A selection of different sized postage boxes

Packaging is fundamental to your marketing – it ensures your product reaches the customer in one piece and impacts their decision to buy from you again. Consumers have a lot to say on the subject of packaging, and yet it’s often overlooked by small business owners. 

This blog looks at how to choose the correct postage boxes for your ecommerce business. 

Picking the right postage boxes 

Postal packaging comes in varying sizes, shapes, and styles. It pays to pick the correct size postage box. Too small and you risk overfilling the box and it arriving damaged; too big and you could end up paying over the odds on delivery.  

Here’s how to choose the right packaging for your products (tip: have a tape measure handy!). 

1. What size is your product? 

Start by measuring the size of your product (s). Your postage box should be slightly larger than the item contained within it. The Post Office recommends leaving at least 5cm between the product and the walls of the box. 

Look at the size of the postal box you’re considering and check if its dimensions refer to the outside or inside of the box.  

We use a height x width x depth (HxWxD) format to display the outer dimensions for every postage box we sell at Inca.  

2. How heavy is your product? 

Weight is a big factor in picking the correct type of posting box. If your item is too heavy for its box, it’s at risk of being damaged in transit. 

Boxes typically come with single, double or triple walls. For heavy items (over 10kg+), the Post Office recommends using a double or triple-walled cardboard postal box.  

3. Is your product fragile?

The best way to protect fragile items during transit is to add padding by filling out your box with things like packing peanuts, air cushions and bubble wrap. These fillers can also stop small items from rattling around inside the box.

Ensure your postage box is big enough to accommodate the extra filling material you’ll be using. 

All of this is crucial because the size and weight of your box determine how much you’ll pay for shipping. If you underestimate the cost of delivery and charge the customer incorrectly, you’ll have to find a way to plug this shortfall.

Printed postage boxes 

Receiving their order is probably the first physical encounter the customer will have with your brand, so it’s essential you make it count! Your packaging for posting should reflect your brand, syncing with your other marketing touchpoints. 

Bespoke printing is a great way to make your packaging pop! If you’ve got the funds, go for a full-colour print on all sides of the box. This is certain to delight your customers when they receive it. 

Consider hot foil printing for something just as impressive but a little less expensive. You can ask for your logo to be printed on the box in this way when you order your boxes from Inca. 

Other budget-friendly options to consider include: 

  • - Custom labels (use these on the inside or outside of the box) 
  • - Printed packaging tape 
  • - Thank you postcards for inside the box 
  • - Branded tissue paper 

NOTE: If you’re sticking anything to the outside of the box, make sure you leave plenty of room to add shipping labels.  

Labelling a box for shipping

Packaging more than one item 

If a customer orders multiple items, it makes sense to package them together. But be aware that this will increase the cost of shipping. 

To plan for this increase in cost – and ensure that your items arrive in one piece – do some digging first. 

Start by looking for products that are typically bought together.  Do people buy your mugs in pairs or on their own? When someone buys a hat, do they also buy a scarf at the same time? 

When you know which items will likely be shipped together, consider the size and type of postage box best suited to that job. For fragile items, you’ll need plenty of filling to prevent items from clashing in transit. 

Where to buy postage boxes 

You can get postal boxes from retailers online and in brick-and-mortar stores. You’ll get a better deal if you buy more of one box type, so look for boxes you can buy in bulk and use for multiple products. 

We sell wholesale postal boxes online to businesses across the UK from our base in Loughborough in the East Midlands. 

FAQs on postal packaging 

This section looks at some of your frequently asked questions on posting boxes.  

What size box fits through a letterbox? 

Letterbox sizes vary, so always check the requirements of your chosen courier or postal service before you choose your packaging. Royal Mail classes a large letter as 35.3cm long x 25cm wide x 2.5cm deep. 

This brown card fold-flat box measures less than a large letter and would likely fit through a letterbox. 

How do you measure a box for postage? 

The dimensions of a box include these three measurements:  

1. Length (the longest side of the box)  

2. Width  (the shorter side)  

3. Height (the remaining length, which is usually perpendicular to the length and width) 

At Inca, we provide dimensions for the outside of our boxes using the format height x width x depth. You might also see the interior dimensions of a box given. 

What does PiP box mean? 

PiP stands for "pricing in proportion". It refers to specified sizes established by Royal Mail. These dimensions dictate the maximum sizes and weights for letters and parcels eligible for specific pricing categories.

Why is good packaging important in a business? 

Investing in quality packaging to protect your products is cheaper than replacing items that arrive at their destination damaged. A situation like this represents a missed opportunity for repeat business.

Postal boxes that ensure your products get from A to B safely while presenting your products in the best possible way can win you further custom. 

How much does a postal box cost? 

The price of a postal box is determined by its size. The bigger the box or thicker the material, the more it’s likely to cost. 

We sell wholesale postal boxes in packs of 12 starting from £0.39 per unit (£4.68 per pack).