If you regularly send parcels, you want the products to be delivered without any hassle, on time, in a good condition and to the right person! To prepare, you can make some smart decisions to ensure that the shipping process runs both smoothly and safely and guarantee that your parcels are not delayed without good reason. We have put together our 10 packaging guidelines for you in this blog.
1. Use suitable packaging.
Suitable packaging for your products sounds so obvious, but do you know about all the options available? Products have their own packaging methods according to their size, weight and value. In general, there are four options:
You can send small products in an ordinary envelope, but that doesn’t provide any protection. We recommend using padded envelopes. The products stay protected thanks to the bubble wrap lining. Padded envelopes are useful for sending small, lightweight products. The shipping costs for products shipped using padded envelopes are also lower and orders can be delivered when the recipient is not at home because they fit through the letterbox. You can use a digital stamp.
Paper posting bag.
The Do Good Bag, a paper posting bag, is extremely suitable for sending clothing, jewellery and other small lightweight products sustainably. It’s made from strong recycled kraft paper, and the self-adhesive sealing strip also makes it very easy to use. Perfect for creating a positive brand experience for your customers. For example, did you know that a significant 24% of your customers would prefer to receive their order in sustainable packaging material? And as an added bonus, with the Do Good Bag you can still make ‘not so sustainable’ returns as sustainable as possible. The posting bag is equipped with a second sealing strip so that it can be re-used for any returns.
Letterbox parcels are ideal for shipping small, flat products that fit through the letterbox and need a little bit more reinforcement than products you send with a padded envelope or jiffy bag. With letterbox parcels, you can send products with a maximum weight of 2kg and maximum dimensions of 38 x 26.5 x 3.2 cm. It is more cost effective to send a letterbox parcel than a standard parcel. As with padded envelopes and jiffy bags, the customer does not need to stay at home to receive letterbox parcels.
Need letterbox-compatible packaging? Click here to view our range.
Larger and heavier products need to be packaged and shipped as parcels. When selecting the correct shipping boxes for your products, always try to select the box that would result in as little empty space as possible. This ensures that products are not floating around in the box and considerably reduces the risk of damage. Sometimes, empty space is unavoidable and it should be filled with padding. In the end it is better for both the environment and your wallet if you can prevent this. A surcharge is levied on top of the price of your shipment if the volume (L x W x H) is more than 50 dm3. Looking for the right packaging to ship your products? We offer a wide range of shipping materials in our webshop. Click here to go to the webshop.
2. Use the correct material.
Shipping boxes are often multi-purpose cardboard boxes. A shipping box is not just an easy way of transporting and protecting your products – a good shipping box can also give your customers a positive impression of your brand. Even if all of the products arrive well packaged and undamaged, a damaged shipping box can still leave a negative impression. Think carefully about the type and quality of the cardboard you use for your shipping boxes. The shipping box you choose may vary for each product you send. It is your own responsibility to package products so that they don’t get damaged during the delivery process. Of course, you could go for single wall cardboard for light shipments and double wall cardboard for heavier shipments. Do not send heavy objects in the same box as lighter or fragile objects. Click here to view shipping boxes with the right cardboard quality for your products.
3. Securely package and pad your shipment.
We always recommend that you select appropriate packaging for your products – it’s better for both the environment, your wallet and the products you are sending. It means that less empty space is transported, resulting in more space for the courier, fewer trips per delivery worker and fewer CO2 emissions. On the other hand it means you don’t have to buy as much filler material to fill the spaces, thereby avoiding the risk of being charged an unnecessary volume surcharge. This saves costs. It also considerably reduces the chances that your products will get damaged. Weak packaging containing lots of empty space or sturdy padding also causes parcels to collapse and become dented during the shipping process. This can also increase the chances of damage. Never just use the manufacturer’s packaging – it doesn’t provide enough protection. Always use an extra box around the manufacturer’s packaging. For extra protection, you can use padding between the two boxes such as styropor (protective) blocks, polystyrene blocks and packing paper.
However, you might not have found the perfect shipping box for the products you want to send, and you might still need to send your products in a shipping box with excess space. In that case, you need to protect the content of your shipments from getting knocked and bumped during the shipping process. To prevent the contents from moving around, getting damaged or touching the inside wall of the box, we recommend that you always fill the empty space with padding in the form of foam bags, padded envelopes and packing paper. Need padding? Click here. For information on how to protect different types of products from damage during the shipping process, read on.
- Fragile products
Each part needs to be wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap to prevent damage. If you are sending multiple products in the same shipping box, use padding to ensure that the individual parts cannot move around once they have been securely packaged.
- Heavy products
When sending heavy products, use polystyrene blocks on all sides of the product. Never use soft padding such as bubble wrap or packing paper, as they will not protect the products during the shipping process. For heavy products, you also need to fill any empty space with padding to ensure that the products cannot move around.
- Valuable products
When sending valuable products, you are also responsible for securely packaging the products so that they cannot be unnecessarily damaged during the shipping process. It is also important that you make sure the products cannot move around in the shipping box.
- Sending liquid and fragile bottles:
- place the object in a waterproof bag and make sure it is well sealed. This prevents the other items in the shipment from getting damaged if a bottle breaks during the shipping process.
- To find out which packaging you should use to ship your fragile bottles, go to the Flespakket webshop. You can also use Flespakket to safely ship your parcels.
