Whether you're a vendor with your own website or one of the 1.5 million sellers of artisanal goods on Etsy, your products – no matter how strangely shaped – must reach customers in new and presentable condition. As a result, fitting products with the right packaging is critical.
Kyle Durrie has run Power and Light Press for 10 years. Based in Silver City, N.M., she makes and ships hand-printed posters, T-shirts and greeting cards throughout the country. Though her products are sold at boutiques and trade shows, the majority of her business is done online. That means shipping and packing is key to her operations.
"As a manufacturer, I depend on quality packaging and shipping to get my product safely into my customers' hands," says Durrie, who uses ups.com to generate labels and UPS® Ground delivery for wholesale shipments. "Poor packaging has led to damaged goods and unhappy customers. The product must arrive in a timely manner and in good condition, otherwise the customer will return it or want a refund. My products are all paper, so they're not fragile, but can still get dinged up without proper care. I find that packing the box tightly with heavy packing paper does the trick."
As products change, so do shipping needs. Special precautions must be taken with more delicate, valuable products. Metal et Linnen is a wristwatch company in Seoul, South Korea, with a wide range of international clients and collaborators, including The Walt Disney Co.
"Because we make handmade watches, the right packaging is especially important for us to ensure safe delivery domestically and internationally," says founder and owner Yoon Young Lee.
Lee's products are artisanal – assembling one watch takes up to 50 hours – and she draws in a higher-end clientele as a result. Thus, packaging plays a key role, and she is always looking for specialized options to optimize space and protect her fragile products.
Lee found advantages using UPS and one-of-a-kind packaging. "Our local UPS office has been helpful," says Lee. "We chose simple and subtle, environmentally friendly craft paper and designed our package to showcase our unique identity. It takes more time to put a package together, but we believe it helps make our customers feel special."
CariD.com, an online retailer of premium automotive accessories, had a packaging mystery on its hands. Every now and then, one of the custom wheel and tire sets it carefully packed and sent out from its Cranbury, N.J., warehouse would arrive damaged and be returned for replacement.
The affected boxes bore no obvious signs of damage. But the wheels inside were arriving slightly scuffed. It was something CARiD.com's car-enthusiast customers considered a big no-no. "For true car people, custom wheels and tires are a very emotional purchase," says Mark Atwater, director of vendor relations at CARiD. "If they arrive less than perfect, it's a really bad day for everybody."
So CariD.com turned to the UPS Package Design and Test Lab outside Chicago for help.
The lab, a unique facility run by a team of specially certified UPS engineers, uses leading-edge technologies to simulate real-world package transport scenarios and works with customers to design their packaging.
UPS engineers conducted a comprehensive series of tests to identify the problem. After three rounds of testing, UPS and CARiD.com developed a solution that created a 2-inch barrier around the product. This system was specifically designed to reduce the vibration and float that causes scuffing, scratching or more serious damage.
Despite differences in products, clients and businesses, years of experience have taught these company owners the same thing: Take control and find the packaging that's right for your product. That means the right amount of protection and the right look for the clients.
Taking control sometimes means finding a partner to help. Through its Vendor Packaging Program, UPS works with small companies and manufacturers to create packaging that meets industry standards and fits a product's unique needs. The program also specializes in packaging that is made from sustainable materials, and the UPS Package Design and Test Lab continually tests packaging for reliance to shock, temperature and humidity.
To help you with the right packaging for your unique products, you can also check out UPS Package Advisor on ups.com.
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