You focus on optimizing your website, optimizing your ad campaigns, inventory forecasting, and customer experience but what about packaging? Proper packaging is essential to keep e-commerce businesses moving forward in this era of high-volume online sales. Let’s take a deeper look at packaging, how it impacts the overall costs of shipping, and how you can optimize your packaging to reduce waste and shipping costs.
While you want your packaging design to enhance your customer’s unboxing experience, looking at and reassessing your packaging design and packing processes can save your e-commerce business a considerable amount of money and time. Here are some packaging ideas that can help save money and improve your fulfillment process:
Organizing Your Packaging Space And Materials
Utilize the space in your warehouse so that your packaging flows from one part of your packaging phase to the next, seamlessly, from boxing to packing to taping and sealing in fewer steps and in less time.
- Situate your most commonly used packaging products together in an easily accessible place. Store seldom-used materials in a different space so they do not interfere with the packing assembly.
- Tightening up your packaging area can help reduce damage to products caused by accidents in handling products.
- Better yet, automating some of your packaging processes can help improve accuracy and eliminate exposing your staff to physical dangers.
Automation Simplifies Your Packaging Processes
Increased demand for your products can pose several issues for your fulfillment operations. One way to avoid difficulties caused by limitations on speed, quantity, and labor issues involves automating parts of your packaging processes, such as:
- Fully automated high-speed carton erectors requiring no operator
- Semi-automatic, operator-fed adjustable carton sealers
- AI and machine learning
- Robotics for picking, sorting, and packing
- Smart packaging that tracks goods in the supply chain
- Warehouse management software that integrates with everything from your shopping carts to your pick and pack processes, relaying accurate data in real-time
Streamline Your Process
Automating your packaging processes streamlines your packaging operations in many ways, including:
- Better ROI for meeting quotas by increasing output with more orders processed in less time.
- Cuts down on material waste, reducing your carbon footprint, using properly erected boxes, with the exact amount of tape needed to effectively seal your orders, avoiding accidental damage, due to handling.
- Reduces incidents of injury and costs associated with workman’s compensation premiums. Healthy employees are freed up to cover other essential tasks in the packaging process, eliminating workplace dangers and avoiding financial liability.
- Enhances your product presentation with more consistency and security, enhancing your professional image which impacts your brand’s image.
Designing Your Packaging Scheme
Efficiency in packaging design helps automate your packaging processes. Consider:
- Printing graphics and logos directly on your packaging to eliminate costly add-ons, such as labels
- Using 3D printing techniques for packaging design and customization
- Utilizing software solutions that can provide optimized packaging schemes for your orders
- Using envelopes for soft items, such as clothing
- Maximizing space in boxes by packing more than one thing in a single box
Use More Sustainable Packaging, Reducing Plastic Waste
Plastic, along with other non-biodegradable fillers such as Styrofoam and even cardboard, accounts for the majority of our planet’s environmental degradation. According to Earthday.org, ??“On average, 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans each year, wreaking havoc on wildlife and natural processes.” While eliminating plastic seems like an impossibility, consumers are more likely to do business with companies that support sustainability and healing our planet. To reduce the need for fillers to protect your product, reassess the shipping containers you use for your products.
Packaging To Optimize Shipping Costs
While you need to protect your products during transport, you can optimize your shipping costs by packing orders in boxes that are appropriately sized for your products, because:
- Carriers charge the larger of the dimensional weight and the actual weight of packages that are large in size and light in weight.
- If your shipping box falls into the dimensional weight category, it may be cheaper to ship your items in envelopes or multiple boxes rather than one large box to avoid surcharges.
- You want to make sure your package doesn’t exceed the maximum weight limits.
- You will want to use hundredweight pricing if shipping multiple packages to the same location that weigh more than 100 lbs. for airfreight and 150 lbs. for ground shipments. Setting up your FedEx, UPS, and DHL accounts for hundredweight pricing, you will be charged the lesser of your per package or per pound cost.
- FedEx, UPS, or DHL representatives are willing to work with you to discount your shipping rates and if you designate one carrier as your primary carrier, you could also get volume shipping at a discounted rate.
Working With A 3PL Fulfillment Partner
Assessing your packaging processes and making adjustments to automate your fulfillment processes can make a huge difference in cutting shipping costs, reducing product returns, and increasing sales. However, for proactive e-commerce companies that want to optimize not only their packaging processes but their entire order fulfillment operations, partnering with 3PL service providers, such as Phase V Fulfillment, can significantly boost sales and improve their supply chain processes in many ways, including:
- Secure, temperature-controlled warehouses located on the east coast and near the west coast
- Advanced proprietary fulfillment technology, including integrated warehouse management and real-time inventory counts
- Skilled and experienced packing logistics personnel
- Automated picking and packing operations
- Discounts on packing supplies
- Packaging that optimizes space and lowers shipping costs
- Deeply discounted carrier rates
- Logistics team is always on the lookout to save money and time
- Reverse logistics in place for returns
- Transparency in tracking orders from warehouse to customer destinations