Why Small Businesses Should Take Advantage of Custom Short Run Packaging

Brittney Beermann | August 11, 2020

We all know the saying “If you build it, they will come.” But when it comes to physical inventory, that isn’t always true. Let’s say you’re a startup company offering a handful of new products and your packaging isn’t quite 100% buttoned up. Do you delay launching or do you invest in a large quantity run of custom boxes and run the risk of obsolescence if your design changes? Luckily, the answer is NEITHER!

Online shopping has become more of an experience rather than a transaction and packaging plays a huge role in that. Between new product launches, monthly subscriptions and seasonal promotions, packaging can change on a quarterly, monthly or even weekly basis!
Manufacturers have had to shift their processes completely in order to accommodate these small business packaging strategies.

With traditional flexographic and lithographic printing, custom packaging companies want to turn the machine on and run one job for hours and hours with little to no changeovers and nowadays, that’s just not realistic. Small business owners, marketers and brands alike are looking for partners who can adapt on the fly, provide high quality graphics in shorter lead times and with little to no minimum order quantities. Advances in digital printing technology make it extremely easy to order shorter runs of custom packaging without sacrificing quality or cost. See how your business can benefit from short run packaging:

Superior Quality Print

How are manufacturers able to produce as few as 1 box with the same quality print as offset litho? When it comes to digital printing you can choose quantity AND quality. With the rip of a hi-res file, LED digital inkjet technology dispenses the exact amount of ink needed within the full CMYK color spectrum. This means your brand colors are printed perfectly every time, whether you need 1 box or 1000.

No Up Front Investment

Flexographic and Lithographic printing offer exceptional value for high volume, repeat orders, however they also come with the up front investment of printing plates and cutting dies. Changes in size or graphics would require another investment. With more modern printing technologies like digital printing for corrugated, the need for printing plates is eliminated while production CAD tables & laser cutters allow for high speed cutting with no tooling required. Whether you need a standard plain shipping box or a multi-colored mailer, your packaging doesn’t have to be final.

Flexibility to Change Your Look

It’s no secret that your packaging should reflect your brand, but why take a “one size fits all” (or in this case “one box fits all”) approach when you can test out different styles, sizes and graphics for all of your product lines. Using your graphics, take a seasonal approach with a summer and winter themed promo box. Try a tuck top mailer for your more fragile items. Go with a more sustainable kraft material to reflect your greener products. The options to customize packaging are endless so don’t settle on anything less than affordably unique.

Quick Turnaround

Most companies offering short run custom boxes do so through an ecommerce platform. By eliminating printing plates and cutting dies, the options to customize size, style, material and print are as easy as a click of a button. By the time you’re ready to place an order, your boxes immediately go into a production queue and can ship in as little as 5-10 business days. Digital production allows for continuous runs from job to job without multiple changeovers and setups. Some companies have even figured out how to fully automate the process which reduces production lead times by HALF! In a world of “Free 2-day Shipping”, don’t let packaging be the holdup. Start shipping your product as early as next week!

Reduced Inventory

Gone are the days when you had to order a minimum of 1000 or more. For most startups, it could take several months to be turning inventory on a monthly basis. High volume packaging orders may sit for 6 months to a year before they are completely used up. That’s money on the books that could be allocated towards marketing budgets or other investments. Not to mention, if a product, logo, or claim changes, that packaging now becomes waste. Ugh! Small business packaging doesn’t have to be a lifelong investment. Order what you need, when you need it and save money while doing it with short run custom packaging.

Who can benefit from short run packaging?

Startups & Small Businesses

Stand out against the competition with stunning, affordable packaging that makes a stellar first impression!

New product launches

Scale your packaging with your products. Start off with a couple hundred boxes ordered as needed. Increase your order volumes as your new product line takes off! The quality will be exactly the same each and every time!


Whether it’s a welcome kit or an annual holiday gift set, promotional packaging can create excitement around your brand or exclusive products.

Ecommerce & subscription based companies

Packaging that changes monthly can be hard to manage, but with greater flexibility and shorter lead times, you can order exactly what you need, when you need it.

Event Planners

Don’t let your guests leave without a memorable parting gift. Perfect for weddings, conferences and holiday parties, short run custom packaging offers lasting memories from a great event!

National Brands

Even the big guys can benefit from small run packaging. Big brands and retailers may offer thousands of products, but only a few limited time offers. This is a great opportunity to wow consumers with fun, innovative packaging and promote additional product lines.

Why Customize Your Packaging?

It’s not enough to have a good product. Consumers want quality products from brands that resonate with them. Aside from a strong website and social media presence, the product packaging is just as important to your brand story. Customizing your packaging shows consumers you’ve put thought into each and every detail. It creates a memorable experience that they’ll connect with and builds brand recognition and customer loyalty. Whether you need 1 or 10,000, your packaging says it all.

Custom print! No minimums! Short turnarounds, oh my!

Nowadays, there are no limitations (and no excuses) holding you back from having exceptional, yet cost-effective packaging that meets your exact needs. Short run packaging offers numerous advantages including reduced inventory, quicker turnaround and the flexibility to change as your demand grows. Packaging is extremely important to your brand identity so begin designing your perfect short run packaging and see it come to life.

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