Near the end of last year our packaging inventory began to run low. Hardware is a critical piece to our business and our packaging is the first touch point users have with our brand in the real world.
Asides from running low on inventory, there were some improvements we wanted to make to our packaging.
Most notably, we needed to refresh the branding from our former moniker Pluot, to Daily.co. Our current packaging still had our old Pluot branding and we also wanted to use more sustainable and cost-effective materials. While we were using a nice soft-touch black box with custom foam inserts to protect the hardware, it was quite expensive to produce and not very environmentally friendly.
Our last goal was to cut down shipping costs. The previous box was quite large and therefore, expensive to ship. That cost easily inflates when customers would order multiple units. Which is often the case when Daily.co TV is configured as an always-on portals.
All told, while our current packaging had worked well for us, it was time for a change. Our company had evolved and we simply required packaging with:
- More flexibility and control
- Updated branding
- Lower cost per unit
## Packaging vendors
To tackle this, we researched vendors local to our headquarters in San Francisco, as well as online vendors like, [Packlane](https://packlane.com/), [Packwire](https://packwire.com/) and [Pakible](https://pakible.com/). We also required insert materials to protect the hardware during shipment and print vendors to produce the print collateral — our get started guides — that's shipped in each box.
With each vendor we wanted to maintain as much control and flexibility as possible. Being able to order at lower quantities was a requirement, as we wanted to iterate as needed, without the burden of excess inventory.
For example, our messaging is always being refined and even our hardware may be updated from time to time. Just recently our Daily.co TV device was updated which required more space in our packaging for the unit, itself, and its power supply.
Of course, we also required vendors who could maintain consistent quality between orders. The printing on the boxes, to the quality of the setup guides, needed to remain consistent! In retrospect, we also wanted to be able to re-order in just a few clicks.
To help choose vendors and compare supplies we developed technical drawings to make sure all of our hardware would fit and that we knew exactly which box sizes and packaging materials to order. We then ordered sample materials to test fit our hardware on site.
Ultimately we chose the following vendors:
- Packlane: for the boxes we use to ship the hardware
- Moo: for the setup guides and thank you cards in each box
- Uline: for the foam hardware inserts
[Packlane](https://packlane.com/) has been fantastic to work with. We use 2 boxes, one for our shipper (the box we ship in the mail), which contains the hardware, setup guides and our second box, where cables are stored.
Previously, our hardware was packed into a black soft-touch box, which was then put into a cardboard shipper. In the black box we had multiple foam inserts and individual cable boxes. We've cut the total number of boxes down from 4 to 2. Great for cost and great for the environment!
We are now using Packlane's Kraft shipper boxes and print very minimally on them to keep costs down.
For our setup guide and thank you cards we're using Moo. The setup guides are printed on their [Gloss Flyers](https://www.moo.com/us/flyers), while the thank you cards are printed on [Luxe Postcards](https://www.moo.com/us/postcards/standard). The Luxe paper has a very substantial feel to it, which is impressive and its matte finish makes for a good writing surface. The contrast between these two materials makes for a nice presentation.
Using Moo has allowed us to edit the language of our set up guide and reorder with more regularity.
Finally, there's good old [Uline](https://www.uline.com/). Our CEO, Kwindla, has a lot of experience with hardware packaging from his previous ventures. Coupled with his historical knowledge of our original packaging we were able to quickly select the right combination of insert materials to protect the hardware during transport.
We're using 1/2" foam sheets to cover the bottom of the shipper and 2" [pick-and-pack foam](https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-15695/Foam/Pick-and-Pack-Foam-Sheets-24-x-24-x-1-2) to fill the cavity. The pick-and-pack foam allows us to create recesses for our camera, microphone and Daily.co TV device. It takes some getting used to, but with some templates we've perfected the process of setting up a box.
To package this post up (sorry!), planning and research were by far the most critical steps in redesigning our Daily.co TV packaging. We've been really pleased with the results, and the flexibility in which placing smaller orders has offered us. Choosing and selecting the materials took the most effort, yet that effort saved us time and money in the end.
Custom packaging would be a designer's dream to create. We all lust for Apple-esque packaging. But, it is very time and resource intensive to create and you are forced to order higher quantities to offset steeper unit costs. If your hardware needs to change, there's a chance that you may have inventory waste.
By using a combination of smaller vendors, we were able to customize a solution for our needs. Our solution may not be for everyone yet it is very, very versatile. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions. You can learn more about Daily.co TV on our website, here.