Written by Starshipit
The way you package your orders impacts nearly every aspect of the customer experience. You need durable packaging to ensure your products are delivered in great shape, visually appealing boxes to represent your brand, and sustainable options as well to meet changing customer demand.
We’ve put a guide together to help you choose the best possible packaging options for your products and your customers so they’re even more excited when one of your boxes lands on their doorstep.
There’s an obvious reason why the packaging you choose is important - it ensures your products get to your customers safe and sound. However, the decisions you make and the way you present your products can impact the customer experience in other ways as well.
Even just the way products are arranged in a box can show care and help your customers trust in your processes. You don’t want it turning up looking like everything has been rattling around.
There are a few criteria to keep in mind when choosing the best box for shipping and packaging your products. They are:
Choosing a box that’s too small or fits tight around the item you’re shipping not only doesn’t look right, it also makes the enclosed products more susceptible to damage as they don’t provide any protection from impacts.
On the other hand, a box that’s too large and isn’t padded can let items move around too much, or collapse when stacked with other boxes.
You’ll want to use strong boxes that can handle passing through all stages of your delivery process and stand up to any accidental knocks.
Heavy products need to be in corrugated cardboard boxes with flaps that are completely intact and taped up well.
While it can be tempting to reuse boxes, check to see if they’ve been compromised in any way first.
When a box leaves your store or warehouse, its journey is going to see it passed through many sets of hands, and potentially through conveyor belts, on to planes and in the back of a van. This varied jostling and movement can damage the products inside if they’re not packaged properly. Some common types of packaging materials to keep goods safe include:
However, you don’t have to use these traditional options just because everyone else does. Your packaging is the first thing your customer sees and touches after they’ve made their purchase and it can say a lot about what you value as a brand. Packaging your orders sustainably shows your customer you care about the environment.
Try to use as little packaging as possible, make sure it fits so you’re not wasting space and materials, and use recycled materials whenever you can. Better Packaging Co.’s new world first POLLAST!C mailing satchels are a great example. They’re made from 100% ocean bound plastic pollution, so using their packaging is kinda like commissioning a beach cleanup!
Once you’ve chosen a supporting packaging material, you then need to take the following steps:
After safely securing all the items in the box, it then needs to be well sealed with a wide packaging tape to ensure the box retains its shape on its way to the customer. The best way to do this is to tape across the seam where the flaps meet, and then seal around the other seams on the edge of the box.
Pay particular attention to the tape on the bottom of the box and ensure everything is lined up correctly so it won’t open during transit.
The icing on the cake if you will, the packaging labels are essential for your products arriving at their intended destination in a timely manner.
Any oversights here, such as not including a contact number for the recipient or having an address autofill incorrectly can really have a negative impact on the customer experience. It can also impact your bottom line, as some couriers will charge penalty rates for incorrect addresses.
As your business scales up, it’s no longer feasible to be manually typing shipping addresses out to go on your packaging labels. Starshipit can help you generate accurate shipping labels that will then be sent straight to your thermal printer or saved as a PDF so you can bulk print labels later.
If you’re using a barcode scanner, simply scanning the packaging slip will automatically print a label. We can help you greatly simplify this process while maintaining the accuracy that’s so essential to it.
Other steps you should take to ensure your package is properly labeled include:
Automated shipping solutions can prove useful here, ensuring all shipping information is included on your labels - not to mention auto-correcting any invalid addresses.
All these helpful tips we’ve given you don’t quite mean you’re ready to throw any old item in a box and send it on its way. Depending on what your customers are ordering and what you sell, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind.
The big one is dangerous goods. If you’re sending items that contain batteries or other common dangerous goods like aerosols, you need to check the guidelines for each courier service you use. Some will require very specific dangerous goods codes on the boxes, so in the event of an incident someone can identify what’s in the boxes and how to mitigate any damage. They may also have different weight limits for these items, or may refuse them entirely. Make sure you’ve checked with your courier before offering them for shipping to customers.
You also need to investigate maximum weight and size limits for the items you intend to send. Goods over a certain weight might have to be shipped in a completely different way if a courier can’t take them. It’s also good practice to put a sticker indicating the weight of heavier packages, so the courier knows what to expect when they go to pick it up.
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to worry about customers returning a package. But whether someone’s ordered the wrong size, or there’s been a mix up on their order, offering an efficient returns process is an important way to improve a customer’s experience. Shopify found that 92% of people who make a return will shop with a retailer again if they can offer a good returns experience.
Starshipit can help you offer a branded returns process to make things super simple for you and your customers. Customers can use a returns portal to generate their own return label and easily ship the parcel back to you for correcting.
So there we go! There’s a bit more to packaging and order than just taping up a box, but doing a good job at every step can go a long way to keeping your customers happy and reducing returns.
Partnering with a shipping fulfillment platform like us is another great way to keep track of orders and manage time-consuming processes like printing shipping labels. If you'd like to learn more, book a demo with one of the team, or try for free for 30-days!