Packaging 101: How To Package Products For Delivery
June 30, 2023
September 25, 2023
Why does packaging matter?
Packaging is one of the most important ways your online store can interact directly with your consumer. For instance, a carefully crafted, personalised unboxing experience could leave quite an impression on whoever is opening the parcel. Just as importantly, good packaging keeps your product safe during its delivery to your consumer’s doorstep by preventing your product bouncing around or getting crushed during transit.
Packing things the right way helps you save money by ensuring that you don’t need to ship a replacement product if the original gets damaged. On that note, it also keeps your store’s reputation intact as it prevents your customers from receiving damaged products or stuff that is ‘dead on arrival (DoA).’
What kind of packaging material would you need?
There is a lot of different packaging material you can use when packaging your products for delivery. This list covers some of the common material you can use but bear in mind that there are more types that can be used.
Polyurethane bag (good for light, non-fragile items)
Small single-layered cardboard box (for smaller products)
Larger double/ triple-layered box (for heavier and larger products)
Filler material and cushioning material:
Packaging tissue paper
Brown plastic tape (Polypropylene tape)
Electrical tape (Vinyl adhesive tape)
Duct Tape (Fiber-reinforced paper tape)
The kind of packing material you’ll be using depends on the type of product you’re shipping and its requirements. With that, here are some tips that will keep your products safe and your customers happy:
5 Steps to Good Packaging
In general, packing your goods will follow these steps:
1. Assessing your item’s requirements and choosing the right packing materials
Packages pass through many hands during their journey to the customer – going through first-mile service providers, air freight personnel, customs, and last mile partners just to name a few.
With this in mind, old boxes or boxes that don’t have the strength for the type of product you are shipping could fall apart as personnel haul them from one transportation stage to the next. These packages can also rub against other parcels and boxes during many parts of their journey, creating friction which could damage the package or its contents. All that friction and handling means there is plenty of room for your packaging to weaken and rupture if their material isn’t strong enough.
If you choose low-quality materials for your shipments, these materials could weaken and break during delivery, resulting in ruptures in the box or the product getting damaged during the journey.
To find out which materials you should use, take into account the following factors when choosing how to package your product:
The weight of your product- The heavier the product, the stronger the packaging material needs to be. You can check the strength of the box you’ll be using via its manufacturer’s stamp. Heavier items may need double or even triple-layered corrugated cardboard boxes. Lighter items can be packaged in a polyurethane bag
Size and shape of your product – If you’re using a box, there needs to be enough space for cushioning material. The item being packaged should not be touching the sides of the box.
Value of your product and its fragility – Fragile and/or high-value goods need extra cushioning and protection with a fragile label being a must-have. Place a fragile label on the box or parcel for good measure to minimise the chances of the product getting damaged during transit. If needed, you might want to consider the box-in-box method discussed later in this article.
If you are shipping an item that has no fixed shape and is also non-fragile, like a t-shirt, you can pack it into a polyurethane bag with some packing tissue. If you are packaging larger items that may need more cushioning and needs to be boxed, like cosmetics in fragile containers, our next steps have you covered.
2. Wrap all items separately
If your box contains multiple separate items, bear in mind that they could move around and bump into each other during transit. Wrapping and cushioning your items separately helps you ensure the items won’t move around so much and if they do, won’t result in damage.
Items that could be affected by dirt, water, or wet conditions should be placed in a plastic bag within your package.
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3. Cushioning and filling: leave no empty space, but don’t overstuff
Having insufficient filler material in your package causes your products to bounce around inside the box and get damaged along the way. Overfilled boxes, on the other hand, could burst during delivery.
As much as possible, there should be enough filler and cushioning material so the product doesn’t move in the box during transit and has enough cushioning to absorb any bumps the package may get during the delivery.
When adding cushioning and filler material to your package, ensure the box has enough room for sufficient cushioning around the delivered item. Use at least 2 inches/ 5 – 6 cm of cushioning. Examples of cushioning include:
Foam or cardboard inserts
The rest of the box can be filled with filler like packing peanuts, crumpled paper, or styrofoam.
Also bear in mind that if your boxed item is light, your shipment may be charged based on volumetric weight. Try to find a good balance between the size and cushioning needed to deliver your product safely as well as cost considerations.
4. Using the Right Sealing Material
If your package needs a box for delivery, be sure to use appropriate tape with the right width (around 2 inches/ 5 cm). Any of the three that were mentioned in the above list should is suitable.
If you’re packaging light products like T-shirts, you might be using a polyurethane bag with its own adhesive strip. Ensure that you’ve sealed the bag correctly to ensure it doesn’t open up mid-delivery or allow liquid to enter the package
As much as possible, do not to use straps or strings. These could damage your heavier packages or your logistics service provider’s machinery.
5. Sealing your boxes with the H-taping method
H-taping helps keep your boxes’ flaps secure during delivery, so your packages don’t open accidentally on their way to your customers. This can be done by applying sufficient tape to the centre and edge seams. Bear in mind that heavier boxes will need more tape to secure their seams.
6. Attaching Shipping and Handling Labels
The last step when packaging your packages is to apply handling labels, shipping label and commercial invoice along with other documents and needed. You can find more detailed information on commercial invoices and shipping labels in our labelling article.
When shipping fragile items, always remember to attach fragile handling labels on your parcels. If you are shipping items that have a chance of spilling, such as items containing liquids like perfumes or certain types of cosmetics, place a ‘This Way Up’ sticker indicating which way the parcels should always be facing to minimise the chances of spillage during transit.
The box-in-box method provides more protection for your product and can be useful for fragile or high-value products. Apart from offering additional protection, it can also help if your inner box is a major part of your branding experience and must arrive undamaged. Concealing the branded box in a common-looking outer box also reduces the likelihood of theft as people will find it harder to guess how valuable your package is.
To use this method:
Prepare an inner box and an outer box. The outer box should be sufficiently large to allow for enough cushioning for the inner box.
Place enough filling material at the base of the outer box before placing the inner box inside.
Once that’s done, fill the outer box with more filling material before sealing with the H-taping method.
Remember to place a fragile label on the box to minimise the chances of the product getting damaged during transit.
Appropriately packaging your products is important in cross-border shipping. Remember to choose the right packing materials and packing methods for your product, properly cushion, and seal your products. These practices help prevent damage to your product when shipping and can save you money on replacing damaged goods and ultimately improve your customer experience, leaving you with happy satisfied customers.