Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Top 5 Reasons Why Shipping Automotive Parts is Difficult


Driven by forces like a fast-growing world population and the fact that vehicles are staying on the road longer than ever before, the global automotive aftermarket is expanding rapidly. In fact, it is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2022 according to Global Industry Analysts.

If you are an online auto parts retailer, that’s surely great news to hear. However, as your sales volumes rise, it becomes increasingly clear that you face significant challenges when it comes packaging and shipping your merchandise.
“As your sales volumes rise, it becomes increasingly clear that you face significant challenges when it comes packaging and shipping your merchandise.” TWEET THIS
Why Automotive Aftermarket Parts are Difficult to Ship
To keep capitalizing on market growth, you’ve got to ensure that your merchandise continues to arrive at its destination undamaged and in packaging that creates a positive first impression. To do that, you’ve got to give consideration to what makes automotive aftermarket parts so hard to ship so you can address those challenges.
The characteristics of auto parts that create packaging and shipping challenges include that they are:
  • ✔ Large and heavy. How will your packaging support items like tires and engine components that can weigh hundreds of pounds? How will you box items that may not be excessively heavy but are big in size? You need to have good answers for these questions to ensure that your pick and pack operations are efficient and that the items arrive to the customer in good condition.
  • ✔ Irregularly shaped. Items like bumpers don’t fit well into any standard-size carton. Will you use a box large enough to accommodate the bumper and simply fill all the empty space with packing material? Or, will you have a shipping carton custom made?
  • ✔ Unevenly weighted. Some automotive parts pose interesting challenges because they are much heavier on one end than the other. As you pack them, you have to consider how they will be lifted and moved safely by your team and the shipper. 
  • ✔ Easily scratched. When the customer opens a package to look at the item they’ve ordered that is finished in gleaming chrome, the last thing they want to see is an ugly scratch. These kinds of parts need to be handled with special care and properly covered and padded in the carton.
  • ✔ Fragile. At the other end of the spectrum from the large, heavy items you may sell, are the smaller and more fragile components. It’s critical that you protect them properly to avoid costly returns.
  • ✔ Hazardous. Automotive parts that contain hazardous materials such as fluids that are flammable or caustic require special precautions and shipping procedures.
And, of course, as you look at the list above, it’s clear that adding to the “degree of difficulty” in shipping automotive parts is the variety of items that many retailers sell—large to small, nearly indestructible to very breakable, and everything in between.
Fortunately, there are packing best practices that cover items of all kinds. These strategies include using durable, lightweight, corrugated cartons to help protect items while keeping shipping weights down. And for sealing those cartons, strong water-activated tape (WAT) that creates a physical bond with the carton’s surface is an excellent choice. Not only can WAT seal packages with one neat strip, it can be printed with your logo or other branding elements to help generate brand awareness. 
The Final Challenge: Selecting the Right Shipper
No discussion of shipping challenges would be complete without mentioning that choosing the right shipper is critical. Will they handle your packages with care? Do they meet their time commitments, especially with rush shipments? There are many resources online that you can use to evaluate shippers and select the one (or ones) that will best meet your needs.
If you have questions about how our water-activated tape, water-activated tape dispensers, and other products can add value to your automotive aftermarket part shipping processes, please contact us.

Download our free guide to learn how to pack your automotive parts safely and securely—for a better bottom line.

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Proper Packaging: A Key to Success in the Automotive Aftermarket


A great way to grow your automotive aftermarket business — or any business — is to deliver an exceptional customer experience. In fact, as Forbes notes, it may be the best way to expand your business. The article quotes a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey in which 73 percent of consumers said customer experience is a significant factor in their purchasing decisions. But, only 49 percent of those surveyed believe companies today provide a good customer experience.

