In the e-commerce business, almost nothing is as important as your shipping process. To ensure your online shoppers are happy with their purchases, their products need to arrive quickly and in perfect working order. Your products need to be packaged effectively so they arrive at your customers’ doorsteps intact. There are many factors you need to account for and many situations you need to protect against.
What do you need to protect against?
- Drops: You need proper cushioning to ensure products don’t break if the packages are dropped.
- Compression: Loads may shift during transit. Can your packages withstand pressure coming from the top or sides? Or will this shatter the contents?
- Vibrations: Your packages may be placed on shaky conveyor belts. They may be transported via aircraft, train, or truck. The vibrations these transportation methods cause can affect the quality of your products, breaking glass, loosening screws, unplugging components, and more.
- Harsh temperatures: There could be significant temperature fluctuations from the time your product is shipped to the time it’s at your customer’s doorstep. Can your packages withstand these changes? Can they withstand rain and snow?
- Humidity: As you probably already know, humidity can weaken boxes and affect taping. Will your packages fall apart due to condensation?
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when determining how you’re going to protect your packages.
1. Invest in Cushioning
Cushioning is the cheapest and wisest investment you could make. For a few extra dollars, you can ensure your products are protected against drops and other types of damage. This can help you avoid situations where your customers are disappointed and you need to waste money and time shipping a replacement order for free due to damage during shipment.
Consider bubble wrap, packing peanuts, packing paper, packaging foam, padded dividers, and bubble bags.
The best cushioning will depend on your product. For example, plastic packaging foam is best for jewelry, books, and stationary, while polyurethane packing paper is ideal for dishes, small electronics, and industrial machine parts.
2. Re-Package as Needed
If you’re buying products for redistribution, the worst thing you can do is assume the packaging supplies that were used to ship the contents to you are good enough to use when shipping the boxes to the end customers. Once off the pallet, the single boxes may not be strong enough to withstand the harsh conditions of transport.
3. Reduce Empty Space
Your products should be wedged into their boxes, envelopes, or mailers tightly. Shipping air will not only cost you more, but it will increase the risk of damage.
When there is empty space in your boxes, it enables the contents to move around, which can lead to breakages, scuffs, and other types of damage your customers won’t be happy with.
4. Only Use High-Quality Packaging Supplies
Shipping is expensive—we get it. But this is not the time to skimp in order to save a few bucks. At the end of the day, low-quality packaging supplies are just going to end up costing you more in damages, returns, and replacements. It is much more worthwhile to spend the money and invest in high-quality packaging supplies instead.
5. Label Properly
Lastly, make sure you’re labeling your products properly and clearly. If the contents are fragile, make that clear on the packaging. If packages should be placed “this side up,” make that clear too. You want to ensure your labels are large and clear enough to be seen by shippers and receivers.
With these five tips, you can help ensure your packages are protected during transport. This will save you time, money, and frustration. It’ll also ensure you continue to have happy, satisfied return customers.