Contract Packing – All You Need to Know About Contract Packing

For e-commerce businesses, getting to grips with packaging processes can be essential. Customers only know you digitally, so receiving an order is your chance to make a real-world impact, securing long-term loyalty. But successful packing depends on how well you balance three things: efficiency, design, and cost – something that can be hard to do alone, especially when order volumes surge.

Allegro have wrapped more than our fair share of packages. We’re e-commerce fulfilment experts, helping businesses large and small adapt to suit a changing online marketplace, and deliver a consistent, high-quality service to their customers. We want to see you grow, because nothing is more important to us than providing a first-class service.

In this article, we guide you through contract packing and explain why it can be invaluable to businesses both new and more established.

What is Contract Packing?

Contract packing is when a business outsources their packing to a third party. Contract packers, or co-packers as they are sometimes known, may repackage bulk items from manufacturers ready for retail, fill product packaging using specialist equipment, or package items they store on behalf of retailers as part of a total fulfilment service. They offer a variety of solutions depending on the products in question, and sometimes even handle the design and production of high-quality packaging materials.

How Does Contract Packing Work?

Packaging Design

Making sure product packaging looks highly attractive and is in keeping with the client’s brand identity is a central part of contract packing. Ensuring the third party understands your brand and is able to provide the same personalised customer experience is crucial, especially for small businesses. In a crowded e-commerce marketplace, standing out is key, and optimising the so-called ‘unboxing experience’ is one way to do this.

Before getting started, the co-packer will work with their client to design high-quality, attractive packaging that is fit for purpose. From brand graphics to custom sizes, they create a packaging plan, ensuring they know exactly how the client wants their finished products to look.

Bespoke Packaging – Why is it Important & What are its Benefits? >

Product Packaging

From assembling subscription boxes each month to preparing one-off customer orders, the next stage in the process is all about packing up products for distribution. This might involve wrapping products in protective film, heat-sealing blister packaging, shrink wrapping, or even filling. Often, it involves carefully placing products into packaging ready for shipment, whether that is to a physical store or an individual customer.

Our Processes >


Once the products are in their packaging ready for shipment, they need to be labelled. Ensuring faultless order management is crucial at this point, because any mistakes with the labelling of orders can be embarrassing for the business when a disappointed customer inevitably gets in touch.

Luckily, Allegro’s expertise and advanced order management software mean we are able to efficiently pack and label products ready for send-off with total accuracy.

Shipping or Redistribution

Finally, though some contract packers only package products, a comprehensive fulfilment service like Allegro Logistics will deal with couriers and organise the shipment of products, whether that be domestic or international. At Allegro, we even offer next day and same day shipping to all our clients, helping them bring the gold standard to their customers.

Find out more >

Benefits of Contract Packing

More Efficient

Contract packers can pack, and they can pack quickly. Working at scale means they’re a lot faster than a business packing themselves. Whereas doing so at home might be interrupted by phone calls, the doorbell, and anything else life throws at you, a professional co-packing service will function like a well-oiled machine. Take your order management from the spare room to the warehouse and see your customer satisfaction soar!

At Allegro, our pick and pack processes are highly efficient and supported by the latest technology. Once we receive an order, our integrated system instructs our staff to pick from over 3,500 locations. We offer all our clients streamlined order processing, packing, and distribution, so that their customers receive their orders on time, every time.

What is Pick and Pack Fulfilment? >


There are lots of investments for business owners, whether you’re just getting started or trying to grow. Working with a contract packer can make an economical alternative to paying for your own packing equipment and storage facility. Centrally packing your own products costs money, time, and is likely to be less efficient – see above! So, save yourself some cash and get the professionals on board.

Support for Periods of High Demand

During periods of high demand like Christmas, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, you want to be able to fully capitalise on the order surge and impress all your customers, prompting repeat purchases. If your order management slips and the packaging is not up to scratch or they receive their item late, these new customers may be less likely to buy from you again in the future.

Working with a 3PL, on the other hand, ensures you can handle fluctuations in demand without a hitch, and every customer – no matter how many there are – will receive the same premium level of service.

Read more: 3 Valuable Tips for Keeping Up with Customer Demands in the Supply Chain

Saves Time

Working with a contract packer means you don’t need to devote time to wrapping your products. Of course, if you’re selling things, you’re going to have to pack them. But as any business owner will know, menial tasks like this often get in the way of more important things like strategy, marketing, and development. So, getting a contract packer on board means suddenly all those time-consuming tasks vanish. Instead of wrapping and labelling, you can be crafting your business plan for e-commerce domination. Basically, working with a 3PL like Allegro gives you time to grow.

Read about how we helped The Dram Team scale up >

No Need to Hire Own Staff

Packing requires people, and if you’re a small business, you might not want the financial outlay of lots of new salaries and HR. Outsourcing to a co-packer gives you access to their staff, who are highly experienced, meaning you get an optimal service without having to devote your own time to recruitment and training. One less thing to worry about!

Read more: The Advantages of Using a 3PL

Industry Expertise

Contract packers pack for a living. So, you could say they know quite a bit about it! Choosing to outsource to a professional packer means you’ll get a quality service backed up by years of expertise and industry knowledge. This means your packing is more likely to be effective, and you’ll be better able to weather logistical storms and adapt to a changing e-commerce landscape.

Level Up with Allegro Logistics

We’re passionate about working closely with our clients to develop fulfilment solutions that help them scale and grow. Outsourcing your packing to us means you’ll have access to cutting-edge order management software that supports a wide variety of platforms, our efficient, industry-leading services, and plenty of friendly faces too!

Talk to us about your packing needs today.

See more: How to Improve Your Business’ Order Fulfilment Process

See more: The Importance of Logistics in the Retail Industry

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