Why Does Packaging Matter So Much?

By Jessica Biella, March 13, 2023

When considering your business and the goods you sell, packaging may seem like a simple component. However, for businesses with a substantial e-commerce presence, recognizing the critical role packaging plays can greatly impact your operations’ efficiency and customer satisfaction. Conducting a thorough evaluation of your packaging process can reveal opportunities to lower costs, prevent product damage, and reduce your environmental impact. All of these factors can influence how your brand is perceived by your customers and ultimately affect your bottom line.

Reducing Costs

Right-sized packaging is the use of appropriate packaging that provides sufficient protection for the product while using the minimum amount of material necessary. Even small adjustments in your packaging can have a significant impact.

Packaging supplies such as boxes, padded mailers, or poly bags may offer a better fit for your products. Are you using packaging that is too large, therefore requiring additional insulating materials to prevent movement in transit? Is it possible to use a slightly smaller box with less insulating materials?

Making even a small reduction in the weight of your packaging can have a significant impact on your shipping rates. For instance, decreasing your total package weight from 16.01 oz. to 15.99 oz. can lower your shipping cost to a lower tier rate. While it may not be feasible to decrease the weight of your product, adjusting your packaging materials can still make a significant difference. For instance, it may be possible to reduce the thickness of your box walls or use a material with lighter weight without compromising the safety of your product during shipping. Additionally, using a poly bag instead of a box may also be a viable option for certain products. By making these adjustments to your packaging materials, you can reduce shipping costs and potentially save money.

Many shippers, including the USPS, utilize dimensional weight (DIM) to calculate parcel pricing rather than the actual weight. This calculation is based on the length, weight, and height of the package, along with its actual weight and a divisor set by the carrier. Work with your carrier to understand how your packages are priced so you can optimize your packaging practices.

Avoiding Damage

The fulfillment of your products, from packing to final delivery, can encounter a number of touch points that may include people, machines, conveyor belts, forklifts, shipping trucks, and delivery trucks. Ensuring the best fitting packaging supplies while maintaining the most durable materials can deter damage that occurs during this process. Which also means fewer claims and returns of damaged orders. Goods need to have sufficient protection from handling and movement. Right-size your packaging for the best fit, sufficient insulation to protect goods and minimize movement. Do it all without sacrificing the quality and durability of the materials.

Efforts in Sustainability

As environmental consciousness continues to grow among businesses and consumers, more emphasis is being placed on reducing our impact on the environment. Fortunately, there are numerous ways that sustainability efforts can be improved.

When it comes to packaging, materials can be both recyclable and reusable. For example, cardboard boxes, whether made from corrugated or paperboard, poly bags, and padded mailers can all be recycled or reused. Even many insulating materials, such as those made from plastic and paper, can also be recycled.

By using minimal materials in packaging, waste can be reduced even further. This not only helps to reduce the environmental impact but can also benefit businesses by lowering costs associated with material usage and waste management.

Next Steps

We’ve reviewed some of the ways in which packaging can affect your business and your customers. It’s never too late to evaluate your current practices to find areas where you can make enhancements that could help reduce costs, prevent damage, and improve sustainability.

Do you work with a shipping carrier who will spend time with you to help you optimize your packaging? A partner like OSM Worldwide can help ensure your packaging is safe, lightweight, and sized appropriately to achieve the best shipping results while minimizing cost and environmental impact.

Ready to learn more? Contact us!

About the Author

As Vice President of Operations, Jessica Biella oversees numerous departments at OSM Worldwide. During her 17-year tenure, she has led the opening of three nationwide facilities, deployed new sortation equipment, implemented robotics trials, and designed and executed continuous improvement and learning programs for her teams, coaching 17 members to achieve Lean Six Sigma certification.