When the furniture that a customer purchased arrives intact and undamaged, it is positive experience both for them and for you. When the opposite occurs, and merchandise is damaged on its way to a customer, it can be costly in more ways than one.
First, there is the expense of returning and/or replacing the damaged item. That includes staff time, materials, shipping costs, etc. Second, disappointing a customer can also tarnish your reputation. Especially in the age of social media, you don’t want a shipping incident to be publicized and affect your standing in the market and impact future sales. Consequently, it pays to take the necessary action to ensure your furniture merchandise shipments are properly protected.
While reviewing shipping practices is one of those things that is easy to move to the back burner, the time to address them is now. Revising your procedures today can prevent a damaged shipment and the associated repercussions tomorrow.
“When merchandise is damaged on its way to a customer, it can be costly in more ways than one. It pays to take the necessary action to ensure your furniture shipments are adequately protected.” TWEET THIS
Strategies for Protecting Your Products
There’s low-hanging fruit to be had changing your shipping processes and procedures. Below are some simple steps you can take immediately to better protect your furniture merchandise shipments.
- Use the right shipper. Some shipping companies have a reputation for being more careful with packages than others. Do some research about potential providers and then choose wisely. It may be that a more conscientious shipper charges a slightly higher rate, but if the result is undamaged products and happy customers, it may be worth it.
- Employ blocking and bracing. Fragile and or high value items need to be immobilized and protected so they do not move around during shipping and handling and get damaged. Alternative product protection materials include air pillows, paper packaging systems, bubble wrap and protective foam.
- Pack in corrugated cartons. With their multilayer design, corrugated cartons provide both exceptional strength and a higher strength to weight ratio than other types of boxes. Corrugated cartons also tend to be very cost-effective.
- Use water-activated tape (WAT). WAT creates a strong and secure seal with just one strip. This can help keep heavy items from popping open a carton’s flaps and exposing the shipment to damage. The seal created with WAT is also tamper-evident, which makes shipments, especially of smaller items like accessories, more secure.
- Secure items properly. Make sure that items shipped on a palette are securely fastened to it with straps and/or stretch film. Also, inspect the palette before you begin the packaging process to ensure it is structurally sound and big enough to accommodate the items.
- Remove components that can be taken off and wrap them separately. Legs, drawers, and other items should be removed if possible and wrapped separately. Legs in particular are subjected to major stress during shipping and a primary source of customer complaints when they arrive cracked or broken.
Assess and Enhance Your Furniture Shipping Practices
Finally, it is important to track and compile data on damages. Doing so can help you identify problem areas, whether that is a certain item or a particular shipper that is involved in more damage claims than others. With that information, you can modify your shipping practices to help prevent future incidents.
And, of course, if despite your best efforts a customer receives damaged merchandise, be sure to take action promptly to turn an unfortunate incident into an example of exceptional customer service.
How can water-activated tape and water-activated tape dispensers play a key role in helping you get your merchandise to consumers in pristine condition? Contact us at your convenience to learn about these and other products we offer.