Ecommerce inherently comes with a greater risk of damaged items. While it’s a huge pain point for merchants, that’s just the inevitable cost of running an eCommerce platform. Shipping products alone can be pretty challenging. So, if you now have to deal with fragile items, that brings forth a new set of complications.
Research shows that 34% of packaging-related returns result from product damage. Therefore, fragile items must be handled with extra attention and precaution; otherwise, you’ll have to bear the loss of broken and damaged items in transit. This article will discuss the best way to ship fragile items to avoid shipping damages and keep your customers happy.
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The Most Commonly Damaged Items During Shipping
Now, since we’ve been talking about fragile items, I’m sure what you have in mind are glass and porcelain. But that’s not all! Fragile items refer to anything that can easily break or shatter. That could range from ceramics to glassware and sometimes musical instruments.
Also, most technological devices fall under the ‘fragile items’ category as they can break just from excessive shaking. In this section, I’ll share with you a list of delicate things that will appreciate extra tender loving care during packaging. That includes;
· Electronic items
· Ceramic items
And since there are specific regulations about shipping fragile items, take time to learn if there are special regulations from the package origin and destination. You might also consider getting insurance, especially if you’re shipping items overseas. That helps minimize risk and generally gives you peace of mind.
Why Ecommerce Businesses Need to be Careful when Fulfilling Fragile Items
Undoubtedly, broken products cost a lot of money, potentially reducing your overall profit. Aside from that, there are other reasons you must be careful when fulfilling fragile item orders.
One main reason you need to be cautious when dealing with fragile items is the reshipment of an undamaged item. When trying to resolve a damaged shipment order, you will have to settle the complaint with an undamaged one.
In such a case, where you have to deal with the return of a damaged item, someone will have to pay for that return shipping label. More importantly, if your return policy states that you offer free returns, that will incur extra costs for your business.
On the other hand, if the customer has to pay for the shipping of returned items, they’ll end up frustrated. That could easily lead to negative feedback and experience. Be prepared for a backlash from your customers.
· Negative Reviews
Bad reviews have a lasting negative effect on your business. To some level, negative reviews could show the legitimacy of your business, but more often than not, it’s more damaging. When customers are excited to get their item only to find out that it’s broken, they’ll likely leave a negative review.
Even if you cover all costs and send a new one as soon as possible, the customer will already be frustrated with the experience. For that reason, there’s still a high chance they could negatively rate your business. However, you could try to give a free product or a discount on the next order to at least soften the customer’s heart.
· Lost Business
Unfortunately, not all customers are willing to wait for a new product. More often than not, customers will simply request a refund and avoid purchasing from your brand ever again. That’s how you lose customers because they will now believe that you can’t deliver products in good condition.
And with that, your business will likely suffer a massive sales drop, primarily if you’ve delivered damaged items to many of your customers. Customers will also be compelled to leave feedback explaining they got damaged items which could deter potential customers.
A Comprehensive Guide on How to Ship Fragile Items
Shipping fragile items might sound a bit complicated for new eCommerce business owners. But as long as you follow the necessary guidelines, everything is pretty straightforward. With that said, below are some of the best practices for shipping fragile items safely.
1. Choose a Properly Sized Box
The safety of your fragile, breakable items largely depends on how well-sized your box is. Therefore, when choosing a box to ship your delicate items, ensure it can sustain the weight and leave enough space for cushioning materials.
Dunnage is vital as it helps to hold everything in place. Also, make sure the box isn’t too large or too small. The excess space makes the contents shift around, while a small box doesn’t leave enough room for cushioning.
2. Wrap Each Item with Cushioning Material
Fragile items are susceptible to breaking, exploding, and spilling. That being the case, ensure you safely wrap each item with the ideal cushioning material. It’s even more important to determine the type of dunnage you need to use for specific items so that nothing gets damaged in transit.
If the item is very delicate, you can always double box and use multiple layers of cushioning material to provide an extra layer of protection. The more, the merrier!
3. Use Air Pillows and Packaging Peanuts to Restrict Movement
If there are still empty spaces in the box after packing your items, be sure to fill them with airbags, crinkle paper, and packaging peanuts. These materials are ideal for filling gaps in the shipping box so that nothing moves around in the box during shipping.
4. Use an Appropriate Shipping Label
Since you are shipping fragile items, it’s imperative to let the package handlers know that. And the best way to communicate that to the shippers is by affixing a ‘fragile’ shipping label on the box.
Requirements may vary depending on the courier service, but placing a sticker on each side of the box ensures they don’t miss the label. That way, you are almost guaranteed that the package will remain on the correct side during shipment.
In addition, you will benefit from a Thermal sticker printer as it can fulfill your daily printing needs. With MUNBYN ITPP941 Thermal Printer, you can print high-quality and unique shipping labels in black. Also, the thermal printer has a 300dpi guaranteeing high definition and clear shipping labels for your eCommerce business.
5. Install a Tilt/Impact Detector
Impact and tilt detectors are crucial for shipments requiring delicate handling and upright orientation while in transit. This device is rare for parcel shipments, but they come in handy in telling you where damage may have occurred in transit and encourage the package handlers to be more careful.
Are Shipping Carriers Liable for Shipping Damages?
Shipping carriers can be liable for damage caused during shipping, but only if you have proof the product was damaged during shipping. While that might sound like an option, it’s an almost impossible pursuit as you can’t see exactly what’s happening with every package.
On the brighter side, most of the major shipping carriers offer shipping insurance. That allows the sender to file a claim if their package is damaged or lost during transit. Therefore, if you can prove that the shipment was damaged despite proper packaging and inserts, you should be able to file a claim with the shipping carrier.
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