Running an online retailer is a complex task. In the beginning, it may be easy to handle sales, payment processing, packaging & shipping, and keep track of inventory on your own. But what happens once sales and order volumes start to pick up? When more and more customers reach out for support, payment issues, and returns? Sooner or later you will also find your storage space lacking as you need to keep more products on hand. As your business grows, things can get a little overwhelming. This is where order fulfillment services can make life easier and help your business thrive. Order fulfillment services allow you to outsource your warehousing and shipping needs. This allows you to focus on other aspects of your business, such as quality assurance, marketing, and sales. Professional fulfillment services improve operational efficiency, reduce, costs, and take a significant amount of pressure off you, the seller. Today we want to take a look at how fulfillment services can benefit you: Why Order Fulfillment Services are Beneficial to Your Business 1. They Reduce Shipping Costs One of the biggest expenses for online retailers is shipping rates and material costs. Shipping rates are determined by order volume; this means the more products you ship, the lower the shipping rates. Using a fulfillment service will let you take advantage of their shipping rates, which are generally much lower than what you could get on your own. It’s estimated that you can save around 15-35% on shipping by using a fulfillment service. Fulfillment services can also keep your material costs are kept to a minimum. They have the experience to make sure that you’re using the right packaging and filler materials and determine the optimal way to pack your products. Some fulfillment services also offer custom packaging design if generic packaging solutions aren’t sufficient. 2. They Minimize Operating Costs Another advantage of fulfillment services is saving on operating costs. Warehouse rentals, equipment costs, upkeep/maintenance fees, and other overhead expenses can really add up. Fulfillment warehouses split these expenses among all the clients using the facility, lowering your individual costs. You also don’t need to worry about hiring your own warehouse employees. Fulfillment services charge a flat rate per number of units that you’re storing at the warehouse. This only changes when the number of units you’re storing changes. After that, you’re charged for each item that is picked, packed, and shipped. This means that you’re only paying for what you use. When business is booming, your fulfillment costs will go up because the warehouse is moving more products. But when business is slow, your fulfillment costs will go down. This keeps your operating costs “just right” for the amount of units you’re storing and shipping. 3. They Streamline the Order Fulfillment Process Online retail is complicated. Trying to handle all aspects on your own can be difficult without proper organization and integration of many different systems. Fulfillment services have access to software and systems that can streamline the fulfillment process. Some usual services they offer to help your business run more efficiently include: Order and Payment Processing Shipment Tracking Inventory Management Shipping Carrier Selection Shipping & Handling Security Order fulfillment software is commercially available, but it can be very expensive. By using a fulfillment service, however, you can take advantage of these benefits without having to buy the software yourself. 4. They Help Extend Your Reach Once your business starts to grow, you need to make sure you can handle increased shipping demands. Trying to scale your business on your own can be costly as order volume increases. Fulfillment services have the resources to take on increased order volume as your business grows. One of the most enticing aspects of growing a business is bringing your product to new markets. Whether it’s on the other side of the country or the other side of the world, reaching new customers is a huge step up for your business. Luckily, many fulfillment services already have the infrastructure in place to handle international shipping. This allows you to expand to new territory without the need for huge investments into scaling or unwarranted overhead increases. 5. They Improve Your Customer Service & Returns Process Reliable customer service and an efficient returns process are essential to running a successful business. Many fulfillment services offer 24/7 customer support by phone or email, and their integrated systems allow for easy returns, exchanges, and refunds. This leads to happier customers and better reverse logistics management. Fulfillment services can also help meet evolving customer expectations when it comes to shipping. Considering how COVID has created a huge shift towards online shopping, meeting your customers’ expectations is vital to keep business moving. Customer surveys show: 49% of online shoppers are more likely to purchase an item from a retailer that offers same-day shipping 63% of online shoppers expect guaranteed or estimated delivery dates 96% of online shoppers want retailers to identify and resolve package exceptions while they’re still in transit Fulfillment services are able to meet these expectations, taking the burden off of your shoulders and keeping customers satisfied. Looking to Outsource Your Order Fulfillment? Preferred Packaging is Here to Help. Since our founding in 1985, we have become the preferred packaging supplier for hundreds of companies along the Front Range. We owe our 35 years of success to taking the time to really listen to our customers and come up with effective solutions for their packaging and shipping needs. We are fully equipped and able to design and manufacture packaging products, as well as provide generic packaging products, equipment automation, kitting & assembly, and warehouse & distribution services. To see what packaging and shipping solutions we can provide for you, call us at (303) 444-4774 or get in touch with us online today.

