For most businesses operating an eCommerce storefront or marketplace, it should come as no surprise that packaging is a deceptively complex part of the process.
Unfortunately, there is not a single one-size-fits-all solution for everything you can offer to your customers in most cases.
Potential packaging problems only become more prominent when discussing large goods.
For carriers, space is limited, and for every large package shipped, that means several smaller packages cannot be shipped.
At the end of the day, no matter the size of the goods, they need to be shipped.
So, how do you ship large goods effectively, efficiently, and in a way that doesn’t break the bank?
Here are a few tips that can you get the most bang for your buck when shipping large packages to your eCommerce customers.
Pad Your Package Wisely with Dunnage
First off, if you’re unfamiliar with the shipping term, dunnage simply means material used to keep goods in position throughout transit.
A few simple examples of dunnage are materials like bubble wrap, air-pillows, packing peanuts, and kraft paper that are used to secure the contents of your package.
In the age of the unboxing video, it’s tempting to make your packaging as much a part of your customers’ experience as the product itself.
While this is certainly a viable marketing tactic, it’s important to remember to be smart when deciding on your dunnage.
There are several best practices to consider when preparing the packaging of your goods, but key among them is to balance the kind of dunnage used with the product itself, such as using bubble wrap instead of polystyrene inserts in order to save space and use smaller packaging.
In the case of many large goods, especially those already in a box or box-shaped, packaging them in a slightly smaller box with a single layer of foam sheeting or bubble wrap is the ideal way to reduce packaging size.
Smaller packaging helps lower dimensional weight, and doing so, can lower your shipping costs. We will discuss dimensional weight more in the next section.
Understand True Weight vs. Dimensional Weight
In order to account for large packages that are disproportionately light for their size, many carriers will use a system known as dimensional weight, sometimes known as volumetric or DIM weight, when calculating shipping costs.
Carriers use dimensional weight to determine the weight of a package using the length, width, and height when the space that a package occupies is deemed more important than the actual weight in calculating the cost of shipping.
This metric is used to account for the potential revenue lost by transferring one large, light item in place of several smaller, heavier items.
If the dimensional weight is greater than the actual weight, carriers will use the dimensional weight to calculate the cost.
Having a working understanding of dimensional weight and why carriers use it, can help you make more informed decisions when it comes time to package and ship larger goods to your customers.
Use Multiple Boxes for Your Items
Sometimes, more can be less.
If the item that you’re trying to ship consists of multiple smaller components, or if it can be broken down into multiple pieces without too much trouble, it may be worthwhile to package and ship it this way.
While doing this can be more time-consuming and may require a bit more planning, it can actually be more cost-effective.
This is especially true if the item in question is especially dense relative to its size, as shipping multiple smaller, lighter boxes can help you avoid costly oversize and overweight surcharges.
Use the Right Carrier for the Job
As we’ve mentioned often in the past, every carrier has specific strengths in different areas of shipping, and while one carrier might be the best fit for some of your shipping, others might be better suited in different circumstances.
Doing your research to diversify your shipping strategy across multiple carriers, such as carriers that specialize in large goods shipping, can help you offer your customers the right shipping option for the job with every purchase.
Consider Pallet Shipping
Package shipping is most often associated with courier shipping, but the two are not always synonymous.
Depending on the weight and dimensions of what you are shipping, it may actually be easier and more cost-effective to ship your package on a pallet.
Opting to ship goods on a single pallet will typically fall into the classification of less-than-truckload, or LTL Freight shipping, and in many cases is often the most cost-effective option for shipping large goods.
LTL shipping can also be a safer shipping option in some instances. Because LTL requires multiple shippers sharing a single truck’s space, and because of how pallets are designed, the pallets in an LTL shipment are left little, if any, wiggle room while in the truck, making properly prepared pallets especially secure while in transit.
Big or Small, ClickShip Helps Get Your Goods Where They Need to Be
With so many options available not only when shipping large goods, but shipping overall, it can be overwhelming.
Thankfully, ClickShip can help make the whole process smoother and easier for you and your customers.
We partner with North America’s leading parcel and LTL carriers and integrate with leading eCommerce platforms and marketplaces to offer you better rates on all your shipping, in real time, directly at checkout, all for zero upfront and monthly fees!
Contact one of our shipping experts today, and see how ClickShip can streamline your eCommerce shipping, no matter the shape or size.