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Smart Packing Strategies

Make sure your products get to your customers in one piece and save money, too, with these strategies.

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There's a method to everything, including packing and shipping. Here's a list of smart tips for shippers to help you help yourself and your customers.

  • Take a tip from the box boy down at the supermarket. Place heavier or larger items on the bottom of the box and lighter ones on top.
  • After you've got each piece of merchandise in the box, place a piece of cardboard on the very top. This way, if your customer gets carried away with his penknife while slicing open the box, he won't slash his brand-new goodies as well.
  • Use shredded newspaper or actual (unbuttered!) popcorn instead of Styrofoam peanuts. Your customers will appreciate your concern for the environment, and if you get hungry while packing, you can eat your materials!
  • Indicate which end of the box should be opened first or face up. Sometimes breakable merchandise will make an entire cross-country trip in one piece, only to smash on the customer's floor because he opened it wrong side up.
  • Make sure your shipping label is clearly visible to the deliverer. Some shipping companies will refuse to deliver a package if any part of the ad-dress is obscured or too small to read.
  • Absolutely do not ship to a P.O. box. Most shipping firms cannot deliver to a post office box. Make sure your order takers ask for an actual street address.
  • Include all invoices, receipts, thank you letters, new catalogs and other printed materials in one envelope with the customer's name on it, placed on top of the merchandise. This saves your customer the time and frustration of having to dig through packing materials to find these things.
  • Reuse boxes. It's not only ecologically sound but also economically smart. When you reuse a box, make sure all old labels, addresses and postage markings are covered up. Stick another label on top so the delivery man doesn't mix up whom your package is intended for.
  • Design packing models so your shippers (and you) know how products fit into boxes, how merchandise is folded, stacked or tissue-wrapped, and how packing materials are used. Weigh each packing model on a scale and make sure it doesn't go even one-eighth into the next pound. This cuts postage costs, reduces returns from damaged goods, and adds to your income by creating happy repeat customers.

Source: How to Start a Mail Order Business