Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Dec 26 2013 23:00:40

A Shipping Box that Can Save Sellers Time and Money?

By: Ina Steiner

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"Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." That's the phrase that came to mind when a reader sent a YouTube video showing a demonstration of a better shipping box. It appears some students are counting on lots of knocks at their front door.

Inventors of the "Rapid Packing Container" claim it uses 15 - 20 percent less cardboard and is faster and easier to assemble, pack and seal. In addition, it's easier to open and is reusable.

While it may seem as mundane as a mousetrap, a better shipping box could lead to significant savings for online sellers both in time and money. And think what it could mean to company like Amazon - even if it shaves off a small amount of time per order, multiply that by the volume Amazon does in a year.

The Rapid Packing Container was one of ten inventions produced by student teams in the Invention Factory Program during the summer of 2013 at the Cooper Union, according to the YouTube video, which went viral just before Christmas. In the video, the students say their next step is to patent the design.

Watch the video, and let us know what you think of the design. Would you pay a premium for such a box?

Also let us know where you purchase your shipping supplies - year-end is always a good time to consider making business purchases you can deduct this year to reduce taxes owed in April.




Comments (29) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for A Shipping Box that Can Save Sellers Time and Money?   A Shipping Box that Can Save Sellers Time and Money?

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 27 00:10:24 2013

This will be one of those neat practical inventions that revolutionizes packaging. It is also appearing at exactly the right time, as thousands of small sellers exit ebay for better ventures including social network selling and selling on their own websites.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Fri Dec 27 00:23:11 2013

Hmmm, easy to open, maybe too easy, simply "pressing down on the top opens the container". I can see a lot of unintentionally opened packages spewing their contents throughout the postal system ...

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This user has validated their user name. by: WOODJUNGLE! ON EBAY

Fri Dec 27 01:10:51 2013

looks great for  at least smaller items. not sure how much weight they can get safely in a larger size box without some tape reinforcement over the adhesive.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Fri Dec 27 01:39:30 2013

Great idea! My only concern would be the box accidentally opening during shipping if additional tape is not used.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Fri Dec 27 06:52:10 2013

Kudos to the designers. I would at least give it a try. Of course the price point would be important. And, it may be psychological, but I'd feel more secure adding a bit of tape.


Until then there is no cost USPS Priority packaging. When I need a size box they don't make it gets tricky. Most non-clothing items go Priority. My theory is the faster it gets there the less that can happen to it.

There are a couple sellers on eBay I've used for years - for poly-mailers & tissue, and for huge bags of peanuts. Good product & good pricing. Of course I always worry they'll disappear one day.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Dec 27 07:26:52 2013

Like others have said above, I'd be very hesitant to ship anything without the added security of shipping tape.  Not only does this help to ensure that the item doesn't open on its on, it also works as a seal so that you know that no one has opened the package.

Perminate Link for A Shipping Box that Can Save Sellers Time and Money?   A Shipping Box that Can Save Sellers Time and Money?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Dec 27 08:29:20 2013

Safety first! For most of the items I ship, I use USPS ''regional rate'' boxes (which are often cheaper than 'flat-rate' boxes when shipping to nearby zones).

Even though the USPS boxes are pre-assembled at one seam, and even though the peel-and-stick closures appear to be sturdy... I'll ALWAYS reinforce the self-stick closures with tape, and I always tape down the length of the pre-assembled seam as well.

The investment in time and materials is negligible, and I've never experienced any losses because the free USPS packaging wasn't sturdy enough to make the trip.

Like my mother always said: ''An-ounce-of-prevention...'' :-)

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Dec 27 12:21:09 2013

As a person who tapes every box like it's bound for the Moon, I would definitely have to use tape on this one. Agree with everyone who says it's too easy for it to open and spill out the contents.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Dec 27 14:12:31 2013

I♥JS writes: ''As a person who tapes every box like it's bound for the Moon''

Yep! I can visualize that!

Back in my eBay-days, I was always bracing myself for that *one* buyer who would come along and complain that their box was sealed ''too well'' and that it was ''too difficult to open''.

Fortunately, I left eBay before such a thing could happen. :o)

Perminate Link for A Shipping Box that Can Save Sellers Time and Money?   A Shipping Box that Can Save Sellers Time and Money?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Fri Dec 27 16:33:50 2013

The benefits of this rapid packing container are obvious...for companies like Amazon time is money. This design would save time packaging orders. If this container is lighter, it will reduce shipping expense, however...

