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Help Customers Choose the Best Corrugated Boxes for E-commerce Shipping

Select The Right Boxes for Ecommerce

Today's e-commerce industry is growing at a stunning pace. The U.S. e-commerce market is estimated to reach over $1.1 trillion in sales by the end of 2023. By 2026, the worldwide e-commerce market is expected to total more than $8.1 trillion.1

E-commerce Sales Growth Worldwide 2024 to 2026

The explosive growth presents tremendous opportunities for packaging distributors as they play a key role in the e-commerce industry.

As you and your customers know, even the most innovative products or creative marketing strategies will fail if the wrong shipping supplies are used and customers receive damaged items. Your expertise puts you in a strategic position to build loyalty by helping your customers select the correct shipping supplies for their products and, in turn, take full advantage of this rapid industry growth.

Know Your Boxes. Guide Your Customers. Build Loyalty.

Even though many great shipping options are available, corrugated boxes remain among the most reliable and versatile for e-commerce shipping. Having a keen understanding of their uses and benefits can help you become a trusted source of quality products and expert advice for your customers.

What Is Corrugated?

Corrugated is a unique heavy paper with two main parts: the liner and the medium. The liner is a flat material. The medium is formed into arches called flutes and is adhered to the liners. Corrugated boxes remain popular for e-commerce shipping applications because they resist bending and pressure from all directions, offer insulation, and support heavy weight when used correctly.

Corrugated Board Diagram

Box Size Matters

Using the correct box size is essential. Oversized boxes increase shipping costs and take up valuable storage space. Undersized boxes may not provide enough protection. Take great care when choosing the box size. Also, use protective packaging materials and void fill such as bubble, foam, loose fill, or kraft paper in applications requiring extra protection.

Corrugated Box Size Diagram

So Do Box Strength and Durability

E-commerce packages need to withstand rough handling during transit. The Mullen Test and Edge Crush Test (ECT) are two standard measurements of box strength.

The Mullen Test measures the force required to rupture or puncture the face of the corrugated board. The Edge Crush Test is a true performance test directly related to a box's stacking strength and measures the edgewise compressive strength of a corrugated board. Take some time to learn more about the choice between these two box types from this comprehensive Mullen Test vs ECT Boxes comparison guide.

And Then There's Box Load Capacity

In addition to size, a product's weight significantly impacts which corrugated box you choose. Lightweight items may be adequately protected with a single-wall box. Heavier items may require double-wall or triple-wall protection.

  • Single-wall boxes are made with one layer of fluted corrugated medium adhered between two sheets of linerboard. They offer a reasonable level of strength and cushioning for lighter items. They are generally not recommended for heavy or fragile products.
  • Double-wall boxes consist of two layers of fluted corrugated medium, each separated by a sheet of linerboard and then enclosed by two outer linerboard sheets. They provide significantly more strength and cushioning than single-wall boxes and are more crush-resistant. They are suitable for heavier or more fragile items. They are often used for industrial parts, electronics, and more substantial goods.
  • Triple-wall boxes are made with three layers of fluted corrugated medium, each separated by a linerboard, comprising seven total layers (three fluted and four linerboard layers). They offer the highest level of protection, are the most durable, and are designed for very heavy or high-value items. They are commonly used for industrial equipment, automotive parts, and large appliances. You should also consider using them for valuable packages requiring long-distance transportation or export.

When helping your customers select shipping products, carefully evaluate the box's weight capacity and structural durability to ensure it can handle the expected load without compromising the shipping contents.

Customers Care About Sustainability

Demand for environmentally responsible and sustainable packaging continues to rise, with consumers actively choosing companies prioritizing sustainable practices, including their shipping methods.

Corrugated boxes are reusable and recyclable, and once recycled, manufacturers use the box fibers to make new boxes and other paper products. In fact, according to the American Forest and Paper Association, 94% of Americans have access to community recycling programs and used those resources to recycle 93.6% of cardboard in the U.S. in 2022.2

93 Percent Of Cardboard Was Recycled In The US In 2022

Assisting With Special Requirements

Some customers may need tailored shipping solutions. It's your job to help them anticipate and address these needs with protective packaging and other options, including extra cushioning, handles or hand-holes, sheets and pads, edge protectors, insulated liners, and water-resistant adhesives.

In addition, some customers may need hazardous material boxes that are extra strong and printed with mandatory information, or they may require regulatory labels. Customers may also need education on using multi-depth boxes, which are scored on the sides, to fit products into the right-sized box easily. Again, you can build loyalty by helping them with all aspects of the selection process for their products' shipping requirements.

More Expert Tips 

Here are more valuable tips to help you guide your customers through the box-selection process:

  • E-commerce sellers need to monitor costs, so helping them select the box that best fits their needs for dimension and weight can help reduce their shipping costs. 
  • Variety is important as some sellers are auditing their box inventory to ensure they can use the most efficient size for each shipment.
  • Corrugated packaging is recycled more than any other packaging material in the U.S. The average corrugated box is made with 52 percent recycled content, which may fit well with many customers' goals for environmental responsibility.3

We Are Trusted Partners

Every time you help your customers with product decisions, you are providing a valuable service, being a trusted partner, and building loyalty. Similarly, BOX is the trusted partner you can count on committed to Helping YOU Sell Packaging®. If you need assistance choosing the best corrugated box for your customer's e-commerce shipping needs, we're here to help. Just contact your dedicated BOX account manager or call 800-806-2636.


1 Forbes Advisor,

2 American Forest & Paper Association,

3 Fibre Box Association,