When e-commerce products are packed well for their journey, they make your customers smile. Products damaged in transit lead to frustrated and irritated customers who ultimately choose not to buy from you again.
Packaging your products well means they look as good coming out of the box as they did going into it. Good packing practices also help reduce product loss and the costs associated with it.
Here are some tips to protect your products along their way to your customers:
1) Take a good look at your product. There’s more to shipping a product than width, length, weight. Assess your products in terms of fragility and sensitivity to exterior elements. The fragility of a product will help you decide the amount of void fill you’ll need to protect your product and minimize how much it shifts inside the box during shipment. The exterior elements that could impact your product as it moves through the supply chain include exposure to light, shifts in temperature and contact with moisture. Identifying these factors helps you decide on the packaging and shipping options right for you.
2) Choose the box. For the best protection, ship in new corrugated boxes. Simple cardboard boxes aren’t strong enough to make it through the supply chain intact. Pay attention to the box’s Edge Crush Test rating (ECT). The ECT identifies the amount of weight that can be stacked onto a box wall before it collapses. Also, find out the box’s burst test strength. The burst test strength identifies the amount of pressure that will cause the box to break down. Evaluating boxes based on these ratings can prevent breakable products from being crushed and heavier products from tearing the box.
A single-wall corrugated box is most often used for small and medium sized products. These boxes cost from a few cents to a little over a dollar each, depending on the size. Double-walled or triple-walled corrugated boxes are better suited for larger, heavier and more fragile products. They have increased ECT and burst test strength. These boxes are more expensive (between $2 and $4 per box depending on size) but are well-worth it to protect heavier and more fragile shipments. Not incidentally, they also do more to protect your ongoing relationship with your customers.
3) Cradle the contents. To prevent shifting and breakage during transport, you’ll want to use void fill. This material fills in the spaces between the products and the carton. It reduces the amount your product can shift during transportation. Air pillows are an excellent (and recyclable) solution for packing fragile products. For particularly fragile or expensive products, like hand-crafted items and electronics, you may also want to box twice. That means you’re packing your products inside two boxes; one small enough to fit inside the other with enough room to cushion all around it with air pillows.
4) Seal it right. The right tape protects the integrity of the shipping box and showcases your brand. Branded water-activated tape, also known as gummed paper tape, which is water-activated tape on which a message or logo has been printed, provides these advantages:
- Branded look – Custom printed water-activated tape showcases your brand and improves the appearance of your package.
- Secure Bond – The tape’s adhesive bonds to corrugated cartons, even in dusty or dirty environments.
- Added Protection – Water-activated tape is available reinforced with fiberglass fibers for an additional layer of defense against opening as your product faces the rigors of the supply chain.
- All-Weather Use – Gummed paper tape is not affected by extreme hot or cold temperatures.
- Theft Protection – A carton sealed with water-activated tape can’t be opened without leaving a broken seal.
5) Address for success. To ensure that your shipments make it through the carrier’s processing equipment, make sure delivery and return addresses appear on only one side of the package. The U.S. Postal Service recommends that addresses not contain commas, periods or additional punctuation. They also suggest that addresses be parallel to the longest edge of the package. For added protection, put an extra address label inside the package, in case the external label is lost, damaged or becomes unreadable.
6) Protect those address labels. Wet weather not only damages boxes, it can make address label tough to read. Cover the address area of the label with clear tape, avoiding any barcodes that need to be scanned.
7) Choose your shipping day carefully. Ship perishable products on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, preferably for next-day delivery. If you must ship perishables on Thursday or Friday, make sure they are properly packaged and can withstand a journey of up to four days through variable temperatures.
You spend a lot of time, energy and resources producing products you’re proud of. Make sure that your e-commerce packages arrive safely so your customers are delighted by all you did to make them special.
Would you like to receive a free, water-activated tape sample? If so, click the sample image below.
Better Packages | Water-Activated Tape Dispensers and Tape
Better Packages offers a complete line of water-activated tape dispensers. Its parent company, Intertape Polymer Group, sells a full line of Central® brand water-activated tape, including reinforced and non-reinforced tape. In addition to providing products for packing stations, the companies help their customers analyze and solve their packing station challenges.