Broken or spoiled items cost your business in more ways than you can count. Of course, there are the costly returns and loss of inventory. There’s the opportunity cost that comes from taking your staff off new orders to deal with fixing the old, mismanaged delivery. And your disappointed customer will usually tell everyone they know about their negative experience. Errors in packaging are errors your organization can’t afford to make.
Fortunately, making sure your customer gets their order unscathed and as advertised is easy, with the right kind of supplies and careful preparation. Here are some of the red flags most likely to cause your company packaging problems.
- Failing to consider the temperature for perishable/heat sensitive items. What is the final destination for the package? If it is above 85 degrees at any point on the shipping route, and you are shipping an item that could spoil, melt or degrade in effectiveness in the heat, then it is time to explore products that can help lower the temperature in the box. We generally recommend gel packs, and we carry a wide variety suitable for different package sizes. We also recommend that you only ship these items in 48 hours or less, to ensure the gel packs don’t lose their effectiveness in transit.
- Buying boxes that are too small for the item. We understand why your company might be trying to standardize its box buys and trying to save money. But, when the items you mail vary widely in size, you need to make sure you are carrying enough sizes to accommodate the items you are shipping properly. In fact, we usually advise our customers to make sure at least one third to one half of the box you mail is filled with packaging material, and not the item itself. This ensures that items don’t shift or touch edges of the box. When the item can shift to the edges, it will absorb the shock of any hit the box takes, improving your chances for breakage. Being skimpy on the packaging peanuts can cost you. Make sure you know how to measure a box so that you do not repeat this mistake.
- “Recycling” boxes. Making use of used boxes might be OK for storage in your home. But sending old boxes through the mail over and over is a recipe for disaster. The quality of boxes degrades significantly in transit. The corners are usually the first to go, losing their structural quality. Your package will be one careless stacking away from ruining your product.
- Failing to consider the size/weight of the package. Most shippers are smart enough to weigh their package properly for postage. But they don’t stop to think about the journey the package will take, and that will make all the difference. The heavier and larger the box you are shipping, the more likely your package will be at the bottom of the stack in the belly of a plane, or the back of a delivery truck. Being on the bottom means many other packages will be packed on top. Make sure your package can handle this, with reinforced corners and enough packaging to ensure your product won’t budge in the box.
- Failing to require that customers sign for the item. Many shippers have decided that requiring signatures to show the item has been received is too cumbersome and expensive. But, in our experience, this approach only leads to items getting stolen, left out in the rain, or left at the wrong address– upping your expenses and customer service headaches. Sending all your items “signature required” shows your customers that you value their customer experience and stand behind your products.