Choosing shipping supplies isn’t simply picking different boxes and interior packing items – it crucial to think about the kind of ‘unboxing experience’ you hope your customers to have; what material would complement and suit your product brand identity’s master goals. In addition to this – you should plan to sort your shipping supplies, in order to maximize your time and resources (and ensure you don’t need to make purchases from the office supply store at the last minute).

If you’re thinking this sounds complicated, time-consuming and expensive – you’ll be happy to hear that it isn’t. It simply requires some forward planning to give your customers a memorable and exceptional experience.

Here are few cost-effective ways to make the best of your shipping supplies:

1. Choose proper and suitable shipping supplies

Back in the 1900’s, when USPS Parcel Post shipped the first boxes, the end game was straightforward – getting a plain brown cardboard box from point A to B. Nowadays – shipping is much more than just that. There are four vital things to consider when you’re deciding on shipping supplies to suit your product.

Weight: When choosing shipping packaging – keep in mind that shipping carriers calculate your shipping cost according to the parcel’s weight, size and destination. What this means is that it will be more cost-effective to choose a lighter and more compact packaging – such as smaller boxes or bubble envelopes, instead of over-sized and heavy boxes.

Protection: To ensure that your shipping supplies protect their contents properly – you need to use the correct packaging material best suited for the product your shipping. Use item specific materials, such as a poly mailer for items that need to be water resistant or a wine shipper for bottles.

Aesthetics: In today’s marketplace – a product’s packaging is personally connected to the product’s brand experience. Consider personalising or customising your packaging so that it sets you apart from your competitors, whilst also giving your customers a memorable and distinct unboxing experience.

Price: E-commerce entrepreneurs often consider the cost of shipping supplies first, when ordering supplies. Even though the importance of the gross expense of supplies is vital, don’t try to cut costs on the right boxing and sufficient cushioning materials. Poor planning and packaging can damage your product and, essentially, your brand.

2. Get creative with your packaging

Choosing shipping supplies that will be the most effective and suitable for your products is the next important factor when planning how to package the products you sell. Many businesses, and in particular E-commerce businesses, simplify and organise their packaging material – by making use of only a few ‘primary’ boxes; mailers and a singular cushioning material for all the products they ship.

Consider some of these typical packaging options for shipping:

Boxes – Not only are boxes available in various shapes and sizes, they can either be lightweight or heavy duty. Lightweight options, like corrugated mailers, work well for smaller, everyday items; whilst heavy-duty items are clearly best shipped in heavy-duty packaging. Always leave approximately 5cm of space on all sides of the product for the package cushioning.

Bubble Mailers – These nifty mailers are E-commerce entrepreneurs’ preferred and most liked shipper. This is due to their lightweight material and saving on postage. These work well for shipping items that require a modest amount of protection because they are made of Kraft paper or have a poly exterior.

Poly Mailers – Poly Mailers are perfect for items that aren’t fragile, such as clothing. These mailers are moisture resistant, lightweight and quite durable.

Cushioning – Never try to save a buck by being frugal with your cushioning material. Wonderful options include foam rolls; air pillows; bubble wrap; peanuts or even a combination of these. If you are packaging with bubble wrap – always face the bubbles inward, as it offers maximum protection this way. When choosing and using cushioning – keep in mind that it’s an inexpensive insurance on your shipped goods.

3. Keeping inventory and storing your shipping supplies

Just as many E-commerce retailers meticulously manage and keep an inventory of their products and resources – the same should go for shipping supplies. It’s as simple are implementing the same tracking methods used on quantities; stock ordering; locations and bundles to your shipping supplies.

Tracking quantities – Make use of an inventory management system to monitor the number of boxes; cushioning materials and mailers etc. you have on hand. This will allow you to always have enough shipping supplies in your warehouse and thus to always be efficient when needing to ship products.

Stock ordering – The same technology will also allow you to determine when it will be necessary to re-order certain supplies that are running low, through automatic notifications. In addition, you can compile and review reports to determine which supplies are used more frequently and how long certain quantities of supplies last – to assist you in not spending all your capital on shipping supplies.

Tracking locations – Once again an inventory management system can help organise and simplify how and where you store your shipping supplies, whilst reducing the need to rearrange your warehouse to make space for new stock.

Bundling – The inventory management system to ‘bundle’ certain supplies, as you would with your products. This is also referred to a ‘kitting’ – as it allows retailers to sell certain related items together as a ‘kit’, such as selling a game console with an extra controller, memory card and games.

Although keeping track of your shipping supplies won’t be as stimulating as managing your products, it is an interrupting and inexpensive way to make the most of your shipping supplies.

In conclusion, I spoke to ship chandlers recently. They deal with many types of shipments, suppliers, retail sites and handle a host of shipments all packaged in different ways and they all, wholehearted, agreed that often the receiver’s first impression of the success of the product, or the reputability of the supplier, is based on the condition of the packaging! So there you have it.