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In recent years, the economy has witnessed an e-commerce boom far beyond our initial expectations, and this fast-paced growth is set to continue even more. But while businesses have flourished through the opportunities that online selling and marketplaces bring, they are exposed to the challenges of shipping that can make or break a customer’s buying experience.
This challenge is especially evident when it comes to shipping fragile items. Including everything from ceramic and glassware to electronics and medical products, fragile items are one of the most difficult goods to ship securely.
And to make matters more complex, fragile items also tend to be more valuable, meaning higher expenses for the seller and a lower buyer satisfaction rate if the product needs to be reshipped due to damage.
While businesses may not always be able to guarantee a successful delivery for fragile items, there are many steps sellers can take to significantly reduce the risk of damage. Find out what these are below!
It goes without saying that the courier is “the middle man” between the buyer and seller. While selecting a courier might seem like an easy and quick decision, sellers must be aware that every courier has its own set of services and standards. These standards matter significantly when shipping fragile goods.
That is why it is important to research and carefully choose your courier beforehand. An excellent starting point for this is to ask yourself about your target audience. Consider questions such as:
The answers to these questions can shape how you select both the courier and packaging you use to ship. For example, if you are shipping locally, it may help to reach out to other non-competitor businesses in the area for their recommendations. Similarly, you may want to find out what processes a courier has if the recipient is unable to accept their item, such as placing it in a secure locker or attempting a redelivery the following day.
Another tip is to pay attention to what couriers your competitors use and analyze their customer reviews to identify if a particular courier has had difficulty in delivering products similar to yours. If you spot negative reviews about a product arriving broken or damaged, you may want to think twice before selecting that same courier. Alternatively, frequent customer feedback that highlighted a secure and easy delivery can indicate a reliable courier.
Whichever approach you take, it is important to make sure you are confident that your courier will take good care of your fragile item during transit.
Once you are confident your item is being delivered through a quality courier, the next step is to make sure your package is doing its part to protect it. One of the most important ways to achieve this is by selecting the correct box size for your product.
While no one size fits all, it is a good idea to keep your product-to-package ratio as balanced as possible. This is because having too large of a box creates empty space, known as void. Having too much void in a package is a problem for fragile products as it does not keep it restricted from movement during knocks, drops or repeated vibrations that commonly occur during shipping. Cutting out this unnecessary void by choosing boxes similar to your product’s size will significantly restrict how much the item will move in a box and keep it better protected.
That said, leaving a small amount of void in a package can be ideal. For instance, if your packaging box is too tight, it is more likely to scuff or split open, leaving the fragile product inside exposed to the elements. Therefore, try to find a box slightly larger than the product and fill out the remaining empty space with flexible packaging materials known as void fill. Learn more about void fill in the third tip below.
Are you shipping small, fragile items in envelope packages like mailers? While you might not be able to make use of the tip above, your product is still at risk of being damaged due to crushing or folding, particularly when being passed through to your buyer’s packaging receptacle.
Thankfully, there is a solution. Right Mailers™ is an innovative labeling system that makes it easier than ever before to choose the right mailer for your customer’s packaging receptacle and boost the likelihood of a successful, first-time delivery. Learn how it works here!
By this point, you now have the correctly-sized box and a reliable courier to securely deliver it for you, but there is still one step missing: selecting quality void fill.
As mentioned earlier on, void fill represents a type of packaging materials that act to protect a product from inside the packaging box. They are particularly useful if you are selling a fragile product that may not squarely fit into the shape of a cardboard box and causes void, such as ceramics, artwork, or electronic devices.
There are plenty of void fill options available to choose from. These include:
Each type of void fill has its own benefits, with some being better suited for larger items like furniture while others are excellent at insulating and shielding smaller, sensitive products like electronics or medical goods. If you are unsure about which void fill you should choose, consider contacting a packaging consultant and asking them for recommendations based on your product range.
While packaging a product may appear to be easy at first, getting it right with fragile items represents a much more difficult challenge. And if done incorrectly, this could negatively affect your customers’ buying experience.
If you are looking to optimize your packaging and give your customers a quality buying experience, consider Crownhill Packaging. As innovators in the packaging space, we provide our clients with quality packaging solutions that make efficient use of next-generation packaging technology to protect their goods. Let us help you get the reliable packaging process your business deserves, get in touch with our team today to learn more about our packaging products and solutions.