Welcome to our inaugural post in the Quick Question series! Every Friday, we’ll answer a common question about fulfillment, shipping, or business. Our first question comes from an anonymous user in our giveaway contest for the board game Root. The question is “how do items get damaged in shipping?”
How Items Are Damaged in Shipping
Moving items from Point A to Point B is far more complicated than most people will ever realize. In both transit and warehousing, your products can be exposed to a variety of different damaging conditions. For one, the risk of dropping items is pretty high. During the freight, warehousing, and final delivery of items, lots of different people will lay hands on your products’ boxes. We all lose our grip sometimes, and this can shatter fragile items.
On top of that, the conveyor systems used by many people involved in the logistics processes can wear down your items’ packaging. Improperly packaged items compress when stacked. Variations in temperature and humidity can wreak havoc on both packaging and products. Customers love speedy shipping – and 63% expect three-day delivery. As you can imagine, companies hustling to meet that high standard sometimes move too fast for their own good!
In short, because of the number of people involved in the transportation of goods, it is an error-prone process. Customers don’t care about the precise time in which items are damaged in the shipping process. They just care that their product isn’t working. So what can you do?
8 Ways You Can Prevent Items From Being Damaged in Shipping (& 1 Bonus Tip)
Turns out that there are a ton of ways you can reduce the amount of shipping damage your items take. You can do this both by changing your product’s packaging and the materials they are shipped in. A few simple tips will go a long way and save you a lot of money!
- Always inspect freight shipments upon arrival. If you order 1,000 items, you don’t have to check every single one. A simple spot-check goes a long way.
- Hire a professional fulfillment company to warehouse your goods. If you can’t do that, keep your goods in a dry place with minimal fluctuations in temperature.
- Make sure items are packed in a way where they can survive a four-foot drop.
- When shipping liquids, isolate them from the rest of the items to be shipped.
- Prevent water damage by wrapping items in polybags.
- To cushion fragile items, use bubble wrap, brown paper, and corrugated roll material.
- If you have empty space in packages, use air cushions.
- If you really need to, use thick corrugated boxes.
- Should everything else fail, make your returns process easy so you can retain customers!
You have to remember a lot of factors when shipping items. Naturally, you want to make sure your customers have a wonderful experience. It’s awfully hard for them to have a great experience when your items arrive broken.
Don’t worry, though! There are entire businesses dedicated to help you get packages where they need to go. We’re one of them 🙂