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We’ve all been there: anticipating the arrival of a package only to see the box totally damaged and the contents totally broken. How can this be avoided? Thankfully, there are a variety of different things that you can do to safely ship fragile items like beer, for example, in the mail. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised by some of the steps that you can take to protect your packages during their journey! 

So read on to learn everything you need to do in order to guarantee that your items arrive at their destination in one piece.

Know Your Products: Do They Need Special Attention?

Before we begin covering the ins and outs of shipping fragile items, you need to ask yourself whether or not your items are actually fragile and require special attention. In some cases, the answer to this question will be obvious. For instance, the contents are made of glass or ceramic that are known to break easily. 

That being said, there are some items that wouldn’t traditionally be considered “fragile” that would still require special attention during the shipping process. This is because the shipping process can be rough—your packages really do go through a lot! For this reason, anything that could be potentially damaged or broken by being dropped or thrown around a lot does require special attention. 

Here are some examples:

  • Wooden items that need to retain their exact shape

  • Metal items that need to retain their exact shape

  • Traditionally fragile items like glass, ceramic, technology products, etc. 

Choose the Right Box

Once you have determined that your products are fragile and require special packaging and shipping to arrive at their destination in one piece, you need to start with the right box. While it’s easy to assume that any old box will do, that’s not necessarily the case. When it comes to shipping fragile items, you will need to use a box that is made out of corrugated cardboard. 

Corrugated differs from plain paperboard in that it’s thicker and made out of different layers. These layers contain both a liner and a medium. The liner is a thin piece of cardboard, and the medium is a thin piece of paper that has been folded into an accordion or “fluted” shape. From there, the medium is sandwiched between two layers of liner to provide extra insulation and protection to the contents of the box. 

But wait, there’s more! Different flute sizes directly contribute to the strength and durability of the box. Corrugated boxes feature a range of different flute sizes ranging from about 0.8 millimeters in thickness to about 5 millimeters in thickness. There are also sizes in between, including 3.2 millimeters, 4 millimeters, and 1.6 millimeters. Depending on how heavy or fragile your items are, you can then choose the best flute size.

In addition to flute sizes, there are different box designs that can actually contribute to the strength and durability of the box. For example, there are mailer boxes that offer folding pieces to reinforce the strength and seal of the box to protect it during the shipping process. There are also one-piece folder boxes that effectively wrap flatter items in corrugated to properly insulate them. Finally, there are shipping boxes that look like your traditional square or rectangular box. 

BoxGenie offers all three of these box options that are well-built and designed to keep all your products safe. They also offer custom eCommerce-ready packaging that allows you to custom design your packages with specific fonts, colors, and images associated with your brand. So, in addition to impressing your customer by keeping their products safe during the shipping process, you can also impress them with amazing high-quality packaging that promotes your brand image at the same time, and are eco-friendly at the same time.

Use the Right Packaging Extras

Once you have the right box, you’re still not done! When it comes to fragile items, corrugated isn’t enough to properly protect your items. Instead, you also need to use packaging extras to protect and pad your items. Here are some different packaging extras that you can consider for especially fragile items:

  • Cardboard partitions to separate different items.

  • Cardboard pack forms to hold items in place throughout the shipping process. 

  • Pads and filler ranging from recycled shredded paper to air pillows to traditional bubble wrap and packing peanuts

As you can see, some of these items, like pack forms, need to be specially ordered for your products. You should also think of this as another opportunity to impress your customer with high-quality packaging. You can also show off your brand by using branded items and on-brand colors and designs with these packaging extras. 

Wrap and Pack Safely

Once you have all your materials figured out, it’s time to wrap and package! This step in the process is just as important as utilizing the right materials. If you aren’t using the materials correctly, then you could easily end up with damaged or broken products at the end of the day. Here are some tips that you can follow to ensure that you wrap and pack your fragile items safely:

  • Wrap individual items separately and make sure that there’s plenty of cushioning. 

  • You could also double-box especially fragile items to ensure that they are properly protected. 

  • Make sure that the box isn’t overly big and provides a nice snug fit for the items so that you don’t have to use a ton of filler to fill in the gaps. 

  • Make sure that there’s enough filler to fill in the gaps between the different items and the sides of the box. 

  • Seal the box tightly with packing tape—making sure to use generous amounts along the openings as well as the sides and corners.

  • If your items are quite heavy, you may want to place a layer or two of packing tape along the entire bottom component of the box to act as a reinforcement and prevent the items from falling out during the shipping process. 

Choose the Right Shipping Option

Believe it or not, but some shipping options are actually better suited to fragile items than others. For example, standard shipping will likely involve a lot of handling throughout the way—this only increases the chances that your package will get thrown around just enough to break it. This is why we recommend expedited shipping options for fragile items. 

When you use expedited shipping, you’re able to cut down on handling because your package will go directly from its origin to its destination as quickly as possible. While this may be a little bit more expensive, it’s worth it in terms of protection, tracking, and speed—all contributing to customer satisfaction at the end of the day! 

USPS, UPS, and FedEx all offer various shipping options that will help your items get to their destination as you intended. From expedited shipping to specialized shipping, you can choose how you want your package sent to ensure that they arrive in tip-top shape! 

Label the Package Correctly

From there, you need to label your package correctly. Be sure to place your label on the top of the box to ensure that it’s generally kept in that direction throughout its journey. It’s also a good idea to label your box with “fragile” advisories so that those handling the package can clearly see that it’s fragile and treat it accordingly. Finally, ensure that all labels stay on by covering them with an extra layer of packing tape. 

Protect Your Package

Finally, the last step to safely shipping fragile items in the mail is to protect your package by purchasing insurance for its contents. Some couriers and shipping options will include a limited amount of insurance. Either way, be sure to insure the complete value of the contents of the box in the case that they end up getting damaged along the way. Paying a little bit extra for this insurance on the front end is definitely worth it for fragile and valuable items that are being shipped a long way. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, a lot of time and effort goes into safely shipping fragile items in the mail. That being said, with the right planning, materials, and effort, you can ensure that your items arrive at their destination safe and sound. 

 

Sources:

  1. https://greenbusinessbureau.com/blog/8-eco-friendly-packaging-alternatives-for-your-businesss-shipping-needs/
  2. https://www.fedex.com/en-us/shipping/packing/how-to-pack/breakables.html
  3. https://www.ups.com/us/en/help-center/sri/protection-package.page

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