In other words, if you aren’t meeting your customers’ expectations, you are surely losing business. One pivotal moment in the customer experience occurs when the recipient opens the package you shipped to them and inspects the contents. If that process doesn’t go well, you have a problem. Proper packaging of your automotive aftermarket parts is crucial to the start or continuation of a positive relationship.
“One of the pivotal moments in the customer experience occurs when the recipient opens the package you shipped to them and inspects the contents. If that process doesn’t go well, you have a problem.” TWEET THIS
What Careful Packaging Delivers
Proper packaging of automotive aftermarket parts creates some general goodwill.  However, you may be wondering how, specifically, does it help your business? There are several ways, including:
  • ✔ Fewer returns. Ensuring that your merchandise is adequately protected during shipping means less damage and fewer returns. And those two factors combine to help improve your bottom line, both by reducing product costs and the labor associated with processing returns or exchanges.
  • ✔ Less theft. Sealing your shipping cartons with water-activated tape (WAT), which creates a secure, tamper-evident bond, helps reduce theft and the associated expense.
  • ✔ Positive reviews. People tend to give a lot of weight to the experiences of others when it comes to selecting a company with which to do business. A handful of positive reviews on your website can be a contributing factor to many future sales.
  • ✔ Increased brand awareness. WAT can be branded with your company name, logo, etc. When you seal your packages with branded WAT, everyone from the shipping company staff to neighbors who see the package on the recipient's front porch become more familiar with your company.
  • ✔ Social media shares. Social media platforms have made it easy for one person to express their opinion to potentially millions of others around the world with just a few keystrokes. If what they share is their satisfaction with the parts they received, it can give your company a tremendous boost. If their post describes an unpleasant experience — potentially with a picture just to drive the point home — your sales may suffer.
  • ✔ Repeat sales. It’s a business truism that the easiest person to sell to is the one that’s already a happy customer. When a neat, secure, beautifully branded package arrives with well-protected parts inside, you are already well on your way to repeat business.
Small Investment. Big Return.
It’s understandable that some companies say, “It’s the superior quality of our merchandise that matters. How it gets to the customer is unimportant.” Obviously, the first part of that statement is true. You have to sell an excellent product to succeed in business.
However, both personal experience and customer satisfaction surveys will tell you that the second part of the statement simply isn’t true. A customer’s perception at the moment they receive a package can affect their opinion of your company from that point forward. A small investment in time and effort regarding the packaging of your automotive aftermarket parts can deliver big long-term returns.
How can our water-activated tape, water-activated tape dispensers, and other products play a role in helping you impress your customers? We’re happy to tell you how our many satisfied clients are benefitting from them. Please contact us at your convenience.

Download our free guide to learn how to pack your automotive parts safely and securely—for a better bottom line.

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Monday, August 27, 2018

Why is WAT the Best Choice for Online Furniture Retailers?


The online furniture market is growing rapidly. In fact, according to eMarketer, U.S. ecommerce sales of furniture and home furnishings will exceed $50 billion this year. While those sales are a small percentage of overall retail ecommerce, the furniture category is growing faster than any other at over 18 percent. What’s driving that growth? A couple things.

Technology is one contributor. Advances in computer monitor display quality, website capabilities, and other factors make it easier for consumers to “see” a product and be comfortable purchasing it online. The other enabler of online furniture sales growth is improvements in shipping processes. Leading retailers are learning important lessons about how to package and ship their product so that it not only arrives safely, but also increases brand awareness and enhances the company’s reputation.
The Challenges of Shipping Furniture
There are many factors that make shipping furniture a challenge, including:
  • ✔ Size. Many pieces of furniture are large and not easily packaged.
  • ✔ Shape. Items like a tall lamp with a large base and head require unique cartons.
  • ✔ Weight. Many pieces of furniture are heavy and this must be considered when packaging them.
  • ✔ Fragility. Features like the slender legs on a stylish nightstand or the detailed woodwork on a chair back make protection from damage more problematic.
  • ✔ Multiple components. It is helpful if a piece of furniture can be broken down into smaller components, but then you face questions about whether to pack the pieces in one box or multiple boxes.
How you address your packaging challenges can have a significant impact on profitability for a number of reasons. First, the more efficient your packaging process is, the less it costs you in labor and the more revenue that goes to your bottom line. Also, ensuring that items arrive undamaged is key to avoiding the time and expense of handling returns.
Plus, the packaging decisions you make can affect shipping costs. You need to protect your product, but excessive packing material can affect the weight of a carton. Finding the right balance is crucial.
“How you address your packaging challenges can have a significant impact on profitability for a number of reasons.” TWEET THIS
Why Water-Activated Tape Should Factor into Your Packing Process
Water-activated tape (WAT), also known as paper tape, gummed tape, and Kraft tape, is unique in its ability to help you meet all the objectives of furniture packaging. Here’s why:
  • ✔ WAT is strong. When applied to the surface of a carton, WAT creates a physical bond with the material, essentially merging with it. Other forms of tape do not do this. That strong seal is your best bet for preventing the in-shipment opening of a box and damage to the product inside.
  • ✔ WAT is easy to apply. Using a water-activated tape dispenser, your packaging team can apply a strip of WAT in seconds, smooth it down, and move on to another package.  The adhesive will work its magic to rapidly bond with the carton’s surface.
  • ✔ WAT provides a professional appearance. If you use other forms of tape, effectively sealing a shipping carton may require multiple strips. One strip of WAT is all you need to seal a package, meaning the shipment will look neat and professional when the customer receives it.
  • ✔ WAT can be branded. Your logo, tagline, and other elements of your branding can be printed on paper tape. That added visibility can help increase awareness, help you stand out from other online furniture retailers, and grow sales.
  • ✔ WAT can deter theft. Other forms of tape are more susceptible to a thief pressing down on the top flaps of a carton, gaining access to the contents, and then letting the flaps spring back into place. This leaves you, the shipper, and the customer wondering at what point items were stolen. WAT’s tamper-evident seal gives thieves second (and third!) thoughts about trying to get into a carton.
A Packaging Upgrade That Pays Dividends
Switching to WAT is about more than getting a better form of tape. It’s about getting better financial results. You may not see that initially as you look at a carton sealed with that one clean strip. But over time, your books and the feedback you get from shippers and customers will tell the story. And, making the switch is easy. You simply purchase one or more water-activated tape dispensers and rolls of WAT, and you are on your way to more effective packaging.

