Category : Creative Co-Packing

What to Consider When Creating Packaging for Your Subscription Box

Part of the allure of receiving a subscription box is the packaging.   Great looking packaging drives your brand’s image, as well as increases the chances that the subscriber will be happy with their subscription, and continue to subscribe.

1.       Design

The design and style of your packaging should fit the theme of your subscription box.  For example, if your target audience is young women, make sure you pick colors, style, and lettering that will appeal to them.  After all, the packaging is the first impression the customer has of your box. carton-emballage

2.       Quantity

As a start-up, you probably will not have the money to invest in custom packaging right away, but once you have at least 300 subscribers per month (and some history on products being shipped), you can begin to research your options.  Most packaging companies require a minimum of 1,000 boxes for a custom-printed mailer, which is a large outlay of money.

3.       Size

Make sure you choose the right size box.  Resist choosing the larger size box, not only to save on shipping costs, but because subscribers will not be happy with a half-filled box.  This is where product history comes in handy.

4.       Sourcing

When deciding on a manufacturer, you should consider their location, fulfillment options, turnaround time, and of course, price.   When comparing manufacturers, have your box size and order quantity on hand so you can get the most accurate price quote.

5.       Cost

The price of your custom box is going to be based on the type of printing, box quality, and ink quality you choose.   Decide where you want to spend your budget and where you are willing to cut costs, especially in the beginning.  This will give you negotiating points when discussing price with your manufacturer and can help you get the best deal on your custom packaging.

Once you have placed a few orders, and are satisfied with your custom packaging, you can negotiate better rates on volume with your manufacturer.

How Online Retailers Can Add Value with Packaging

The packaging you choose to send to your customers for the items they have purchased is an opportunity to market your brand.  Packaging for Subscription BoxPackaging can also offer functional values, for example protection of the items within.  Consumers appreciate creative and innovative packaging that resonates with your brand. The following ideas will help you make the most of your product and shipping packaging.


The value of a nicely packaged product that looks expensive and is well-designed implies to the consumer that the product is of high-quality, well-made, and has value.

Think about two packages that arrive on your doorstep for the same item, a high-end pen.  The first is a plain, brown cardboard box.  The other package is a high-quality material, colored box with the company’s logo written in embossed gold script.  Which one would you like to open?

Companies can present their product and drive home their brand through packaging to help enhance the customer’s buying experience.  This has an impact on revenue, as consumers associate good packaging with a good product.


Packaging that serves a purpose is always a smart marketing idea.  A few years ago, Birds Eye, the frozen food company, introduced steam-in-the-bag packaging, making cooking vegetables even easier, and consumers were excited to try it.  Consumers find innovative packaging that is also functioning very appealing.   Another example is large boxes that include a removable piece to create a handle, such as on a diaper box or soda can 12-pack box, making for easy carrying.

For a product that spoils easily, packaging that protects the item from air or other elements is important because no consumer will purchase from you again if their items cannot be used.  Similarly, fragile items must also be protected with proper packaging so they arrive undamaged.


Packaging can also serve as an advertisement at the point of sale.  For items that are sold in retail stores, packaging that stands out on the shelf has a greater visual impact on the consumer and a greater presence in the store.

Packaging is an opportunity to impart information to the consumer, such as a food product that is low in sodium, fat, or preservative-free.  The use of these words on the packaging not only makes the consumer knowledgeable about the benefits of your product, but also speaks to consumers who are looking for healthy alternatives, and makes a product stand out on a shelf.

Brand Identification

The packaging you choose is one way to further promote your brand.  Tiffany’s, the jewelry store, has done a great job of this with their classic light blue box with white satin ribbon.  Simple, elegant, yet so effective in relating what the Tiffany brand is to the point that the packaging has become synonymous with the brand.  Consumers make a purchase when a brand elicits emotional engagement such as this.

Great packaging can add value to a product, and be an incentive for customers to buy, by giving them reassurance that the item is a quality product.  At Kable, we provide customers with innovative packaging options that appeal to your customers.  Visit our website today at


Subscription Box Companies Can Increase Profits 22% and Reduce Cancellations with Kable Fulfillment

Subscription box companies fulfill a special niche for consumers by providing a regular delivery of curated products each month. But as their popularity grows, so grows the competition and the need to operate smarter.

Warehouse Logistics. Magnifying Glass on Old Paper with Red Vertical Line.

The nature of the subscription box industry creates unique challenges for sellers as they do for any online store – complicated IT requirements, high customer expectations, and a need to manage shipping costs.

For many, the largest pain is felt in the area of shipping with increasing postage costs cutting into already tight margins. Adding to the monthly stress is the small window of time between inventory delivery and the deadline to assemble and ship finished products to customers. Kable helps subscription box companies in 3 key ways.