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When you have a product worth buying, customers can come from far and wide. Nowadays, customers are able to purchase products from anywhere in the world. Whether your business is shipping locally, to the other side of the country, or even internationally, making sure your products arrive at the customer’s door safely is essential. We have put together a list of tips that should keep your products safe and your customers happy. Tips to Keep Your Products Safe During Shipping 1. Use Quality Packaging Materials Quality products deserve quality packaging. Every business should make an effort to minimize shipping costs to help their bottom line. However, settling for less-expensive materials can often do more harm than good. With roughly 1 in 10 products damaged during shipping, quality packaging materials can minimize returns, costly product replacements, and dings to your reputation. Finding a reputable supplier of high-quality packaging, cushioning, and loose-fill materials will make it easier to keep your products safe. You, your products, and your customers are worth it. 2. Package Your Products Effectively Having high-quality packaging materials is good, but using those materials effectively is the key to keeping your products safe. It’s essential that you use the correct sized package for your products. A package that is too big will need extra cushioning materials inside to prevent products from being damaged. However, packages need enough space to effectively use cushioning or filler materials, so using a package that barely fits may not work well, either. Keep in mind that some products will need more cushioning or filler material than others. For example, a set of wine glasses will certainly need much more bubble wrap and loosefill material than a hardcover book. And if you’re shipping several small objects in the same package, dividers or inserts can ensure they don’t roll around inside the package. Effectively packaging your products will make sure they are protected from any bumps, drops, and shocks that might happen during shipping. 3. Test Your Packaging Solutions Different products need different packaging solutions to guarantee they arrive safely. One of the best ways to determine that your current packaging solutions are up to the task is by testing your packaging. There is a myriad of tests available to simulate all sorts of factors, including: Drop Tests use accelerometers to evaluate how packages perform from varying drop heights (1m, 2m, etc.), whether it is a free-fall straight down, dropping the package on its corner/edge, or even rolling/tumbling. Vibration Tests evaluate how well packages protect their products at varying frequency ranges (25Hz, 200Hz, etc.) to simulate shaking and vibrations during shipping. Inclined and Horizontal Impact Tests evaluate how much protection packaging provides at varying impact velocities (1 m/s or 4m/s, for example), which simulates boxes sliding around or being hit from the side. Compression Tests evaluate how much force packages can withstand before being crushed (measured in Newtons/Kilonewtons), such as when having several packages stacked on top of it. Moisture and Temperature Tests can ensure that products are not damaged due to humidity, rain, or extreme temperatures. Working with a package and shipping company to test your packaging will ensure that it can protect your products. 4. … Or Design Your Own When it comes to packaging, sometimes one-size-fits-all isn’t the best fit. Depending on the type of product you’re shipping, it may be necessary to create your own packaging. Engineering and design software can be utilized to develop customized packaging to fit any type of product. Designing your own packaging also means that you can test it throughout the developing process which will ensure the best possible results. Whether it is custom-made inserts, cut-outs, or package reinforcing, packaging tailored to your needs will ensure that your products can be delivered safely, create an elegant package design, and make a memorable unboxing experience for your customers. Looking to Guarantee Your Products Arrive Safely? Preferred Packaging is Here to Help. Since our founding in 1985, we have become the preferred packaging supplier for hundreds of companies along the Front Range. We owe our 35 years of success to taking the time to really listen to our customers and come up with effective solutions for their packaging and shipping needs. We are fully equipped and able to design and manufacture packaging products, as well as provide generic packaging products, equipment automation, kitting & assembly, and warehouse & distribution services. To see what packaging and shipping solutions we can provide for you, call us at (303) 444-4774 or get in touch with us online today.

