What Are the Top Considerations for E-commerce Packaging?

You’ve done the hard part – created a desirable product that you can sell online. With most of the country shopping online today, it’s no wonder so many companies are turning to e-commerce as a solution for increasing profits, staying competitive, and expanding their audience. A few key facts to understanding regarding e-commerce in 2019:

  • 38% of online shoppers will abandon their order if delivery will take longer than a week
  • 63% of online shoppers will cancel a purchase due to high shipping fees
  • 94% of online shoppers will take some type of action to qualify for free shipping
  • An estimated 165 billion packages are shipped in the US each year
  • By 2021 it is estimated that B2C e-commerce sales will exceed $4.5 trillion

Entering the e-commerce game is relevant in just about every industry, from consumer electronics to groceries and more; but the task to enter should not to be taken lightly. Having a thoughtful, streamlined, and efficient packaging process is a major component to launching a successful e-commerce program. These are some of the top considerations that you will face when entering e-commerce for any industry.

Creating Durability for Transit

Keeping your products safe during transit is key to ensuring your customers are happy and return for more. Having a strong e-commerce reputation is key, so you want to make sure to avoid damage during transit. This will also reduce the costs associated with customers returning damaged products.

Creating a perfectly packed box relies on the right protective packaging or void fill. We specialize in modern fill solutions that are light-weight yet durable, such as airbags, bubble wrap, and foam solutions.  

Other considerations to keep your products safe during transit include: the type of outer packaging (stretch film, cases, tape), stacking and loading patterns, and transportation hazards (such as temperature and vibrations). Click here to learn more about keeping your products safe during transit.

The Fulfillment Process

Our customers are growing accustomed to fast shipping and processing times, which is evident in the stats listed above. Customers are abandoning the cart when the shipping times are too long, and this can be mitigated with a streamlined fulfillment process. Omni-channel companies, selling in brick-and-mortar stores as well as online have a unique opportunity to merge their in-store processing with their online fulfillment in the ship from store model.

Every e-commerce company needs to have a software that seamlessly communicates incoming orders to the fulfillment center. This software can manage the SKUs, inventory, order status, and more. The process of fulfilling the order can be optimized by using the right packaging equipment to move the required volume of products out the door. You can further optimize by working with an outsourced fulfilment center, such as Hughes.

Understanding DIM Weight

Another reason your customers will abandon their cart is due to high shipping costs. When you can reduce the freight costs, you can have an ultimate goal of being efficient enough to offer a free shipping option for your customers. Understanding DIM weight is one way to reduce the cost of shipping goods to your customers.

DIM weight is not a new topic in packaging, yet can be overlooked if you are new to e-commerce. Essentially the shipping cost is determined by the package volume, not just package weight. This allows freight companies to optimize for space on the truck. Our packaging experts have developed best practices for packaging with consideration for these DIM weight restrictions. This involves using the right size box (or switching to envelopes) combined with the right protective packaging. Click here to learn more about how to pack efficiently and navigate DIM weight restrictions.

The Unboxing Experience

Unboxing is no longer a new topic for e-commerce retailers and consumers alike. Social media has created a place for consumers to share their experience of interacting with our products, including our product packaging. When you create an engaging unboxing experience for your customers, you are encouraging brand loyalty and increasing the chance that the customer will positively influence their social media contacts to purchase your products too.

Perhaps the most important consideration for a successful unboxing experience is that the products are intact and undamaged. See above for more information on preventing damage during transit. Since the package is often the first interaction your customer will have with your brand, it’s important that the first impression represents your brand identity. In addition to representing your brand, engage your customers with eye-catching and creative tactics.

Learn more ways to create an unforgettable unboxing experience.

Preparing for Returns

While we always hope for no returns, this often happens in e-commerce since users often have no interaction with the product prior to making the purchase. Returns aren’t always a bad thing; surprisingly 92% of customers will purchase again if the return process is easy. Often times, the customer is still loyal to the brand, they just purchased the wrong product/size/color.

By having a user-friendly return process for your customers, you can strengthen your brand value in the eyes of your customer. Consider publishing your return policy on your website with specific details about how the process works, materials provided, timeline, and what can be returned.   

Data also shows that offering a longer return window decreases the amount of returns because the customer grows an attachment to the product after holding on to it. To take it a step further, you may consider offering return packaging materials for your customer. A Hughes packaging expert can help you to weigh the costs of return packaging and have a plan in place for when returns happen.

What should you do next?

Preparing to enter the profitable world of e-commerce requires a careful strategy, especially when it comes to the supply chain. Contact a Hughes packaging expert today to review your e-commerce packaging strategy and find out if you could save money or improve efficiencies.  

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