Safe packaging: How to protect items in transit

Whether you're sending a product to a valued customer or returning something to the seller for an exchange or refund, the quality of your packaging will be crucial. If contents are to arrive in the recipient's hands in the same condition they departed the sender's in, they must be protected adequately. In the case of small retail businesses, there are reputations at stake; and for buyers, money could be lost if products are sent back damaged. With this in mind, here are a few things it could be very worthwhile to consider:

Size definitely matters

One of the most common causes of items being damaged in transit is the sender choosing poorly sized boxes. Some will go much bigger than necessary to ensure their items have enough room, while others will aim for the tightest fit possible in attempts to minimise postage costs. Put simply, both approaches could be counterproductive, so a balance must be found.

You should be aiming for a box which allows just enough room to cushion the contents properly, using bubble wrap or shredded tissue paper, for example. This way, any impact will be absorbed by the packaging, leaving the items inside perfectly secure.

Out with the old, in with the new?

Re-using boxes isn't always a bad thing, but there are things of which to be careful. Old labels, for example, can cause confusion for delivery teams. If postal markings are still visible, be sure to cover them up thoroughly to ensure the item's journey is smooth and direct.

Also, you have to think about the condition of the packaging. When a box has been used multiple times, the level of protection may start to diminish. Take the time to check corners and edges; reinforcing if necessary. Strong parcel tape may turn out to be your best friend here.

Sending an odd-shaped item

Unfortunately, not everything that's bought and sold online is cuboid; some items take a little more thought and effort to pack properly and safely. If you're sending bare metals, for example, it'll be important to cover any sharp or protruding points. Generously sized pieces of thick, corrugated cardboard are really handy here, and should stop the packaging's protection being compromised when taped in the appropriate places. The same goes for wooden picture frames or anything else that could break through the materials covering it.

More than a sealing

The final part of making sure the contents of your package are safe and secure during transit is sealing it properly, so the key here is undoubtedly tape. While the thought of a traditional parcel may evoke images of neatly wrapped boxes held together with string or ribbon, tying the box closed is a bad idea. For one, these materials won't be nearly as strong as their adhesive counterparts. They could also cause problems in sorting offices, as loose string can get caught up in machinery.

Instead, use clear or brown parcel tape which is around two inches in width. All this will ensure every opening is properly secured until the recipient is ready to open their parcel.

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Please note if you do not select the “signature required” delivery option, UKMail will not be liable should your items be subsequently lost or damaged after the delivery (see clause 11.7 of the Terms & Conditions). *We define a “Parcel” as a package with dimensions up to 80cm x 80cm x 80cm and a weight of up to 25kg.

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