5 Best Alternatives to UlineJohn O'Brien-Carell • John O'Brien-Carell is a Senior Product Manager at Weebly, focused on helping merchants overcome the challenges of selling physical goods online.
If you’re a business owner who has to ship items, chances are you’ve heard of Uline. They’re the multi-billion dollar packaging giant that’s ubiquitous for cardboard boxes, shipping supplies, and everything you need to run an ecommerce shipping operation.
But just because they’re everywhere doesn’t mean they’re the best - and while Uline might seem like it has absolutely everything, the costs are usually higher than other, smaller competitors. Whatever your packaging needs are, there are great alternatives to Uline you should consider when you’re shopping for packaging supplies.
East Coast Packaging LLC - East Coast Packaging has been around for 20 years, and they’ve got a huge selection of box sizes at a rate that’s comparatively better than Uline. When we compared a common box (the 12x9x4 corrugated) we found that East Coast Packaging pricing came in at only $0.43 a unit while Uline’s was $0.61. While that doesn’t sound like a crazy price difference, cutting costs on packaging is a great way to save money - especially as you scale your business.
Paper Mart - People in the biz call Paper Mart the East Coast Packaging LLC of the west coast. Okay, we made that up - but it is kind of true! Paper Mart supplies a wide variety of packaging supplies that ship from the west coast. So basically, if your business is in the east, your shipping should be cheaper with East Coast Packaging, and if your business is in the west order Paper Mart. That way you’ll save on box prices and shipping costs.
Lumi - Lumi’s the more tech friendly cousin to budget alternatives like East Coast Packaging and Paper Mart and a great alternative to the behemoth Uline. While they’ve got a wide variety of stock options, they also let you customize things like stamps to add branding to your packaging for a relatively low cost. They also have excellent content that we’re big fans of and they’re constantly adding new features that make managing your box inventory easy and seamless.
Stephen Gould and Levine Box - If you’re ordering packaging in a large volume, companies like Stephen Gould and Levine Box can often offer you steeper discounts than if you ordered off the shelf with other online companies. Stephen Gould is a great global source, while Levine is more of a northeast/local specialist. The truth is that the steepest discounts on supplies comes from coordinating with a local supplier - so if you’re ordering a lot of something, look to local suppliers to help find discounts.
Global Industrial - There’s a whole equipment side to Uline that makes purchasing supplies for an ecommerce business easy, but there are also Uline alternatives that offer the same services. Global Industrial has literally everything, in every option, no matter what you’re looking for.
You have options when considering your packaging and shipping supplier. In order to be successful, you’ll need and a supplier you trust and materials at reasonable cost. Remember, the packaging of your product is an extension of your brand.