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Shipping and packing are quite interrelated and inseparable. It is not easy to sustain in business when your shipping partners not right. Just tossing the product into your package is not sufficient to ship a product to a customer. It is utmost important to choose the right packaging with the right shipping carrier for upholding your customer satisfaction. Here are some detailed guide on packing methods and how it can be implemented using WooCommerce shipping plugins. Let us get a better understanding of WooCommerce packing methods using the ELEX WooCommerce Shipping Plugins.
Online shopping or even purchase is complete when the desired package reaches the customer safe and sound. No amount of fancy marketing techniques or highly relevant marketing can make up the loss if the customer receives the package completely mangled and broken.
So let us walk through some of the basic strategies that can make packaging a grand success.
Pre-preparation for Packing
Packing doesn’t happen in just a jiffy. You need to properly plan packing in order to ensure that, the items are shipped carefully. Here are some basic rules to follow :
Pack depending on Your Products
Always choose packing depending upon your products. Any time, you send any package, it should be able to survive any fall or drop. Imagine you carrying a glass jar in your package and it happens that the package just drops four-foot down accidentally. It is indeed gonna be a big loss. Now how do you ensure that you as well as your customer not incurring a loss?
Yes !! Just pack it right.
Every packaging should be depending on the product purchased or shipped. If you are shipping a cloth material, you need to pack it well so that it doesn’t go crumbled, but is just right to impress the customer.
So before packing; assess your product’s :
- size and shape
- type of product
- value of the shipment
Choose your packaging material wisely
If you are into eCommerce packaging, then you need to choose the packing materials right to adapt to your product. You get poly bags, corrugated cardboard boxes, double-walled corrugated cardboard boxes and even simple cardboard boxes with fillers like bubble wrapping, plastic air-filled bags etc helps to ensure that the packages are packed tightly.
Here two kinds of packing is done to ensure the packs are intact :
- Internal Packing
- External Packing
Most of the poly bags which are used for soft not so fragile goods are water-resistant, not likely to tear or even burst. Even corrugated boxes are strong and lightweight are one of the primary choices in the eCommerce industry. The double-walled corrugated boxes are used mainly to pack extremely fragile goodies, with much more fillers inserted in them to provide guaranteed protection. A flyer is usually preferred when the package is less than 5 kg or in a range of 0-5kg. A single-walled package for more than 5 kg and less than 10kg. And a double-walled package for more than 10kg and less than 30 kg
There are several ways to check the capacity of the box, the burst and crush rating of the boxes will help to determine whether the box can accommodate as well as handle such weight. The more the weight is the better should be the burst and crush rating of the boxes.
In order to ensure that the packs are intact, we use some kind of fillers. The fillers that are prevailing in the industry are air pockets, foam fillers and also bundles of paper that can hold the product intact and do not cause the products to toss away in the box. Mostly cushioning, using dividers and protectors, shock absorption and void filling etc are related to internal packing.
Tape it right
Once you choose the right box, the next option is to ensure you are taping it rightly. Do not just use simple masking tape to tape it up. It is so brittle that all your packing will go waste. Use some water-activated, pressure-sensitive tapes that are at least 2 inches wide. If your products are subjected to get damaged when coming in contact with water ensure to wrap it with plastic bags. H-tape sealing is ideal for your taping.
Steps to Pack
- Firstly analyse the dimensions of your package. Like if you have some items, that needs extra care and attention, you need to ensure you follow the guidelines listed by the shipping carrier.
- Secondly, choose the right packaging. If required use the think packaging option to pack.
- It is not just packing, but sealing is also important when you consider shipping.
- Lastly, Labeling is also very important when you consider packing. It is the identity of the package. Make sure that the labels are readable. Most of the ELEX Shipping plugins have options to generate corresponding shipping labels for the package.
Here are some recommended packaging methods :
Single Box Packing
In here, a single-walled box can be used and for the product, a filler can be used to fill in for extra safety. Mostly suited for less-fragile items, that need not go far-reaching locations.
Double box or Box-in-a-Box
To offer much more protection, you can use box in a box or double box packing method. You can place the item in one box with proper fillers and then place the same box in another bigger box with fillers again. It just offers extra protection.
Packing options using ELEX Stamps.com Shipping Plugin
Based on the weights and dimensions of the products in the cart you can calculate the rate and apply it to the final price of the order. Once the order is placed, the items will then be automatically packed into the configured boxes.
