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eBay Branded Packaging – Great Marketing or a Waste of Time?

December 13, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 3 Comments
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Last week on this blog I posted an article about a new eBay feature, the i-ways Free Listing Template Creator, which was recently announced in the November business seller newsletter.

Sadly the free template creator was a big disappointment, but there was another interesting point in that newsletter which I want to look into today – eBay branded packaging!

In eBay’s own words – “now, you can get high-quality, competitively-priced eBay-branded packaging. That means it’s easier than ever to give your buyers the full eBay experience when they shop with you.”

Hmm, interesting…

But my initial reaction is, what’s the point?

Now before you start screaming at me, saying “but Andrew, you talk about branding ALL THE TIME!” let me first explain what I mean.

Yes I do talk about branding – in fact it’s pretty much my no. 1 way of creating an actual business online, instead of just being one of a million online sellers.

When you have branded products/packaging, you achieve a number of things:

  • You set yourself apart from the crowd and the masses of other sellers offering the same or similar products.
  • You become more memorable to buyers, thereby increasing repeat purchases and even recommendations.
  • You increase the perceived value of your products.

The last point is probably the most important! When you receive an item in branded packaging, you feel like it’s come from a real business and that item suddenly seems to be a bit more valuable… that’s why I always call branding an investment, not a cost, because it allows you to charge higher prices.

But, if that’s the case, then surely eBay branded packaging achieves the same goal, right?

No, wrong! In my mind it doesn’t at all.

Just go through the 3 benefits I listed above and see if any apply when you’re using eBay branded packaging rather than your own.

1 – definitely not.

2 – definitely not (you might make people remember eBay better, that’s all, but it won’t be you that they come back to!)

3 – some people might argue this point, but I say it’s another clear no. In my mind people don’t really associate eBay with high quality – in fact it’s kind of the opposite, it’s associated with bargains and cheap sellers.

That’s why I can’t help but laugh at their “full eBay experience” quote as there isn’t an eBay experience – it differs completely seller by seller. Of course many do provide exceptional service (most of those who read my blog do, I’m sure!) but many sellers also provide a very poor service.

My point is, it’s not like Amazon where you see their packaging and you think of Amazon prime, lightning fast delivery, exceptional customer service etc. etc.

So the conclusion of all this is that really the only point I can see to eBay branded packaging is if it’s very cheap. If eBay are subsidising it, because let’s face it – you are advertising them at the end of the day, then it does make sense for sellers who can’t yet use their own branded packaging.

Which means it’s time to check just how “competitively priced” this packaging is.

Let’s get to it!

Now if you’re wondering where exactly you purchase eBay’s packaging:

“Our new branded packaging is simple to purchase, with free next-day delivery, through our partner’s eBay shop.”

And here’s the link if you’d like to take a look for yourself.

Now looking over the items they seem to be selling some kits, which are a mix of small and large boxes, envelopes, tape and a tape dispenser:

But I’ve decided to ignore those for our purposes, as it’s harder to compare prices.

Instead I’m going to choose 3 different packaging products and see how they stack up against the competition on eBay itself, price wise.

Product No. 1 – Double Wall 17” x 12” x 12” Box

The price for 60 of these boxes is £69.90 (£1.17 per box)

The price for 90 of these boxes is £97.20 (£1.08 per box)

So I search for the same size box on eBay itself, but it seems the normal size is 18” x 12” x 12” so I’ll use that for our comparison.

And in about thirty seconds I find a seller offering:

60 boxes for £58.95 (£0.98 per box) = 16% CHEAPER than eBay branded packaging

90 boxes for £79.95 (£0.89 per box) = 18% CHEAPER than eBay branded packaging

Product 1 Winner – Normal Packaging!

So a fairly easy win for the non-eBay branded packaging for our first product. Let’s hope that was an anomaly!

Product No. 2 – 180mm x 265mm Bubble Envelope

The price for 100 of these envelopes is £8.20 (£0.08 per envelope)

The price for 1,000 of these envelopes is £78 (£0.08 per envelope)

Once again I head back to eBay and search for the same product and this time I find exact matches:

The prices offered by this seller are:

100x envelopes for £10.49 (£0.10 per envelope) = 25% MORE EXPENSIVE than eBay branded packaging

1000x envelopes for £76.99 (£0.08 per envelope) = SAME PRICE as eBay branded packaging

Quite surprising actually, but a very good win for the eBay packaging on the lower quantity.

Product 2 Winner – eBay Branded Packaging!

So that brings us to our 3rd and final product:

Product No. 3 – 48mm x 66m Packaging Tape

The price for 6 of these rolls is £8.52 (£1.42 per roll)

The price for 144 of these rolls is £197.28 (£1.37 per roll)

*I think it’s clear to say that the price breaks for larger quantities with the eBay branded packaging is quite dreadful!

Now when I searched for this product on eBay I found a few exceptionally cheap sellers, with prices as low as £3.99 for 12 rolls of tape!

BUT I know from experience and from my EAB customers that some of this cheap packaging tape is just terrible quality, and neither of the ultra cheap listings specify the thickness of their tape or have any reviews, so to be fair to eBay I’m going to exclude them.

But there are a number of listings with good reviews offering 6 rolls for £7.29 (£1.22 per roll) = 14% CHEAPER than eBay branded packaging

And for 144 rolls I can find a price of £64.32 (£0.45 per roll) = 67% CHEAPER than eBay branded packaging

Product 3 Winner – Normal Packaging!

And there you have it…

I said at the beginning of this post that the only reason I can see to use eBay’s packaging is if it’s incredibly cheap, but sadly (and inevitably) that’s not the case. eBay’s prices are not bad but they are not low enough for us to advertise them for free.

I was really hoping that eBay would for once do something logical and follow USPS’s model in America, where they give you boxes for FREE!

Haha, I know I know – time to stop dreaming! 😉

Well, that’s it from me for today – as always I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments so please post below if you have anything to add.

Otherwise, I’ll be back tomorrow with a special announcement.

Until then!

All the best,

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  1. Packaging Printing

    I love the amount of information you have shared. Design impacts a lot on the packaging. Recently I have ordered about 100 pieces from Packaging Printing and have a good experience with custom-designed boxes and the best unboxing experience ever.

  2. I read your article with interest, as I just noticed that eBay now links to their official supplier of branded packaging on the new seller hub page. Given that eBay makes such a big deal out of “detailed seller ratings” and the like, it was rather amusing to see that their very own supplier has only a 93% positive feedback rating, with relatively poor detailed ratings for “communication” and “dispatch time” and certainly can’t be considered “above standard”..even by eBay’s OWN standards! Many people have also noted the poor quality of the packaging on offer. One wonders why anyone would want to use it to begin with – I (and many many people i have spoken to) preferred eBay when it was NOT trying to emulate Amazon. Perhaps ironically..Amazon is also trying to compete with eBay by not offering Amazon-sold products as default. These sites were best when they stuck to their original remit. eBay for used goods and rarities/collectables, Amazon for brand new products. I’m afraid the compromises are going to destroy both companies in the next few years…

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mike,

      I totally agree with you.

      We’ll see how it changes in up-coming years but for now, as long as yer-on-year earnings increase for these two companies, they’re still leaders of the marketplace and biggest platforms people use to shop online.


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