Five mistakes to avoid when packing your items

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While good packaging choices may help beautify a parcel, durable and strong packaging can keep breakable items well-protected from potential damages. Examples of possible harm that can occur to packages include unexpected changes in weather conditions or unfortunate accidents during the distribution, transportation, delivery or storage processes. Packing well is especially important when you are considering to send dangerous goods internationally such as damaged lithium battery and flammable liquids.

In addition, within the e-commerce industry, 10% of products are bound to result in damaged packaging during shipping and 20% of e-commerce returns are due to packing mistakes. Such damages can be very costly for businesses as financial resources are needed to replace a damaged product and logistics costs have to be allocated for the new shipment. Moreover, damaged packaging is likely to cause inconvenience to your customers and result in lower satisfaction rates and declined revenue.

Thus, it is no surprise that good packaging is pivotal to the success of any business. With this article, here are five mistakes you should avoid when packing your items to keep your parcels free of defects and provide your customers with high satisfaction.

1. Choosing the wrong packing material

From the get-go, the exterior of your packaging should always be the first step when packing your products. However, there is a wide variety of packaging supplies available on the market and you should avoid choosing the wrong packaging that is not suitable for your product. 

With sustainability being a trend, many businesses are also taking into account sustainability as one of the major selection criteria in packaging. Depending on the type of product you are shipping out along with the size and weight, for instance, consider these different packing materials for your packaging.

Mailing bags

If you intend on mailing lightweight and soft items such as apparel or cloth, use mailing bags. With soft and flexible material, you can easily fit your items into these bags without having to fold them, which may result in creases and unwanted marks. However, avoid using mailing bags for sharp or heavy items, which may tear the bag and leave your items exposed to physical damage or harsh environmental conditions during transportation.

Padded envelopes

When mailing important documents or books, the safest way is to use padded envelopes that shields your items with the standard type of protection. As these envelopes are padded and relatively flat, you should avoid items that are slightly bulkier, such as boxed products, which may get crushed or bent during transportation. To avoid this packing mistake, you can consider adding two pieces of hard cardboard on the sides of your envelope. In doing so, your items are less likely to move around during shipment and the cardboard serves as additional protection on the sides.

Mailing tubes

If you are shipping out items such as drawings, artwork, posters, or large paper documents that should not be bent during shipment, use mailing tubes. These mailing tubes are often very lightweight and consist of two secured plastic caps on each side of the tube. Thus, by rolling these items and inserting them into these tubes, you can avoid any creases and damage to the paperwork.

Cardboard boxes

Heavy or unevenly shaped items should be given an extra layer of protection during shipment. Hence, use cardboard boxes that are sturdier and suitable for heavier items. With options for double or triple-layer cardboard boxes, you can also avoid having your items knock against each other during shipment. However, make sure that there is sufficient space between your items and the walls of the cardboard box so you may fit padding materials for even more protection.

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When packing fragile items for shipping, it is always a good idea to utilize a “Box-In-A-Box” technique. In the first box, place your items inside it, wrap them with relevant packaging materials such as tape, and cushion them tightly with padding materials. Then, place the first box inside the second box with even more padding materials. Ensure that there are no empty spaces between the first and second boxes for a more secure fit. 

In doing so, you are essentially creating double-layered packaging and taking extra precautions to keep your fragile items intact during shipment. You may even want to add fragile stickers to signal to the courier for careful handling.

2. Wrapping products together

Oftentimes when a customer has purchased more than a single item from your business, it may seem more feasible to pack the items together in a single packaging. However, while you can save costs on packing wrap, you are also allowing more room for the items to move around and knock against each other during shipment. As a result, your items may be damaged or broken thereafter.

To avoid this packing mistake, you can allocate a compartment for each item or use separate wrapping for different items in the same packaging box. In doing so, each item is wrapped and cushioned individually, which decreases the risk of a damaged item as they are well-protected by many layers of cushion. Apart from wrapping your products separately, you may choose to have dividers in your packaging to avoid further and potential collision between the items as well.

3. Leaving out empty spaces

To ensure that your fragile packages will be delivered to your customers safely and in an excellent condition, you should avoid any empty spaces in your packaging. Fragile products that are not packed tightly are more likely to move around freely during shipment, resulting in bents or breakage. 

Use padding materials to fill out the empty spaces between your item and the walls of your packaging. These materials can come in many forms, from air pillows to packing nuts, foam paper, and wrapping paper. By filling up the empty spaces, you avoid any loosely packed items and can keep your product as still as possible. During shipment, this ensures that your product does not crash into one another, or move around throughout handling.

However, while keeping your packaging tightly packed is important, you should also choose the right size of packaging. The chosen packaging size should not be too small or too tight as it might burst during transportation. Do remember to not go overboard with the packing. Instead, always ensure that your packaging is big enough to fit the item and sufficient padding materials that provides adequate protection. 

4. Forgetting to seal your package properly

Although choosing the right packaging, such as mailing bags and envelopes, goes a long way, you should always remember to use packing tape. To keep your packaging from opening during transport, use another layer of water-resistant packing tape to seal the packaging. This will help to prevent the possible drying out of adhesive strips from affecting the security of your packaged items.

Simply ensure that your packing tape is wide enough to secure the flaps of any box you are using. In addition, paste your packing tape on the sides and corners of your packaging to cover every open seam. If there are any other gaps, tape them up to ensure all openings are properly covered. 

5. Improper handling by your courier

While you do your utmost diligence to ensure that your packaging is perfect, you should avoid choosing a courier that may mishandle your items. Instead, complete your shipment and experience a smooth sailing delivery by working with a reliable courier service. 

At DHL Express, we understand the relevance of businesses having a global network and know how your parcel may have to travel thousands of miles to reach their destinations. With our global logistics advice and comprehensive packing guidelines to handle hazardous goods safely before shipping, let us help you deliver your parcels on time and in great condition. To find out more, open a DHL Express business account today.