PackagingFollowing Royal Mail’s price increases on 2nd April and now that we’ve all had time to take in the new pricing format and settle down a little, I thought I’d give you some options to help you with your packing and posting.

This is another topic that always brings forth many, many questions – simply because there are so many options and alternatives when it comes to the dispatch process of your orders. So many of us eat into our profits by forgetting to do some simple research. When time is of the essence, I know how easy it is to just go with what we now, but by shopping around you could add an extra pound or more to your profit margin.

Today I’m going to cover some packing suggestions to help you keep your costs down plus some delivery service options too.

Delivery costs are rising all the time and so you really must be as economical as possible when packing your products, but without scrimping.

It’s important that your items are sufficiently packaged to avoid damage and they should also look professional too. Remember that you are running a business and your customers do not want to receive their orders in an old supermarket carrier bag with their address scrawled across the front in a felt-tip – although I have received parcels like this in the past – yes really!

There are several options depending on the type of product you are packing. Cardboard boxes, padded envelopes, and mailing bags.

Mailing bags
These are the lightest type of packaging and can save you on postage costs if the weight of your parcel is hovering between two price bands. They are also self-seal so it’s a quick job to pop your product inside and seal it up safely. You can then add a printed address label. This is neat and professional looking. Mailing bags come in all sizes (and colours) and are surprisingly strong so are suitable for most products. If you need extra cushioning within the parcel, simply wrap the item in bubble wrap (which can be purchased in bulk) within the mailing bag.

Padded Envelopes or Jiffy Bags
If your item is fragile or you don’t want any internal product packaging to get squashed in transit, it’s best to use a padded envelope. These are envelopes with bubble wrap already inside and are self-seal, so again very easy to slip an item into – and they look professional. They come in sizes from small to extra large and so are suitable for most products. This option is heavier though so be aware of your postage costs!

Cardboard Boxes
These are obviously going to weigh more so only use cardboard boxes filled with polystyrene or bubble wrap to cushion the item if your products are very large or very breakable!

There are hundreds of suppliers you can purchase your packaging supplies from including Transpack , and Polybags to name just two. Plus there are plenty of sellers on ebay and Amazon who can also supply you at competitive prices.

Remember that using the correct packaging may ultimately lower your postage costs and avoid needless damage or breakages in transit, so select the right materials for your products.

So onto the actual dispatch of your orders now.

You should always offer fast dispatch (so that you can state this in your product listings) and then choose a competitively priced two to three day delivery service. This could be a standard service with some companies or a second class service with Royal Mail. There is a difference in delivery costs and you can save money (and avoid eating into your profits) this way.

Here are some examples:

Royal Mail: A 500g medium Parcel with delivery within the UK in 2 – 3 days by 1st class post is currently £5.65 but 2nd class is £5.20 – so you can save yourself 45p on every parcel you send just by dispatching orders on the same or next day but choosing 2nd class rather than 1st class.

Collect+: The same parcel sent via Collect+ from any of their Drop Off Shops will cost you £3.99 with the added protection of tracking and will take 3 to 5 working days to be delivered. This is cheaper than Royal Mail although delivery is slower.

My Hermes: Finally, the same parcel sent with My Hermes standard delivery (1-2 days) will cost you just £3.30 (and only £3.00 if you use their Parcel Drop Off Service) so not only will it arrive with your customer faster, but it’s cheaper too!

So you can see that by shopping around for delivery quotes, depending on the size and weight of your parcel can save you money but you will still be providing your customers with a good service.

Above all when it comes to packing and posting you should aim to be efficient, cost-effective and professional at all times. You are running a business and it’s a given that you should save on costs where you can!