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Packing garments for international shipping from Vietnam

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In recent years, Vietnam’s textile and apparel industry has emerged as a powerhouse for the country. Based on figures shared by Fibre2Fashion, the nation's textile and garment exports experienced a remarkable surge, raking in US$37.566 billion in 2022, an impressive 14.7% increase from the previous year. 

The United States (U.S.) stood out as the country’s predominant partner, accounting for approximately 46.20% of these exports. Meanwhile, other major importers include Japan and South Korea, which contributed US$4.072 billion and US$3.309 billion, respectively. These promising figures underscore the boundless opportunities awaiting Vietnamese fashion enterprises aiming to spread their wings in international markets. 

Unique characteristics of the fashion and apparel industry 

The textile and clothes industry is flourishing, but thriving in the industry requires businesses in Vietnam to navigate certain challenges skilfully. 

With the Global Fast Fashion Market (2022-2028) research projecting the international fast fashion market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1% from 2022 to 2028, the industry competition is expected to intensify accordingly. The emphasis now, more than ever, lies in differentiating oneself in this crowded landscape. 

One critical differentiation point is the customer experience. Modern consumers look beyond just product quality; they deeply value the entire brand interaction. The concluding stages of a product's journey to the consumer is one such example of a pivotal stage in the brand experience. For instance, a McKinsey & Company study noted that nearly 50% of South Koreans surveyed prioritise next-day delivery

Similarly, a Qualtrics survey revealed that 65% of consumers in Vietnam’s key market, the U.S., have switched brands due to unfulfilled promises like ‘fast shipping’. This trend is further echoed by a OnePoll survey, which noted that 73% of U.S. consumers would shift loyalty after a single adverse brand experience, a notable rise from 66% in 2022 and almost double from 42% in 2021. 

Given this context, ensuring seamless international delivery, from ensuring speed to the integrity of delivery packages, becomes more than just a logistical necessity. It's a strategic imperative for businesses aiming to secure their position in the industry. The pivotal question now is, how can businesses ensure this logistical prowess? 

What packaging is best for shipping clothes? 

Factors to consider 

As businesses look towards international horizons for their garment sales, the first step involves choosing the right type of packaging for your product. Beyond keeping your clothing safe during international delivery, the best packaging contributes to a memorable unboxing moment that enhances your customer’s experience. Here are some factors you should consider when determining what material to use

  • Shipping conditions: Does your fashion apparel need to be stored under specific conditions? Asking this question is essential as your garments might be exposed to varying moisture levels depending on your chosen mode of shipping. For instance, the dampness at sea can impart an unpleasant odour to woollen attire, making it imperative to store such apparel in airtight, waterproof bags. 
  • Type of garment: Fragile fabrics like lace lingerie and silk scarves will need additional protection against potential snags or tears in transit. 
  • Quantity of garments: Packaging solutions differ based on the number of items you ship. A single t-shirt might snugly fit in a poly bag, but packing thick garments like jeans or multiple clothes will demand a more spacious box. 
  • Weight and dimension restrictions: The weightiness of your packaging choice can directly influence shipment costs. Being mindful of these limits can prevent unexpected surcharges. 

In a time when consumers align with brands that echo their values, sustainability is another area that companies must be mindful of. Based on the 2023 Buying Green Report, 71% of consumers actively go for products with eco-friendly packaging. This sentiment is also reflected in the figures shared by Bain & Company, which showed that 75% – 95% of consumers in the Asia Pacific countries surveyed are willing to pay extra for green products. As such, embracing eco-friendly packaging over plastic packaging is a strategic way to showcase your brand's environmental stewardship. 

Types of garment packaging 

With an understanding of your needs, let’s explore the different packaging solutions available: 

  • Folding carton boxes: These are ideal for items like socks or ties. For extra security, these can nestle within an external mailer box. 
  • Flyer bags: This is a popular option for single, lightweight items. Like shipping boxes, you can also get these flyer bags for free from your logistics partner, such as DHL Express Vietnam. 
  • Cardboard tubes: Perfect for smaller items like ties and socks. Shaped like a gift box, they add an element of surprise to the unboxing experience. 
  • Rigid boxes: When shipping luxury fashion products, such as designer bags or tailored jackets, rigid boxes add a touch of class and sophistication, though they often need a protective outer layer during transit. 

