Chit Chats specializes in offering shipping solutions. Here are our top tips for packaging your goods when shipping to the U.S. or Canada.
1) Use a new box. While reusing is an important way for all of us to be helpful to our environment, it may not be the best choice for your package. An old box may be weakened and could break easily in transit. If you do reuse a box, ensure that all previous labeling/postage has been removed to ensure no confusion with the shipping carrier.
2) Use packing tape to seal your packages. Masking tape and/or transparent adhesive tape (like Scotch tape) is typically not strong enough to withstand the shipping process. It is a good idea to reinforce all the seams of your package for extra durability. When taping your packaging ensure that barcodes are not taped over as the tape can affect the scanning process.
3) Don’t get lost. Try to refrain from wrapping your parcels with paper. While, craft paper has a crisp clean look, it can easily tear which could result in your label and/or postage coming off your package and getting lost. An alternative solution may be to order boxes or craft bubble mailers from Mailers for Less or another shipping supply company to achieve a professional look.
4) Protect your delicate items. Your parcels trip to its final destination may involve a bumpy ride (or two!) so be sure it is well protected. Wrapping your item(s) in bubble wrap, prior to packing in the box is an excellent solution to protect delicate items. A good tip is to give your package a little shake before sealing it to make sure that everything is nice and secure.
5) Properly label your packages. Did you know that there is a international standard mail format? The format is one that most of us are familiar with, return address in the top left hand corner and recipient’s address in the middle of the package or envelope. Another important part of this format is that the return address (top left) should also be noticeably smaller than the recipient’s address. This is especially important for international shipments when there could be a language barrier and the only guide they will have is international standard format. Most shipping carriers provide guidelines with address formats and we recommend researching these guidelines. For example, USPS offers guidelines for international addresses here.
6) Invest in a thermal label maker. It may seem more economical to print out your labels and then tape them to your parcel but you may be surprised to find that isn’t the case. Thermal label makers do not require ink and are self sticking so you actually end up saving more money on printer ink and tape! The labels also make your packaging look more professional. If you do print out your own labels, make sure to cover the labels fully with packing tape, otherwise loose edges can get stuck in the sorting machines and rip off.
7) Size matters! Try to find a box or envelope that fits your items with little room spare. Typically you will be charged based on the dimensions of your package and you don’t want to pay for shipping air! Using bubble mailer envelopes instead of boxes can also be good cost saving choices (if your products can be safely shipped this way). You can also take advantage of USPS’ flat rate boxes which can reduce your shipping costs.
8) Make it easy. If you have a return policy, include return labels with your shipment. This shows your customers that you are taking their time into consideration and making an added effort to make their experience a good one!
9) Add a little something extra. Including a simple note thanking your customers for their business is a simple, yet effective way to add a special touch to their shopping experience. You can also take that idea one step further and add a special offer or coupon. This is also a great way to encourage repeat business. People love to save money and tend to spend more if they are getting a good deal.
10) Presentation is key. Your goal is to enhance your customer’s overall experience with your product and develop your brand. Keep your packaging consistent and try to come up with something that sets you apart. This could be using coloured tissue and ribbon to neatly wrap your product, so customers feel as though they are unwrapping a gift. Shopping has now evolved into customers interacting with products. If you make their experience a memorable one and they will keep coming back!