In today’s age of Amazon Prime Days and promotional codes, it’s no secret that consumers love shopping online. We love the convenience of shopping at all hours from any location, and the thrill of boxes arriving at our doorstep, so much that online retail grew by 16% from 2017 to 2018.

This is excellent news for e-commerce businesses, as they are in the perfect position to thrive if managed properly. However, as the e-commerce industry continues to grow, so does the cost of doing business. Shipping carriers continue to increase their rates each year, leaving e-commerce business owners scrambling to find new ways to cut costs wherever possible.

How do e-commerce businesses waste money on packaging?

One of the costliest mistakes that e-commerce businesses make is shipping products in the wrong packaging. With an estimated 165 billion packages shipped in the U.S. each year, using incorrect packaging can quickly add up to a large sum of wasted money.

When we say, “shipping products in the wrong packaging,” here’s what we mean:

  • Using boxes that are too large or heavy
  • Using unnecessary fancy custom boxes
  • Using boxes for small products that could be placed in envelopes or poly bags
  • Using expensive decorative packing materials
  • Including heavy advertising inserts in each package

Another thing to consider- large, customized boxes not only eat up a lot of a business’ shipping budget, but they are also more likely to be targeted by package thieves who think that the box might contain expensive products.

How can e-commerce businesses save on packaging?

From making your packages less bulky, to outsourcing to a 3PL company that specializes in order fulfillment, doing these things can help your e-commerce business waste less money on packaging mistakes:

  • Lighten the weight and use smaller packaging. The larger and heavier a package is, the more it costs to ship. Use appropriate-sized boxes to ship your products.
  • Avoid cardboard when possible. Cardboard is heavier than other packaging options, so using mailer envelopes and poly bags for small, non-fragile items will help to cut costs. 
  • Say goodbye to fancy inserts, and find creative new ways to incorporate branding. Instead of wasting money on big boxes, decorative packing materials, and advertising inserts, jazz up your packaging with creative, personalized stickers or labels that weigh nothing and don’t take up space.
  • Recycle! When a customer returns a product, reuse that box or envelope if possible. This will help to cut costs while also doing your part to help our planet.
  • Partner with an e-commerce fulfillment services company. E-commerce companies that do not know the ins and outs of product fulfillment are more likely to make the packaging mistakes listed above. We recommend partnering with an e-commerce fulfillment services company that has expertise in packing orders in the right sized packaging, as well as getting the best deals on shipping. In addition to helping e-commerce business owners avoid making costly mistakes, outsourcing to a 3PL services company gives you more time to focus on managing your business, and it will provide piece of mind knowing that your fulfillment is being managed in an organized, cost-efficient way.