Protecting Your Product: 10 Necessary Shipping Steps for Your Business
Packaging is essential when it comes to your product, for both protection and presentation. Consumers expect to receive a certain quality of packaging with their product, especially as the popularity of social media reviews and unboxing videos continues to rise. Not only does the packaging need to keep your product intact throughout the shipping process, but it needs to be easy to reuse if a customer wants to return the purchase and must safely ship it back.
To protect your deliveries, you need to utilize high-efficiency shipping materials customized to the product size.
1. Pack Efficiently
The efficiency of your packing determines the state of your product when it arrives at its destination. There are important questions to consider when selecting the box size. How fragile is the product? Does it have sharp edges? The product should fit in the box easily without leaving much airspace around it. Consider air pillow packaging to secure the product snuggly and limit excess space in the box. At the same time, you must avoid over-packing the box or container with too much cushioning. Cushioning can include:
-Foam or cardboard inserts
Avoiding wasted space in the box enhances efficiency and helps customers receive their purchases in good condition.
2. Choose the Right Packaging Materials
For products that require cushioning, it’s critical to choose packaging materials that are specialized for protecting your specific product. Styrofoam peanuts might work for most shipments, but more fragile materials might need to be bubble wrapped or supported through air cushions.
If the product needs to be kept cold, gel packs are an affordable and effective alternative to dry ice. It’s also essential to choose a high-quality tape to seal the box. You need industrial-strength, water-activated and pressure-sensitive tape, so your parcel doesn’t split open during shipment.
3. Select the Right Box
The box you use for shipping goods is directly responsible for how protected and well-presented the product is on arrival. A new or gently used box is essential for maximum security, and it needs to be structurally designed for the specifications of your product.
Customized boxes specific to your product are a worthwhile investment for secure shipping and intact delivery. Consult experienced shipping and packaging experts to determine the cardboard grade and fluting that best protects your products.
4. Add More Wrapping for Longer Distances
Generally, the farther your package is traveling, the more protection it needs. If you’re shipping internationally or to a far-off domestic location, there are more opportunities for your package to be dropped or mishandled. Adding an additional layer of wrapping, ensuring the product is secure in the box and using extra tape can make sure the product arrives safely.
5. Don’t Wrap Items Too Tightly
While a secure fit is critical to keeping your product safe in the box, it’s vital to avoid packaging items too tightly. Avoiding tight packing is especially important if the items are fragile glass or soft and impressionable. Too much pressure on the product can cause the product to break, crack or alter its shape. Items should be secure but devoid of tension.
6. Wrap All Items Separately
If the package you’re shipping contains multiple products, you’ll need to wrap them separately to avoid their shifting within the box during transit. Individual wrapping and cushioning should result in your products being gently secured within the box so they can’t move around or hit each other with any force.
If any items in the package contain liquid, provide a layer of plastic packaging around all items to avoid moisture damage if anything leaks or breaks.
7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Using packaging that is eco-friendly and made from recycled materials or can be reused in the future for your shipments has various benefits for the company and the customer.
Consumers are likely to support and shop again at businesses taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. As a company, there can be an initial cost to change your packaging habits. But using recyclable packaging reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves on raw materials and manufacturing energy expenditure.
8. Design Packaging for Returns
Occasionally, customers may be dissatisfied with a product and need to ship it back to your business as a return. Creating packaging that can be unpacked and repacked enhances the consumer experience and ensures the product will still be intact when the product returns to you.
9. Label Your Package Clearly
Successful shipping requires a successful delivery. No matter how well you pack your product, if the labeling isn’t clear, then it might not arrive at the desired destination in one piece or at all.
If the package’s contents are delicate, mark them as fragile on all sides so the parcel will be handled with extra care. For big or small businesses who ship many fragile items, investing in a stamp to mark all boxes going out of the facility as fragile is good practice.
10. Parcel Insurance Coverage
No matter how well you package and protect your products before shipping, things are ultimately out of your control once it’s out of your facility. Consider insurance if you are frequently shipping fragile items or products that are not easy to replace. There is always a possibility of goods getting lost or damaged in transit, so having a financial security net can benefit your business.
In addition to adequate insurance coverage, consider implementing package tracking. Understanding tracking software and how technology is improving last-mile logistics gives you an element of control over the transport of your products and helps you ensure your goods are being delivered on time.
Human error is a significant factor when considering safety in shipping. There is no way to eliminate the risk involved as long as people are handling the packages. That’s why mitigating the amount of damage done to a product is necessary to consider before shipping.
As a business owner, you must decide how to package goods with these various elements in mind. Online consumers have high expectations regarding the condition of the product on arrival and the expediency of its delivery. The right packaging materials and custom cardboard boxes can mitigate many risks involved with domestic and international shipping to improve customer satisfaction and retention.
Cory Levins is the Director of Business Development for Air Sea Containers.