When ecommerce sellers don’t want anyone, not even their customers, to know what’s in the packages they ship, they use what’s known as “discreet shipping.” Essentially, this means no labels, branding, and addresses to identify the seller or the content.
Why Use Discreet Shipping in Ecommerce Fulfillment?
Ever dreaded the line at the drugstore because you were embarrassed about something in your shopping cart? You wish the manufacturer had skipped the neon pink packaging and opted for something more subtle. Discreet shipping is the same concept, but instead we’re talking about shipping boxes, mailers, and bags that land on a customer’s doorstep.
Aside from the obvious adult-only products, there are many reasons online retailers and shoppers want discreet shipping. Drugs and other pharmaceutical products, personal care products and medical devices are often shipped in discreet packaging to minimize embarrassment to the end customer. E-commerce merchants that sell valuable items like jewelry or electronics use discreet shipping to avoid the attention of pirates on the front porch. And sometimes the customer just wants it to be a surprise.
Types of discreet packaging
Ecommerce sellers and online retailers have several choices when it comes to discreet packaging. The plain cardboard box is the most ubiquitous option, but polybags and bubble mailers are just as discreet as long as they’re not branded. An alternate option is to use shipping packaging such as USPS Priority Shipping or flat rate boxes and mailings. If your e-commerce business works with a fulfillment company or 3PL to pick, pack, and ship orders, these experts can help you find the perfect discreet packaging solutions for your products.
Discreet shipping labels
Discreet packaging isn’t very discreet when your company’s return address is on the shipping label. Again, ecommerce sellers using a 3PL or fulfillment company have an advantage. You can write the fulfillment center address on the label so anyone looking at the package has no idea what’s inside. Since many 3PLs also handle returns for their e-commerce customers, having the same address on the box as on the return label can also reduce customer confusion.
Do all the unpacking
Discreet packaging doesn’t have to be boring. If the thought of a plain box makes your brand manager squirm, tell them to focus their branding on the unboxing. Branded handkerchief, colorful and unique packaging materials, stickers, handwritten inserts and special offers create excitement inside the box rather than outside. If you feel like going all out, you can even print your own boxes (on the inside, of course, because you’re still being discreet) for a really special unboxing.
Inform your customers
If you receive calls or emails about how your goods are packaged, you should definitely consider discreet packaging. You should also ensure that your website clearly states that you offer this service. If a few customers call, chances are dozens more are looking for the information but are too embarrassed to call. If they can’t find this information on your site, they’re probably shopping elsewhere.
There is no judgment here
Discreet Shipping is a thoughtful service that gives your customers the privacy and respect they deserve. You want them to enjoy the products you sell and feel comfortable buying your products. Discreet packaging is one way to ensure your customers buy from you often.
Partnering with a 3PL like ShipMonk for your packaging and shipping services can simplify discreet shipping. We offer custom packaging services and special add-ons such as inserts and branded packaging materials. Our industry-leading fulfillment services and software platform help you scale your brand, even with discreet packaging. Contact ShipMonk today and ask us about our discreet shipping services.