These days, all businesses operate in an environment in which 3 out of 5 customers are willing to try a new brand or company for a better customer service experience.* Yet, when working on improvements to customer service, many businesses limit their activities to employee interactions with their customers either in person, by telephone, or over the web. Businesses often overlook, as a component of customer care, the shipping packages that customers receive from e-commerce purchases.
Deliveries must go through a much longer and challenging journey to the doorstep. In many cases, that delivery is the first time a customer is interaction with the service provided by your company. Consider the message conveyed to your customers if the products they ordered arrive in cartons that are dented, torn, or damaged. What is the message if your cartons are messy, covered in tape? If you aren’t employing good packaging practices, you may be inadvertently telling your customers that their orders aren’t a priority. To help prevent this, here are a few tips to improve carton safety and appearance during transit.
Choose the Right Size Box
Selecting the most appropriate carton size is important to ensuring that it gets to its destination safely and undamaged. Squeezing an item into a box too small can potentially result in it splitting or tearing during shipping. Conversely, under-filled boxes are at a greater risk of collapsing from the weight of other cartons stacked on top of them. Mitigating this problem is as simple as keeping a stash of shipping boxes in various dimensions in your inventory.
Use Sturdy Packaging Materials
It is tempting to reuse cardboard boxes when trying to economize. However, any savings gained can be quickly negated if the carton loses its integrity during shipping. It's best to use new corrugated cardboard boxes if there is any doubt about the carton’s efficacy. Carton strength degrades after multiple uses, particularly when used in more extreme temperature conditions.
If you are shipping items that are particularly expensive or heavy, you may want to opt for cartons made of virgin fiber. Recycled cartons contain shorter fibers, and each time fibers are recycled they become shorter and weaker.
Make Sure Cartons Are Adequately Sealed
One of the most common causes of damaged parcels is an inadequate carton seal. There are situations where the content weight makes regular plastic packing tape separate, resulting in carton breakage. Using multiple passes with a tape gun and pressure-sensitive tape provides great stability, but this gets expensive. The best solution for a strong and securely sealed box is to use reinforced water-activated tape. Available in a variety of widths, reinforced water-activated tape comes with a layer of fiberglass embedded within for strength. This is particularly useful when shipping heavier items.
A couple of additional added benefits of water-activated tape are branding and its inherent tamper-resistance. IPG’s Water-Activated Tape represents whitespace for your business to clearly message your company’s brand and your desire to delight your customers with security and a great experience with the service you provide. Traditional plastic packing tape sits on top of the box and is susceptible to tampering. With just a bit of pressure on the carton, it's possible for someone to reach into the box, pull out an item, and reseal the box with little or no evidence that it has been tampered with. Water-activated tape creates a permanent bond with the cardboard; in many ways, it welds itself to the corrugate so an attempt to break the seal to steal some of its contents will clearly be evident. Its strong adhesion and reinforcement make it an excellent deterrent against theft and pilfering.
In a world of heightened customer expectations, it makes sense to do everything you can control to ensure customer satisfaction. Follow these easy tips and your products will arrive safely to their destination…and this should bring a smile to your customer’s face.
* Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs.