If you run an online business, you will know firsthand exactly how frustrating it can be for both you and your customers when a product arrives on their doorstep in poor condition.
The bad news is that there are some extremely rare cases of damage that are unfortunately unavoidable, but the good news is that for the most part, many instances of damage can be avoided.
There are a number of ways in which you can do your best to ensure your parcel arrives with your customer safe and sound. In this post, we’re detailing some of these ways.
1. Secure packaging
The number one way to ensure your parcels arrive safely is to use sufficient packaging, which will help your item to withstand the conditions of transit.
Insufficient packaging is the primary cause of damage to shipments, as items that are not packaged correctly pose a risk not only to themselves but any other shipment, they come into contact with within the courier network.
Take the time to carefully consider the type of packaging best suited to the type of item you are shipping. Corrugated boxes are a good choice for shipping the majority of items, particularly those that may be fragile or need that extra protection.
They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are affordable, especially when bought in bulk. As well as secure outer packaging, you should consider adding internal protection to your shipment, particularly if your items are fragile.
Materials such as bubble wrap provides impact protection and will help to prevent damage if your item is knocked against a surface or if it comes into contact with a heavier item.
Paper packaging such as newspaper or brown paper should be used with some caution, as they can easily collapse when placed under pressure.
Once the item is securely packaged, it’s crucial to ensure that the shipping labels are securely attached to your shipment.
The failure to do so could cause problems during transit if the labels fall off. It may result in severe delays, or the item getting lost within the network.
Place labels inside a clear envelope and secure them to the shipment with packaging tape.
2. Select a reputable courier
Don’t just book with the first courier that you see. Take the time to thoroughly research different courier services and ensure you are getting the very best value for your money and, most importantly, the most reliable service to ensure the safe delivery of your parcel.
Use a courier comparison service so that you can compare the services that are available to you. There are a number of things to consider when it comes to choosing your courier, but most importantly you should carefully consider the cost, the reliability, and the delivery speed.
As well, it’s always a good idea to ship your parcels with a courier service that provides online tracking. Most reputable couriers will offer this, and it will give you that extra peace of mind.
You will be able to monitor the progress of your shipment as it makes its way to your customer, and if you happen to spot any red flags, you can contact your courier provider to request assistance.
You can provide your customer with a link to the tracking information so they can track the delivery themselves, thus giving them an overall better experience.
3. Check the prohibited items list
One very important factor in ensuring your shipment makes it to your customer is double-checking that the item can actually be carried on the service.
Sending items that are restricted or prohibited can cause an array of problems with your shipment, such as being refused at the point of collection, returned to you as the sender, or even destroyed.
This is particularly important when shipping internationally, as each and every country has different rules and regulations about what can and cannot be imported into the country.
Promising a delivery to your customer only to fall at the final hurdle will only sour their experience.
4. Take out additional compensation cover
Most, if not all, reputable courier services will offer compensation cover in the event of loss or damage. If you are booking with a reliable, reputable courier, the likelihood of these events is extremely rare.
However, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry.
So, take the time to read up on your chosen courier’s compensation policy to ensure that if the worst case scenario happened, you would be protected. And always take out the additional cover.
5. Verify the address details
It really goes without saying, but you should always take the time to verify the delivery address details of the shipment before booking with the courier.
Incorrect address details can cause all kinds of problems with shipments in transit, such as severe delays, incorrect deliveries or even loss.
If you’re unsure, check with the recipient or research the address.
6. Thoroughly research international regulations
One of the biggest mistakes many small businesses make when it comes to shipping parcels is neglecting to research international regulations.
As mentioned before, each and every country’s importing laws vary. Some countries have specific restrictions set in place for the importing of certain goods, others have specific regulations regarding the importing of commercial goods.
The last thing you want to do is go into the process without knowledge, only for customs charges to be applied to your recipient.
Not only will this sour their experience of buying your products, but it could leave you substantially out of pocket.
Written by Katy Mairs, the blog editor at NI Parcels.