6 Tips for E-commerce Fulfillment Friendly Packaging
Custom packaging is vital and knowing how to prepare your product for e-commerce fulfillment will make a world of difference in the way your brand is perceived.
One of the most important aspects of how your brand is perceived is the delivery window. In 2017, 63% of online shoppers expected three-day delivery.
This is a guest post by Brandon Rollins, a Marketing Consultant at Fulfillrite. Fulfillrite is an order fulfillment company for e-commerce and crowdfunding.
At Fulfillrite, we are well aware of just how important it is to ship goods in a timely manner. This is why we offer same-day order fulfillment at no extra cost to our customers.
Shipping can be extremely expensive!
If you’re not careful providing fast, error-free shipping and returns can eat away at your profits. This is true whether you ship in-house or outsource your e-commerce fulfillment needs.
Today, we’re going to give you six tips on creating e-commerce fulfillment friendly packaging. This way you can ship inexpensively, quickly, without damage, and without waste!
Use lightweight packaging to reduce shipping costs
We fill orders for other companies, meaning we take their inventory out of our warehouse, put it in a box, apply postage, and send it off.
There are more steps along the way, but this is the basic idea. The most important of those steps, for your purposes, is applying postage.
Postage is nothing more than permission to ride on a carrier’s truck or airplane. FedEx is a carrier, as is UPS, DHL, and the US Post Office.
Every single one of them assesses postage rates based on weight and the dimensions of the package. After all, weight determines how much fuel they will burn transporting the package. Dimensions play a role, too, but we’ll cover that shortly.
As a business owner, the easiest thing you can do to reduce shipping costs is to reduce the weight of your package.
This can be done in a number of ways.
You can reduce the weight of the item itself, choose lightweight packing materials, or even put it in a smaller box.
If you send a lot of packages, even an ounce or two can make a massive difference in the amount you pay in shipping overall.
Choosing the right box for e-commerce fulfillment
Similar to the above, every carrier prices postage at least partly on the physical dimensions of the package.
Sending items in a box that’s an inch or two too big can very quickly add up to additional costs for you.
When you’re manufacturing or assembling items, always consider the cost of shipping. Extra space inside the box – whether that be in the item’s box or the shipping box – will drive up costs.
Some people have even taken to manufacturing items around the sizes of flat rate US Priority mailing boxes.
When using this technique, you only have to worry about size since weight barely matters with these boxes.
In fact, I’ve even had 55 pounds of dumbbell weights shipped to me in a US Priority box. It cost the shipper the same as sending a 2 pound board game: $14.35.
Pack tightly to reduce the amount of extra material needed
The best way to reduce weight and the dimensions of your custom mailer box or shipping box is to pack tightly.
The item itself needs to be packed tightly within its own packaging.
Then, the box in which the item is contained needs to be packed tightly and placed into the smallest mailing box possible.
This also shaves a few critical ounces off the package weight because you are using a smaller box and less bubble wrap, styrofoam, packing tape, and so on.
Choose sturdy boxes to prevent damage
Though it is a beautiful process, logistics is also a human one. Packages fall off trucks. Mailmen drop items while walking to your door.
Most packages arrive safely and are not damaged in shipping. Yet when they do, it’s so incredibly disappointing to your customers who have been waiting for your item.
You might say, “This is out of our control. The carriers take our inventory after we’re done / our fulfillment company is done.”
Yes, this is largely true – many things are out of our control. However, with smart packing principles, you can reduce the amount of breakages.
First, make sure your outer packaging can handle a four-foot drop. Learn more about how to safely ship fragile items. If your items are fragile, use a corrugated box with thick walls as well as a lot of packing material.
There is a great balancing act here. Too much packing material will drive up costs. Too little packing material will cause you to have more returns due to damage, driving up your costs in a different way.
When creating packaging for item itself, try to use the sturdiest materials you can for the weight.
In doing so, you reduce the likelihood of damages during transit and therefore reduce the amount of returns.
The unboxing experience
A lot of e-commerce fulfillment comes down to figuring out the most cost-effective way to send a package.
That doesn’t really capture the whole picture, though. A good fulfillment process makes a customer feel important and it turns an online purchase from a hassle to an exciting event!
Want to use that excitement to your advantage?
Consider the angle at which the box will be opened. A lot of people have become very interested in perfecting the unboxing experience, and first impressions count for a lot here.
What is the first thing you want customers to see when they open the box?
Odds are, it will be the top of your item’s box. Many designers only consider the angles exposed to people shopping in the store.
To be fair, that’s very important, but you don’t want to neglect the side of the box that will be visible when your customers open their online purchases!
You have one chance to make a first impression – use yours to make a great impression of your brand.
Don’t forget marketing materials
Opening packages full of items I bought online is still an exciting experience. What should by now be a pedestrian experience is still a fun one.
When customers receive your items, they are in a good mood.
They are suggestible and it would be a great time to reach out to them with another offer.
Many companies opt to include marketing materials inside the boxes that they ship. At Fulfillrite, we can include marketing inserts for as little as $0.15 per package.
Cross-selling to existing customers is a great way to increase your profit margins. It’s also not difficult, so we recommend that you consider it during the e-commerce fulfillment process.
Order fulfillment is a vital part of your customer’s overall experience.
You need to ship items quickly, cheaply, and without damage. In addition to that, you want to consider marketing aspects such as the angle of unboxing and the opportunity to upsell.
Tiny changes in the way you conduct your business can have an outsized impact on the quality of your e-commerce fulfillment processes. We’re happy to share these tips and we hope that you find them useful!
If order fulfillment has become a burden to you, we provide services that save you time and money. That way, you can focus on doing what you do best – growing your business!