Tuesday, February 13, 2018

E-Commerce Packing Tips to Keep Customers Happy

When e-commerce products are packed well for their journey, they make your customers smile.  Products damaged in transit lead to frustrated and irritated customers who ultimately choose not to buy from you again.

Good packaging practices for e-commerce / e-fulfillment
Packaging your products well means they look as good coming out of the box as they did going into it. Good packing practices also help reduce product loss and the costs associated with it.

Here are some tips to protect your products along their way to your customers:

1) Take a good look at your product. There’s more to shipping a product than width, length, weight.  Assess your products in terms of fragility and sensitivity to exterior elements. The fragility of a product will help you decide the amount of void fill you’ll need to protect your product and minimize how much it shifts inside the box during shipment. The exterior elements that could impact your product as it moves through the supply chain include exposure to light, shifts in temperature and contact with moisture. Identifying these factors helps you decide on the packaging and shipping options right for you.

 2) Choose the box. For the best protection, ship in new corrugated boxes. Simple cardboard boxes aren’t strong enough to make it through the supply chain intact. Pay attention to the box’s Edge Crush Test rating (ECT). The ECT identifies the amount of weight that can be stacked onto a box wall before it collapses. Also, find out the box’s burst test strength. The burst test strength identifies the amount of pressure that will cause the box to break down. Evaluating boxes based on these ratings can prevent breakable products from being crushed and heavier products from tearing the box.

A single-wall corrugated box is most often used for small and medium sized products. These boxes cost from a few cents to a little over a dollar each, depending on the size. Double-walled or triple-walled corrugated boxes are better suited for larger, heavier and more fragile products. They have increased ECT and burst test strength. These boxes are more expensive (between $2 and $4 per box depending on size) but are well-worth it to protect heavier and more fragile shipments. Not incidentally, they also do more to protect your ongoing relationship with your customers.

 3) Cradle the contents. To prevent shifting and breakage during transport, you’ll want to use void fill. This material fills in the spaces between the products and the carton. It reduces the amount your product can shift during transportation. Air pillows are an excellent solution for packing fragile products. For particularly fragile or expensive products, like hand-crafted items and electronics, you may also want to box twice. That means you’re packing your products inside two boxes; one small enough to fit inside the other with enough room to cushion all around it with air pillows.

 4) Seal it right. The right tape protects the integrity of the shipping box and showcases your brand.  Branded water-activated tape, also known as gummed paper tape, which is water-activated tape on which a message or logo has been printed, provides these advantages:

✔ Branded look – Custom printed water-activated tape showcases your brand and improves the appearance of your package.
✔ Secure Bond – The tape’s adhesive bonds to corrugated cartons, even in dusty or dirty environments.
✔ Added Protection – Water-activated tape is available reinforced with fiberglass fibers for an additional layer of defense against opening as your product faces the rigors of the supply chain.
✔ All-Weather Use – Gummed paper tape is not affected by extreme hot or cold temperatures.
✔ Theft Protection – A carton sealed with water-activated tape can’t be opened without leaving a broken seal.

5) Address for success. To ensure that your shipments make it through the carrier’s processing equipment, make sure delivery and return addresses appear on only one side of the package. The U.S. Postal Service recommends that addresses not contain commas, periods or additional punctuation.  They also suggest that addresses be parallel to the longest edge of the package. For added protection, put an extra address label inside the package, in case the external label is lost, damaged or becomes unreadable.

 6) Protect those address labels. Wet weather not only damages boxes, it can make address label tough to read. Cover the address area of the label with clear tape, avoiding any barcodes that need to be scanned.

 7) Choose your shipping day carefully. Ship perishable products on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, preferably for next-day delivery. If you must ship perishables on Thursday or Friday, make sure they are properly packaged and can withstand a journey of up to four days through variable temperatures.

You spend a lot of time, energy and resources producing products you’re proud of. Make sure that your e-commerce packages arrive safely so your customers are delighted by all you did to make them special.

Would you like to receive a free, water-activated tape sample?  If so, click here.

