Online Business? the Best Way to Package Your Products for Shipping

Thu, Jun 14, 2012


If you run an online business, you probably spend a great deal of time packaging and shipping. While you can build in a bit of a buffer in shipping expenses, which may help your monthly operating costs, the convenience of online shopping is certainly on the side of the consumer. You sell products large and small, delicate and sturdy, liquid, cream and solid to addresses all around the world, and if you don’t make the right decision while packaging it all up, you’ll end up with damaged products you must replace or refund. It’s a delicate balance of time and money, but one you must master. So if you run an online business, here is a quick lesson in how you should approach packaging your products for shipping.

Deciding how to package for shipping really comes down to two basic elements: what are you shipping, and how are you shipping it? The size, weight, and specifics of your products will always lead you to choose one type of packaging over any other. And whether your package will then travel by the U.S. Postal Service or UPS, by the air, ground or sea will make the final determination. So start by laying out complete descriptions of every product you sell, and use that as your guidebook through the process. You can worry about shipping rates and convenience of pickup for delivery later on down the line.

The specific packaging choice for your products is broken down to its basic three elements: the inner packaging (whatever you use to keep your product stable and protected), the outer packaging (the box or envelope) and the material you use to seal it (tape, staples, etc.). You’ll have a ton of options for the outer packaging, including cardboard boxes, bubble, padded or corrugated mailers, flat, hard-backed mailers, tubes, plastic cases, or wooden crates. There really is no best answer; it completely depends on the specifics of what you are packaging. So revisit that product guidebook you made to determine your perfect outer package.

You’ll find a ton of variety in inner packaging as well. The most frequently used options are bubble wrap and foam peanuts, but you’ll also find various sizes and shapes of foam, inflatable plastic balloons, and corrugated inserts designed to fit around a product’s edges. Whatever you use, you want to make sure it properly cushions your product, protects the surface from scratches or bumps, and generally fills the empty space in the mailer. As long as you’ve got all that covered, you should be in good shape. But remember that books won’t need nearly as much help as perfume bottles. You’ll again head back to your product list to make sure you’re not going overboard. But try to consider the environment with this step. Packaging material is always thrown out, and rarely recycled or even reused a second time. If you purchase recycled packing materials, you’ll be doing a huge service to our environment, and adding to the efforts of many small businesses that consider environmental sustainability.

Finally, you need to pick your sealing method. Even if you’ve made all the right decisions so far, failing on this step will doom your product. The vast majority of all packages are sealed with tape, and most commonly it is pressure sensitive. That means you’ll have to push down on it with some force to seal it up. You could also use tape that needs to be moistened. But if any online shipping companies promote a button that tells you to click here for shipping discounts on duct tape or masking tape, go elsewhere. Neither option will work at all for your product shipping needs.

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