Successfully managing shipping for an ecommerce store often boils down to preparation and planning. If you’re just starting out with international shipping you probably have some questions about additional supplies you might need to assure your products arrive safely.
The long transit hours increase the odds that a package might fall or rattle around, causing damage. You definitely don’t want that, and neither do your customers, so you’re going to want to make sure you use the right shipping supplies to cushion and protect your packages during those long transit hours.
For an expanding small business, working with a shipping partner like Easyship can help your small business streamline your shipping process and lower your costs. Through our platform, you can generate labels, receive all the documentation you need for every international shipment, and customize your shipping box sizes for more accurate rates.
In this article, we’ll cover the type of shipping supplies every merchant should keep in inventory to make international shipping seamless and efficient.
13 Important Shipping Supplies
Here, we provide you a quick rundown of essential shipping supplies you need for international shipping to ensure that your customers' items are packaged in the best way possible to avoid shipping related damages and losses. And bonus, some of these shipping supplies can create a better unboxing experience for you customers when they are making their Youtube video to promote your product!
- Corrugated Boxes
Corrugated boxes are among the top shipping supplies that are commonly used for small business eCommerce shipping. They are excellent for providing sturdy packaging for fragile items.
When shipping internationally with corrugated boxes, it is important to understand that one size doesn't fit all, and you should use the appropriately-sized box for each product to save on shipping costs.
Using the smallest possible box for your items will also ensure a snug fit, help you save on dunnage, and ensure that items arrive in pristine condition to your buyers.
2. Poly mailers
Poly mailers are also among the top small business packaging supplies because they provide an excellent alternative to corrugated boxes when shipping non-fragile items.
This is because they are lighter than boxes and occupy less space on shipping trucks, hence helping eCommerce retailers save on packaging and shipping costs.
Bubble mailers are a good example of poly mailer bags that you should always have in your store for shipping smaller items like clothing, shoes, and books, among others.
3. Bubble Wrap and other cushioning materials
Bubble wrap is one of the top cushioning materials that every eCommerce merchant must-have. It comes in handy for providing extra cushioning to keep fragile products safe during transit.
That said, you should be careful not to fill your boxes with excess bubble wrap as this can significantly increase the weight of your packages and balloon your shipping costs.
4. Packing tape
Packing tape is among the top small business shipping supplies that every eCommerce merchant should keep at an arm's reach. Strong packaging tape plays a key role when it comes to keeping boxes and other packaging materials sealed tight.
And packing tape can run out faster than you think on a busy day! So, It is vital that you order it in bulk to avoid inconveniences.
Related: Where to Buy Cheap Shipping Supplies
5. Plastic wrap
Plastic wrap is a versatile shipping material that comes in handy for mailing special items such as gift baskets or flora bouquets. They are tear and tamper-proof, hence helping provide the extra layer of security that is needed to cushion such products on transit.
6. Dunnage Air Bags
Airbags are excellent for packing between cargo to prevent it from shifting, hence reducing collision between boxes to improve cargo safety.
You should have them in your store for sending high-value items to your buyers overseas. The good part of airbags is that they are durable, reusable, and recyclable.
7. Biodegradable Air Pillows
Brands and customers are increasingly becoming planet-conscious. Some customers may even look down upon brands that haven't embraced sustainable packaging.
Biodegradable air pillows are among the eco-friendly shipping supplies that you can use in your business for smarter and greener packaging to cushion and protect your customers' products.
They are not only reusable and recyclable but also cost-effective and biodegradable.
This serves as a void fill shipping material that protects packages from most of the common transit hazards. It is excellent for shock absorption during transit, as well as moisture control due to its absorbent properties. It’s often used for shipping bottle liquids for cosmetics or beverages.
9. Refrigerant Gel Packs
If your eCommerce business deals with refrigerated items that need to be shipped in a temperature-controlled environment, then using refrigerant gel packs is a good alternative to dry ice that is much more difficult to work with. Some freight carriers may even not ship dry ice, or you may be charged more.
Instead, you can use refrigerant gel packs to keep your items at the right temperature and ensure safe delivery. Being reusable and recyclable, they provide a packaging solution that is cost-effective and sustainable with improved safety and ease of handling.
10. Printer paper
You may say it is a digital world -and rightly so - but the old-fashioned printer paper still has its role in a digital business environment.
From customer invoices to packing lists, there are so many occasions you will find yourself having to print documents in your e-store.
That means printer paper is still among the essential shipping supplies that you need to have in your business.
11. Packing list envelopes
Shipping documents, such as packing lists and invoices, need protection during shipping. Adhesive packing envelopes are your best bet to keep such documents secured when packages are in transit.
All you need is to attach them to your box or poly mailer, and your buyers will receive their relevant shipping documents alongside their package in pristine condition.
12. Shipping paper
Shipping paper is a good shipping material to provide an alternative to boxes and bubble mailers. You can save money and time if you use shipping paper for items that come in a box and don't need a lot of extra padding for safe shipping.
If an item is okay in its original packaging, you can simply wrap it in shipping paper, affix a shipping label, and ship.
13. Shipping labels
Shipping labels are important shipping supplies that you should not ignore, especially when your business ships fragile items or hazardous materials.
To ensure safe handling and regulatory compliance, you should always affix the right labels to tell your carriers that your fragile items should be handled with care.
Shipping labels will also ensure that you are never at loggerheads with carrier or country regulation concerning the attachment of the right labels for hazardous goods. Once you have your shipping labels, you can easily print every order through the Easyship platform.
Where to Buy Shipping Supplies
Most of the time, you can get shipping supplies for free or purchase them from courier store locations, third-party agents or on their website. That said, here is a list of the common places where you can buy shipping supplies:
- UPS, FedEx, and USPS retail locations: The courier locations will have free shipping boxes for flat rate shipping, along with other shipping boxes of many sizes you can purchase. At some locations, you’ll be able to buy other shipping supplies as well. What they sell will be dependent on the location, so you’ll want to check with your local store.
- Supermarkets: You can often find shipping supplies like boxes and packing material at larger supermarkets but don’t expect to find a lot of variety, or speciality items for your store.
- Amazon.com: You can find every type of shipping supply you need, from boxes of all sizes, and all types of packaging supplies like peanuts, shipping labels, printing paper and anything you can think up!
- Walmart: One of the largest retailers in the world, you’ll be able to find many types of shipping boxes and other supplies for our store.
- Uline.com: One of the leading retailers for shipping supplies, you can find an assortment of boxes in many different sizes, as well as almost any type of packaging material for your store, from poly bags to shipping tape.
- Target: This popular retailer will have common shipping supplies like boxes and tape but might not have some of the specialty items you might require for our store.
How can Easyship Help you Navigate International Shipping?
Expanding into cross-border shipping is a big step for a growing ecommerce business. International shipping and the required supplies can be expensive.
By partnering with Easyship, you not only can save up to 70% on your shipping costs, but you gain instant access to our suite of tools including, dynamic rates at checkout, full tax and duty visibility, and fully branded post-purchase experience for your customers.
Sign up for a free Easyship account today to streamline and optimize your shipping!
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