The moment products are placed in the hands of the logistics provider, everything is out of the seller’s control. One cannot expect the logistics person to be extra careful with their products, or give their goods top protective preference. What the merchant can do is, package his products well to avoid any mishaps.
Like many things in online retail, product packaging is an integral factor. The kind of packaging used can determine the state in which products are received by customers.
That’s not all! The manner in which a product is packaged can either lead to more or fewer expenses. According to the ecommerce experts at Browntape, the multi-channel order and inventory management firm, a seller’s product packaging determines the kind of remittance received. Less packaging material used the better is the remittance the ecommerce company claims.
The process of packaging when selling through an online marketplace
There is no handbook as such regarding the packaging of products delivered through online marketplaces. However, there are certain compulsions that online sellers must follow when selling on these online retail platforms.
Let us look at the product packaging steps generally observed by sellers on different marketplaces.
Step 1 – Outer packaging material
Before actually packaging products, sellers must check the different types of packaging the online marketplace has to offer. For instance, on Jabong there are seven different sizes of packaging available. One can order samples of these and put products into appropriate packages.
Type of packaging
“The packaging used should not be too big,” says Shashank Shenoy, category manager at Browntape.
There should only be a 5-10% variance. He further states that sellers need to look at the cost of the packaging and the weight of it, too. The type of packaging required will depend on the product being sold.
Like Jabong, other marketplaces also offer packaging material. It is not a hard and fast rule for online sellers to use polybags from online marketplaces. However, tapes from the marketplaces are a must.
Polybags are not really compulsory because not all products fit into the ones online marketplaces provide. Televisions and fridges are large and bulky, so they go into boxes that are sealed with tapes provided by marketplaces. These tapes bear the name of the marketplace on them.
There are other packaging materials provided by marketplaces, like stickers for the packaging to show the fragility of contents, which is the top of the product, how to store and so on.
Step 2 – Inner packaging material
These are meant to absorb shock as a result of impact. They include materials like bubble wrap, thermocol, air cushions, etc. Items, like jewellery, should have two levels of packaging. For example, bubble wrap and polybags to avoid breaking, bending or other forms of damage. Some items, like sneakers, may not require inner packaging. Just the shoe box and polybag should suffice.
Step 3 – Sealing the package
After placing the product within its packaging, it must be sealed with tapes from the marketplace. This is especially if it is put into cardboard boxes. Care must be taken when packing a product so it is done securely and is enough to enable easy handling when transported.
Step 4 – Affixing invoices and labels
Once the product is packed, it is ready to be shipped only once it bears an invoice and label. According to marketplace directions, the label must be stuck/ pasted onto the flattest side of the package. It must not be altered or resized in any way when printing. Also, no markings should be made on the labels. The invoice can be folded, placed in a plastic bag and pasted onto the outside of the packaged product. Details on the label and invoice should be easily visible, and the barcodes should be easy to scan.
Packaging requirements for different marketplaces
Packaging tips for online sellers
A. Maintain lower limits of weight slabs
Shashank from Browntape states that online sellers need to maintain the lower limit of weight slabs. For example, if the weight slabs are:
Rs.70 for 0 – 500gms
Rs. 150 for 501gms – 1000gms
And, the given product weighs 503gms after packaging, the seller must try to reduce the weight of his package. This can be done by cutting down packaging material. For example, using polybags instead of cardboard boxes. Replacing bubble wrap with air cushions. In case or volumetric weight, make sure the product is packaged only after it is reduced to a compact size.
B. Update catalogue fields
Sellers must make sure they provide exact figures of the product’s dead weight and volumetric weight after packaging. This is in addition to actual measures when the product it opened and in use. For example, a yoga mat measures differently when opened up and differently when rolled and packaged. These measures must be mentioned specifically to avoid wrong calculations and unnecessary marketplace suspicions of cheating, Shashank informs us.
C. Measure products precisely
Sellers must measure products exactly to avoid issues with packaging material ordered from the marketplace. This will also avoid the need for samples and online marketplace scrutiny.
D. Packaging according to your needs
“Do not go for expensive packaging if you do not need it,” Shashank advises.
Look for the cheapest alternative if the marketplace allows it. Also, if your product doesn’t need bubble wrap, do not waste resources on this unnecessary packaging.
To avoid any mistakes with packaging, make sure to look through the marketplace seller panel. If there are no guidelines, try speaking with an account executive for the do’s and don’ts of online packaging and stick to the above-mentioned basics.
Also, do mention in the comments section below, the basics you follow when packaging your products. Let us know which ones make a difference during remittance and which do not.