The Most Common Product Packaging Mistakes

Product packaging is a vital aspect of any business that ships products. In addition to keeping products safe, the packaging is usually the first thing that customers will see, and so great packaging can provide a “wow” factor that attracts customers and enhances your brand image. But every day, many businesses make simple packaging mistakes that can delay deliveries, increase shipping costs, and even lead to damaged products (and reputations!) Steering clear of packaging mistakes listed here will give you a competitive edge by controlling shipping costs, maximizing efficiency, and making sure your products get delivered safely to your customers.

The 7 Most Common Packaging Mistakes Businesses Make

1) Using the Wrong-Sized Packaging

Products can come in every shape and size imaginable, so you should ensure that your packaging matches the shape and size of the item it’s protecting. Packaging should always be stackable. If boxes are too large, they will take up unnecessary space during shipping and require additional cushioning material or loose fill (packing peanuts, air pillows, etc.) inside to prevent damage. This means more material costs for you and more material waste.

On the other hand, packaging that is “just big enough” to fit the product but doesn’t allow sufficient packaging protection inside can also lead to damage during shipping. Finding the right balance of protection, cost-effectiveness, and presentation can be difficult. Custom package design might be the solution that you need to keep your packages protected while keeping costs to a minimum.

2) Not Using The Correct Packaging Materials

You also need to use the right types of materials for the type of product you are packaging. Usually, heavier products will need stronger, more resistant cushioning material or loosefill such as bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or airbags to prevent damage. Products that are lighter or not as fragile, on the other hand, may be able to get by with wadded paper or newsprint to keep them from rattling around in the package.

Having the correct materials for each of your products to be packed in needs to be an individual decision considering the weight, risk of break and size/shape of the product that needs to be packaged.

3) Not Using “Green” Packaging Materials

There is a lot of scrutiny on the environmental impact of business nowadays, especially for the packaging and shipping industry. According to a study from the University of Indiana, packaging materials make up just under 2/3 of all household trash, and almost 1/3 of all trash in our landfills! It’s also estimated that just about 40% of all plastic waste comes from packaging materials.

Reusable packaging materials like corrugated cardboard and paper have a low ecological impact, but other materials like plastic bags, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam packing peanuts are not biodegradable or recyclable. Bioplastics, recycled paper/plastics, or post-consumer materials are great alternatives that will cut down on your environmental footprint.

Green packaging can also help with expenses and attract more customers. It’s not always necessary to use as much packaging when using green packaging options, which means lower material costs and lighter, less expensive shipping costs. A small amount of savings per shipment can add up to substantial savings annually.

4) Using Low-quality Packaging

Different products need different packaging, and materials can be costly, especially for smaller businesses. However, extreme cost-cutting measures or using different sources for packaging materials will inevitably lead to quality concerns and raise the risk of damaging products during shipping.

While it may seem like a good idea to shop around for the best deals for your materials, choosing a single, one-stop supplier saves time, effort, and money while making it easier to verify the quality of the materials you’re sourcing. Since you’re likely to buy several different materials together and in bulk (boxes, loosefill, shipping labels, etc.) you may also be able to get discounts or other incentives from your supplier.

5) Doing a Poor Taping & Labeling Job

Having the best packaging materials on the planet won’t mean anything if you can’t hold the packaging together consistantly. Incorrectly taping a box or using ineffective tape can lead to a box opening up during shipping and possibly damaging or ruining your product. It’s recommended to use 3-inch tape and follow the H-tape method to cover all seams of your package and create a more secure package.

Improperly applying shipping labels to your packages will increase the risk of your package being delayed or lost in transit. Make sure that the label is neatly written and legible, and always put the label on top of the package; this will make it easier for the shipping company to sort and keep track of your package.

6) Lack of Package Testing

If your packaging fails during shipping, customers will tend to think badly of your brand negatively affecting your overall reputation. Not ensuring your packaging can protect your product from bumps, falls, humidity, pests, or other factors can lead to big problems down the road. On the other hand, over-packaging or over-protecting your products can lead to annoyed customers, complaints to customer support, or bad reviews. Not to mention the excess use of materials will increase packing costs. Package testing needs to happen during the design and production process, well before you ship a product.

Our team has a lot of experience testing current packing for improvements, as well as developing specific packaging methods to ensure the best levels of protection with the lowest packing costs possible. Efficiency is critical, using package testing can help develop a consistent process good for your costs and that keeps customers happiest too.

7) No Customized Packaging

A plain cardboard box looks just like any other. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, people have a lot to think about and remember; having unique packaging is a way to stand apart. There are many ways to approach this from the materials your using and the packed presentation to a subtle nod of your brand on the outside of the box like what Amazon does. 

The first priority is making sure the materials and packing protects your packed products, but the second priority is to leave a positive impression that will lead to more orders. 

Looking to Improve Your Packaging? We Can Help.

Preferred Packaging Products was founded in 1985 with the mission of providing our customers with the highest performing packaging products at the lowest possible price exactly when they need it.

For over 35 years, we have succeeded and grown to become a one-stop-shop for all your packaging and shipping needs; in addition to the services and products listed above, we also offer equipment automation, kitting & assembly, and warehousing & distribution services. To see what packaging and shipping solutions we can provide for you, call us at (303) 444-4774 or get in contact with us online today.

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