You can choose from the following Packing options in the plugin
- Individual Item Packing
- Pack Into Custom Boxes with Weights and Dimensions
- Weight-Based (You can pack heavier items first, lighter items first, or pack purely divided by weight)
Further, under Weight and Dimension based packing method, you have two other packing algorithms; Volume-based and Stack First Algorithm. With all these algorithms, you can decide on how the packaging is to be done.
Not just this, you can configure on how to process the Unpacked items.
The three options to pack parcel are using our plugin are as given below:
- Pack Items Individually: In here, each item in the cart is packed separately. Total Shipping cost is calculated by adding the shipping cost for each item. Hence labels are also generated separately.
For example, the shipping cost of Item X is $20. If the customer adds two units of item X to the cart, then the total shipping cost is $10 x 2, which is $40. In this case, two labels are generated.
- Pack into boxes with weight and dimensions: If packing items individually do not suit your business, you can also define required box sizes under Box Dimensions section in the plugin. All the cart items are packed into custom boxes defined in Box Dimensions settings as per your preference. The best fit box is auto chosen from the defined boxes.
- Weight-based: In this option, the weights of all the cart items are summed up and passed to the USPS Stamps.com API to get rates. You have to just define a Max Weight which will determine the maximum weight that can be packed in a single package. All the products up to the Max Weight will be packed inside a single package and once the Max Weight is reached, the plugin will create a new package.
Parcel packing in Stamps.com
Let us look into details on how to do parcel packing using the ELEX Stamps.com shipping plugin.
Packing into boxes with weight and dimensions
In here , you can opt to pack the items into boxes with certain weight and dimensions. Again the packing can be based on Volume-based packing or even stack the first algorithm as per your choice.
In the volume-based packing, the volume of the product is considered rather than the weight of the product.
For example, consider a product with dimension :
Even though the product has a weight, the packaging is solely done based upon the volume of the product. Here considering the dimension, the volume is 15.7×14.6×12.5. Once the order is placed, just for one order, you might not see much difference.
But as we increase the quantity, the packaging price varies.
Upon generating packages for the shipment, you get :
You can also add a custom packaging option with proper dimensions to include:
Make sure while you fill in details :
- Name of the Box- Give a name that is easy to track.
- Outer Dimensions-This is the dimension measured from outside of the box, which is the outer packing
- Inner Dimensions- This is the dimension measured from inside of the box. The inner box dimension is used as the packing volume and the outer dimension is sent to EasyPost.
- The weight of the packing material- Since the combined weight of the box and the products inside are used at the time of shipping, enter a correct weight of the empty box. If you fail at entering the correct weight of the box, it will result in incorrect estimation of shipping rates and cost you more while shipping.
- Maximum Weight it can carry- Enter the maximum weight that can be put in a particular box.
Using Stack first
Stack first algorithm is quite commonly used in eCommerce packaging. In here, the packages are stacked based on the length, width and height.
Using the algorithm, it is easy to find a simple method to pack the items and ship.
Packing into boxes using weight-based calculations
Weight-based packing is a packing process where the weight of the package is used to fetch the shipping rate. It is quite a simple way of packing items into boxes. This gives you the privilege to use boxes of any dimension and pack items based on the weight and show shipping rates based on the total weight of the shipment.
Stamps allow us to pack items with three options :
- Pack heavy ones first -Using this packs the heavier item first in the box. For instance, consider 7 products with respective weights of 2,4,6 5,4,3, and 1 pound and you have to fill a box with a maximum weight of 15 pounds. Soin the process of packing heavier item first will pack will start filling the box with 6 pounds item at the bottom followed by the lighter items.
- Pack lighter items first- This option performs the steps in reverse order, firstly filling the lighter one. In the above example, it starts filling the package with weight as 1 first.
- Pack purely divided based on weight- This option helps to pack the box with a uniform distribution of weight throughout the box starting from the bottom of the box. This may not follow any specific pattern of filling the box while filling it the specified maximum weight is mentioned.
The plugin also lets to choose Box Measurement Unit- If you want to have the measurement units as per WooCommerce settings, tick the box there. If you leave it unchecked the default measurements will be taken into account. By default, it is LBS/IN.
To Conclude :
You can see that, with a properly planned way of packaging you can reduce the cost of packaging and help the customer save money on the same. Using the Stamps stack-based algorithm packaging or weight-based or volume-based, you can save much more cost for your customers. Hence to bring in a refined way of packing, you can make use of the stamps algorithmic packaging method or even the efficient box packing available with the other shipping plugins.