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As a company that ships products, ensuring that those products arrive at their destination safely should be your number one priority. Choosing the right packing materials is vital to keeping your products protected while minimizing material costs and shipping fees. When you are trying to determine the best packing materials for your products there are a few questions to ask yourself, including: What is my product made of? (Clothing may not need much packing material, but glass and ceramics certainly need extra protection) Am I shipping multiple items in one package? Do I need to protect my product from specific hazards like moisture, bending, or being crushed? Depending on your answers, the best packing material will vary for each type of product. Luckily, there are several options that can help serve any of your packaging needs. We hope this list will help you determine the best packing materials for keeping your products safe: Protective Packing Materials 1) Packing Peanuts This is usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of packing materials. Packing peanuts have been around for decades and they remain one of the most widely-used options available due to their low cost. While they were originally made from polystyrene foam, but there is also a biodegradable version made from corn starch that is much better for the environment. Packing peanuts are used to fill any empty space inside the packaging to cushion your product. This is a good option for protecting glass, metals, electronics, and other products that can break easily. 2) Bubble Wrap Bubble wrap is a great packing material because it’s very durable. Bubble wrap can be used as filler material inside of the packaging or used as a bag to wrap around the product itself. Because it takes a lot of force and pressure to pop enough bubbles that will leave your products unprotected, bubble wrap is great for all sorts of products. Bubble wrap is available in sheets, bags, and even bubble mailers (envelopes with bubble wrap built-in), all of varying thickness. Bubble mailers offer the dual benefit of protection and packaging and can be a great option for small or flat items such as books, folded t-shirts, Blu Ray/DVD cases, and even jewelry. Another great thing about bubble mailers is that depending on their size and weight (once you have your product inside) they may even qualify as envelopes and not packages, which can save on shipping costs. 3) Packing Foam Packing foam is an incredibly versatile packing material because it has no definitive shape. Packing foam can be found in sheets, sponge rolls, foam rolls, and egg crates and can be found in varying degrees of firmness. It can be cut, folded, and even molded into almost any shape imaginable, making it suitable for practically any size, shape, and type of product. This makes it useful for protecting items with uncommon shapes such as tools or machine parts, as well as fragile or sensitive products that damage easily like ceramics, computer parts, and camera lenses. 4) Paper Paper can be a simple but effective packing material depending on the type of product you’re shipping. It is relatively cheap compared to other packing materials, and it’s useful as a filler material or for wrapping things such as books, small items, and even dishes. Common types of packing paper include Kraft paper, Butcher paper, and crinkle paper. Even crumpled or shredded paper/cardboard can be a cost-effective filler material. If you are using paper as packing material or to wrap things like dishes, you should use it generously to prevent damage. It might also be a good idea to use another packing material, like bubble wrap or packing peanuts, for extra protection. 5) Padded Dividers or Corrugated/Foam Inserts If you’re shipping multiple items in the same package, or your product needs extra protection from rattling around during shipping, using padded dividers or corrugated/foam inserts can be a great solution. These can be simple square dividers to keep products from bumping into each other during shipping or customized inserts that fit your products like a glove and make sure they stay in place. This can create a package that really stands out from your competitors and lead to a great unboxing experience for the customer. LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT PACKING MATERIAL FOR YOUR PRODUCTS? PREFERRED PACKAGING IS HERE TO HELP. Since our founding in 1985, we have become the preferred packaging supplier for hundreds of companies along the Front Range. We owe our 35 years of success to taking the time to really listen to our customers and come up with effective solutions for their packaging and shipping needs. We are fully equipped and able to design and manufacture packaging products, as well as provide generic packaging products, equipment automation, kitting & assembly, and warehouse & distribution services. To see what packaging and shipping solutions we can provide for you, call us at (303) 444-4774 or get in touch with us online today.

