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How to reduce packaging costs

27 January, 2016

There was a time when packaging amounted to small box, mid-size box, large box and orders were simply packed into whatever made sense and bundled off on a truck.

Retailers were the predominant destination and days or even weeks were the standard delivery times. Not anymore. The rise of eCommerce has changed the supply chain forever with a large number of companies dealing directly with the end user and small order sizes sent in high volumes. This puts a huge emphasis on freight and, consequently, packaging size and weight. So here are a few ways you can put your packaging on an eCommerce diet.

Think small

And that means the size of your packaging. It might seem obvious, but substantial long term savings can be made if you don't pack a DVD in a banana box. Invest in custom packaging to fit the dimensions of your products not the limitations of your packaging supplier's readymade list.

Assess each line's packaging requirements according to their predominant freight type and aim to fall beneath the lowest possible weight or size versus cost threshold. While the initial outlay might set you back a bit, the long term gains can either be turned into profits or passed on to make your products price point more competitive. 

Lose weight

It's a difficult balance between breaking the shipped product and breaking the bank. Somehow you have to find packaging materials that protect goods during transportation, yet keep their added costs in check. That's a difficult balance when consumers also demand fast delivery. If they reach checkout only to find the price of their item has suddenly doubled once shipping costs are factored in, they'll abandon their cart in cyberspace and shop elsewhere. So if plain old cardboard has been your staple, consider plastic or corrugated packaging. Interrogate the shipping strength of every product – if it's already made of steel, it doesn't need more armour.

Don't come unstuck with adhesives

The wrong packaging adhesive can add massive unnecessary cost to your per item packaging. So analyse your adhesives according to the journey they'll take. Will they be exposed to any extremes of hot or cold? What opening preferences is the end user likely to have? How will 'open times' and 'set times' affect your manufacturing line? Are there any tamper-proofing requirements for your packaging? Do you need a drop test or similar to determine your packaging's protective qualities?

Once you have a clear set of requirements, you can begin testing adhesives to find a suitable match for your new streamlined packaging.

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