With more shipments going out than ever, it’s important to take steps to ensure your packages arrive in good condition.
How to ship a package safely is all about checking the right boxes. Speaking of boxes, you’ll want to consider factors like packaging, as well as package tracking and possibly insurance. Labelling fragile items, looking up restricted items, and choosing your drop-off location are also important. We’ll cover everything from sendoff to doorstep in this blog.
Easyship is here to help you make sense of shipping. Our all-in-one shipping platform gives you all the tools you need to get your package to the doorstep. This includes free rate shipping calculators, shipping automation to save time, and discounted shipping rates up to 70% off – guaranteed.
Here’s how to ship a package safely in 2021.
Pick the Right Packaging
How to ship a package starts with a choice of packaging. You can use your own branded boxes or the free boxes available from couriers like USPS, FedEx and UPS. Bubble mailers, envelopes, and shipping tubes are also an option.
Your packaging is like armor for your item. The packaging should fit your item but not too tightly. It should also be durable enough to last the length of the journey.
Here’s how to pick the right packaging:
- Package size: Your item should fit comfortably inside your packaging without pressing upon the sides. The box shouldn't be too large either. Items may shift in transit and get broken. A snug fit without any bending or folding is best.
- Item type: Certain items may need special packaging. For example, fragile items are best shipped in sturdy boxes. The same goes for heavy items. But if your items aren’t easily damaged, you’ll save money by using the lightest packaging available such as poly mailers, envelopes, or free boxes from the shipping company.
- Custom vs. courier packaging: Free packaging is available in limited sizes from USPS, FedEx, and UPS. For the small cost, your own packaging can be emblazoned with your company logo. Choosing between free or custom packaging is a matter of cost, but also your need for branding opportunities.
How to Seal Your Package
Whether your package is going across town or across the globe, it’s about to embark on a journey. It will be sandwiched in with hundreds of other parcels, get sorted by conveyor, and be loaded on and off trucks. To prevent damage, you’ll want to seal your package securely.
Follow these steps to seal your package for safe arrival:
- Add fill packaging as needed: You can use packing peanuts, bubble wrap, etc. to prevent your items from shifting in transit and being damaged. Don’t use so much that it raises the weight of your package, which would increase the price of shipping (unless you’re shipping flat rate).
- Tape it: Seal closed the top and sides.
- Reinforce the flaps: Apply reinforced packing tape to box flaps to ensure it won’t come open.
- Label your package: Apply your completed shipping label atop the package. Make sure this includes the delivery address, postal code, apartment number, and your return address. Once the label is affixed, you’re ready to drop off your package or have it picked up.
Choose Pick Up Or Drop Off
The next step in sending a package is getting it into the hands of the shipping company. This means you’ll either drop off your package to a physical location or have your package picked-up by the courier.
With porch piracy on the rise, it’s best to transfer your items to your courier by hand, or at least keep them in an enclosed space until pick up. Leaving packages outside for pickup can result in package theft, which 14% of Americans reported in 2020.
Here’s how to send off your package safely:
- Arrange for pick up: Couriers will come to your home or place of business to pick up your package for free. You’ll need to arrange this when you purchase your shipping label. Oversized or specialty packages may require paid pick-up service, depending on the courier and your chosen shipping method.
- Leave with a courier: Shipping companies like USPS, DHL, FedEx and UPS have physical store locations at which you can drop-off your package. The US Post Office also accepts ready-to-ship packages from FedEx and UPS. If you need to purchase a shipping label in-store, though, you’ll need to visit the store of your designated shipping service.
- USPS collection boxes: USPS drop boxes, or blue boxes, accept small packages under 13 ounces in weight. For example, bubble mailers and letters. Any items weighing more than 13 oz. must be dropped off inside the Post Office, or in a mail slot inside or outside the USPS location.
Observe Shipping Restrictions
Certain items are restricted or prohibited from shipment within the US. This short list includes items like gasoline, ammunition, and marijuana. You can, however, ship CBD products to all 50 states.
Shipping to other countries? Prepare to encounter some strange restrictions. For example, you cannot ship toothpaste to Algeria. Or wheelbarrows to Nigeria.
This is to say that you should look up the items restricted for import in your destination country. If you unknowingly send a package that contains contraband, your package will be detained at customs and never reach its end-destination.
Share Tracking Information
As eCommerce grows, so do customer expectations. According to Digital Commerce 360, a massive 93% of shoppers say they want to stay informed and receive updates about their shipments.
This means it's important to share the tracking information with the recipient. Shoppers who can monitor their package progress are more relaxed, more patient, and less likely to submit customer service requests.
With Easyship, each of your customers receives their tracking details on a dedicated tracking page. A professional presentation helps to reassure shoppers while making your brand stand out. Our branding suite also includes automated SMS messages, personalized trigger email updates, and landing pages.
Shipping is a form of customer service. Easyship is here to help you create an experience worth repeating.
Should you send a package with insurance? The answer to this question depends on the following:
- Do your customers want insurance?
- Do your items need extra insurance?
A certain number of packages do get lost, damaged, or stolen in transit every day. Offering insurance is the best way to mitigate against this loss or damage. Offering insurance also helps to preserve the customer relationship if things go awry.
Most shipping services include a small amount of insurance. For example, UPS insures each package up to $100. Like most couriers, though, added coverage costs extra. Since insurance isn’t free for the high-ticket items that really need it, most merchants offer insurance on packages over a certain value.
With Easyship, you can set up your store checkout to only offer insurance for items over a certain value. Easyship also offers added insurance up to $5,000, and for less than the courier services themselves.
Label Your Fragile Items
Shipping isn't known for being gentle. Make sure to notify your courier when shipping fragile items. You should also label your packages as fragile before drop-off or delivery. To do this, attach a label with a warning like "Fragile Items, Handle With Care." Place the fragile label where it cannot be missed.
Shipping fragile items will often incur extra fees from the shipping company. These fees are minor, and much preferable to having your package arrive damaged on the customer’s doorstep. It’s better to pay for coverage than having to pay for a replacement item.
How to Ship a Package In 2021
Shipping on a regular basis means you learn how to send a package safely. Start with appropriately-sized packaging, transfer it to your courier, add features like insurance, then share the tracking information with customers. A few extra steps on the front end can make all the difference when it comes to dealing with damaged or lost packages, and the customer complaints that follow.
Easyship can help you streamline your shipping processes and save up to 70% off retail rates. Our shipping automation lets you set default couriers in your store checkout, pre-select your shipping features like insurance, and automate your pick-ups and drop-offs.
To get started, create a free Easyship account.