How to Reduce Shipping Cost by Just–The-Right Packaging?

As an online retailer, you agree that packaging and shipping costs are inevitable. Selling products online means you have to find a way to package and ship the product to the buyers in good conditions, despite the long distance. That’s why packing is always one of the most common sore spots in eCommerce. Moreover, shipping cost is one of the significant expenses in small e-commerce businesses. So, how do you satisfy your customer’s wish by shipping products in attractive packages, without affecting your profit margin? The trick is to use just-the-right packaging, aka the packaging that not only provides sufficient support for products, but also maximizes cost savings.

Before we discuss professional packaging, let’s answer a question first: What kind of packaging can be called good packaging?

The Requirements of Good Packaging

Your packaging is as important as the product in it. Through packaging, customers see a lot about your business and brand. I can say without exaggeration that packaging is a “silent salesman”. A beautiful and scientific packaging can convey to customers a variety of good brand images, such as caring, professionalism, attention to detail, etc.

1. Use Scientific and Reasonable Design

Scientific and reasonable design means the packaging is good-looking, well-structured and able to meet the actual use scenarios of the product. The basic requirements include: all materials and space can be used effectively, can be easily unpacked and used by consumers, can be made by low-cost material, etc.  For example, most Sodar on the market is packed in cylindrical cans, to facilitate people’s grip and ensure that it can withstand certain gas pressure. But milk is always packed in squared boxes so that the packing cost can be low and people can save space when stuff a lot of them in the fridge.

2. Choose the Right Packaging Material

The right packaging material is supposed to meet the needs of shipping safety, product presentation and consumers’ convenience. That’s why corrugated boxes and bubble wraps are the most commonly used packing materials, because they are strong, light, cheap, easy to cut and easy to fold. Nowadays, with the development of material science, many sellers start to use certain plastics as they are waterproof, sealed, decrease packaging costs, eco-friendly and reusable.

3. Get Simple and Reasonable Structures

It is good to concentrate on the label and graphic design. Besides, do not forget the shape of the package. The final box should not be too tight, loose, or complicated for the buyer and other people handling it. Make it simple and easy to handle and carry around. This will be harder to achieve when there are multiple products in one box, but with professional kitting fulfillment service, eCommerce sellers can get multiple packing solutions to ensure the best result.

4. Use Easy to Recycle/Discard Materials

If you want to understand this part, then think about a circular economy. It is an economy that regenerates materials to flow in a ‘closed-loop’ system continuously. Moreover, the circular economy ensures that the value of packaging material is not lost after using the material for a few times. Using them for more times means a decrease in cost and waste. 

How Does Over-Packaging Eat Your Shipping Cost?

To reduce the cost of shipping, you should recognize whether you are over or under packaging, both of them cause many inconveniences such as damaging the products, costing you more, ending up with a lot of waste and, to an extent, annoying the customer.  

1. Extra Weight Added by Packaging Materials

Net weight is the overall weight of the product only. For example, the net weight of canned beans does not include the weight of the tin and the box of it. Once you put products in boxes, or bags, you add additional weight in the overall load. After that, it becomes a total gross weight. A lot of shipping forwarders or fulfillment companies pay more attention to protective packaging (to avoid liability in case of transportation damage) and easy operation (to reduce working time and labor costs) instead of reducing shipping costs for customers. In fact, extra layers of bubble wraps can make a great difference: if your product has a gross weight of 1.1lb, then the shipping fee will be calculated as 2lb, you end up paying more. 

That is why you need to be smart and cooperate with decent fulfillment companies that offer professional packaging services such as NextSmartShip, which will carefully pack your product to ensure the product will not be damaged and the gross weight will not enter the next weight segment. 

2. Volumetric Weight

volumetric weight - length-width-height

Also, dimensional weight is another factor, or say, a pricing technique that most shipping carriers use. They charge it to ensure the best profit while dealing with larger lightweight packages. Here are some important facts you should know.

· Why Do Companies Charge an Extra Fee for Volumetric Weight?

Well, think about it this way. Shipping companies do not treat all weights equal. Light and flexible products can take a lot of space and prevent a shipping company from shipping other products. For example, in the shipment, feather pillows may take a lot of space than smartphones. It’s that simple!

· How Different Shipping Carriers Calculate Volumetric Weight?

How to calculate volumetric weight? Do it by multiplying the length, height, and width of the carton to get the cubic size of the package. For example, a box measuring 40L ×16W ×16H has 10,240 cubic inches. After getting the cubic inches, you divide them by the dimensional weight divisor. So, if you are shipping that parcel locally, then depending on the shipment method, your dimensional weight will be 74lb. Then the shipping fee will be calculated by the bigger one between the actual weight and the dimensional weight.

· What Are “Puffy” Items and How to Pack Them in the Right Way?

Some items such as puffy jackets and big pillows can easily generate dimensional weight. Using bags, bubble mailers for those less than 13 oz., can reduce your shipping cost. Likewise, you can use bubble mailers for clothes or books because it is cheap and light. But this is one thing to consider when packing puffy items, whether to compress the product to the greatest extent depends on the nature and use of the product itself, after all, no consumer would like a puffy pillow or a wrinkled shirt that can’t be restored.

3. Waste Material

Choose the right size of packaging material for your product. That means don’t use big packages for small products unless it is necessary. Choosing the right size depending on your product helps protect the product better, reduce waste, and keep the planet green.

How to Ensure the Packaging Is Just Right?

How can you pack your products for protection, and at the same time, reduce the cost of shipping? NextSmartShip uses the following tricks, which will give you some clue.

 Use Lightweight Material

There are many methods for the selection of packaging materials. A clear understanding of the strength and approximate weight of different packaging materials is the basic quality of a professional warehouse packaging specialist. With the same support provided, some of packing materials are lighter than others.

Here are two examples.

Due to its internal structure, the weight of the corrugated paper is very light, but its strength is comparable to a thick plastic plate. The same structure is normally used in bridge construction, such as the Golden Gate Bridge. Therefore, when waterproof is not required, compared with plastic foam and wooden boxes, corrugated paper is a good substitute with lightweight and low cost.

Similarly, compare to shaped foam, air column rolls are light in weight and provide adequate cushioning and support. Normally, without special requirements and instructions from customers, NextSmartShip warehouse packing specialists will use air column rolls to pack bottles, tall jars or other similar shaped fragile products. 

Use the Right Filler to Provide Uniform Support

At times, a product can need additional protections, and that is where packaging fillers come in. Here are a few examples of the best fillers.

  • Custom pads and partitions: These are good for small bottles, cosmetics, and jars.
  • Air pillows: Ideal for lightweight products
  • Crumpled paper: Perfect for toys, dolls, electronics, other small home appliances, etc.
  • Bubble wraps: They are suitable for fragile items such as mirrors, collectibles, other valuable items, etc.

Organize the Products Inside in the Right Way

Cartons that have multiple separate products can collide with each other during transit. Thus, to avoid damage, you can use wraps and cushions to hold the products firmly. If you have extra budget, it’s better to use custom packaging. For example, use customized plastic foam to prevent shaking and collision during long-distance shipping, and show a sense of entirety. NextSmartShip offers professional custom packaging and kitting services to help you pack all your products in the smallest possible pack.

Over to You- Make Significant Savings by Conquering the Packaging Cost!

While we all agree that packaging is an inevitable part of selling products, it does not have to be expensive for you. You can wrap your products the right way to reduce costs while still keep the product safe and secure during shipping.

Packaging your products means looking at all aspects, especially packaging materials and safety. It’s important to check where most of your money is going. If you need help at any point, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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