Posted on February 10, 2023 by Michael Boik

Ways to Minimize Ecommerce Mailer Set-Up Costs

Last month we wrote this post about the importance of reducing your box size (right-sizing) in order to save on costs. This, more specifically, refers to a reduction in cost on a per unit basis. This is crucial and often essential for companies that are ordering thousands or even tens of thousands of boxes on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly), as these savings compound and extend to shipping, storage savings and beyond.

The other side of the coin, of course, are set-up or initial cost savings, such as print plates/cutting dies, which may be more important for companies that are first-time packaging buyers, one-time packaging buyers (often promotional or gift packaging), or start-ups that are perhaps still learning what their best-sellers are. Investing a lot of money in set-up costs could backfire if you end up rebranding, changing product configurations or dimensions, or other alterations that would result in additional set-up costs not long down the road. As we often say, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” or “we’ll all be a lot smarter 6 months from now.” Both are true of startup ecommerce businesses and first-time packaging buyers. We can help. We NEVER try to sell you unnecessary expensive cutting dies or print plates. We want to be your long-term partner and resource. Your success is our success, and sometimes expensive start-up costs can sink the boat before it gets moving. Here’s how you can avoid it.


Avoid Printing Variable Information

There is perhaps no greater cause for a company needing to buy new print plates than this category. Under this umbrella falls things like printing a company office address, phone number, URL/Website, company tagline/slogan, and other information that may be changing 6 months from now. It may be a good idea to consider using stickers/labels to include some of this information until you have been up and running long enough to know what information will be a mainstay. Consider that print plates are on average $600 or higher per color printed inside/outside. Consider also that just a minor adjustment, like removing or changing an address, typically means purchasing an entirely new print plate.


Use one of our Existing Mailer Sizes

We have over 230 existing cutting dies/sizes ranging from large to small, in various styles (lock front, top tuck, indestructo) and flutes. This means that even if we don’t have the exact size you want, the chances are pretty good that we have something close. A cutting die for a mailer is typically at least $800, and very often four figures. Save money by avoiding this start up cost.

Consider an RSC Box

An RSC today is not what it was 10-20 years ago. With enhancements in print capabilities, including the ability to print inside on RSCs, an RSC can be a great alternative to mailer boxes without compromising graphics and that all important WOW factor. Print plates are generally lower in cost on an RSC than a die cut mailer of the same size, even with the same amount of colors or coverage. And perhaps most importantly, we can make an RSC to your specific size requirements without the need for a cutting die, in most cases.

Start Simple and Scale Up

This can apply to all aspects of design, meaning both graphic and structural. You may not need to launch with custom inserts, which require initial tooling costs. You may start with one box, rather than multiple to save on both print plates and/or cutting dies. You may start with a 1 color exterior print for your first order, and add colors and/or inside printing later to lower your print plate costs.

We understand that cost-savings are a crucial part of finding a packaging solution that works for you. Let us walk you through the process today!

Please Contact Us Today

As always, if you have any questions, one of our branded packaging advisors is standing by to assist, with decades of experience behind them. Want to know more about custom packaging options? Please call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via email at


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