How to Pick Packaging Materials When Shipping Internationally for Ecommerce Businesses


This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: How to Pick Packaging Materials When Shipping Internationally for Ecommerce Businesses.

By Ernesta Ranonyte, freelance writer.

International shipping comes with various challenges for any eCommerce business. Choosing the right packaging materials is one of them. This task shouldn’t be taken lightly. Proper packaging may determine whether your goods reach the customer undamaged or not. It’s especially important when sending packages to faraway regions, as in the case of shipping to Europe from the USA.

Here are some key aspects to keep in mind when picking packaging materials for shipping internationally.

Consider characteristics of your product

You might have already noticed that, when international shipping is concerned, many things depend on the item that is being sent. Consider the weight, size and shape, as well as value and fragility of your product.

Heavier products need sturdier packaging materials. Bigger items need larger mailers. Goods of particular shapes may not fit into some types of packaging. And high value, as well as fragile items, need more protection to lessen possible risks when shipping overseas.

Decide on an external packaging

Once you have studied the characteristics of your goods, start with choosing external packaging. For international shipping, cardboard boxes and mailers are the two best choices. Which to pick depends on the size and weight of your product.

If you’re sending small items that don’t need more cushioning, select padded envelopes or polyethylene bags. For shipping medium-sized and larger goods, it’s better to pick cardboard boxes. They have extra space to put in the cushioning materials.

But the dimensions of the item shouldn’t be the only determinant. Don’t forget to think about the distance the package will cover when sending it overseas. For instance, if you’re shipping to Germany, a box might be a better choice even for smaller goods.

Choose materials for internal packaging

When you’re preparing items for international shipping, internal packaging is very important. It is used to create a protective layer around the goods. Consider three of the most common materials: bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and air cushions or pillows.

Bubble wrap is the most flexible of the three. It can be wrapped around the item or placed on the bottom or the top of the shipping box. It’s perfect for products of regular shapes.

Packing peanuts are super light but can still create a decent layer of protection when shipping internationally. They’re great for cheap shipping to Poland or any other European country because their cost is quite low, and they can be reused.

Air cushions are excellent for filling in empty space. But they are not flexible and, thus, not suited for all types of products.

Pay attention to fragile and oddly shaped items

Breakables and items of irregular shapes need more care when sending them internationally. Don’t try to save on packing materials because the safety of your goods depends on them. Put enough cushioning in a box. That is the best way to ship fragile items. For oddly shaped items you can use packing peanuts.

Don’t forget to follow your budget

International shipping can be expensive. That’s why you’ll need to be careful of your budget when selecting packaging materials. It might be cheaper to choose one type of external and internal packaging rather than getting materials of various kinds. Also, look for options to buy the materials from manufacturers or distributors. You’ll get a better price there than when purchasing from resellers.

There’s a great selection of packaging materials for international shipping. But if you consider the characteristics of your product and your budget, you’ll be sure to pick the ones that are perfect for your eCommerce business.

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