If you have questions about our water-activated tape, water-activated tape dispensers, and other products, please contact us at your convenience. 

A Guide For Tape Dispensing Performance Solutions

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Are You Confident You Have the Right Packing Tape?

Central® brand reinforced water-activated tape (kraft paper tape) has a strong, tamper-evident seal

Is your company using the right packing tape? That may not be a question you’ve considered, but it should be. There are a number of reasons to think carefully about the packing tape you use, and potential financial consequences for making the wrong decision.

For example, using a type of tape that creates a strong seal and prevents a shipping carton from opening unexpectedly in transit can keep your products from being damaged and eliminate the time and expense of dealing with returns. In other words, it is a choice that can have a direct impact on our bottom line.
“There are a number of reasons to think carefully about the packing tape you use, and potential financial consequences for making the wrong decision.” TWEET THIS
Types of Packing Tape
There are two primary types of packing tape: plastic pressure-sensitive tape (PST) and water-activated tape (WAT).
PST is also referred to as poly tape, plastic tape, or simply packing tape. It is a clear, petroleum-based tape that has a pressure sensitive adhesive on the back of the film. It adheres to a surface based on the pressure applied as the strip is put in place. How well it adheres is based on several factors including:
  • ✔ how much pressure is applied;
  • ✔ how clean the surface is;
  • ✔ and what environmental conditions are encountered in the packing and shipping process. 
In today’s market, this tape needs to work on recycled cartons and this presents a challenge. Recycled cartons have shorter fibers than new cartons, because they have gone through the production process multiple times.  As a result, recycled cartons require more binders and adhesives to keep the fibers together. The shorter fibers and adhesive binders increase packaging failures and put your product and your profits at risk.
WAT is also be called gummed tape, reinforced gummed tape (when fiberglass is embedded), Kraft tape, or paper tape. It is made of white or natural color paper and starch-based adhesive. Water is applied to the back of the tape (typically using a water-activated tape dispenser) before it is applied, and this activates the adhesive.
When the tape is placed on the carton surface, a blotting occurs between the adhesive and the carton surface. This process welds the tape to the surface of the box by penetrating the fibers and creating a permanent bond to the box. This happens with minimal pressure on new boxes as well as 100% recycled boxes and represents the most secure way to ensure your product makes it from point A to point B. A positive customer experience and your profit margin is preserved with WAT.
Strategies for Assessing Your Packing Tape
Before making your next packing tape purchase, it pays to assess your current tape to ensure that the product you select meets all your needs. Below are some questions to ask about the tape you are using today.
  • ✔ Does your tape create a strong seal? You want your tape to help protect the contents of a shipping carton and to deter thieves who are more likely to target a package with a questionable seal.
  • ✔ Does your tape create a tamper evident seal? If a thief does gain access to the contents of a shipping carton, you want that fact to be clear when the recipient examines the package, so they can take prompt action to address the situation.
  • ✔ Is your packing process safe? How your team seals cartons for shipping is important. Repetitive motion injuries can result in medical claims and lost productivity. Also, the use of electric WAT dispensers that aren’t UL listed can be a risk.
  • ✔ Is your tape strong enough to hold up to even the heaviest shipments? The failure of any seal on a carton is problematic. The failure of a bottom seal can be catastrophic.
  • ✔ Does your tape maximize your ROI? If you need to use more strips of a less-effective tape, your “cost per shipped package” may be much higher than it ought to be.
  • ✔ Is your packing process efficient? The time it takes to prepare a carton for shipping is important. A few extra minutes here and there, struggling to get a proper seal, can quickly add up.
  • ✔ Can your tape increase brand awareness? Printing your logo, tagline, or other brand-building information on your packing tape can make more people aware of your organization and your offerings. 
The answers to these questions will tell you if you need to consider switching to another type of tape. WAT meets all these criteria, making it a wise choice for any shipping operation.
Results from Independent Testing
While PST has its place in every business, WAT consistently scores higher in testing for adhesion, packing productivity, and tape integrity in different atmospheric conditions. This is according to independent research firm SGS North America and its independent testing of different types of tape.
If you have questions about our water-activated tape, water-activated tape dispensers, and other products as you assess your shipping tape, we’re happy to share our insights. Please contact us at your convenience.