Better Packages | Water-Activated Tape Dispensers and Tape

Better Packages offers a complete line of water-activated tape dispensers.  Its parent company, Intertape Polymer Group, sells a full line of Central® brand water-activated tape, including reinforced and non-reinforced tape. In addition to providing products for packing stations, the companies help their customers analyze and solve their packing station challenges.

[This post republished from the Better Packages Blog]

Thursday, February 8, 2018

7 Tips for Packing and Shipping Heavy Items

Packing and shipping heavy items has its own set of challenges. Your packaging has to be stronger and more protective than for standard shipments. Why? Because heavier shipments are more likely to be moved by forklift rather than human power and to switch trucks several times on the way to their destinations.
Pack heavier items properly to avoid them being damaged or destroyed during the packing and shipping process

It’s up to you, as the shipper, to pack these heavier items properly to avoid them being damaged or destroyed by handling by heavy warehouse equipment and switching between large tractor-trailer trucks. And, in fact, some carriers will refuse to accept items that they feel won’t survive the crush of a hydraulic lift or the arms of a forklift.

When shipping heavy items, shippers should make sure they can withstand:

✔ Getting dropped
✔ Being subjected to vibration from conveyor belts and trucks
✔ Experiencing compression on all sides from indiscriminate stacking
✔ Undergoing temperature and humidity changes

How do you avoid these problems? By doing a better job packing. Here are some tips to help you do that:

1) Ship on a proper pallet. Some heavier items are best served by securing them to a pallet. The pallet should be made of wood or plastic and be able to withstand the stress of being hauled and lifted. Such shipments should never exceed the weight restrictions of their pallet, according to a Shopify blog called,  “7 Quick Fixes for Your Biggest Shipping and Fulfillment Problems.”

2) Choose Durable Packaging. Choose corrugated cartons strong enough to withstand the weight of a full load of packages stacked on top of them. Only use new corrugated cartons that have been sealed securely with reinforced water-activated tape. You may also want to add an extra level of product protection to the inside of the box by placing a layer of Styrofoam along the bottom, sides and top of the shipment. Reinforce the bottom of the box with extra layers of reinforced water-activated tape for extra protection.

3) Wrap and cushion the items. Place heavy items in the center of the box so they don’t tilt when they are being carried. Surround them with a thick layer of air pillows for more product protection. Fill in any empty spaces inside the box. Never use crumpled newsprint or packing paper as it will compress during shipment. Make sure nothing moves inside the shipment. Heavier items are more likely to shift within a box.

4) Add another box. Slip the packed box into another box that is larger than the first and pad the empty space with air pillows. Depending on the item, you want to leave at least two inches of clearance between the inner and outer boxes. Really fragile items like heavy vases will require more clearance. You need to have adequate cushioning to protect the item in case the box is dropped or punctured.

5) Seal the box with water-activated tape. For heavier items, choose fiber-glass reinforced water-activated tape for extra protection. Water-activated tape actually bonds to a corrugated shipping box, protecting it from opening during transport. Using tape that is not designed for packing probably won't protect the box from opening during transit or may allow pilfering during the trip.

6) Avoid making boxes too heavy. Consider breaking especially heavy shipments into multiple boxes and wrapping individual components separately. Overly heavy boxes are more likely to break in shipment and present a greater risk that those lifting them may drop the carton.

7) Give it a shake. After the shipment is sealed, shake it. Make sure things can't move around inside the box. Anything that can move will smash other fragile objects in the box and potentially crush packing material. If you can hear things rattling around or shifting, you need to open the package and repack it. Many carriers will refuse to accept a box if items sound like they are rattling around inside.

The bottom line is this: Heavy items are especially prone to damage as they move through the supply chain. Properly packing them means they are more likely to withstand the vagaries of fork lifts, conveyor belts, transfers to multiple trucks and the challenges of over-the-road transit. That means fewer damaged goods and returns and, in the end, customers who more likely to purchase from you again.

Interested in trying a free sample roll of water-activated tape? Request a FREE tape sample

[This post republished from the Better Packages Blog]