping and handling as it will often be passed through many different hands before it reaches the customer. Therefore, you should consider including protective elements such as bubble wrap, foam inserts, or corrugated boxes to ensure the product arrives in perfect condition. 

However, because e-commerce packaging usually requires more elements and more material to keep the product safe, there is a greater consumer focus on sustainability. Many brands in the fashion industry now opt for minimalist designs and eco-friendly materials to align with their commitment to the environment, such as plain cardboard with little to no branding on the exterior. Be careful if you want to include aspects such as magnetic closures, as adding these to your e-commerce packaging nullifies it for recycling. Be sure to make your packing lightweight to save shipping costs for both the consumer and the business, as well as reduce your carbon footprint. While not as immediate as the in-store experience, e-commerce packaging should still aim to create an enjoyable unboxing experience for the consumer. Many luxury brands often include special touches like thank-you notes or a comp card, tissue paper, or reusable elements to enhance the customer’s connection with the brand. 


At HYSCULPT, we can create everything you need for truly unique and memorable brand packaging. Don’t believe us? Check out our packaging case study here to see how we can support your brand and take it to the next level. 


Both retail and e-commerce packaging can benefit from using eco-friendly and alternative materials. Brands can opt for recycled cardboard, biodegradable plastics, or sustainable fabrics to reduce their environmental footprint. Simplifying packaging design not only reduces waste but also communicates a commitment to sustainability, which many shoppers now consider when buying from a brand. Clean, minimalist packaging can be equally effective in both retail and e-commerce contexts. 

Brands can also encourage customers to repurpose their packaging by designing it to be reusable. For example, a sturdy cardboard box can be turned into storage, and fabric pouches can become shopping bags. Fashion brands can take the lead in recycling by providing information on how to recycle their packaging materials. They can also set up collection points for used packaging in physical stores or partner with recycling programs. Brands can also encourage customers to get creative with their packaging. Provide ideas and instructions for DIY projects that transform the packaging into something useful or decorative, such as packaging that contains seeds that when buried can grow into wildflowers, perfect for bees and other insects. Another great way you can make your packaging more interesting and more sustainable is through collaborating with local artists or brands to create limited-edition packaging that doubles as collectable art. This can generate excitement and demand for your packaging whilst ensuring the packaging is part of a more circular economy. 

Is maintaining a sustainable brand vital for your business values? Head to our parent company, London Contour Experts, to learn more about our mindful practices and how we ensure we are doing our part to protect our planet. Click here for more information. 

Within the fashion industry, packaging is a powerful tool for brand identity and customer experience. Whether it’s for retail or e-commerce, each type of packaging has its unique requirements. In today’s environmentally conscious world, sustainability is a key consideration for fashion brands and by choosing eco-friendly materials and encouraging packaging repurposing, brands can not only reduce their environmental impact but also enhance their reputation as socially responsible businesses. Ultimately, the key to successful fashion brand packaging lies in a delicate balance between aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability. 


Unwrapping The Power of Packaging

Packaging in fashion is more than just a vessel—it’s a powerful tool that shapes customer perceptions and influences purchase decisions. In the world of bodywear, the unwrapping experience triggers emotions and sets expectations. High-quality packaging suggests excellence and luxury, while flimsy packaging can lower expectations.

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