Lower Shipping Costs

Taking advantage of Kable’s strategic location and volume discounts, clients save an average of 35% per unit/order on shipping. This is made possible from the volume discount Kable shares with its customers thanks to the 100,000+ small packages shipped from their facility each month.

Fast Inventory Turnaround and Order Fulfillment

Of special relevance to subscription box clients is Kable’s 245,000 sq. ft. facility with 18 dock doors, which helps the warehouse receive, stage, and turnaround product fast.

For one such customer, this was a game changer. Their commitment to customers is that boxes ship by the 15th each month yet had missed that goal the two previous months prior to Kable’s involvement. This recurring issue had only gotten worse as their business grew. Now, Kable assembles thousands of boxes (with 12 to 18 items in each) daily and has reduced their turn-around time from inventory receipt to shipment from an average of 8 to just 2.5 days. Since partnering with Kable, the client reports a significant decrease in subscriber cancellations and profits have improved 22%.

A Smooth Startup and API integration

IT integration with their fulfillment operation is important to every online retailer. The following is a comment from Daniel Drewno from regarding his experience working with Kable.

“Our integration with Kable’s API went seamlessly from the beginning. Considering our typical complex product set up and over 3,000 monthly subscribers this was a welcome result. I’ve worked with several 3rd party APIs in the past which were handling fulfillment and shipping for our merchants and frankly they’ve all been terrible except for Kable.”

Eco-Friendly Packaging Materials for Online Retailers

The most ubiquitous packaging materials are of course bubble wrap and peanuts. carton

The pros and cons of both are well documented, but the most important thing to know is they are typically made from plastics (as in oil) and are not bio-degradable. With the amount of bubble wrap and peanuts used around the world each day the problem is pretty self evident. These products are made from some pretty nasty stuff Polyethylene, Polystyrene and Polyurethane (which consists of all sorts of harsh chemicals including acetone, methylene chloride and fluorocarbons).
Aside from the toxic chemicals used with most plastic based packing materials and the huge energy resources that going into creating them; the amount of landfill taken up after they are discarded is significant. 

Here are some ideas for alternative packaging options to consider using when preparing your customer orders for shipment.

Soy based expandable foam products are a more eco-friendly option. Derived from soy, and therefore renewable and biodegradable, this product conforms precisely to the shape of your products. This maximizes protection by minimizing movement on the inside of the carton. The product is also very light weight, reducing the additional shipping expense of heavier materials. Realistically expandable foam is best for larger order fulfillment operations due to the space the specialized equipment and process will require.

Consider using old newspapers as they can also be a good option as well. Shredded or balled up newspaper has decent cushioning ability. My opinion is that shredded paper has a neat look in the box and adds some “eco-cred” to your products. Aaesthetically the balled up news print leave a little to be desired, and there is no efficient way to “ball up” enough paper to keep up with a high volume fulfillment operation. Shredded paper, although requiring an extra step (to shred) does lend itself to a higher volume order fulfillment set up. 

Again, it’s not as pretty, but old cardboard boxes can be cut into strips and then rolled tightly. Place the rolls vertically into the packing box around the item in the box, the rolls will then expand providing a cushion. Similar to newsprint, if some care is taken up front to cut or prepare the boxes neatly the end product could work in a way that looks good to your customers.
Reusing something like paper or cardboard for packaging is always preferable to recycling, and of course, MUCH better than throwing those items away. Cushion packaging is sold that is made from one hundred percent post consumer waste paper – give that a try if you don’t like the look of used newspapers.

Biodegradable packing peanuts are available, made from grain sorghum and corn starch. For environmentally friendly soft foam in rolls, starch-based products such as GreenCell have the added bonus of being anti-static which is great for cushioning computer parts and electronic equipment.

For wrapping and packaging inside the box, use or reuse something. And the same goes for the cartons you are using – go for boxes made from recycled cardboard. The options these days for recycled corrugated boxes are very diverse and any place selling boxes will likely provide these product options as well.

Do What You Do Best – Why Co-Packing Is Important


All companies – the good ones at least – have things they are good at. If they didn’t they probably wouldn’t be around. Manufacturers make, and retailers sell, but this doesn’t mean they have to be great at everything.

This is a basic reality of business and sticking to core competencies is usually a sound strategy.

After all, companies often get into trouble when they lose focus and try to take on operations and functions beyond their “core”. Knowing the time and place to strategically outsource or partner with specialists is important. Many times it is just better to work with an expert.

Co-packing (a.k.a. contract packaging) is a prime example of something that is not a core competency for most manufacturers or retailers yet can be effectively outsourced to a 3rd party. Co-packing involves working with an outside vendor to help make products shelf-ready by doing things like adding outer packaging or kitting multiple products together for sale.

