Any online retailer knows that it’s absolutely vital for goods to arrive with your customer in mint condition. To put it simply, unless there’s a serious unforeseen mishap or an act of God, there’s no excuse for shoddy packaging. We covered some neat tips and tricks on packaging for eBay sellers in a previous post. We also touched on the green issue, which we will expand upon today. However, we’ve included new and interesting shipping related subjects such as how things can vary between couriers, and whether packaging slips are now an essential.
Going green: work those environmental credentials!
The recycled packaging materials of yesteryear had a rather lacklustre reputation and, frankly, weren’t up to much! However, these recycled materials have come on in leaps and bounds and are often just as good as their non-recycled counterparts.
So, here’s our advice on how to go green with your packaging:
- Using packaging that’s made of a high ratio of post-consumer materials is more environmentally friendly, but it also tends to be good quality.
- This is the perfect opportunity to include a little note with your package to let your customer know that you care enough to use recycled materials in your packaging. You could also pass on tips for reusing these materials, which many will appreciate.
Packaging fragile items
The secret to packaging fragile items is to make sure that there’s no room for movement within the box. Make sure that you label the box clearly with stickers showing which way up it should be kept and that it’s marked ‘fragile’.
Oddly shaped, heavy and/or large objects
It is best to use a reliable local courier service for these kinds of items. Furthermore, you’ll often find that their rates are comparable to those of the major carriers. Another benefit of going local is that you may well receive a slightly more “white glove” approach to your delivery. So, you won’t have to be as concerned about your shipments being damaged.
Should I include a packaging slip?
Well, we would advise you to. For one thing, customers find that it’s a convenient way to lay their hands on all their ordering details for their delivery. However, it’s also a great way to slip in some of your own branding. You can include your logo, your strapline, company mission and contact information. Why waste an opportunity like that?
Different approaches for different carriers
The kind of courier you use will influence the way you decide to pack your item. So, let’s explain – the large carriers such as UPS and FedEx are heavily automated and overwhelmed. So, we advise sellers using these giant companies to go heavy on the packaging. This should ensure that your shipments don’t reach the customers all damaged and broken.
In theory, local couriers should be more careful with your consignments, but don’t take this for granted and skimp on packaging.
Here’s our handy guide in case you need to file an insurance claim for damaged consignments:
- Take plenty of photos before you pack your item (before shipping), and then take plenty of them once you have finished packaging it.
- Make a signature on receipt a requirement
- Keep track of all case numbers, open cases, voice messages, letters and emails.
- Always keep a record of the full names of anyone you speak to.
So, now you have plenty more handy shipping tips and tricks, so get out there and wow your buyers with your professional image, environmental credentials and branded packaging slips.