If the cost of the box is too high, any savings in postage and packaging cost may be balanced out by the higher cost of the rapid packing container.

Additionally, the easy (pop the top) feature may open during handling leaving the contents open to loss or damage.

It will be interesting to see if this product becomes a reality, or if it will be destined to be another can't do without product that everyone seems to find a way to do without.


Wait... Wasn't it not too long ago that eBay promoted their re-useable branded box? At the time, John Donahoe was promoting that as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Once the publicity ran it's course, the box disappeared, and not a word has been mentioned about it since.

I guess eBay used that box to divert Wall Streets attention away from their broken marketplace. In short order, eBay needed something else to distract Wall Street, and the eBay shipping box faded from view never to be seen again.

Perminate Link for A Shipping Box that Can Save Sellers Time and Money?   A Shipping Box that Can Save Sellers Time and Money?

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 27 17:06:19 2013

USPS offers great shipping boxes free of charge for priority mail customers, and tape is a good idea, easy-to-open boxes invite pilfering.

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by: Cyclestripper This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 27 18:48:22 2013

Let's see, all you do to open it is press down on the top? Oh, that's going to be great going through USPS shipping.  

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by: Cyclestripper This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 27 18:51:38 2013

This is similar to die cut boxes available now. I does seem a bit easier to assemble than a current die cut box but that is what I see as it's primary competitor. Die cuts are also priced at a premium.

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 27 19:28:31 2013

''eBay re-useable branded boxes.'' Great, maybe they can deliver them in one their eBay Vans.

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by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 27 21:53:11 2013

@Bloggo, wouldn't newspaper trucks be more practical?

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by: SparklyEyes7 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 27 22:35:39 2013

Another engineered product that hasn't been real-life tested.  I can see the box opening on the conveyor belt at the PO as well as the contents pilfered by PO employees.

I sell glass ornaments and most of them ship first class.  I pay about $1.00 per box and pass that cost along to the buyer.  Same for the cost of the bubble wrap I use.

Frankly, I could care less if the box is reusable or not as I'm not going to be the one to benefit from that.  Besides, what box isn't reusable?  I do care whether what I'm shipping gets there safely.

And anyone experienced with a tape gun can put together a box, lickety split!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Dec 28 01:52:30 2013

Drones. Drones should deliver easy open boxes to John Donahoe's front porch. Each one of them should have the word "TRASH" in big, bold letters on each side to make sure he know they're for him.

One of my in-laws has arthritis in her fingers and hands. She says Amazon uses a minimum of tape (just enough to keep the package from coming open in transit) while ebay sellers tape every seam requiring a sharp knife and several minutes to open.

I explained to her that ebay and its favorite subset of buyers, criminals, abuse sellers to such an extent that sellers feel compelled to over secure in an attempt to prevent bogus claims.

This box would likely work well enough for sellers who sell unbreakable items.

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This user has validated their user name. by: ebayisajoke
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Sat Dec 28 09:41:55 2013

Are you kidding me? has anyone priced boxes at the UPS store? Has anyone bought boxes from Uline? This box will be more expensive. This is another useless invention but I give the guys kudos for trying.

Also notice how the comments are disabled in the Youtube video. You find this on most of the eBay Inc vids. I bet this is actually owned by eBay Inc. More ways to get your money.

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
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Sat Dec 28 12:08:12 2013

It is nice see young people doing something new for everybody. I don't consider it a useless invention. I'm sure the same stupid nonsense comments were said about the radio, the TV, the cars, etc.

Now in my opinion after looking the video. It is a great invention. But I consider the box objective not the correct. I will not use it for a shipping box. I will use it for a gift box.

As client of the USPS. No matter what some people believe. The tape is very important. I prefer spend more time opening a great protected package. If I can get the item without damage. Also can guarantee some strength stability if the box get wet.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sat Dec 28 14:29:37 2013

I think elpereles has something there - as a gift box, the outside could come in an assortment of prints for different occasions.

No need for wrapping and you can add a pouf of tissue paper around the contents.

You could still recycle the box over & over! And it would store flat when not in  use.    

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