The hype for creating an unforgettable unboxing experience is real. Every eCommerce marketing team has had an inevitable brainstorming session on how to design the packaging and shipping of your product so that it makes for a cherishable moment when the customer receives the items.
As much as these experiences matter for building a rapport with your customer, attractive packaging comes at its own cost.
Did you know one in every four Australians has had a package stolen from their doorsteps? Pretty parcels make for tempting targets for such porch pirates and put nearly half the country’s population under stress.
Not just that, imagine you have a monthly subscription for exotic food packages from all over the world. Not everyone prefers to showcase their eating habits or preferences. Wouldn’t it be awkward if the package or the label publicised its contents to your neighbours or friends?
That’s where discreet shipping can come to your rescue. This method of sending and receiving parcels after shopping online has become quite popular with eCommerce customers. Anonymous mailing services prove to be beneficial for users looking for a solution to the above-mentioned problems as well as make for a great surprise gift during the holiday season.
If your online store has been receiving such requests from customers, this guide will help you understand the ins and outs of discreet shipping.
What is Discreet Shipping?
Let’s start by understanding what does discreet mean.
The exact definition is being careful not to cause embarrassment or attract a lot of attention, specifically by keeping something secret.
When you associate the term with the shipping process it can be explained as the method of delivering a package anonymously. The aim of this type of shipping is for your user to purchase the items they want and have them delivered without anyone else knowing about them.
Alongside, you can get rid of the labels that have your company logo or name. This practice makes the contents of the package even more confidential.
Though research studies have confirmed that attractive packaging influences positive purchasing decisions, there are a few types of products that demand top-notch discreet service. If you’re left wondering what these applications might be, here are a few types of products that are prevalently requested to be shipped discreetly.
What is Discreet Shipping Used for?
A wide range of products can be transported in a discreet manner. This is sometimes done because a product is valuable and could be stolen, it is a surprise gift package, or because it expresses a political or other preference. Your eCommerce company should consider adding a discreet shipping option, especially if you sell the following items.
Imagine you are delivering or ordering the most-popular gaming console and it gets stolen from your doorstep or during the shipping process. Wouldn’t that be a disappointment?
Discreet shipping prevents such incidents by thoroughly hiding your valuable items. In the eCommerce world, luxury items bring unique obstacles. For starters, the high value of such items makes them inherently dangerous to handle and ship — especially because liability for damage and/or losses incurred before, during, or after transit is all too often ambiguous (who, after all, is responsible for a package allegedly stolen from a front porch or mailbox?).
Evidently shipping luxury things in fully branded cartons is similar to inviting trouble and a sure-fire technique to increase losses over time.
Apart from avoiding theft, there's another strong reason to avoid overt branding in luxury applications: many purchases are intended as gifts, and externally branded packaging materials might readily betray this intention.
Discreet shipping is a great way to avoid the judgment that often comes with ordering adult products. For many people, receiving supplies in an unannounced shipment might be a lifesaver. It saves them from embarrassment, interrogation, and anxiety.
eCommerce businesses can assign a discreet shipping option for adult products on their checkout page. Anonymous and prompt shipping of such products will definitely help merchants demonstrate that they regard their customers’ privacy. This results in a positive user experience that encourages the customers to buy again. Procuring the clients loyalty means that they are twice as likely to put an item into the cart again in the eCommerce arena.
Shipping vape products has always been tricky with a bunch of laws regulating the process and rightly so. Discreet shipping allows an out for individuals over 21 to order such products and procure them anonymously. Unmarked package devoid of logos, product indications, or the name of the store on the label or financial statements provides much-needed peace of mind to the consumers.
Anonymous packaging proves to be a nice alternative when your eCommerce company deals with private and sensitive health and wellness items. These products could cause embarrassment if not handled with care.
Your company can make a lasting positive impression by steering clear of overt branding on the packages and shipping the medicines discreetly. Using stealth packaging techniques helps your customers receive the desired wellness products without having to provide any explanation for the same.
You might have encountered people who are conscious about their eating habits. Discreet shipping comes to their rescue in such scenarios. Anonymous package delivery is the go-to for people living in a community where certain cuisines are unaccepted or considered taboo by society. Inconspicuous boxes that do not reveal the contents help them not offend anyone’s feelings.
Other Sensitive Goods
Discreet packaging is also required for a variety of other products. Consider packages containing weapons, hunting accessories, etc. These items must be sent with the utmost prudence to avoid not just theft, but also legal, ethical, and public-relations-related liabilities.
Even little blunders might be disastrous for businesses that find themselves on the "wrong side" of a debate. Using neutral and plain packaging materials tend to reduce the possibility of negative consequences.