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An extremely vital aspect of package development is package testing. It’s necessary to test your packaging against a variety of different factors and hazards to ensure their quality and effectiveness to protect your products no matter what. It’s important to keep in mind that proper package testing goes beyond simply dropping a box and seeing if the product inside breaks or not. Standardized testing can determine how well a particular type of packaging will perform when exposed to conditions such as humidity, pressure from having other packages stacked on top of it, and vibrations. Today we will break down package testing factors and the industry standards that need to be followed to ensure that you are using optimal packaging solutions. Package Solution Testing To properly test the performance of your packaging, there are many factors to consider. One such factor is the shipping method. How do you plan on shipping your products? The methods you use to ship your products will directly affect the choice of package solutions because they will be subjected to different effects. Packages shipped via ocean freight is more exposed to moisture and salt than other shipping methods.  Packages shipped via railway have to deal with prolonged, specific vibrations as the trains travel along their tracks.  Packages shipped via truck transport will be subjected to more compression, as shipping trucks are usually jam-packed to cut down on shipping costs. The next thing to consider is exactly what sort of stresses or strains will your packaging be subjected to? The type of product you are shipping can also determine what sort of hazards you need to protect against. For example, products that may be damaged by moisture or humidity needs to be protected by packaging that keeps moisture at bay. Your packaging needs to be properly tested to ensure that it can stand up to these effects. There are several ways that your package solutions can be tested against these stresses and strains, including: Bending tests Compression/Stacking tests Corrosion tests Edge Crushing tests Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) tests Moisture Absorption tests Puncture Resistance tests Rolling and Toppling tests Shock/Drop tests Temperature and Atmosphere tests Vibration tests The Testing Process The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) is the industry leader in standards and guidelines for testing packaging. ISTA offers two types of testing: performance tests and development tests. Performance tests are used to ensure that a packaged product will survive normal shipment, and receive either a passing or failing grade. Development tests, on the other hand, don’t test whether or not packaging can handle shipping. Instead, they compare how well packaging stacks up to similar sizes and designs of competitors. There are multiple categories of ISTA tests and protocols, called a Series. Each Series has several different tests (called procedures) for a large number of conditions, package types, and other factors. Each ISTA procedure has a unique set of strict guidelines and equipment requirements that must be followed to the letter. Some examples include: Series 1: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests Series 1 tests evaluate the strength and durability of the product and package combination. Series 1 is not designed to simulate environmental factors. Series 1 is useful as general screening tests. Procedure 1A: Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or LessProcedure 1A performs fixed displacement vibration and shock testing. Series 2: Partial Simulation Performance TestsA Series 2 test takes the basic elements of Series 1 tests and combines them with one or more elements from Series 3 tests. Procedure 2A: Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or LessProcedure 2A performs fixed displacement or random vibration, shock, compression, and atmospheric conditioning tests. Series 3: General Simulation Performance TestsSeries 3 tests are designed to provide laboratory simulations to assess factors in a controlled environment. The tests can assess a large range of conditions and circumstances. Procedure 3A: Packaged-Products for Parcel Delivery System Shipments 70kg (150 lb) or Less (standard, small, flat, or elongated)Procedure 3A is a general simulation test for products shipped through a parcel delivery system. It is used to test for four different generic package types: standard, small, flat, and elongated. Procedure 3A tests for atmospheric pre-conditioning, random vibration with/without a top load, and shock. Looking for custom packaging solutions?Preferred Packaging is here to help. Since our founding in 1985, we have become the preferred packaging supplier for hundreds of companies along the Front Range. We owe our 35 years of success to taking the time to really listen to our customers and come up with effective solutions for their packaging and shipping needs. We are fully equipped and able to design and manufacture packaging products, as well as provide generic packaging products, equipment automation, kitting & assembly, and warehouse & distribution services.  To see what packaging and shipping solutions we can provide for you, call us at (303) 444-4774 or get in touch with us online today.

