When choosing the perfect packaging solution, it can be challenging to decide whether to select custom packaging or stock packaging. While both have their expense and customer experience benefits, your choice can significantly affect your overall shipping strategy.

If you’re struggling to choose between these two packaging solutions, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled this complete guide to generic packaging vs. custom packaging, providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your packaging solutions.
Keep reading to find out whether you should pursue a generic or custom box design.

What is Stock Packaging?

Much like a ‘stock image,’ stock packaging refers to a generic, ready-made form of packaging that you can simply add a label to. Typically, you won’t be able to add as many custom elements as you would with custom boxes.

However, these are typically the best option if you’re looking to ship items in mass quantities for a relatively low price.

While many companies tend to use a mixture of stock and custom premium packaging, some companies may choose to use only stock packaging for cost-saving reasons. Unlike custom product packaging, stock packaging tends to only come in standardized sizing, meaning you’ll only have a select few box dimensions to choose from.

When to Use Stock Packaging

Although stock packaging may lead to a less impressive customer experience, there are some times when using stock packaging may be more beneficial for your business. Here are some examples of when you should use stock packaging:

  • Limited budget: If you’re shipping your e-commerce goods on a limited budget, then using stock packaging as an alternative to custom packaging may be beneficial. Stock packaging typically involves smaller costs, giving you more money to divert to other business development opportunities.
  • Subscription box service: Subscription box services are an excellent opportunity to ditch printed packaging and look for more economical solutions. Plain packaging ensures you can ship products in mass quantities without amassing significant fees.
  • Lead time issues: While packaging with diverse graphic styles can do wonders for your brand identity, waiting for lead times can lead to supply chain issues. Choose stock packaging if you’re worried about how long it takes to produce custom packaging.
  • Production issues: If there are supply chain issues, it may be beneficial to rely on stock packaging, as these will be produced inexpensively and in bulk quantities, meaning there are less likely to be stock issues.

What is Custom Packaging?

Custom packaging is the opposite of stock packaging and is packaging specifically tailored for your branding, incorporating different graphic styles, colors, shapes, and sizes to suit your exact products.

Typically, custom packaging involves custom printing, where you can have your graphic designers submit unique designs to elevate the inside or outside of your packages.

One of the main reasons business owners opt for custom packaging is to elevate the customer’s opening experience. Custom packaging transforms the experience, offering a gift-like packaging experience that generates excitement amongst your customers.

When to Use Custom Packaging

Here are some scenarios when you should consider using custom packaging solutions:

  • Luxury product packaging: If you’re packaging luxury products or fragile items, we recommend using custom packaging solutions. This gives you more control over protective measures that prevent your items from breaking in transit.
  • Uniquely shaped items: Odd-shaped items are challenging to fit into stock packaging, so it’s beneficial to use custom boxes and protective packaging to ensure that your items aren’t damaged in transit or warped while in their boxes.
  • New branding strategies: New branding strategies are the ideal opportunity to use custom packaging solutions. With custom packaging, you can easily communicate your new brand colors or imagery.
  • New business ventures: If you’ve recently launched a new business venture, such as a new product, custom packaging can help you build a positive image surrounding your new venture.

Pros And Cons of Stock Packaging

Like most things, there are some distinct pros and cons to using stock packaging. Here’s a guide so that you can make the most informed decision possible:


  • Economical way to ship items: As mentioned, stock packaging offers a cheaper way to ship a large volume of goods, so if you want to reduce spending significantly, this shipping method is for you.
  • Extensive size range: Stock packaging suppliers tend to offer a very large size range of boxes, meaning you can select a box size that’s either big or small enough for your products.
  • Quick reaction to market requirements: As the supply chain shifts, you may have to adapt to changing customer demands. Ordering stock packages instead of custom boxes means you can instantly react to changing markets, taking full advantage of quick turnaround times and shipping items out to your customers.
  • Uniform look: While stock packaging doesn’t offer limitless customization options, you will benefit from a plain and uniform look. This gives your brand consistency and may be beneficial if you want more minimal branding options.


Although stock packaging has all these pros for start-ups and businesses looking to cut costs, there are some cons. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Standardized color, shape, and size: Stock packaging tends to lose social appeal and doesn’t address your custom packaging needs that help you communicate your unique branding. This can make the customer’s opening experience less exciting.
  • Less quality product design: As stock packaging tends to be produced in bulk, it may be produced with lower quality materials, making them more flimsy. This is why it’s important to research reliable stock packaging suppliers like The Packaging Company that create their packaging with high-quality material designed to keep your products safe.

Pros and Cons of Custom Packaging

Creating custom packaging provides several key benefits that can be instrumental in helping you establish your unique brand; here’s a guide to some of the benefits you should consider:


  • Nearly limitless customization options: Choosing a customized solution allows you to customize your packaging boxes in any way you like. This gives you more control over color, shape, size, branding, texture, and much more.
  • Expert advice from a knowledgeable team: When you use a customization platform for your packaging, you may be in closer contact with suppliers who can advise on the most economical way to produce custom packaging.
  • Different shape options: Choosing a custom packaging service typically provides more sizing options that can fit your product perfectly. This reduces wasted materials and ensures you can properly protect your products while in transit.
  • Creates a lasting impression: Creating a lasting impression is a key component in creating lasting customer relationships. Offering packaging with your unique logo, brand colors, and other exciting imagery ensures your image sticks in your customers’ minds.


Despite having more marketing options and being able to produce packaging with a more sophisticated look, there are some disadvantages to using custom packages. Here are some examples:

  • Longer lead times: Custom packages take longer to produce, giving you less room to respond to supply and demand changes.
  • Additional costs: The cost of custom packaging is much higher than stock packaging, which tends to carry more risk when it comes to ROI.
  • Fewer suppliers: As custom packaging isn’t produced in bulk, there may be fewer available suppliers, making it harder to find economical suppliers.

Find Flexible Packaging Supplies With The Packaging Company

If you’re struggling to find a reputable packaging supplier offering stock and customizable packaging solutions, look no further than The Packaging Company. We offer a great range of standard packaging supplies that you can buy in bulk that’s perfect for protecting and shipping your products quickly to keep up with rising demands.

Our mission statement demonstrates that we’re committed to offering you products designed to cater to your changing business needs. That’s why we also offer a custom shop that allows you to put your unique stamp on everything from your box to your label.

Shop online at The Packaging Company to discover why we’re your go-to packaging supplier for your e-commerce store.