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[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Friday, August 10, 2018

How to Prep Mattresses for Shipping: 5 Proven Tips

Mattress Shipping
Careful packaging of your mattresses is more than just "the right thing to do."

If you are an online furniture retailer, you are well aware that New York City-based online mattress company Casper completely disrupted the industry a few years back. The innovative organization took a product that had historically been marketed and sold exclusively in brick and mortar furniture store showrooms and began offering it online. Other companies, from startups to industry giants, soon followed suit. According to Forbes, dozens of companies have entered the rapidly growing online sales segment of the $15 billion mattress market.

For any company looking to capitalize on consumers’ increasing interest in purchasing mattresses online, proper packaging and shipping is critical. With so many providers to choose from, shoppers will quickly look elsewhere if you don’t take great care in how your product is protected on its journey.
Why Proper Mattress Packaging Pays Off
Careful packaging of your mattresses is more than just “the right thing to do.” It’s also a wise business strategy for many reasons. First, it helps create satisfied customers. People who receive a shipment that has been thoughtfully packaged are much more likely to have a positive opinion of your company.
There are also cost savings to realize from proper packaging, in part because when you use a proven process for boxing your mattresses, you minimize material waste and associated expenses. You also accelerate the packing process, decreasing labor costs. Further, you cut down on the expense of returned merchandise.
“Careful packaging of your mattresses is more than just ‘the right thing to do.’ It’s also a wise business strategy for a number of reasons.” TWEET THIS
How to Prepare Mattresses for Shipping
Follow the five tips below to help ensure that your mattresses withstand the rigors of shipping and arrive at their destination in excellent condition.
  1. Carefully select the right shipper. With all the tasks on your “To Do” list on a given day, it can be tempting to choose a shipper based on just a few general criteria, such as their proximity to your location or a recommendation from a colleague. However, taking the time to research several shippers can help you find the one that provides the best combination of proper handling of large items like mattresses and cost.
  2. Use durable, high-quality shipping materials. To protect your mattresses from damage, use a durable carton made of corrugated cardboard. When sealing the carton, use water-activated tape (WAT). WAT creates a powerful physical bond with the cardboard that is stronger than other types of tape. You only need one strip of WAT to seal your carton.  This efficient use of material saves you money. 
  3. Provide additional protection. Securing the material inside thick gauge shrink film not only reduces the profile of the mattress itself but allows for the smallest possible carton to be used. It also keeps the mattress clean in the process. In doing so, the material presents itself to the customer in a vacuum sealed package which is rolled tight and under tension. Securing the product, as well as the case, with additional strapping tape, like IPG’s RG300, provides additional security and peace of mind as the heavy package makes its way to the customer.
  4. Use custom-designed cartons. The capital you invest in having cartons designed to meet your shipping needs can be recouped very quickly in the form of reduced damage and returns. Using cartons that are too big, too small, or a shape mismatch for your shipments is a recipe for disaster.
  5. Brand your shipments. Having your logo, slogan, company colors, and other branding elements visible on the outside of your shipping cartons doesn’t help protect the contents. However, it does capitalize on these “moving billboards” to increase brand awareness which can help you grow sales in a competitive market. Be aware that WAT can be custom printed with your branding.
How to Prepare Mattresses for Shipping 
To be successful as an online mattress retailer you must, of course, have great products. However, the value of even the best products is greatly diminished if they don’t arrive to the consumer in attractive and pristine condition. Consequently, in many ways, your shipping processes are just as important as your mattress production processes.
If you have questions about our water-activated tape, water-activated tape dispensers, and other products to help with our shipping, please contact us at your convenience.