If your business is considering jumping on the sustainability bandwagon, here are some eco-friendly options to incorporate into your operations: 

  • Corrugated mailer boxes: Robust enough for heavier items, they combine protection with eco-responsibility. 
  • Glassine packaging: A biodegradable, transparent paper packaging that is moisture, air, and grease-resistant, making it perfect for showcasing items. However, having offset and digital print finishes on this material is tricky, making it more ideal for companies not looking to print branded content on their packaging. 
  • Cornstarch packaging: Versatile and toxin-free, they are also available as biodegradable packing peanuts. However, cornstarch packaging is only compostable in industrial facilities, which makes it better suited for companies targeting markets with minimal barriers to recycling such materials. For instance, consumers in the U.S. will need to check if their community runs a residential compost collection programme to collate such packaging. As such, this material should be adopted with care when targeting such markets. 
  • Mushroom packaging: This packaging is Styrofoam’s eco-friendly cousin. However, as it tends to decompose quicker, it is more suitable for use when shipping products over short distances. 
  • Kraft paper: This material is not waterproof, making it more ideal when used as inner packaging. 
  • Green cell foam (GCF): This packaging derived from corn is biodegradable by water or composting. As a naturally anti-static material, it can help keep fabrics like silk, polyester, and rayon static-free. However, as GCF is less susceptible to weather elements, it is better used as an inner packaging or filler to offer cushioned protection when shipping luxury apparel. 

How to package clothing for shipping 

After shortlisting the right packaging for your clothes, you may then wonder how do you store them in your packaging for international shipping? Depending on the nature of your garments, here’s a packing guide you can refer to: 

Fragile clothing 

For safe shipping of delicate fashion apparel to international markets, ensure that you: 

  • Individually pack fragile clothing within a dual-wall box or a specialised box. 
  • Fill void spaces adequately to stabilise items during transit. 
  • Wrap each item with small cell bubble wrap before placing it in the dual-wall box. 
  • Maintain a 6 cm separation between the shipping item and box walls. 
  • Secure flaps using the H-taping method, which involves affixing tape across the centre of the box and on the two edge seams to form a letter ‘H’. Doing so ensures that all flaps are secured during delivery. 
  • Apply transport labels and stickers indicating the fragility of the contents, such as the “fragile”, “handle with care,” or “this way up” labels. 

Non-fragile clothing 

For shipping non-fragile clothes, consider the following steps: 

  • Use sealed plastic flyer bags or single-wall cardboard boxes, which you can also obtain from your designated logistics service provider, such as DHL Express Vietnam. 
  • Separate each clothing piece within the packaging to prevent damage during transit. 
  • Choose an appropriately sized box to prevent collapse due to void space. 
  • Wrap each item with small cell bubble wrap or kraft paper before placing it in the outer box or DHL Flyer Bag. 
  • If using a DHL Flyer Bag, fold and tape down any excess material. 
  • Attach a visible transport label. 

How to ensure a seamless international shipping experience 

In the last stage of your last-mile delivery, compliance with customs requirements is paramount. Be sure to check the basics of international shipping so you know how to manage the documentation requirements for a smooth customs clearance experience. Additionally, it is worth noting that specific regulations may apply to different clothing categories, especially when shipping to Vietnam’s key export markets like Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. 

For valuable insights to enhance the efficiency of your last-mile delivery, refer to these tips on sending garment shipments overseas. By proactively familiarising yourself with these regulations and ensuring compliance, you can prevent unnecessary delays and deliver packages to international customers safely. 

Navigate shipping confidently with DHL Express Vietnam 

As you set out to conquer new horizons in the global market, it is natural to encounter challenges, especially when navigating customs regulations. This is where a reliable logistics partner like DHL Express Vietnam steps in. 

Backed by years of industry expertise, our dedicated team is ready to guide you through customs requirements seamlessly. Beyond this, our comprehensive suite of services is also designed to enhance your operations and eliminate potential roadblocks that might affect your customers' experience. From green logistics solutions like the GoGreen Plus service to preferential shipping rates, real-time shipment tracking, and more, we offer a holistic approach to support your success. 

By entrusting your garment shipments with us, you can transform each shipping challenge into an opportunity for your business to shine. Don't navigate the intricate terrain of international shipping alone. Create a business account with us today and connect with DHL Express Vietnam for expert advice on packaging and customs clearance matters.