When e-commerce sellers begin creating their products, they need to know how to make them viable for delivery. This process includes considering packaging materials, packaging types, and branding. If you’re about to design product packaging, you need to know what you want.
Understanding key packaging terms can be helpful and help you to advocate for your packaging vision. This guide discusses the basic packaging terms to learn before working with a packaging provider.

Packaging Supplies | Terms You Should Know

Let’s discuss everything you should know before working on your packaging, from prototypes to product codes.


When an e-commerce seller works with a packaging provider, they need assurance that the final result will align with their vision for the packaging. To ensure the seller approves of the packaging, the manufacturer will provide them with prototypes. A prototype is a mock-up of the product packaging design for the seller to approve. The manufacturer will sometimes give the client multiple prototype options to choose from.

Structural Packaging

Structural packaging is 3-dimensional packaging designed with the user experience in mind. It uses innovative design choices, minimalist design techniques, and industrial design tactics to create product packaging that stands out on store shelves.

Primary Packaging

Primary packaging is the very first layer of package protection surrounding a product. A customer must open the last primary packaging layer to reach the product. An excellent example is the foil packaging on a candy bar, which protects the product.
Primary packaging is often the most challenging design element of the product, particularly for products containing active ingredients, like cosmetics. Cosmetics with active ingredients cannot be exposed to the air and therefore need airtight packaging with air-sealed pumps.

Secondary Packaging

Secondary packaging protects both the primary packaging layer and the product. For instance, when you ship an online order, the delivery box is considered the secondary packaging layer. Secondary packaging can contain more than one product, so cases and gift box sets are considered secondary packaging.

Universal Processing Code

A universal processing code, or UPC, is a code that consists of 12 numbers. This identification code contains information regarding your product’s size, color, number, and attributes. Register for a universal processing code before contacting a product packaging manufacturer. Getting your UPC early will allow you to work with the manufacturer, ensuring your code integrates well with the packaging design.


Embossing is a customizable feature for your packaging that allows you to use texture. You can emboss patterns into your shipping boxes, bottles, and other types of packaging. The manufacturer will create raised portions in the packaging material to emboss a product. These raised textured patterns can elevate the look and feel of your product, creating a more luxurious overall feel.

Shelf-Ready Packaging

Shelf-ready packaging is designed to make products suitable for sale in a retail store. A shelf-ready packaging box usually contains multiple products with primary packaging.
It has a removable lid or strips to make individual products available for sale. For instance, candy bars may come in a cardboard box with a removable section. A store clerk could rip open the lid and quickly place the package on a shelf to ready the individual bars for sale.

Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging is any packaging type with a lower environmental impact. The environmental impact of a product depends on every phase within the product lifecycle. The raw materials, manufacturing processes, and recyclability contribute to a product’s sustainability.

Looking To Change How You View Product Packaging? Shop Online at The Packaging Company Today!

Knowing the essential terms and components of your product’s packaging can be helpful for your business. If you wish to approve the packaging from a lineup of options, you must know what a prototype is. And, to make your brand more eco-conscious, you need to know about sustainable packaging. Browse our custom options available online from The Packaging Company now!