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How to Reduce Damage During Shipping

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product damage during shipping

One major way to keep unnecessary costs at a minimum for your e-commerce business is by ensuring that products get to your customers in perfect working order. Damage during shipping - leading to broken or torn items, will hurt your reputation and your pocket.

Not only will you have to shell out to replace the product, but you’ll also have to repack and repost an alternative, hope your customer doesn’t lose faith in your brand and then get rid of unsellable inventory.

Of course, during shipment, your product isn’t in your hands, it’s in someone else’s and even with the best will in the world, they might not be as careful with it as you would be. There are three ways you can make sure that it arrives at its destination unscathed.

Pick the right packaging for your product:

Use the correct box size: the less empty space the better. Your product won’t be able to move around and consequently, will be more secure and not as prone to bumps or knocks from either the packaging itself or anything the package comes into contact with.

Companies often use void fill to achieve these ends (read our mini article on avoiding void fill here), but a box with in-built structural support, FlyPak for example, will negate the need for expensive, time consuming and environmentally unfriendly padding or cushioning, thereby killing two packaging birds with one stone.

Make sure your packaging is secure and tamper-proof

Ensuring your packaging is secure and tamper-proof is essential. Eradicating, or at the very least, reducing the opportunity for easy access to your products with tamper-evident seals ensures peace of mind for both you and your customers. At the same time, you’ll automatically build customer loyalty and trust in your brand and reap numerous hidden benefits like wider profit margins as the result of fewer returns and also, the all important repeat custom.

Picture of a broken glass that was delivered online and suffered from damage during shipping
Damage during shipping will damage your repution

And it’s not just a question of wanting to make sure that your product gets to your customer in the first place, it’s also the fact that you want your customer to know that the product – when it gets to them - is clean, safe to use and uncontaminated.

This is vital for obvious reasons if you’re a food or beverage subscription company or a medical supplier, but whatever the product, you’ll want consumers to have complete faith in your ability to get products to them in pristine condition.

Chosing the right courier will help you avoid damage during shipping

Of course, at the end of the day, no matter how good your packaging, you’ll have to put your trust in shipping and delivery companies. This is a classic example of where it can be a false economy to go with the cheapest option out there, especially if time and money has been invested in getting your product and its packaging right.

A professional shipping company is one that understands the complexities of eCommerce and is able to scale with your business. Additionally, not only should they be adept at delivering packages and parcels whatever the size or shape to minimise damage during shipping, but they should also be able to do so quickly and safely, whatever the address. Hopefully, they can provide tracking for both you and your customer and preferably, they’re going to have industry experience.

It would be a dreadful thing to fall at the final hurdle when you’ve put so much effort into developing your product and services and building up customer loyalty. Make sure you spend almost as much time choosing your shipping company as you do in perfecting your packaging.

Reducing damage during shipping is an exercise in saving money and it really does come down to the holy trinity of picking the right packaging for your product, ensuring that packaging is secure and tamper-proof and partnering with a delivery or shipping company that is as professional and dedicated as you are.

Stick to these three things and you’ll have a sure-fire way of getting your products flying out the door whilst keeping unnecessary, irritating costs relegated to history.

This article was written by...

Jo Hilton

I studied at the University of St. Andrews and have an MA in French and German. For a number of years, I worked for a Swiss financial institution and lived in Hamburg, London, Zürich and NYC before retraining as a primary school teacher and settling with my family in Cambridgeshire. When I'm not at school, I write content for various blogs and edit academic research articles for clients at ETH Zürich and the University of Munich. I'm also in the process of completing a Masters in Crime and Thriller writing at the University of Cambridge, so behind me you'll find a trail of fictional dead bodies and actual biscuit wrappers.

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