Packaging tips to perfect your Shipping

Were you aware that Smart Send Pty Ltd (http://www.smartsend.com.au) offers a free packaging advisory service?

Running a successful E-commerce business will largely depend on the products you source for sale, unfortunately the shipping of that product may not be a consideration until after you have decided to run with the product. If you are starting out or sourcing new products for sale, it pays to take into account how easily and successfully the product will ship. This is very important to a successful outcome and positive feedback for your business.

The important things to consider are:

  • Size and dead weight.
  • Is the item fragile?
  • Will additional packing be required for safe handling
  • Does the product contain components such as glass which many carriers consider as ‘non-comply’ components
  • The length of the item (over-sized items can be difficult to transport easily and affordably)
  • Is the item perishable (specific or costly delivery services may be required)

Lets address each point:

The size and dead weight of an item can greatly affect your shipping costs. For example if you are shipping large pillows say 60 x 60 x 60cm that have a dead weight of no more than 3kg the charge weight for shipping is 54kg (with most Australian domestic carriers using a 250kg/m3 cubic conversion formula) so shipping could be more than the product is actually worth. In this case I would strongly recommend vacuum sealing the item and removing the air to minimize the overall size of the item to ship at a competitive price.

Similarly, if you have always packaged items in a box with dimensions 50x50x50cm, consider sourcing boxes that are slightly smaller (e.g. 40x40x40cm) as this can save you considerably in ‘cubic charging’ in the long run. However, as enticing as it is to save on shipping charges by doing this, do not sacrifice the consistency of your packaging as this could lead to a worse outcome (i.e. damages). Always provide adequate packaging internally to protect your products against knocks and bumps in transit.

If the item has a weight greater than 30kg and is going to a residential address then a Tail Lift Truck service will be required for delivery (and pickup). The carriers have very strict OH&S, Work Cover policies and legal requirements concerning the handling of heavy items. Heavier items can also have a big impact on your shipping costs which then affects your bottom line. Also relevant in Australia is the new ‘Chain of Responsibility’ regulations which affects everyone in the supply chain from the shipper (you), carriers/staff, drivers, forwarders, etc (see https://www.nhvr.gov.au/safety-accreditation-compliance/chain-of-responsibility/about-the-chain-of-responsibility).

Fragile goods can have a negative impact on your business if they are not packed adequately for transit. If you continually have breakages the negative feedback from your customers can be un-manageable as well as the cost to re-supply and ship. Glass cannot be covered by breakage in transit, if broken it poses an injury risk to drivers and depot hands or even your customer upon opening. Smart Send clearly states we do not carry glass or glass items (unless under prior arrangement).

When sourcing products consider whether the item will require additional packaging for safe handling. Flat packed furniture often needs additional packaging; as do fragile items and items from your suppliers that do not come to your warehouse already packaged ready for transit. All items shipped in Australia should preferably be packaged into cartons for protection and security in transit. Very fragile items may need additional internal packing such as bubble-wrap, padding/foam or be placed into a stronger sturdier carton for shipping successfully. We would also recommend where possible to use new cartons/boxes for your shipment needs. Re-using old or second hand cartons can be a problem if they are not robust and do not still contain their original structure and rigidity.

Not all goods can be shipped within Australia, batteries including lithium batteries need to be declared as dangerous goods in most cases. Please check with your carrier or Smart Send prior to purchase, as most carriers will only carry under prior agreement.

Aerosols, liquids, assembled furniture and glass items, are all items that cannot be carried easily within Australia, please check our link ‘What can I Send Via Courier’ on our homepage www.smartsend.com.au or email us at sales@smartsend.com.au and we can assist with advice.

Items longer than 150cm can be difficult for carriers to handle as the length does not fit on a pallet easily (a standard pallet is 117cm wide and 117cm long) which they quite often use for line-haul purposes; they can also have issues travelling down their conveyer belt systems in transport depots due to corners in the conveyor belts and in some areas will not fit into a delivery van (most standard vans are 180cm long but there are some cases like in CBD areas where cars or small vehicles are utilised). Some carriers even apply additional charges to longer lengths so check with your service provider to ensure you are factoring in these potential costs.

If you are considering sending perishable food items you need to consider the products life span, is it heat affected (e.g chocolates or cheese, etc), the distance the item needs to travel and if there could be delays in transit times (e.g regional limited serviced areas). In some cases you may require ‘temperature controlled’ delivery services that can become costly.

These are some tips to assist in your shipping and product sourcing decisions (your personal requirements may differ). We are happy to advise on any concerns you may have to ensure a successful shipping experience for both you and your customer. Just ask us, we’re happy to help.

sales@smartsend.com.au

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