It’s no secret the rise in technology has changed the way we shop, and the explosion of e-commerce is a testament to that. Market experts saw the biggest rise in online purchases of all time, with predictions that this will continue to grow by 45% in 2016. What’s more a study by HL shows us that internet sales accounted for 15.5% of all consumer purchases in 2015, compared to a tiny 3% in 2006! With this in mind, your e-commerce business can likely expect to see an increase in sales, but with each sale means extra packaging materials to protect your items. So, what does your business need to successfully package your products?
The packaging is a major factor in brand representation, with consumers judging your product by the state in which they arrive. E-commerce retailers now face the challenge of ensuring the desired impact is made whilst maintaining the health of your bottom line all the while ensuring the packaging is acting as a protective barrier against damage to the goods inside.
Ecommerce Packing: What Your Business Needs
The Humble Cardboard Box
Using a cardboard box has long been the traditional way to send goods in transit, and there is no reason to step away from this trend. Since its invention in 1817, we have relied on this trusty material to ensure the safe arrival of products throughout the world. Since then, there have been major developments to the design however and now double walled cardboard boxes are the best option for protecting your cargo.
- Thanks to the corrugated inner section, there are rows of air columns created, this acts as an insulator protecting your goods against extreme weather conditions, this is ideal for E-commerce goods that are making a long journey.
- Not only do these air columns insulate the products, but they also act as a shock absorber, perfect for cushioning goods that are in transit.
- Invest in double-walled cardboard, rather than single-walled to ensure an extra layer of protection, this is preferable to disgruntled customers and costly refunds should your items be damaged.
Sadly, we cannot all be the suppliers of cuddly toys that come with their padding and many of us ship fragile goods that need extra protection. Bubble wrap, much like the cardboard box has been used for years as a protective material and this should not be overlooked. If your e-commerce site ships goods overseas you have less control over climatic changes and weather conditions. Bubble wrap acts as a cushioning barrier, a waterproof layer, and an insulator. It’s not worth sending your items in a cardboard box alone, the turbulence of the journey it out with your control so by investing in low-cost effective packaging methods you can avoid preventable damage.
Another excellent item that can be used to prevent against damage is starch-based loose fill chips, these are ideal for products that are unusual shapes. The chips settle around the product ensuring it cannot move when shaken during transit. What’s more, this material is 100% biodegradable so it makes an impact on your company’s carbon footprint whilst appealing to the sustainability demands of today’s consumer.
Sealed with a…
Of course, you can package your e-commerce items as safely as possible using the correct protective layers, but if the package is not secured with industrial tape, then the chances of the item making it to its destination intact are slim. Protective packaging tape comes in many eye-catching patterns and colors, uses these to give your items some personality, or mirrors your brand’s color scheme. We do judge books by their covers, so ensure the final design is appealing to the eye. Printed packing tape will prevent your boxes from opening during shipment and creates an extra barrier from rain between any seams.
Traditionally, shipping costs were based only on the weight of the package, but this led to inefficiency with a typical e-commerce packaging being made up of 40% air! This was especially true of companies such as Amazon, who recently came under mass scrutiny in the media for their wasteful packaging, which not only led to wasted materials but frustrated customers as they were left with the responsibility of disposing of the excess materials.
Dimensional packaging is a new system that’s been introduced to combat this wastefulness; dimensional or volumetric pricing means that shipping costs are based on the higher of two measurements: package weight or package size. If your e-commerce business does not optimize packaging and reduce unnecessary materials that lead to huge air-filled packages you will be faced with a higher shipping cost.
One way to ensure your e-commerce business is not hit with extra shipping charges is by embracing minimal, yet effective packaging. Not only will it not only increase the appeal of your goods to customers but will also reduce the carbon footprint of your company. This is especially important today as a study by Nielson shows that 52% of consumers make decisions about the product they purchase based on the environmental impact of the brand.
The future of packaging an e-commerce
The world of e-commerce is growing each year with market trends evolving at the same time. Consumers today are affected by the aesthetic appearance of your package, but also by the environmental impact that your brand has. By investing in proper packaging materials that protect your goods and are also sustainably sourced you ensure your goods arrive safely and your brand image is upheld. The world of dimensional packaging can be tricky to navigate initially but by avoiding excess packaging materials and too-large boxes for the size of the goods these extra charges can be avoided and your customers won’t be frustrated with the inconvenience of surplus materials.