Contract packaging has become an important competitive strategy from a merchandising perspective for companies in the Food and Beverage, as well as Health and Wellness markets. Since these types of operations are very labor intensive and project oriented, co-packing is popular as a way to tackle large projects without the cost of hiring additional staff and adding specialized equipment.

Aside from those hard cost benefits, companies gain greater flexibility in their available options for improving on-shelf product presentation.

Co-packers can save money in less obvious ways than labor and equipment. Being experts in packaging, the right partner will make sure your packaging design is not over-engineered. Having too much packaging means you are paying for materials and higher shipping costs unnecessarily. Furthermore, the right partner can provide an end to end solution to help with packaging – design, sourcing, procurement, order fulfillment, and shipping are other related services.

Remember, creative packaging is a not a core competency for you, but it is for co-packers.

When you are evaluating a co-packer make sure to consider their location. Saving on labor and packing materials is fine, but if those are more than offset by higher shipper costs from an undesirable location then it’s clearly not a good choice.

Smart managers build quality teams by adding people with complementary, yet diverse skills. Smart companies do the same by understanding their core competencies and working with partners with specific capabilities that compliment what the company itself does best.

Warehousing and Distribution: How Location And Experience Reduce Shipping Costs

There is a very simple, yet powerful truth when it comes to the logistics of getting your products where they need to go._MG_0699

It is that being close to customers saves you money.

With many shippers paying 5-10 percent or more of their total revenue in shipping costs, it’s something worth paying attention to.

It’s not complicated. Transportation costs are primarily a function of distance traveled and the size of the shipment. The equation is pretty basic. The good news is both of these factors are very much in your control.


Let’s start with the easy one – distance to customers.

The miles your product needs to travel has a direct impact on your shipping costs. More miles means more gas, more time on the road for drivers, and more wear and tear on equipment. All these factors are directly proportional to the rates carriers will charge to move your products.

There are other important factors such as the specific parts of the country you are shipping to or from that impact price, but for the most part mileage trumps those details.

Just as impactful is the size of the shipment, but the control you have may not be as obvious. 

The control you have mainly comes in two forms:

  • Product and packaging design
  • Order optimization

Or, in other words, the size and shape of your products – and the method for how orders are shipped matter. Product and packaging design determines weight and the space the product takes up during shipping.

Designing products and packaging with the following details in mind will help reduce shipping costs.

  • Be lighter – less weight lowers shipping costs.
  • Require less and simpler protective packaging – less weight, less cost spent on packaging, requiring less space for shipping.
  • Protective packaging that optimizes the number of units that can be stacked on a pallet, or in a truck.

Another consideration is order optimization. How orders are shipping – like Truckload vs. Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) or choosing between FedEx or the USPS have huge impacts on costs. Each option has its benefits and costs. There are almost always BIG differences that need to be accounted for with every shipment.

The concepts are simple but the execution is not. Its takes experience and data-driven technology. Your goal needs to be to create or adjust your network with proximity to your customers in mind. But remember, cheaper rates at a fulfillment center are often wiped out by higher shipping costs if you are not closely tracking them.

Do you ship nationally? The geographic center of the country might be somewhere just west of the Mississippi, but the most central location for optimizing shipping costs to the bulk of the U.S. population is further east.

The key takeaways are to always minimize the distance from your fulfillment and warehousing operations to your customers, and that optimized packaging design will reduce the cost of sourcing materials and help further optimize your shipping costs.

5 Big Advantages of Switching to Kable From Your Current Provider

Are you already working with a third party to help with your order fulfillment?_MG_0720

We can do it with more accuracy and at better rates. Our comprehensive and customizable solutions provide more efficient and affordable results for you  business and your customers.

Read the 5 reasons you should think about partnering with Kable Fulfillment:

  1. Our location saves on shipping. Our strategic facility locations put you close to your customers which reduces shipping costs and improves your delivery times. This makes everyone happy.
  1. Benefit from our experience. We’ve been doing this for 50 years, yet remain on the cutting edge of fulfillment and packaging technology. Our technology can become your competitive advantage.
  1. Single platform. It’s data that drives a successful program. Our multi-touch strategy combines the complexity of an omni-channel world into a single dashboard that makes running your business easy.
  1. We are a partner, not a vendor. This perspective makes us fully vested in your success. From a smooth start up to constantly striving to help you operate better, Kable is your company advocate.
  1. The best to do business with, period.

With proven experience, quantifiable results and the simplicity of services to assist your bottom line, Kable Packaging and Fulfillment is the only name you need to know when it comes to your packaging and shipping platform.