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November 12, 2015

Five Common Packaging Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Packaging and distribution is an important element for any business. Mistakes with your packaging processes can make your order fulfillment operations less effective, enrage customers and lead to excessive overhead. Whether your business relies on shipping for huge orders, or only on occasion for smaller parts, you have to make sure you are doing everything right to avoid further complications. Here are five common packaging mistakes and some ways to avoid them.

Too Many Packing Materials
The first mistake many new businesses make is including too many packing materials in a box. Whether it’s an excess of tape or external wrapping, or too many Styrofoam peanuts, using up too much material can cost you a lot. Recycled sheets of paper, or even air pillows are easier to handle during fulfillment and make less of a mess for customers. Consider alternatives like these that will cost you less and make the process a little smoother. You can often get discounts when you use materials you already have around the facility to protect your packed goods.

Insufficient Labeling
You want delivery services and customers to know the sender and destination of a package instantly. Insufficient labeling could cause deliverability problems, returns, and even refused deliveries from customers who do not know the origin of the package. Make certain you use large labels and tastefully branded boxes to make all information clear.

You should also make sure your inventory and manufacturing equipment is in good condition. An overcrowded space with no organization can make shipping and packing more of a hassle.

Excessive Marketing Inserts
A major mistake is filling your boxes with marketing inserts. Adding too many inserts puts a strain on your packers, and annoys customers who have to sort through the materials. Make sure whatever inserts you provide are useful and will be used by the customer or client. Limit your marketing materials to just one elegant envelope or around three flyers. This will make packing, opening, and disposing of the package easier.

Using Oversized or Undersized Boxes
A common mistake is using undersized or oversized boxes for orders. Oversized boxes can cost your business money, and usually frustrate customers who have limited space. Undersized boxes could allow the items inside to be damaged. Always use materials that are just a small amount larger than what is being shipped. If you are shipping unusually sized items use custom boxes and packing materials. Fitting the boxes to your materials might take some customization, but will be worth the investment when the products arrive undamaged to the purchaser.

Boxes That Cannot Be Returned
A final mistake is sending orders out in boxes that cannot be returned. If your customers need to tear a box apart to get inside, then it cannot be used for returns. The same is true if you are sending incredibly large boxes. You want to package orders in a way so customers can easily piece everything back together if it is necessary to return the item. If you know the item will have to be sent back, make sure you provide an alternate envelope and stamp for customers. This will greatly improve the customer experience and make things easier in the long run.

You need to pay special attention to packaging so your business remains successful. Consider what packaging materials and techniques will streamline order fulfillment and make customers happy. Avoiding these common packaging mistakes is a good way to start.


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Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on getting better, more customized packing and manufacturing equipment contact Phoenix Specialty. Brooke is available via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

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