8 Mistakes You’re Making with Packaging & How to Fix Them

Avoid costly packaging mistakes and shipping errors by retooling your fulfillment process to streamline operations and create the "wow" factor for customers.

Packaging mistakes and fulfillment errors happen. In the world of ecommerce, these things are amazingly common, and there’s no store out there that hasn’t fallen victim to them at least once.

Luckily, it is possible to correct them or avoid them altogether.

When you take a proactive approach to packing and fulfillment mistakes, you immediately free up more time, energy, and resources, and create space for your team to focus on more important things – like growing your ecommerce business.

Here’s your guide:

Why Packaging Matters

For this point, we’re going to ask you to consider two scenarios. Here’s the first:

You get home from work one evening, and there’s a package on your doorstep. It’s in a brown box, wrapped in brown tape, and dented on three corners. The address is scribbled in sharpie. When you open it, packing peanuts cascade out onto your floor, like some horrible styrofoam waterfall.

The second scenario is this:

You get home from work one evening, and there’s a package on your doorstep. It’s wrapped in durable brown paper, entirely intact, and neatly presented. Your name and address are printed on a branded shipping label, and the contents inside are protected by plastic shipping pillows.

Now, which of these experiences leaves the better impression?

The answer is easy, of course: the second! Unboxing the second is a much more enjoyable experience than the first.

Unfortunately, lots of ecommerce companies are guilty of the first scenario. They send out products in horrible packaging, and it makes a difference. After all, your product packaging is one of the first experiences a customer has with a product they purchased online, and the way it’s arranged says a lot about the company that shipped it.

In a world where ecommerce is more competitive than ever before, you can’t afford to send out sloppy packages to customers, and you definitely can’t afford to be known as a company that doesn’t care about your shipping or fulfillment.

8 Packaging & Fulfillment Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you’re a new ecommerce brand, or an established company looking for ways to serve your customers a bit better, avoiding these packaging mistakes is essential to your success.

1. Not Offering Shipping Options

Shipping is one of the most critical parts of the ecommerce customer experience.

If you don’t let customers choose a shipping option, you’re bound to lose a good amount of them. Don’t forget that 63% of suburban shoppers report that shipping costs are their least favorite part of online shopping and that 80% of online shoppers report that shipping cost and speed have a direct impact on their purchasing decisions.

With this in mind, offer several shipping options for your customers to choose from. One should be an economy option, and at least one should offer express service.

2. Ignoring Customer Input

When it comes to shipping and fulfillment, you can’t afford to ignore customer feedback.

Instead, you’ve got to pay attention to feedback about delivery delays, shipping packages and service providers, and schedules. The more you heed these things, the better your ecommerce store will perform.

3. Not Using Custom Boxes

Remember that first scenario we laid out? Cheap, ill-suited packaging makes a poor impression on your customers, and it’s not something you want your brand associated with.

Today, it pays to put some work into using the right packaging, something that you can even consider using packaging design software to ensure efficacy. A variety of services offer custom boxes for ecommerce that can be used to really wow your customers. First impressions are EVERYTHING in ecommerce. Going the extra mile to add some zazzle to your package will make all the difference.

As a general rule, the packages you use should take the weight of your items, their dimensions, and their need for protection into account. Not only will this protect your items during transport, but it’ll create a positive customer experience when they arrive.

4. Not Calculating Shipping Expenses

Shipping costs are a fact of life for ecommerce businesses. If you’re not calculating them exactly, you risk creating overhead costs you can’t bear comfortably.

With this in mind, be sure to pay attention to hidden charges, like surcharges, residential and weekend delivery fees, and fees associated with recipient signatures. Weed out the features you don’t need, and make sure you know how much you can expect to pay for the ones you do.

5. Not Doing Inventory of Your Shipping Supplies

You keep tabs on your inventory, so why not your shipping supplies?

If you run out of shipping supplies, it’s tough to get your products out in a timely fashion, and this can have a major impact on the well-being of your company. With this in mind, establish a system for keeping track of your shipping supplies and creating reorder triggers that keep you from running low on anything.

6. Not Preparing for Package Changes

It’s not uncommon for carriers to make changes to package prices and shipping policies.

If you’re not prepared to absorb these changes, you put yourself at risk of price overruns and other budgeting issues. To avoid this problem, it’s essential to keep in frequent touch with shipping carriers and remain updated about alterations they intend to make.

7. Not Validating Customer Addresses

While a customer’s supplied address is usually right, validating it will save you expensive shipping mistakes and overruns. Luckily, this is easy to avoid when you use a shipping software with built-in address verification features.

8. Using Shipping Peanuts

This goes hand-in-hand with using the wrong packaging for your shipments.

If it’s difficult for the customer to open, navigate, or clean up, it shouldn’t have any place in your fulfillment pipeline. Instead, opt for more straightforward plastic “pillows” or cardboard inserts to stabilize items in your boxes.

Better Shipping Starts Here

If you run an ecommerce company, shipping and fulfillment are two of the most important functions your company provides. Unfortunately, lots of online stores get these two things wrong, and it has a detrimental impact on the customer/company relationship. In the world of subscription box services and increased fulfillment, this is truer now than ever before.

When you create a “wow” factor with your packaging, it reflects directly on your brand as a whole and can go a long way toward making your customers more willing to purchase from you again.

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