You may think shipping your product is as easy as popping it in the post with an address stamped on it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Over 7% of UK parcels get damaged during delivery, which equates to around 200 million damaged parcels a year.
Ensuring your packages are properly packaged is the best way to prevent your products from getting damaged too.
- Find the right packaging
- Choose cushioning material
- Wrap items individually
- Choose a suitable packing tape
- Seal the box properly
- Select the right delivery company
- Ship the package
How to prepare business packages
There are several things you need to be aware of when packing up your products ready for shipping. Check through the following points to make sure your packages stay in tip-top shape throughout the shipping process.
If you’re shopping around, you might want to check out Kite Packaging and see if they have what you need.
Find the right packaging
Packaging has one main goal, to get your product into a consumer’s hand as securely as possible. Simply wrapping your product in tissue paper and hoping for the best isn’t going to cut it.
That’s why you need to make sure you’re using the right packaging. This will vary depending on the product you’re sending. Orders of different sizes will need different packaging too, if they’re being shipped together.
Ideally, you want a strong corrugated box with some extra internal room. Having extra room on the inside will let you fill it with protective material, like bubble wrap.
Here are some ideas of what you could use:
- Packing tubes (for posters or bottles)
- Sealed plastic bags (for clothes and other light, durable items)
- Cardboard boxes (for everything else)
While you might consider sourcing reused boxes for their lower cost and ecological footprint, it’s important you don’t use them for shipping. Reused boxes have lower structural integrity, and can easily fall apart during transit.
This can cause your customer to have a bad experience and request a refund, which only damages your business.
Choosing cushioning material
Cushioning material is especially important when shipping delicate products. They help prevent the item from moving around too much and getting damaged.
Ideally, you want something that is soft but still has some structure. We’ve listed a few examples below.
- Bubble wrap
- Tissue paper
- Crumpled paper
The cushioning material you use depends on what products you’re shipping. Hard, durable products would be fine with something like crumpled paper, but delicate products might need bubble wrap.
Wrap items individually
This point is for shipping multiple items in the same order.
Wrapping all the items together before putting them in the box can seem like a good idea. After all, you’re protecting everything and using fewer resources.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that. Your products would be unprotected on their connecting sides, and still be subject to movement and damage.
It’s better and safer to wrap each item individually, even if this means you need a slightly bigger box.
Choose a suitable packing tape
This might seem obvious, but the shipping box needs to be properly secured. If it isn’t, then the rough process of shipping can cause the package to open or sustain damage during transport.
Consider Amazon — their packages are sealed by a tape with an internal string for improved strength. While this might not be necessary for your packages, it’s good to make sure your chosen tape is suitable for shipping.
Some options are:
- Brown shipping tape
- Duct tape
- Reinforced paper tape
Seal the box properly
Simply putting one line of tape over the box’s open end isn’t going to secure it. You need to apply the tape in what’s known as a ‘H-tape’ pattern.
It’s incredibly simple, but it dramatically increases the structural integrity of your package.
- First, place a line of tape over the centre seam when the flaps are closed
- Second, place another line of tape over each of the seams at either end of the flap
This should leave you with tape that looks like the letter H, and there should be no exposed gaps on the box.
Select the right delivery company
Part of preparing your packages involves choosing who you want to deliver them. There are loads of companies and couriers for you to choose from.
Each of these differ slightly in cost and services, so compare the companies below (or look for your own):
- Royal Mail
Don’t base your decision purely on cost. Make sure to look into customer satisfaction too, because a bad delivery can make your business look mismanaged.
Ship the package to your customer
You’re all done. All that’s left is to use your chosen courier and send the package to your customer. This might involve printing your own packaging labels, or getting a courier to come and collect them.
It’s usually a good idea to have some sort of tracking system with your products. That way you can monitor how far along the parcel is, and keep customers aware of when it should arrive.
Use Countingup to manage shipping costs
Since shipping costs are a business expense, you might be able to write them off on your Self Assessment. To make sure you get it right, why not download the Countingup app?
It’s a two-in-one business current account and accounting software that gives you clear control over your finances. The app also boasts various features like automatic expense categorisation — incredibly useful for keeping track of your cash flow.
Are you ready to give your finances a helping hand?