Vancouver Packaging Supplies: Differences Between E-Commerce and Retail Packaging

Vancouver Packaging Supplies: Differences Between E-Commerce and Retail Packaging

Tommy Lai |

Packaging is a significant part of your sales and branding strategy. Different sales channels have distinct packaging needs; recognizing these specifics can give you a competitive edge. In Vancouver's bustling market, where online and in-store shopping thrive, understanding the nuances between e-commerce and retail packaging becomes even more essential.  

This blog will guide you through the key differences between these two types of packaging, offering insights into Vancouver packaging supplies that can help local businesses make smarter, more effective choices. 

Packaging in Branding

Based on an MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab study, approximately 50% of the average e-commerce emissions are attributed to packaging. This encompasses all packaging materials utilized throughout the supply chain for online purchases.

In a retail setting, your packaging competes for attention among other products. It must be visually appealing and informative to catch the eye and encourage customers to choose your product over competitors. In contrast, e-commerce packaging doesn't have to "sell" similarly. 

Still, it carries the heavy responsibility of safely delivering a product while providing a memorable unboxing experience. In both channels, the materials, colours, and design elements you choose send subtle messages about the quality and values of your brand. 


packaging supplies

E-Commerce Packaging Essentials 

Regarding e-commerce, your packaging has to meet several essential criteria to ensure a successful customer experience. Here are some key factors:

Durability and Protection

Online orders face many challenges, from shipping to handling and delivery. Your packaging must be robust enough to protect the product during this journey. 

Sustainability Concerns

The e-commerce boom has led to an increase in packaging waste. Modern consumers are increasingly eco-conscious, preferring recyclable or biodegradable options. 

Unboxing Experience

The moment customers open their package is essential in e-commerce. This "unboxing" experience can be a shareable, viral moment, so the packaging should be designed for protection, aesthetic appeal, and user engagement.

Retail Packaging Essentials  

In a retail environment, packaging has a different set of priorities compared to e-commerce. Scott Kuhnel, an expert of consumer packaging, explains that retail packaging aims to attract the eye of consumers through its visual design elements. These include vibrant brand colors, eye-catching product images, and informative labels or text.

Here are some crucial factors to consider:

Visual Appeal and Shelf Presence

The visual appeal of your packaging is critical for making a strong first impression. Your package design should be compelling and align with your brand's aesthetic, encouraging consumers to look it closer.

Ease of Handling

Retail packages must be easy to stock on shelves and straightforward for customers to carry. Consider handle designs or packaging shapes that facilitate easy transport from the store to the home.

Material Costs

Striking a balance between quality and cost-effectiveness is essential. Using local packaging supplies can offer a cost advantage while being responsive to local consumer preferences.

Key Differences 

E-commerce and retail packaging have different demands and priorities, each tailored to their unique environments. Scott Kuhnel also explains that E-commerce packaging prioritizes the product's safety during the journey via parcel delivery services. It compensates by being built for durability and resilience against the stresses of shipping and handling.

Here's a quick comparison:

Key Differences

E-Commerce Packaging

Retail Packaging


Requires high durability to withstand the rigors of shipping and handling.

While still important, durability is less of a concern as the product doesn't undergo shipping.


Focuses on the unboxing experience, offering a visual and tactile pleasure once the product arrives at the customer's doorstep.

Prioritizes visual appeal to capture customer attention on store shelves.


Material costs may be higher to ensure durability for shipping, but this can be balanced with customer expectations and potential shipping savings.

Economies of scale might apply due to higher volume production, but material choices need to strike a balance between cost-effectiveness and visual appeal.

packaging supplies


Optimizing Packaging for E-Commerce and Retail in Vancouver

Tailoring packaging to the specific demands of e-commerce or retail channels can optimize the consumer experience and operational costs. By appreciating and integrating these distinctions, Vancouver enterprises can make more informed decisions, ensuring their products reach consumers in prime condition and resonate effectively with the intended audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best uses for plastic cups with lids?

The best uses for plastic cups with lids vary depending on your needs, but here are some common applications:

Use Case


Cold Beverages

Perfect for serving iced tea, soda, or cold brew coffee in a setting where spillage is a concern.


The lids keep the smoothie contained, making it easy to take your nutritious drink on the go.

Outdoor Events

Highly useful for picnics, barbecues, and tailgates where you need to keep bugs and debris out.

Food Storage

Small portions of snacks, fruits, or even yogurt can be stored for short periods.

Takeout & Delivery

Ideal for restaurants and cafes that offer takeout or delivery services to keep drinks spill-free.

Kids' Drinks

The lids minimize spill risks, making them great for children's parties or daily use.

Office & Work Events

For office meetings, training sessions, or communal events, lidded cups provide a clean solution.

Travel & Commuting

When you're in a car or on public transport, a lidded cup can prevent unwanted spills.

Social Gatherings

For informal get-togethers or parties, these cups make it easy for guests to mingle without worry.

Sporting Events

Whether you're a player or a fan, lidded cups keep your beverages secure in active environments.

How do food saver bags work?

Food saver bags create an airtight seal around the food item, effectively removing air and moisture that can lead to spoilage or freezer burn. Here's a simplified step-by-step process:



Place Food

Insert desired food into the bag.

Seal End

Seal one end if using a roll; pre-made bags come sealed.


Insert open end into the food saver machine.


Machine removes air and seals the bag.

Cut & Store

Trim excess material and store in fridge, freezer, or pantry.

Is brown paper packaging an eco-friendly option?

Yes, brown paper packaging has several eco-friendly options:

  1. Recycled Paper: Look for brown paper made from post-consumer waste.
  2. FSC Certified: Paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council ensures that it comes from sustainably managed forests.
  3. Biodegradable Inks: Opt for packaging that uses water- or soy-based inks less harmful to the environment.
  4. Reusability: Choose brown paper packaging that the consumer can easily reuse or repurpose.
  5. Recyclable: Ensure the paper is easily recyclable in most municipal recycling programs.