Benefits of Discreet Shipping
The above-mentioned uses give you a fair idea about the popularity and advantages of discreet shipping. In case you are still wondering why the consumers, eCommerce retailers and shipping companies favour this option, the following perks help clear the fog.
In today’s era of modern algorithms that track the user’s online behaviour, privacy seems like a myth to most people. However, discreet shipping allows the users to maintain their confidentiality.
They can avoid the cost of an additional mailbox or do not have to receive their parcels at their office address. This shipping method makes sending and receiving packages that could jeopardise the user’s safety simple as no one can guess the contents or the retailer.
Less or No Accountability
The users need not maintain an address box while receiving a discreet package. This eliminates the accountability that they have when using traditional postal services.
Furthermore, they have the option to terminate the services once their shipment has been dispatched and received. It saves money by eliminating unnecessary expenses, which is especially beneficial to individuals who don't utilize the postal service on a regular basis.
Another advantage of anonymous packaging is that the products remain safe and secure until they reach your customers’ hands. The consumers who avail the options of discreet shipping can reduce the chances of their high-value goods being stolen from their porches. This is because the plain wrapping paper and boxes do not reveal what’s inside them, no matter the cost.
Great for Gifting or Donations
Not everyone wants to be known for blowing their trumpet or having an impact on people's lives. Almost 21% of donors want their contributions to be anonymous to the public. It's feasible to give gift bags of food products without disclosing your identity if you have a cause close to your heart, such as a shelter programme.
When using a reputable service, setting up an anonymous mailbox is not a hassle. When anonymously donating to charity, one can experience peace of mind without attracting attention, which is especially important when the donation is large enough to raise questions.
In addition to donating items through discreet packaging, this shipping service comes in handy when surprising loved ones during the holiday season. The inconspicuous parcels keep the suspense intact right until the end. Discreet shipping becomes exponentially popular and is preferred by numerous online shoppers while buying gifts during the holidays.
Drawbacks of Discreet Shipping
Every good thing has a downside, and anonymous mail services are no exception. Let's take a look at some of the service's drawbacks.
Wouldn't it be nice to know if a loved one received your presents and perhaps get some comment on the anonymously delivered items? Unfortunately, anonymous shipping services remain exactly that.
When your user opts for these services, they are foregoing the use of their identity. The recipient is left in the dark about who sent the package unless the sender wants to inform them, which defeats the purpose of the service.
Misuse of the Service
The anonymity of discreet shipping can pave the way for some people to send and receive shady or illegal items like poison or drugs without the fear of being identified. As there is no logo, sender’s information, or any return address, ill-intentioned masterminds can exploit this service.
Before sending stuff anonymously for your eCommerce business, make sure you check your local state laws to verify if sending the specific items discreetly is permitted. There are well-defined laws in several countries that prohibit the international shipping of items without fully exposing personal information or providing information about the contents of a shipment. You should try to comply with such shipping laws when sending parcels to states or countries with stringent rules.
How to Get Started with Discreet Shipping
If you are thinking of incorporating stealth shipping to your eCommerce store’s checkout page you will need to think of the following aspects beforehand.
Discreet Packaging Layout and Design
You can brainstorm ideas with your team on how far you want to stray from your company’s packaging design and layout for the outer packaging. A few things to consider include the kind of information you put on the boxes.
- Should you add the company’s complete name or an abbreviated version?
- What name will appear on the user’s financial statements?
- Lastly, should you include a detailed invoice inside the package except for cases where the products are bought as a gift?
An ideal design would be a plain unmarked package without any elaborate logos or branding. You can add the name of the parent company or an abbreviated name on the label to conceal the information about the package.
Acquire Suitable Packaging Materials
Once you have planned the design and layout of the discreet package you should start sourcing suitable packaging materials. You can sample a few types of wrapping materials, boxes, or crates that make for an inconspicuous parcel.
Finally, we recommend that you do not go above and beyond what is required. If, in the rush to make your packaging discreet, you end up making it 'distinct,' you may find yourself in hot water. Additionally, minimalism has become a popular eCommerce trend of late. So take a step back, do some research and testing, and go for subtle and minimal layouts.
Discreet Shipping Best Practices
Now that you have a plan of action on how to equip your business with the necessary items on the checklist, the following best practices will guide you in the long term. You can jot these down and refer to them whenever you encounter an obstacle while shipping discreetly.
Plain Packaging Materials
The materials that you use will set the stage for the success of the discreet shipping practice. Using plain packaging materials help your parcel blend in with other mail. Furthermore, you can take inspiration from some eCommerce giants like Amazon and use similar colours, designs, and layouts.
Externally bland packing materials (basic cardboard boxes, mailers, etc.) reduce the appeal to any outsider and are a must for your discreet packaging, with any branding appearing solely on the inside upholding the branding aspect.
