How Packaging Can Save Your Brand By Not Shipping Air

ecommerce packaging sustainable feature

Sustainable packaging is the wave of the future (credit: Marcell Viragh on Unsplash)

When starting an online store, ecommerce entrepreneurs have so much to consider, including how to drive more sales and setting up shipping, among other topics. For many, packaging is towards the middle or end of their list of things to prioritize, but efficient packaging can be a cost saver and set you apart in the market.

Shipping Air: Costly to Your Business and Reputation

  • Have you ever had an ecommerce order shipped to your home, and when you open it up, it’s like opening a Russian nesting doll? Most everyone has at this point. You find a box inside of a box, inside of a box filled with void-fill material. Not exactly the best unboxing experience for today’s eco conscious consumer.

This first impression sets the stage for what ecommerce shoppers associate with your brand. Are you an environmentally friendly company that cares about using less packaging or biodegradable materials?

The International Post Corp.’s Cross-Border Ecommerce Shopper Survey 2020 revealed that 48% of global consumers strongly agreed that they would like the packaging of their parcels to be recyclable and expressed a strong preference to receive parcels in reusable materials.

For retailers and brands, packaging is a way to position your brand as eco-friendly and sustainable, while being an effective way to save on costs. For many companies, it’s becoming an important topic for their business. In a survey conducted by DHL’s Customer Solutions and Innovation team, it was found that nine out of 10 companies say packaging will be high on their agenda in the next three to five years.

The DHL survey also revealed that the majority of respondents said the introduction of sustainable packaging materials was their number-one, near-future packaging priority.

Weigh and Save

To save on shipping and avoid paying to transport air, online merchants should consider the following:

  • Parcel carriers use a dimensional weight (DIM) pricing technique based on the package’s length, width and height.
  • DIM weight is a standard pricing method used by most shipping providers.
  • If an item is lightweight, but you’re using a large box, you’ll still pay more because of the volume and the space the box takes up during transport. It’s all about the cube and network capacity.

What should you as an ecommerce merchant do?

  • Consider packaging at the onset of launching a new product or product line. Some packaging manufacturers can create custom packages that decrease DIM weight, thus reducing costs and the overall carbon footprint.
  • Weigh packages and consider dimensions when calculating shipping costs.
  • Talk to your logistics partners to see what options are available to make your packaging more efficient.

Packages Go Green

As packaging increasingly becomes a priority for ecommerce merchants and consumers alike, more options are becoming available. Not only are recycled materials the order of the day, but also more packaging options that can be reused or compostable. Resealable bio-based alternative envelopes, pouches and labels, are also becoming more popular for ecommerce categories.

Before making any environmental claims on packages, companies should check the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Green Guides for guidance.

Sustainable packaging can have various positive impacts on your brand. Whether you’re well-established or an up-and-comer in retail, reducing your carbon footprint, reducing waste and establishing a positive first and long-lasting impression can lead to increased sales and loyal customers.

Lee Spratt is CEO of DHL eCommerce Solutions, Americas