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While it’s definitely nice to have packaging that looks good, the main purpose of packaging is to help your products arrive at their destination in one piece. However, as you probably are aware, that doesn’t always happen! The shipping process can be rough and tough—especially on fragile products that can easily end up broken or damaged upon arrival. 

One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is by utilizing protective packaging. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about protective packaging, types, and uses so that you can discover the best options for your company. 

What Is Protective Packaging?

Starting with the basics, protective packaging refers to packaging that is specifically designed to protect, buffer, and insulate products from damage or destruction during the often unpredictable shipping process. Protective packaging can be made out of a wide range of different materials ranging from cardboard, plastic, metal, and more. In addition, protective packaging can be used as a primary packaging component or a secondary packaging component. 

For example, you can use a corrugated cardboard box as a primary component of protective packaging in addition to using secondary components such as packaging inserts, void fillers, air pillows, etc. No matter what type of protective packaging you use or how you use it, the end goal is to protect your precious products and help them arrive at their destination in one piece. 

Why Use Protective Packaging?

If you’re wondering why it’s necessary to invest in protective packaging, wonder no more! Many cost-conscious business owners are wary of incorporating additional components into their packaging that can drive up the cost. However, it’s important to remember that doing so could actually end up saving you money in the process when you have little to no damaged goods as a result. Furthermore, it can also really save you on the customer side as well.

This is because customers these days really value their unboxing experience. In fact, about 40% of all consumers said last year that they will take a photo or a video of their unboxing experience. Needless to say, a broken or damaged product won’t make for a very good unboxing experience for the customer or video for their network. You can prevent this from happening, ensure customer satisfaction, and hopefully get some free marketing as a result of investing in effective and strategic protective product packaging.

What Are The Different Types Of Protective Packaging?

Just as there are many different uses for protective packaging, there are many different types available as well. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the different types of protective packaging so that you can have a better idea of what options are out there and what may work best for your packaging needs:

  • Air pillows: Air pillows are typically made of plastic pieces inflated with air to create “pillows” that can cushion fragile products during the shipping process. Oftentimes, air pillows come in a sheet with several different sections to ensure that they stay properly inflated throughout the journey. 
  • Angle boards: Angle boards are typically made of a hard paperboard material formed to a right angle in order to protect the sides and corners of products being shipped. This helps prevent any knicks or scratches that may occur on the edges of the product. 
  • Bubble wrap: Bubble wrap features a sheet of small inflated air bubbles that are used to cushion and cover fragile products to prevent damage or breakage during the shipping process. 
  • Corner blocks: Corner blocks are very similar to angle boards and are designed in a right angle to protect the corners of an object from damage. 
  • Corrugated wrap: Corrugated wrap serves the same purpose as bubble wrap but is made out of corrugated paperboard rather than inflated plastic. This paperboard is scored so that it is better able to protect and cushion fragile products during the shipping process. 
  • Packaging inserts: Packaging inserts are typically made of cardboard or paperboard and are designed to separate different components within a single shipment, fill empty space, and secure the product within a certain location in the package to prevent movement during transport. 
  • Molded packaging: Molded packaging is a specific type of packaging insert that is designed to perfectly fit different products or components being shipped so that they stay perfectly in place throughout the journey. 
  • Packing peanuts: Packing peanuts are typically made of styrofoam in order to completely surround, cushion, and protect loose items that need extra protection during transport. That being said, there are now more environmentally-friendly options for packing peanuts that are biodegradable instead of using styrofoam that can take hundreds of years to decompose. 
  • Void fillers: Similar to packing peanuts, void fillers are also designed to completely surround, cushion, and protect loose items that need extra protection throughout the shipping process. Void fillers can be made out of recycled shredded paper for a more environmentally-friendly option that can then be reused or recycled afterward the initial journey. 

How To Choose The Right Type Of Protective Packaging?

All of these different types of protective packaging can be overwhelming and confusing if you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for. Thankfully, there are experts, like those at BoxGenie, who can help you determine the right type of packaging for your company. This includes both primary packaging options as well as secondary. When it comes to choosing the right type of protective packaging, here are some key things to consider:

  • Consider your brand image and values. For example, if you want to give off a high-end feel with your packaging, you may need to invest in higher-end materials so that customers feel justified paying a premium price for your product as well as the packaging. 
    Another example involves eco-friendly packaging. If you establish yourself as a brand that values taking care of the environment, you wouldn’t want to be using environmentally harmful protective packaging components such as styrofoam packing peanuts or traditional plastic bubble wrap. Instead, there are more eco-friendly alternatives that you should consider using. 
  • Consider your ideal customer persona. What do they care about in terms of packaging? What are they expecting when they see and open the package? This is another area where being eco-friendly can easily come into play since more and more consumers, especially younger ones, are willing to pay higher prices to purchase from eco-friendly brands. So if this is what your customers want to see—give it to them! 
  • Consider your product. How fragile is it? How heavy is it? How is it being stored? All of these answers will affect your protective packaging options. 
  • Consider your budget. Some types of protective packaging will cost more than others. Higher-end products usually warrant more expensive protective packaging. On the other hand, it doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot of money on protective packaging for cheaper products. 
  • Consider your sales channel. Is the product being shipped direct to the consumer? Is it going on a shelf at the store? These very different scenarios will likely require very different protective packaging solutions. 

How To Design Quality Protective Packaging?

Once you have the basics down in terms of what type of protective packaging you need to use, it’s time for the design process. This is one area that many companies tend to struggle with—especially if they’re just starting out and may not have an established brand image. 

Overall, when it comes to designing your packaging, think of it as an extension of your brand. Include relevant logos, fonts, colors, designs, slogans, etc., so that it can strike a positive impression with consumers and lead to strong brand recognition. It may seem like a lot of work now, but every second (and penny) you spend on this will be well worth it in the end when you can keep your products safe, keep your customers satisfied, and keep growing your company as a result. 

Final Thoughts On Protective Packaging

As you can see, protective packaging is extremely important for keeping products safe throughout the shipping process and ensuring that customers are satisfied when they receive intact items. Being proactive with your packaging now can save you a ton of time, money, and headaches caused by damaged products in the future! So be sure to strategically plan and test out your protective packaging along with the experts at BoxGenie for a durable and dependable packaging solution that delivers every single time. 

 

Sources:

  1. https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/the-changing-customer-how-to-cater-to-gen-z
  2. https://www.globalspec.com/learnmore/material_handling_packaging_equipment/packaging_labeling_equipment/protective_packaging
  3. https://greenbusinessbureau.com/blog/10-advantages-of-green-packaging-to-the-environment/

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Megan D., CEO at SSBD

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