How to save money on your packaging

Helping keep costs down on your overall shipping fees enables you to stay competitive, especially in an arena like eBay where these prices can make or break a purchase. Staying professional, yet economical, is a tricky balance when it comes to packaging. When you ship a parcel, the outer packaging is the first thing a customer sees, so the outer appearance as well as the interior is crucial to making the right first impression for you and your brand - almost as important as the contents!

So what can you do to save money in the packaging department and protect your bottom line?

Reuse, recycle!

Reuse old boxes and you'll not only save pounds but do your bit to help the environment too! Avoid scruffy boxes though as this won't look great to your customer, and beware boxes with creases or tears. This is particularly true with larger boxes or when sending heavier items, as any damage will impact the structure and make it less likely to withstand any bumps in the journey.

If you don't have access to many boxes within your own small business then check with local shops - they often have more cardboard than they can deal with and will likely have to pay to recycle it. Make friends with a staff member and offer to take boxes off their hands. This will mean you are not only getting free packaging that's likely to be mostly regular in size, it's a way of networking and getting your brand name out too!

Build up a stash of packaging materials such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts by keeping any that you receive - provided they're still in a good working order. Packing peanuts can be easily stored in a large bin bag or box, then topped up whenever you get a new package full. Ask friends and family members to save items for you too, but watch out for bubble wrap that has been wrapped in sticky tape - it's near impossible to peel off. When re-using bubble wrap use Scotch Magic tape to seal as it's much easier for your customers to open.

You can do this with things like tissue paper, too. Making the inside of the box look nice by wrapping the items in coloured tissue can compensate for an obviously recycled outer packaging - and tissue paper that's only been used once before is likely to still look like new. Consider getting some branded stickers made; these can be done relatively cheaply and will add a professional touch to both the inside and the outside of your parcel. 

Newspapers, if you still buy them, are always a good go-to for recycled packaging. When screwed up the paper will make very sturdy packaging for delicate items. You can also use shredded paper - just make sure that none of the shredded sheets are confidential, as the information may still be legible!

So long as you take care with the wrapping and the packaging, there's no reason why the customer should think any less of your brand by using recycled materials. You could even get some stickers or a stamp made saying 'Recycled packaging' to highlight the fact you're re-using, recycling and taking care of the environment!

What about alternative packaging solutions? Think outside the box and try alternatives such as popcorn! Of course, make sure it's unsalted, un-sugared and definitely not toffee flavour - just plain popcorn makes a great green alternative to Styrofoam peanuts - it's cheaper too. You'll have to pop it first though.

Size matters

The larger the box you choose, the higher the volumetric weight and so the more it will cost to send. Using the smallest box possible will keep the sending cost down and mean you'll need less packaging too; in addition your item won't have much room to move around, so will be safer.

Experiment with different sized boxes and different ways to pack items to see if you could cut down on box sizes.
If you can't find the box to fit, make a larger box smaller by cutting down the edges and folding it down to create a snug fit for your items, then just tape down firmly with packaging tape.

Buy in bulk 

Buying your packaging in bulk is a great way to keep the cost down and get a good deal - as long as you have the space to store it all. Boxes full of, well, boxes, take up a lot of space. Generally due to their nature they don't weigh a lot though, so can be safely stored in an attic space or high up on shelving units if need be. Just be sure to keep them somewhere dry and not in a damp area such as a garage, as this will cause cardboard items to deteriorate, making them ugly, weak and - most probably - unusable.

Hunt around for the best price and you should be able to find a competitive deal, particularly if you can afford to buy a lot in one go.

Be frugal with branded boxes 

Branded boxes and padded envelopes can look really snazzy, but will also rack up the costs. If you really want to use these then consider only using branded packaging for particularly high value orders to keep costs down.

Why not make your own branded address labels or return labels by printing them yourself?  Most labels will come with a downloadable template; allowing you to customise them yourself with your logo and branding. What's more, you'll always be branded no matter what size box you use. This is also a great option if you use recycled boxes as the stickers will cover old address labels.

With tips like these you can certainly save money on your packaging; combined with great shipping deals from ipostparcels, there's no reason for shipping to be a challenge to your small business, in fact it can be easy!

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