Shipping isn’t normally considered to be one of the most exciting parts of running an eCommerce business. So preparing fragile items for shipping can be especially burdensome. But there are some things you can do to ensure the safe delivery of your fragile products. Here are some tips for shipping fragile items for your business.
Tips for Shipping Fragile Items
Order Packaging in the Right Size
The box or vessel that you use to house your fragile items is one of the most important means you have to protect it during shipping. In most cases, actual boxes instead of envelopes or mailers will be preferable when it comes to shipping products that could be potentially breakable. But you’ll also need to make sure that you purchase boxes that are the right size for your products. Ideally, you’ll want to choose boxes that are large enough to fit some protective wrapping around your product, but not so large that the wrapped product will bounce around the inside of the box as it’s being handled.
Get Enough Wrapping Materials
That’s where the wrapping materials come in. In many cases, you’ll want to have some bubble wrap or a similar protective material to wrap around your products, making sure that you cover each surface and section. If you have uniquely shaped items, large boxes or more than one product that you need to fit into a box, you might also need some packing peanuts to fill the rest of the box, in addition to the protective wrapping around the product itself.
Protect Items from the Elements
When you think about threats to your fragile products, you probably picture your boxes being thrown around, dropped or mishandled in some way. But rough handling isn’t the only way that your fragile items can get damaged in the shipping process. Rain, puddles of standing water and other elements can also threaten their safe delivery. Plastic bags or shrink-wrap can be great in those circumstances to prevent any moisture or other potentially harmful elements from getting to your products and ruining them.
Attach the Wrapping Securely
The protective packing materials you choose to wrap around your products to keep them safe can vary based on the types of items. But the one thing that doesn’t change is the fact that you need those protective materials to actually stay put throughout the entire shipping process if you want your product to arrive in one piece. For that reason, you’ll probably want to use packing tape, bags that zip closed or other secure packing materials to really keep your wrappings in place until your package reaches its destination.
Don’t Wrap Items Too Tightly
While it’s important to wrap materials securely, it’s also critical to avoid wrapping your items too tightly. Doing so can potentially put a lot of pressure on fragile items like glassware or antiques. And that pressure can actually make it more likely for those items to break during the shipping process. Instead, try to wrap your items in a secure but loose fashion. The specifics can change based on the size and style of the product, but just try to avoid putting too much tension on items when you wrap them.
Seal the Box Closed
Once you’re happy with how you’ve wrapped the item inside your box or package, you’ll need to seal the actual box itself. Don’t skimp on tape. Otherwise, if your package comes open during the shipping process, all that hard work you put into wrapping that fragile item will be for naught. Instead, use high quality packing tape and cover all potential openings on all sides of the box.
Add More Wrapping for Distance
It’s a basic law of shipping — the farther your package has to travel, the more it is going to be handled. That means that if you’re shipping internationally or to a location that’s pretty far away, your package will have plenty of opportunity to be dropped or mishandled. So in those instances, you might want to add an extra layer of wrapping or tape just to make extra sure your items are going to remain secure throughout the whole trip.
Label Your Package
Even if you’ve wrapped your items and secured your box really well, the people handling your packages don’t necessarily know that your items are fragile unless you tell them so. You can make it really easy for them by labeling your package as fragile on every side so that no matter how someone grabs the box, they’ll see your label. If you ship a lot of fragile items for your business, you might even consider investing in a stamp to use on all of your packages.
No matter how careful you are in wrapping your items, you can’t control every single aspect of their shipping journey once they’ve left your care. So issues are bound to arise every now and then. If your fragile items are valuable or irreplaceable, you should strongly consider insuring them so that you won’t be put in a bad situation if something unfortunate does happen during shipping.
Shipping Photo via Shutterstock