- Sending sharp products
When sending sharp products, you need to make sure that the products can be delivered safely. For extra protection, add special corner protectors to the corners of your product before packing them and fill any empty space with padding.
- Vulnerable products, e.g. a painting, laptop or television:
Add special corner protectors to the corners.
4. Packing multiple products into one shipment.
You might want to send multiple products in the same shipping box. This is an option if the products fit into one shipping box and the box itself meets the maximum allowed dimensions. Never tie multiple parcels together using tape or string and send them as one shipment. Each shipment (and therefore each shipping box) needs a unique shipping label.
When sending multiple products in one shipment, avoid sending heavy products with lighter or fragile products. Be sure to pack each item separately and keep the spaces between the products as small as possible. You can do this by using the right packaging and adding padding if necessary. This prevents products in the shipping box from moving around, touching or damaging each other products.
5. Protect the environment by using recyclable packaging.
Society is attaching more and more importance to the environment and becoming increasingly aware of the negative impact that certain everyday decisions have on it. Consumers are finding oversized shipping boxes with lots empty space, plastic or padding less and less acceptable – so it’s not good for your image if you use them. Make sure you use the correct size, environmentally-friendly shipping boxes. You could choose to use recyclable shipping boxes, for example – this is certainly something that your customers will appreciate.
6. Preparing your shipment.
Seal your parcel
First of all, you want to seal the shipping box containing your products. You can, of course, do this using tape. It may sound simple, but there are a few things that you need to consider when selecting the right tape. Different types of tape are suitable for different types of cardboard shipping boxes. The weight of the shipment determines the best way of taping it up. More information about sealing your shipping boxes with tape is available here.
Address your shipment
Make sure that the recipient’s details are correctly entered and displayed on the shipping label. This includes the following information:
- Destination country
- Company name (if applicable)
- Addressee name
- Street name and house number
- Postcode and town/city
- Email address of the addressee
- Telephone number of the addressee
- Return address
Attaching the shipping label
Then attach the shipping label to the shipment so that it is clearly visible and legible. A very efficient way of doing this is by printing your shipping labels onto self-adhesive labels. If you choose to attach the shipping label to the shipment using adhesive tape, make sure that he tape doesn’t obstruct the barcode. If this happens, the barcode cannot be properly scanned during the delivery process.
Attach the documentation to the parcel (if necessary)
In addition to a shipping label, check whether you are required to attach documents such as customs forms and packing slips (you might need to do this for shipments abroad). If these documents are required, attach them to the shipping box using a packing list envelope. This ensures that the documents remain clearly visible and protected from damage. When completing and attaching these forms, bear in mind that any mistakes you make may cause the shipment to be delayed or seized by customs authorities.
Specify a return address
Always specify a return address. If your customer is unable to accept the parcel or the delivery address is unknown for whatever reason, the shipment will be returned to the sender. Make it clear that this is the return address by specifying ‘sender’ or ‘return address’.
7. Using warning labels.
Various types of warning label are used to indicate that a shipment contains a very delicate or fragile product. Sometimes they are also used to indicate that a specific side of a parcel must always be kept on top, or that a parcel contains glass. PostNL’s delivery workers take this into account when they see these labels. If it is noted that a parcel requires special treatment, it is handled manually. This manual handling results in a surcharge. Manual handling of the parcel also means that there is a greater risk that something will happen to the parcel. You should therefore try to take as much account as possible of the packaging guidelines in this blog or the tips on avoiding a surcharge in this handout. If you want to send bottles of wine, beer or other bottles, we recommend that you send your products using Flespakket.
8. Never specify the contents on the label or box.
Avoid specifying details about the shipment such as the content or where the parcel comes from on the shipping label or box. Even if your webshop is called iPhones.nl or nicetelephones.nl, avoid specifying this on the box or label. Of course, we assume that anyone who comes into contact with your shipments acts in good faith, but do not give them any reason to tamper with your shipments during the shipping process.
9. Offer an easy returns process and shipping box.
It happens often enough: a customer is not happy with an order and wants to return it. Offering a good returns service is then the best solution. It is even better if your webshop provides the customer with a suitable shipping box that they can use to return the order. A shipping bag such as a Fashionpack or a box with a return seal is the perfect solution! The box has a self-adhesive closing strip so that it can be reused. This is an easy solution for you customer as it means they don’t have to buy a new shipping box. It will also boost your customer satisfaction. It’s also an easy solution for you because you can be sure that the order will be returned in a sturdy box and that your products will also be well packaged on their return trip! This gives you peace of mind that you will be able to sell the products again in your webshop – and it’s better for the environment. The customer also doesn’t have to buy a new shipping box in order to return the shipment. Remind the customer that the outbound shipping information must not be visible. This avoids confusion during the returns process.
10. Personalise your packaging material.
When a customer places an order, they always have to wait a while until they receive it. The moment the customer receives an order is an opportunity to make a good impression and surprise the customer. Your customer enjoys receiving a beautiful, unique parcel that really stands out much more than a standard brown or white shipping box. It’s another excellent opportunity to make your brand stand out. The options are endless. For example, you could personalise your tape or shipping box by having your logo printed on it!
We hope our packaging guidelines have been useful. If you have any questions, please contact us. Our team is here to help.