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As the owner of an e-commerce company, your livelihood hinges on your ability to deliver customer’s orders safely and swiftly. The key to ensuring that you achieve this goal is to develop an efficient packaging strategy that reflects the types of products that you sell. Below is a detailed look at the packaging process and the single best way to ensure that you choose the best type of packaging for your small parcels. Be sure that you engage your e-commerce fulfillment company if you outsource so that they can partner with you in the planning process as well!
The packaging is the final phase of the e-commerce order preparation process. The purpose of packaging is to ensure that the products a customer purchases arrive safe and intact upon receipt. Further, the packaging is an all-encompassing process that involves three basic elements:
By selecting the proper container, packing material, and embellishments for your shipments, you will help safeguard against shipping damage while illustrating your commitment to quality. More importantly, you will increase customer satisfaction and grow your repeat business.
With the packaging process being the final touchpoint of the order preparation process, it is your final opportunity to make a positive impression on the customer before the parcel is shipped. It also represents your last chance to ensure that the merchandise is properly protected and professionally packed. Again, the best fulfillment warehouses will be able to assist you in developing this plan. Here are three key reasons why you should think strategically about packaging:
In addition to the three reasons above, you also need to consider the dimensional weight of some of your packages. Also known as “DIM Weight” or “Volumetric Weight”, dimensional weight is an estimated weight that is calculated by considering the length, width, and height of your package. Commercial carriers often use the dimensional weight to provide their freight rates, so it is important not to use a carton that is excessively large.
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If you are relatively new to the fulfillment and shipping industries, you may wonder where your e-commerce products will fall on the packaging spectrum. There are a number of different types of products for fulfillment. In general, e-commerce shipments fall into one of the following four categories:
Packaging manufacturers are continually adapting their product lines to reflect purchasing trends and carrier capabilities. E-commerce specialists are now able to choose from more packaging solutions than ever when developing their packaging strategies. Here is a summary of the main types of outer packaging used with e-commerce shipments:
One important thing to keep in mind is the difference between standard cartons versus corrugated cartons. Corrugated boxes are made up of corrugated paperboard that contains rows of air columns. The columns make the paper stronger than average cardboard with the air acting as a cushion for any items inside of them. The ridges inside offer strength and flexibility, as usually intended in packaging. Standard cardboard boxes, by contrast, are made of heavy paper pulp. Therefore, corrugated cartons are stronger and will be much more durable in shipping your e-commerce orders.
The type of inner packaging you choose is just as important as the outer packaging you select. And, as in the case of the outer packaging, there are many options available for consideration. In general, the type of inner packaging you select will depend on your product’s potential for damage and your commitment to an eco-friendly shipping process. Some of the most popular types of inner packaging are as follows:
When choosing inner packaging for an order, remember that you may need to use more than one type of packing to keep items protected. For example, if you are shipping four items, it may be best to wrap each item with bubble wrap and then place all four items in a box filled with peanuts. Or, you may need to take extra precautions to prevent damage by covering sharp edges with cardboard before wrapping them and placing them inside a box.
Sometimes it is the extra touches that really impress customers. In the case of packaging, there are several steps you can take to set your company apart from your competitors. While you can expect to pay a bit more for these extra touches, you will give your brand image a boost and keep your customers coming back to you in the future.
It is important to note that some time should likely be spent on your overall branding before jumping into custom branded packaging options. Some modifications may need to be made to your color scheme or logos/images to make them appear best on packaging. Furthermore, more time must be spent on the set up process, obtaining samples, proofs and approving production. Printing companies will usually offer volume discounts, so be sure to check to see the best price points for your business. In terms of printing, options range from flexographic printing (printing plate stamps the design on the carton, and up front costs include the purchase of the plate), to digital printing (the designs are digitally printed on the carton similar to the use of an office printer), to litho label printing (similar to wall paper, the printing is on a sheet which is adhered to the box, and high volume print runs can be competitively priced).
Below are some of the most popular forms of embellishments:
Eco-friendly packaging involves the use of recycled or renewable packing materials that are sustainable for people and our environment. As more e-commerce companies adopt eco-friendly packaging strategies, packaging manufacturers have responded by producing a greater variety of cutting-edge packing solutions made from corn starch and biodegradable materials. There are many benefits of eco-friendly packaging, including the following:
Learning about eco-friendly packaging is a great first step for your e-commerce company. But in order to actually have a positive impact on our environment, you need to take action as a business owner and build an eco-friendly culture. Here are some simple environmentally-friendly measures you can adopt with your packaging:
The following trends and best practices for E-commerce packaging can help ensure your customers will enjoy receiving and opening a package from your business:
Reducing shipping costs, gaining loyal customers in an increasingly competitive environment, and sustaining a high level of customer satisfaction and review feedback, are just a few areas where any e-commerce business can gain improvements by modifying their e-commerce packaging.
As outlined above, there are many factors to consider when packaging small parcel e-commerce orders for shipment. From choosing minimizing costs to championing our environment, to personalizing your orders, the small parcel packaging process is full of big decisions.
The single best way to ensure that your parcels are properly packaged is to seek the guidance of a trusted fulfillment company. An experienced fulfillment specialist will assess your product offerings and recommend cost-effective packaging solutions that are durable, space-efficient, and environmentally-friendly.
For over 15 years, the specialists with Fulfillment Companies have helped businesses across the globe find fulfillment specialists they can trust. Our strength is our ability to help you select the fulfillment provider that offers the best location and mix of services for your business. In addition to our expert guidance, we offer a wide array of resources to assist you in the decision-making process.
Whether you’re looking for fulfillment services for start ups or ship thousands of orders per month, we invite you to contact us to discover why companies turn to us for guidance in selecting the best fulfillment solution for their needs. We look forward to helping you streamline your e-commerce packaging!
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