At Dotcom Distribution, we’ve crafted a niche in the logistics and fulfillment industry by helping our clients create unique and memorable brand experiences for their customers. We carefully consider the impression a package makes when it’s received by customers and know how they receive it will impact future purchases decisions.
If you are in charge of your brand’s fulfillment operations, it’s essential to have a standard operating procedure (SOP) that clearly defines how customers’ orders should be packaged for shipping. This will systemize the packing process and also serve as a quality check.
As you create your brand’s packing instructions, here are the most important aspects of fulfillment you need to consider:
The Desired Brand Experience
How orders are packed is one of the most important indicators of your customer experience with your product. Ask yourself how you want customers to feel while they open your package and the impression you wish to leave them with.
While you may want to provide every bell and whistle for your customers, that simply isn’t realistic. A great way to determine the absolute necessities is to define what is most important for you and your customers. Is it solely appearance? Is it being sustainable? Identifying priorities will help guide your approach and determine packing instruction essentials.
The Cost and Functionality of That Experience
Once you’ve determined the type of experience you want to provide, you’ll need to figure out how to make that a reality in the most functional and cost-effective way possible.
Think about the various elements that will go into the box — the purchased item, inserts, tissue paper, stickers, etc. While at first you may think every additional element beyond your merchandise is absolutely necessary, you have to remember that each additional element is an added fulfillment cost (especially if you are working with a 3PL).
For instance, do you really need to include both a free magnet and a sticker book to provide your desired customer experience? How much are you willing to spend on packing inserts and labor costs for fulfilling each order? Is the way your orders are packed efficient or not worth the time? Now is your opportunity to determine what elements are crucial for your customers and to scale down or eliminate the others to help streamline your fulfillment process.
The Shipping and Packing Method
Finally, consider how your products will arrive at the consumer’s doorstep.
You’ll first need to determine the box size and type that best suits the products to be shipped. Make sure the way items are packed is the most efficient. For instance, if your packages are affected by dimensional pricing, you want to make sure you are maximizing package dimensions so that you aren’t overcharged for shipping. Furthermore, if you are shipping fragile items, they should be packed carefully with bubble wrap or other protective material so as to not break in transit. Goods that arrive to your customer damaged will result in returns and the customer will likely NOT buy from you again.
You’ll also want to clearly outline for your fulfillment team how you want items to be packed. Assemble a visual guide that includes placement of shipping labels, position of free gifts in the box, and where receipts should go. Should you ship internationally, be sure to include guidelines for additional forms to include for the customer, like customs claims your packing team can’t afford to neglect.
Your packing instructions should always go back to the desired customer experience. Small things like box organization and packing material (or dunnage) all contribute to how the consumer views your brand.
To stay organized and ensure all departments and necessary steps are in line, a packing SOP is absolutely necessary. Having the process itself standardizes the system and minimizes errors.
To learn more about how to deliver the best brand experience to your customers, download our recent eCommerce Packaging Study.