Avoid Brand Names on Shipping Labels
Adding brand names or detailed labels on the boxes can make the entire process of anonymous shipping moot. We absolutely don’t want that to happen after going through the hassle of adding a separate option on the website and packing with unidentifiable materials, do we?
Even if the carton or mailer is otherwise discreet, this easily ignored element has the ability to reveal the package's contents. Try to replace full names with initials, abridged versions, or alternatives. Implementing this best practice thoroughly will make for loyal customers who trust your shipping process.
Insist Delivery Signatures
Another great policy that leads to successful discreet shipping is to offer and/or insist on delivery with a signature requirement. However, keep in mind that this may be inconvenient for buyers who are not home during standard delivery hours.
Moreover, while carriers normally charge for this service, they do not always uphold the practice, with delivery people frequently leaving such parcels out in the open without a signature. Therefore, work with a reputable shipping partner to ensure the holistic completion of the process.
Custom Cautions for International Shipments
Customs reporting for overseas goods must strike a delicate balance between discretion and the regulations of the international sea and air freight services. Conduct extensive research to check how you can abide by the laws while maintaining appropriate anonymity while shipping the goods.
There is typically room for generalisation in such cases, but if executed irresponsibly, you can land in trouble due to potential customs issues.
Be Careful With Billing Information
Unfortunately, the billing information you use can reveal the nature of the purchase. What you write on statements, labels, and other places might serve as a promotional item for the things the consumer orders.
Use discreet billing with a company name or acronym that isn't directly related to your types of items to keep everything under wraps. In addition to that, consider adopting supplementary branding linked to such products for billing and delivery.
Customers tend to feel more at ease buying from you if you choose a neutral name. They will be less concerned about being judged.
Offer Discreet Shipping Choice to Customers
Allow clients to choose by providing a discrete packing option (a rather counter-intuitive take on "upgraded" experiences) for individuals who want to keep their privacy, safeguard a surprise, and so on. You can also opt for shipping software for order fulfilment that can simplify the entire shipping process for your business. Just keep in mind that if these options aren't implemented across all orders, they add to the operational complexity (and room for error).
If your consumers ask about discreet shipping, it's a good idea to think about it for each box you send. This will assist you to avoid having to deal with anger, embarrassment, or thievery, as well as high-cost replacements, by ensuring that your products arrive and customers are satisfied.
You sell items that you hope people would enjoy. Regardless of the goods, shipping should be a part of the experience rather than a hindrance.
Let's speak about discreet shipping and why it can be a good fit for your company.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does discreet shipping mean?
Discreet shipping stands for sending or receiving packages without revealing any information about their contents. Several eCommerce companies offer discreet shipping options to ensure customer privacy and satisfaction. You can keep valuable items protected from package theft as well as maintain confidentiality for the consumer.
What does discreet packaging mean?
Discreet packaging is a part of discreet shipping wherein the items are wrapped in discreet materials. This can either be plain paper or cardboard boxes. These packaging materials are unbranded and do not contain any information about the eCommerce store from where it is shipped.
Can you send a package anonymously?
Yes, you can send a package anonymously through discreet shipping. This allows your eCommerce company to provide enhanced security of high-value items, better obscurity for adult products, medicines or specific food items. Discreet shipping helps conceal the insides of any parcel and protects the consumers from theft and embarrassment.
How to ship a package anonymously?
There are quite a few different ways to ship a parcel anonymously. You can provide discreet shipping by offering the option on the checkout page. Here you can ask for an alternative address to facilitate inconspicuous delivery. Moreover, you can use generic wrapping material and boxes to maintain confidentiality. Lastly, avoid adding any branding on the external packaging and modify the labels to conceal the details of the item or the sender.
What kind of packages require a signature?
A few kinds of packages that may require the receiver’s signature include
- Priority or express couriers
- High-value items
- Discreetly shipped items
- Pharmaceuticals or medicines
- Hazardous goods
How to get something delivered secretly?
Discreet shipping is the best way to get something delivered secretly. Using these methods ensures that the contents of the parcel remain unidentifiable from the package. You can do this by using plain packaging materials, keeping it minimalistic, and removing the labels that include product and store’s information.
What does inside delivery mean?
A consignment is delivered directly inside your home or into your company's office with an Inside Delivery. When ordering heavy or large items like electronics, furniture, office equipment, and other such items, this method of delivery is common and convenient.
Several businesses provide customers with the option of selecting Inside Delivery when ordering things because it provides them with additional convenience and allows them to take a more hands-off attitude.
There are also a slew of e-commerce sites that have partnered with transportation providers to make inside deliveries easier.