Common packaging errors

We recently shared some best practices and shipping tips for your shipments. Following these tips will help your packages move through carrier networks preventing delays or missed tracking scans.

Here is a list of the most common errors that can cause shipment delays or missed tracking scans.

  1. Package is not properly labelled. Postage label is attached on the corner or seam of the package where the bar code is not flat or visible. This can cause the label to be ripped, cut or distorted making it difficult to scan.
  2. Postage label is not clearly printed, blurry or the ink is faint. Check that the postage label is legible and not crinkled. If the ink is faint this can lead to missed tracking scans by the carrier.
  3. Old shipping labels on packages. Remove any old shipping labels on packaging to prevent any confusion or mix up with shipping your package.
  4. Underestimate the weight and dimensions of your shipment. Postage is determined by the weight and dimension of your package and inaccurate reporting can lead to shipping delays or postage adjustments.
  5. Use incorrect packaging material from another carrier. Always use the correct packaging material for your shipments to correspond to the postage selected. For example, using a USPS branded box when shipping with UPS MI or Asendia can cause your shipment to be undeliverable and returned.
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Shipping tips: packaging and labels

Packaging

Select packaging that will protect your items. This is especially important for international bound shipments as packages are often handled by multiple carriers.

  • Choose strong outer packaging or packing material on the inside to minimize any bumps along the way.
  • Wrap items in bubble wrap prior to packing in a box to protect delicate products.

Find a box or envelope that fits your items well.

  • Carriers charge postage based on dimensions and weight so package items as small as possible and minimize empty space in your packaging.
  • Be accurate with weight and dimensions to prevent any postage adjustments or undeliverable packages.
  • A bubble mailer can be a good option instead of a box that can help reduce costs if your items can be safely shipped in this packaging.

Use the correct type of packaging for your shipment.

  • USPS branded packaging can only be used with USPS postage. If you ship using UPS MI or Asendia, USPS packaging cannot be used.
  • Make sure to select the correct USPS flat rate postage when shipping in a USPS flat rate envelope or box.

Labels

Shipping labels have important details that carriers use to ensure your packages are processed efficiently. The label also has a unique bar code that is used to provide tracking updates for shipments that have tracking included.

Ensure postage labels are legible.

  • Crinkled or faded postage labels can lead to missed tracking updates because they cannot be read properly by scanning systems used by carriers.
  • Don’t cover the bar code with tape. This can cause the ink to fade and impact scanning.
  • Place the bar code on a flat surface and not over the edge of the package.

Properly label your packages.

  • Place the shipping label with the recipient’s full address on the most visible side of the package away from any folds or seams.
  • Verify your shipping address is not missing any vital information. For example, the unit or apartment number.
  • Research shipping carriers guidelines for international address formats.

References

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Shipping Tips for the Holiday Season

We know that this is a busy time of year! For USPS and other carriers the next few weeks are the busiest time of year with millions of parcels being mailed, shipped and delivered. The United States Postal Service said it is expecting to deliver nearly 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – now that’s a lot of packages!

Due to the heavy shipping volumes please keep in mind that there may be some tracking delays. We’ve noticed some carriers have been slower with tracking updates and some packages have been taking longer than the estimated delivery times provided by the carrier.

For international shipments, keep in mind that sometimes packages may encounter customs delays which are beyond our control. It’s important to manage your customer’s expectations and let them know of possible scenarios as international shipments are handed off to different carriers and the postal authority in the destination country handles the final mile delivery. Read our blog post on international shipping tips to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Practices for Shipping

We know there’s so much to know when it comes to shipping and that’s why we are here to help! We wanted to share some best practices to help ensure that your packages are processed efficiently and prevent any delays especially during this busy season.

Shipping labels have bar codes that are used to send tracking updates so that you and your customers can follow the journey of the package.

  • DO
    • Package your items carefully and as small as possible to ensure that you maximize postage options
    • Verify addresses with your customers to ensure that the package ends up in their hands
    • Make sure your labels are legible: pay special attention to the address and bar code information
    • Place labels along the long side of your shipments
    • Ensure your weight and dimensions are accurately entered to avoid insufficient postage which can impact delivery and costs to both you and your customer
    • Choose the correct service for your shipment and packaging
  •  DON’T
    • Cover the bar codes on shipping labels with tape or anything else as it can impact any scanning updates
    • Send labels that cannot be read easily (i.e. faded labels or printed in poor quality) as this can impact any scanning and ultimately tracking updates
    • Wrap the label around any corners or edges or fold along the bar code as this can impact any scanning updates
    • Guess the weight and dimensions of packages: this will help avoid underpaying postage

We encourage you to learn more on calculating correct postage from USPS or you can check out some useful tips on how to properly package your shipments on our Help & Support portal.