Many eCommerce business owners underestimate the importance of their shipping decisions—right down to the packaging used. With such a wide range of options to consider, each with its own complex factors, it's important to give the matter the thought and consideration it deserves. Furthermore, each option and criteria actually has quite a bit more depth and nuance than one might assume.
Since the vast majority of people aren't well-versed in the specifics of packaging options for eCommerce shipping, they frequently don't know what questions to ask, which options to consider, or even what criteria to use. As a result, many business owners can't properly address the question of the best packaging option to ship their orders and end up losing money because of it.
They may even believe that boxes are the standard default or assume all options are more or less equal. What they might not know is that shipping with poly mailers has many unique benefits that make them the superior option in many cases. We'll go over:
Poly mailers are strong, lightweight, cost-effective shipping bags, often made of polyethylene. They provide a water-resistant barrier between your items and the elements to prevent damage during shipping and after delivery.
They aren't right for every business or product, though. Since they're basically plastic bags, they don't provide any protection for fragile items that can be broken in transit. Think of them as large, weather-resistant envelopes.
There are many benefits to using poly mailers that business owners may be unaware of. For those who can use them, they can be a real game-changer in many ways. Here are some top benefits of using poly mailers to ship your products.
Packaging and shipping costs can depend on a great many complex factors, including shipping distance and package weight. However, in many cases, poly mailers are the least expensive option. This is due to their light weight and low profile. When shipping costs are determined by weight, using poly mailers adds far less weight than many alternatives like boxes.
When using dimensional weight, poly mailers, being bags, more or less take the shape of the item being shipped and are only a few millimeters in thickness. Shipping items in boxes, even if the box is only a couple of inches larger than the item, adds to the dimensional weight.
You may also be able to get poly mailers at no cost. Depending on the shipping provider you work with and the specific services you use, some providers will supply the poly mailers for free. FedEx, for example, will provide free packaging to anyone with a FedEx account. UPS offers free supplies when certain air and UPS Worldwide Express® services are used. Consult your shipping provider to find out if you qualify for this offer.
Poly mailers are a very adaptable shipping material. Unlike boxes, which need to be close in size to the item being shipped, the same size poly mailers can fit items of various shapes and sizes. Anything from a letter to a jewelry box to a t-shirt can all be shipped in the same poly mailer. This is helpful for businesses that sell a range of products in different sizes and shapes as many items can use the same size poly mailer.
Poly mailers can have company branding printed directly onto them. They also easily accommodate other branding options like stickers and stamps. Also, custom cards and notes can be easily added. If you order poly mailers in large bulk quantities, many manufacturers will do custom printing for you during the production process. If your quantities don't qualify for this, there are also post-production printing options.
Poly mailers can also be a very convenient shipping material to use. Depending on how many items you ship over a certain period, you may need to keep large quantities of your shipping materials on hand. Rather than have large stacks of different-sized boxes piling up in your home or business, poly mailers are very thin and easier to store discreetly.
Also, many poly mailers can be used more than once. A lot of manufacturers have started adding a second adhesive strip to their poly mailers. Once opened, the second adhesive strip makes it easy to reseal and use again. This is a big plus for companies and customers concerned with environmental issues and corporate responsibility.
This is also helpful in more practical and tangible ways. If you've ever sealed a package only to realize that you forgot to add something, like the receipt, then you can probably already see a benefit in having this feature. With poly mailers, you can simply cut them open and reseal them without issue.
This is beneficial to customers, too. For example, you can mail out a customer's item in the poly mailer. When they receive and open it, if they want to return the item, they can now easily use the same poly mailer to ship it back. This makes it more convenient for the customer and makes it more likely that they'll return to your business in the future.
Poly mailers are best for items that aren't fragile or likely to be crushed or damaged during the shipping process. This includes things like:
Basically, anything soft or difficult to damage with pressure is usually suitable for shipping with poly mailers. Every item and situation is different, so consider the products you sell. Imagine the different situations they'll encounter during shipping. These include being tossed, loaded and unloaded, sliding into boxes, being squeezed between things, and more. Ask yourself if those events would harm the item. A t-shirt, for example, could easily survive all of those situations without damage.
If your item is fragile and needs some kind of protection, like bubble wrap, to arrive at the customer's location intact or could possibly be damaged by weight, pressure, or other shipping conditions, then poly mailers likely aren't right for you. Items to avoid shipping with poly mailers may include:
Again, consider your item in the worst possible situations it could face during shipping. If you're worried it might not fare well, it's likely better to err on the side of caution and avoid shipping with poly mailers.
You can get standard poly mailers from some shipping carriers and a wide variety of stores. While USPS doesn't seem to sell them, USPS allows shipping with poly mailers. Make sure to check with your carrier and see if they offer free shipping materials for the services you use or offer any discounts for customers. Some of the stores to consider include:
You may also want to consider buying branded poly mailers. Shipping with poly mailers and other packaging with your business's branding can make a more professional impression on customers. It may also make your brand stand out in their minds and help retain them for future business.
Many custom printing companies and shipping supply companies can provide you with custom branded poly mailers. Some examples include:
Shipping with poly mailers is a great option for a lot of businesses. If your products can be shipped without a lot of protection, then shipping with poly mailers could provide great cost savings, convenience, and other benefits. It's definitely worth looking into to see if you could be saving money and making your life easier.
If you have questions about your shipping options or want to learn how we can help you streamline your business and save money, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Eniture Technology specializes in helping e-Commerce merchants grow by providing useful information, digital marketing services, off-the-shelf apps that solve common problems, and custom programming services. Please contact us if you need help growing your online business or implementing the concepts presented in this blog post.
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