Many consumers don’t give packaging a second thought: they’re just excited to open up the box and get to whatever item it is they’ve received. But if you work in e-commerce, retail, or logistics, then chances are that you’re keenly aware of the importance of proper packaging.
Good packaging processes are crucial for getting your product to the customer – especially when fragile or perishable goods are involved. If an item is packed improperly or carelessly, the product could be damaged, or could even be confiscated by inspectors during transit. And when this happens your company can quickly find itself stuck in a reverse logistics nightmare.
To help you avoid such a problem, the following are a few tips to keep in mind when implementing a packaging process for your wares.
- Be aware of any relevant regulations that you need to follow. For some products, notably perishables or chemicals, many countries have federal regulations that pertain to proper packaging. If you deal in sensitive goods, it’s important that personnel who pack your products avoid violating regulations, which could result in returned, damaged, or confiscated goods.
- Consider whether your item will be subject to inspection before it reaches its recipient. Depending on what you’re sending, the packaging might be opened for inspection before being delivered to its final destination. If this is going to be the case, it’s a good idea to pack it in a way that makes it easy to open up and reseal without endangering the item inside.
- Consider how the package will be transported. The journey of a box from the store or warehouse to the customer can be a rough one. Physical forces, such as being dropped or thrown around by handlers, can vary between truck, train, air, ship, and other forms of transport. Environmental aspects can also become a factor, especially temperature and humidity.
- Package an item with its physical traits in mind. This is probably common sense. A frozen item will require cooling by dry ice or another method; a fragile item will need to be securely cushioned inside its box to prevent damage. It’s also worth considering whether a product is sensitive to temperature, humidity, air pressure, sunlight, or other aspects of its environment. If it is, it may require special packaging to keep it safe and secure during transport.
- Consider reusable or eco-friendly packaging choices. Most people are aware of the environmental problems associated with disposable packaging, and many companies are choosing to “go green.” One easy way to do this is to look at using biodegradable packaging peanuts instead of Styrofoam.
- Heavier packages often cost more to ship. Although some items need plenty of padding and protection, it’s wise to keep the packaging as light as reasonably possible. This helps reduce shipping costs while saving money on the packing materials themselves. It’s also more eco-friendly, since a lighter package means less materials to be thrown away at the end of the delivery process.
These six tips can help you determine best practices for packaging whatever it is that you sell. Whether you’re shipping refrigerated steaks, antique vases, electronics, or even live fish or plants, the packaging should keep your products safe, secure, and undamaged during transit. Taking note of a product’s fragility and susceptibility to the elements can help you decide on the best packing method, making sure that the package arrives intact on a satisfied customer’s doorstep.