How to Prevent Product Loss with Ecommerce Packaging
Online shopping was incredibly popular even before the lockdown restrictions that came during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic of the past year, and it's only been increasing in popularity ever since. In fact, worldwide ecommerce sales are projected to grow to $5.4 trillion in 2022. With shopper demand supporting growth like that, it isn't hard to see why so many aspiring entrepreneurs are drawn to the idea of starting an ecommerce business, especially when there are templates for online retail sites to help you get started these days.
Naturally, like running any business, a successful online store requires a great deal of planning and hard work to get off the ground. It isn't all about your products and prices, either. Like any retail business, you also have your supply chain and customer service to think about. Running an efficient supply chain is crucial to make sure you can fulfill in a timely manner and keep customers satisfied.
Delivering packages undamaged and providing a positive unboxing experience are also critical components of the overall customer experience, so you'll need to think carefully about your ecommerce packaging. Of course, improperly packaging products isn't just bad for customers—it causes product loss due to damages on your end and will quickly destroy your bottom line. Here are some of the most important ecommerce packaging solutions to prevent product loss and ensure that you keep satisfied customers.
Use the right type of packaging
While a cardboard box is one of the most popular ways to ship items, not everything needs to go in one. Cardboard is durable and can deliver many products in perfect condition, especially when the products are also packed properly with fillers like tissue paper or packing peanuts. However, it's not the right packaging material for every situation.
For example, consider electronic products that could be damaged due to extreme temperatures or inclement weather. If a customer orders memory sticks from your fulfillment location, and they arrive in a cardboard shipment that gets left out in the rain, there's a good chance the products will be damaged. Had they been sent in a mailer with bubble protection, they could be placed in a mailbox where they would be safe from the elements.
If you want to rely mostly on cardboard shipping boxes, cartons, and other similar packaging solutions, corrugated fiberboard is becoming a popular choice. Corrugated board is more durable than cardboard, and it's also a lightweight and flexible option for frustration-free packaging.
Find the right-sized packaging for all your products
In a brick-and-mortar retail store, it's generally easy for customers to inspect products for damages or other defects. No such luxury exists when buying products from an ecommerce shop, however, and oversized packaging is one of the most common reasons products get damaged in transit from the fulfillment center to the customer. In fact, ecommerce products are returned at a rate of about 30%, compared to the brick and mortar retail rate of 8.89%.
A great way to reduce product damage and offer a better packaging experience is by eliminating extra space in your packages. Small and valuable items, like pieces of jewelry, really don't belong in large boxes. Instead, such items are better off wrapped in bubble protection or a padded envelope during the packaging process before they're placed in secondary packaging. Once the item is secure in the bubble mailer or poly mailer, you may place that in a small box to provide better security. Just make sure to fill any empty space in your e-commerce packaging with inserts like tissue paper, air pillows, and other void-fill items for the best experience.
Ensure that shipments are labeled properly
Sometimes, your packages may be damaged simply because the shippers didn't realize they were dealing with fragile products. You always need to make sure that you, or your suppliers, are placing the proper stickers on each box, pouch, or envelope to fit its product protection needs. If you use custom packaging to build your brand loyalty, it shouldn't be hard to create your own shipping labels with digital printing. Providing a positive unboxing experience with branded packaging always goes a long way toward inspiring customer loyalty, and it's a great option to assert more control over shipping.
Get shipping insurance
Of course, perfectly fulfilling packaging needs at all times is an impossible task. No matter how good your package design or ecommerce brand is, there are going to be some inevitable returns caused by ecommerce packaging issues. If you're shipping items over long distances where they can easily be damaged, the first thing you need to do is invest in shipping insurance, so damaged products or issues with shipping efficiency don't destroy your profit.
With shipping insurance, so long as your products were packaged properly, you'll be compensated for damages or losses. More importantly, you'll receive the purchase value of the product and its shipping costs, so you'll be able to resend the package to your customer at no additional cost. You may not be directly responsible for the product being damaged or lost, but you are responsible for fulfilling it for your customer. If there are significant delays, you can expect a negative review for your ecommerce business.
Rely on sustainable packaging
While this practice alone is unlikely to prevent significant amounts of damages, pursuing sustainability is the norm for many companies these days, and it comes with a number of important advantages when you're shipping merchandise. For one thing, sustainable packaging reduces your environmental impact, which is an important issue for many customers. You'll likely have an easier time inspiring customer loyalty with audience segments when you make your packaging sustainable.
Making your packaging process sustainable generally encourages using smaller packaging solutions, so you're likely to require less space for shipping over time, simplifying your logistics. Sustainable practices also reduce the amount of waste produced when creating the packaging itself, so you'll save on costs by using all of your products. Ultimately, providing frustration-free packaging makes it more likely for customers to continue using your ecommerce store, even if they experience a problem with a damaged product.