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How to Choose the Right Shipping Packaging for Your Small Business

Different cardboard boxes that can be used for shipping packaging

2021’s e-commerce sales generated about $870.8 billion worth of revenue. That’s about a 14.2% increase from the previous year, and the market is continuing its growth in 2022.

If you’re a small business that sells goods online, you must have the proper shipping packaging that keeps items from breaking or becoming damaged.

You can also turn this into an opportunity because there are plenty of ways to stand out to your customers with the right shipping procedures.

Read on to learn how you can choose the right packaging supplies for your business.

Determine the Right Shape for Your Shipping Packaging

Since you can’t ship out products in a box that doesn’t fit, you need to initially find the right shape and size for your packaging.

Boxes can come in rectangular shapes, cubes, or elongated cylinders. Most people will need rectangular boxes of some size, but if you’re shipping posters or other large paper items, you might want to roll them up in a tube.

Suppose you’re unsure whether something needs to be rolled up or placed into a custom-shaped box. The best way to find the answer to any shipping question is to Google it. However, you can still talk to a shipping professional if you have trouble finding the answer. 

The most common box shapes include:

  • Cube boxes
  • Multi-height boxes that let you choose between different heights while keeping a fixed width/depth
  • Tall boxes, which have a short length but a larger width and height
  • Long boxes, which have a short width and height but a greater length
  • Side-loading boxes, which are wide, thin, and open up on the narrow side to unload objects
  • Telescopic boxes for shipping long items that don’t fit into only one box

Make sure that you consider bubble wrap or any other protective padding to ensure that the entire padded product fits appropriately.

And if you have any questions at all about what type of box you should use, definitely stop by your friendly neighborhood shipping center. Professional shippers can help with selecting the right box, or even make a custom-sized box specifically for your most hard-to-ship items.

Learn About Box Strength

Whether you’re shipping framed art or a big-screen television, packing and shipping your products can be a delicate process. You want to ensure that your customer receives their purchase in perfect condition, which means finding the right shipping supplies for the job. It can be a customer service nightmare if you use low quality packing materials or have a bad packaging technique.

Most standard boxes are made with corrugated cardboard to offer strength and security. This is the perfect choice for most e-commerce shipments. However, some larger, heavier, or fragile objects require a stronger box.

Common shipping boxes score a 32 on the Edge Crush Test (ECT), which can withstand vertical compression up to 32 lbs per square inch. These boxes are generally perfect for shipping up to 30 lbs.

However, you might need to upgrade to a box with 200 lb. test. This is very important to have if you’re looking to ship something between 30-40lbs. If you have an even heavier item, heavy-duty boxes are available to ensure that packages of up to 200 lbs. reach their destinations intact.

Demonstration of why it's important to choose the right shipping packaging

Pad Your Boxes for Safe Shipping

Regardless of how strong your shipping box is, accidents still happen. As an e-commerce vendor, especially a small one, you can’t afford these accidents. Sending items that break or come in poor condition can significantly damage your reputation since 84% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family.

That’s why you need to invest in packing supplies in addition to boxes. Bubble wrap is great for protecting fragile items, but you may also want some styrofoam to secure your goods in place. Styrofoam peanuts and packing paper are great ways to provide some additional padding.

You should also invest in packing tape to make sure that your items stay inside the box and aren’t tampered with during shipping.

You can also use security tape to reveal if someone has tried to open your package before it gets delivered. This can come in handy if you’re shipping sensitive documents or items.

Make sure that you test your packing methods before shipping out any boxes. Pad an item in one of the boxes you plan on sending it in, then throw and jostle it around the same way a shipping carrier might.

If your package withstands your own rough handling, then you’re good to go!

Customize Your Shipping Supplies

Classic boxes and supplies are necessary for smooth shipping. However, some small companies customize the outside of their shipping containers to strengthen their brands.

Custom boxes look great when decorated in brand colors and logo.

However, it may still be a good idea to ship out your items in a classic cardboard box. They’re cheaper and therefore make more sense for startups.

You can add printed pages to the outside of cardboard boxes featuring the colors and brand info that you would on a custom box. Printing these pages and taping them to the outside is far cheaper than ordering a fully-custom box.

Customized shipping supplies

Add Business Cards, Coupons, Swag, and Thank-Yous

Speaking of printed materials, including some free stuff in your packages is always a good idea. You can send out coupons, event invitations, and even company swag to some of your preferred customers.

Business cards will give customers your contact information as well as your name. This will make you seem more approachable, which makes shoppers more likely to reach out. And don’t forget to include your online review link on your card! It’s a great way to improve your business’s visibility on search engines.

Little cards with coupons on them are also a good choice. They’ll give recipients a discount on their next purchase, encouraging them to buy from you again. You could also include an invitation to an event or grand opening if you’re a brick-and-mortar business.

Including some branded company swag is a fun way to show your customers that you care. Swag can be anything from pens and stickers to coffee mugs and t-shirts. It’s a great way to get your name out there.

If you want to take it one step further, include handwritten thank-yous in each package. People like to support small businesses and like to know when they’re supporting a good family and community.

Contact Your Local Shipping Experts in Roseburg Today

While choosing the right shipping packaging for your small business may sound like a challenge, it’s one of the essential things an e-commerce business needs to consider. It isn’t just required to keep goods safe; it’s also a branding opportunity that you can’t miss.

If you’re an online seller for Etsy, eBay, or any other online retailer, you should look into our shipping services in Roseburg. We help businesses save money when they ship large packages with USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL.

That’s because we compare shipping rates at the major carriers and select the right packaging to ensure you get the best price.