E-commerce continues to thrive. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spent a total of $870.8 billion in 2021 e-commerce sales, an increase of 14.2 percent from 2020. Each online shopping order generates a shipment. During Covid and now post-covid times, there has been significant increased volume in large bulky items being shipped that would normally be purchased in stores.
Packaging Digest finds that, “As much as 11% of unit loads arriving at a distribution center have some level of case damage.” Transport and handling issues are certainly a cause of this, but the root of the problem often lies in insufficient packaging. Shipping oversize packages is notoriously more expensive than standard parcels, racking up surcharges and additional handling fees, not to mention more labor intensive when it comes to finding the right container and materials.
To save on time and labor costs, you might be tempted to put odd-shaped items into outer packages that are too large and add void fill that adds to your budget without providing adequate protection. Even worse, you might skip out on much needed protective packing material because your shipping cost is already so high. However, this haphazard packing can be more expensive in the long run than spending the time and money to develop custom, best-fit protective solutions. Oversized packages are most prone to arriving damaged; adding replacement, rework and re-shipping to your bill and leading to a loss of customer loyalty.
More and more companies including Amazon are turning to the International Safe Transit Association, a global alliance of shippers, carriers, suppliers, testing laboratories, and educational and research institutions focused on the specific concerns of transport packaging. WIC can help meet ISTA standards by recommending a custom packaging solution that is the best-fit for your product and distribution environment. ISTA testing helps a company de-risk the cost of shipping by validating that their product and packaging will survive the distribution environment. WIC will carefully assess every aspect of a client’s budget and shipping needs and design packaging that ensures intact deliveries and world-class unboxing experiences. We can test packaging solutions to make sure contents will survive the harshest transit conditions imaginable.
Here’s why this is a good investment:
Calculating Profit-Loss: It may seem like you’re saving money when you send an oversize delivery with standard packaging. But if the merchandise is damaged before reaching the customer, you can hurt your bottom line more than you would if you used custom packaging from the start.
Lost Productivity: When a customer receives a damaged package, it sets off a chain reaction. Your customer service reps will have to respond to the displeased customer. The shipping team will have to repackage and send a replacement product. Others will have to inspect the damaged merchandise when it’s returned. All of this could have a negative effect on company morale.
Loss of Customer Loyalty: No matter how innovative and high-quality your product is, there are, or will be, competitors vying for your customer’s loyalty. Convenience is a larger part of the buying experience than you might care to admit. The displeasure with receiving a damaged item, the hassle of ordering a replacement, and the lost time from waiting for the new order could have a major impact on customer retention and future brand loyalty.
Tarnished Reputation: The very first impression a customer has of your product is the packaging. If it arrives damaged, and was poorly packed, that will leave a lasting impact on how that customer perceives your company. Most e-commerce platforms allow customers to rate and leave reviews of the product and their buying experience, and that includes the delivery or packaging.
More Than Dollars And Cents, Custom Packaging Makes Sense: Sending an oversized or odd-shaped item with standard packaging may seem cheaper and more convenient from the start, but in the event of damage during shipment, this decision could be far more expensive than doing it right the first time.
Protecting your products and brand reputation can be as simple as contacting WIC today to assess your packaging and shipping needs.
Many thanks to our material partner Pregis for sharing with WIC the content from this blogpost.