A Guide For Tape Dispensing Performance Solutions

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Friday, August 3, 2018

Polyair Joins the IPG Family!

- Acquisition of protective packaging offering strengthens IPG's product bundle -


Press Release 

Intertape Polymer Group Completes Acquisition of Polyair Inter Pack (PDF)

About Polyair Inter Pack Inc.

Prior to the acquisition, Polyair Inter Pack Inc. was a privately-held company, having dual headquarters in both Toronto, Ontario and Chicago, Illinois. Polyair is one of the more significant manufacturers of protective packaging, operating seven manufacturing facilities and employing approximately 600 employees across North America. Its products include bubble cushioning, foam, mailers and air pillow systems. For more information, visit www.polyair.com.

About Intertape Polymer Group Inc.

Intertape Polymer Group Inc. is a recognized leader in the development, manufacture and sale of a variety of paper- and film- based pressure sensitive and water-activated tapes, polyethylene and specialized polyolefin films, protective packaging, woven coated fabrics and complementary packaging systems for industrial and retail use. Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec and Sarasota, Florida, IPG employs approximately 3,400 employees with operations in 27 locations, including 20 manufacturing facilities in North America, two in Asia and one in Europe. For more information about IPG, visit www.itape.com.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Important Tips: How to Protect Your Next Furniture Shipment

When the furniture that a customer purchased arrives intact and undamaged, it is positive experience both for them and for you. When the opposite occurs, and merchandise is damaged on its way to a customer, it can be costly in more ways than one.

First, there is the expense of returning and/or replacing the damaged item. That includes staff time, materials, shipping costs, etc. Second, disappointing a customer can also tarnish your reputation. Especially in the age of social media, you don’t want a shipping incident to be publicized and affect your standing in the market and impact future sales. Consequently, it pays to take the necessary action to ensure your furniture merchandise shipments are properly protected.
While reviewing shipping practices is one of those things that is easy to move to the back burner, the time to address them is now. Revising your procedures today can prevent a damaged shipment and the associated repercussions tomorrow.
“When merchandise is damaged on its way to a customer, it can be costly in more ways than one. It pays to take the necessary action to ensure your furniture shipments are adequately protected.” TWEET THIS
Strategies for Protecting Your Products
There’s low-hanging fruit to be had changing your shipping processes and procedures.  Below are some simple steps you can take immediately to better protect your furniture merchandise shipments.
  • ✔ Use the right shipper. Some shipping companies have a reputation for being more careful with packages than others. Do some research about potential providers and then choose wisely. It may be that a more conscientious shipper charges a slightly higher rate, but if the result is undamaged products and happy customers, it may be worth it.
  • ✔ Employ blocking and bracing.  Fragile and or high value items need to be immobilized and protected so they do not move around during shipping and handling and get damaged. Alternative product protection materials include air pillows, paper packaging systems, bubble wrap and protective foam. 
  • ✔ Pack in corrugated cartons. With their multilayer design, corrugated cartons provide both exceptional strength and a higher strength to weight ratio than other types of boxes. Corrugated cartons also tend to be very cost-effective.
  • ✔ Use water-activated tape (WAT). Water-activated tape creates a strong and secure seal with just one strip. This can help keep heavy items from popping open a carton’s flaps and exposing the shipment to damage. The seal created with WAT is also tamper-evident, which makes shipments, especially of smaller items like accessories, more secure.
  • ✔ Secure items properly. Make sure that items shipped on a palette are securely fastened to it with straps and/or stretch film.  Also, inspect the palette before you begin the packaging process to ensure it is structurally sound and big enough to accommodate the items.
  • ✔ Remove components that can be taken off and wrap them separately. Legs, drawers, and other items should be removed if possible and wrapped separately. Legs in particular are subjected to major stress during shipping and a primary source of customer complaints when they arrive cracked or broken.
Assess and Enhance Your Furniture Shipping Practices
Finally, it is important to track and compile data on damages. Doing so can help you identify problem areas, whether that is a certain item or a particular shipper that is involved in more damage claims than others. With that information, you can modify your shipping practices to help prevent future incidents.
And, of course, if despite your best efforts a customer receives damaged merchandise, be sure to take action promptly to turn an unfortunate incident into an example of exceptional customer service.
How can water-activated tape and water-activated tape dispensers play a key role in helping you get your merchandise to consumers in pristine condition? Contact us at your convenience to learn about these and other products we offer.

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[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]