A major but sometimes overlooked decision all e-commerce businesses need to come to is how they choose to package their products so that orders are delivered safely and with the consumer in mind. Below, we’ve outlined some of the main points for e-commerce business owners and logistical strategists to consider when plotting their packaging strategy.
Products at the forefront
The products you trade should be the main consideration when determining your packaging strategy. A common consideration for any company with a wide product portfolio is finding cost-effective appropriate packaging for all of their products. To minimize costs and waste, companies should try to locate adaptable packaging which is suitable for multiple items in their stock.
Pay particular attention to your stock’s individual requirements, too. Anything fragile, toxic, flammable, heat sensitive, sharp should obviously be appropriately wrapped. To transport perishable products such as food we’d recommend using specialist food packaging to ensure that the produce will be protected from heat, moisture and insects.
The product is only the beginning
Failing to dedicate sufficient time to your packaging designs may mean needlessly using more materials than is required. As a result, you’ll find yourself paying over the odds for shipping costs and consumers might even judge your brand as not being particularly eco-friendly. Save money and avoid negative connotations by developing a packaging strategy which protects the product while using a small amount of materials – and is recyclable where possible.
The packaging you choose should reflect your brand’s characteristics. Ask yourself, do I want something low-key and mysterious or instantly recognizable and bold? Many e-commerce sites have low overheads, especially smaller businesses. They’ll often purchase non-branded packaging as it is often cheaper. If you’ve purchased non-branded packaging but would still like to leave your mark, you can purchase branded stickers to apply onto the surface of the packaging. Alternatively, to minimize fuss, choose a packaging manufacturer with bespoke packaging options.
Preparing for bulk orders
Be prepared for the possibility of an influx of orders over a short period of time from multiple different recipients, too. There’s been many cases lately of websites crashing due to traffic spikes – commonly ticket outlets and retail sites. Traffic spikes typically occur due to media attention, event announcements or new product releases attracting unusually high numbers to a website.
Developing a system on your website to prevent or minimize these issues can be difficult but worthwhile, if it means keeping your website visible and operational. Consider adding a content delivery network (CDN) to your websites infrastructure along with adopting the use of load and functional testing tools such as Gatling to identify and make adjustments to bottlenecks and critical failure points.
Sending out bulk orders
Once you’ve identified a date in which you’ll be required to distribute a bulk order, in advance, ensure you have plenty of packaging materials onsite. It’s best practice to always maintain a regular stock of additional packaging in case you enjoy an unexpected splurge in purchases with short delivery deadlines. Also, plan to have adequate hands on deck available for the physical activities involved in the order process.
Invest now to save money later
By investing in and upgrading your current packaging materials and processes, you’ll be able to release some of the strain placed on your workforce – as well as have the capability to meet more order requests. One of the main issues e-commerce websites face with their packaging, is goods arriving at their destination damaged.
It’s estimated replacing damaged goods can cost retailers up to 17 times the price of shipping a product – and the demand for protective packaging is growing. If you’re still unsure, consider using corrugated cardboard boxes – even the double walled versions are lightweight and either is strong enough to protect most products.
We hope you’ve found the above article helpful and consider using it as a resource during your next packaging strategy. Always remember, your packaging holds as much value in terms of how your brand is perceived as your products – so it pays to give packaging the attention it deserves!
About the author:
This post was created by Elizabeth Raw from R+R Packaging – suppliers of high-quality food, catering and other packaging solutions to a variety of industries.