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Packaging costs are a huge factor for businesses that ship products. They can make up a large part of business operating costs, and so many companies try to minimize packaging costs as much as possible. Cutting down on material costs is the first thing that most people will think of then trying to reduce packaging costs, but there are several other factors that play into it as well including what packaging materials are required, the quality of those materials, and order volume. Generic packaging can be a cost-effective solution for packaging costs at startup. This is your ready-made packaging that is produced in massive quantities (the most recognizable example would be Amazon’s standard shipping boxes). But depending on your product type, size, fragility, and shipping volume, generic packaging may not be the best solution for what your business needs. This is when you should consider an upgrade with custom packaging. Here’s what to think about when deciding if custom packaging is right for your business: When Is Custom Packaging A Good Fit For Your Business? When Shipping Costs Are Too High Shipping costs are determined by comparing a package’s actual weight to its dimensional weight. The greater number will be used to determine the shipping cost. Dimensional weight is calculated based on the size and density of the package. The best way to think of dimensional weight is to visualize the available space in a truck or plane. The bigger the box you’re trying to ship, the more the shipping rate will be because it is taking up more space. Essentially, this means that package sizes can have a big effect on your shipping costs. If you are using generic box sizes, you may be spending more on shipping than is necessary, especially if you are shipping smaller or lighter items in bigger boxes. Custom packaging will help optimize package sizing, which will help keep shipping costs to a minimum. When You Want to Cut Down on Material Costs The size of packages not only affects shipping costs but material costs as well. Many people have posted pictures on social media of a package arriving that is too big for the product they’ve ordered. For example, using a generic Large standard-size Amazon box (18″ x 14″ x 8″) to ship one book, cell phone, or t-shirt is unnecessary and wasteful. The customer will receive a box that’s loaded with 95% filler material and 5% product, and that filler material will most likely go right in the garbage. Buying generic “one-size-fits-all” boxes in bulk may keep down upfront costs, but ensuring that you are using the appropriate size boxes for ALL of your products can equal huge savings in the long run. Custom packaging that’s optimized to the product it’s protecting means less packaging material, less filler material, and less tape or other supplies needed to secure them. This will minimize material costs, reduce material waste, and promote green shipping practices. When Your Products Need to Arrive Safely The most important aspect of shipping is making sure your product arrives safely. The most frustrating thing for a customer who is waiting on a package is that their product arrives damaged or broken because of ineffective packaging. It’s estimated that 1 in 10 packages without proper protective packaging will arrive damaged. Custom packaging can help minimize these risks and ensure that your product is protected. Custom packaging will let you design a package that fits your product like a glove and protects it like a suit of armor. By designing the packaging, you are also able to design any filler materials such as internal inserts, dividers, and blocking/bracing items that you need to reinforce your packages. This means your products stay protected and will reduce the risk of returns, refunds, and losing customers for good. A good example of this is bicycles. Bicycle parts aren’t just thrown all into one big box and shipped out; bicycles are shipped in larger packages with smaller, specific fitted boxes inside that isolate and protect the wheels, the frame, and other parts. This not only protects the parts from being damaged externally but from hitting and damaging each other inside the packaging. Learn about the shipped product testing we can do for your packing solutions, and how we can help here. When You Want to Stand Out from the Competition Custom packaging is a surefire way to stand out from your competitors. Not only does custom packaging appear more professional than using generic packaging, but it can create a higher sense of value for your products in the minds of your customers. You’re investing time and money into your packaging, so your products must be worth it, right? Using different materials or going above and beyond with the packed presentation can create a great first impression and create a memorable unboxing experience for the customer. Looking for custom packaging solutions?Preferred Packaging is here to help. Since our founding in 1985, we have become the preferred packaging supplier for hundreds of companies along the Front Range. We owe our 35 years of success to taking the time to really listen to our customers and come up with effective solutions for their packaging and shipping needs. We are fully equipped and able to design and manufacture packaging products, as well as provide generic packaging products, equipment automation, kitting & assembly, and warehouse & distribution services.  To see what packaging and shipping solutions we can provide for you, call us at (303) 444-4774 or get in touch with us online today.

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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...

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