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Packaging and Shipping Online Sales Items

Updated on October 24, 2014

Shipping and Packaging

Packaging is a problem for anyone selling online. It must be done right, but must be done without great expense.

What we must consider:

Package to protect the product in transit.

Determine what is needed to properly package an item.

Understand all the costs.

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Packaging the Product

Once you sell an item, you must get it to the buyer, and it must be intact. So, proper packaging and shipping is important.

If the item can be damaged in transit, protect it in bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or bunched paper.

Using bubble wrap is usually a good start, even if you elect using peanuts of paper. Bubble wrap comes in a variety of sizes, so match the bubble size to the product. Small bubbles may work for small items, and larger bubbles may be better for larger items. The purpose of the bubbles is to cushion any impact. Always tape the bubble wrap so that when your customer opens the package and lifts the wrapped product, the product does not slide out of the wrap and break. And, make certain when taping that the tape touches only the wrap and not the product. Otherwise, it could leave glue on an item that is difficult to clean, and even ruin the item.

Packing peanuts act as a shock absorbing filler. They occupy voids in the package, so the item inside is constrained gently from moving. If packing peanuts are used they should surround the item being shipped.

If paper is selected, bunch it so it fills voids, and effectively immobilizes the item being protected. Use paper made for this purpose, not newspaper, unless the item is safely wrapped so the newspaper does not make contact with it. Newspaper often leaves ink on whatever it touches.

Bubble mailers, envelopes with bubble wrap made into them, are nice, but are often not enough protection. They are a good start.

Fragile labels should be used, but never rely on the labels to be the only protection a package has.

It is the responsibility of the seller to take proper care in shipping the item.

Shipping Costs

When charging a customer for shipping, many computer calculations consider the postage only. Other costs include the price of a box or envelope, the cost of whatever is used in it, the cost of a shipping label, the cost of tape to seal the package, and the cost Paypal or a credit card charges on the shipping fee. Shipping fees are usually free of fees from online sales sites like Ebay, but not free from Paypal or credit card fees! And never forget the printer ink, the paper for the invoice, and any business card you might include.

Remember, the postal fee calculated may not, and probably will not, include delivery confirmation, insurance, and any other added service.

Buy in Bulk

If you ship regularly, buy in bulk. Small quantities of shipping supplies are expensive. This is one reason it is not good to buy supplies from the USPS. However, if you are shipping Priority Mail, which costs a premium in postage, USPS supplies are free, and can be ordered shipped to your location. Ordering USPS supplies can be done online.

Special Items Require Special Packaging.

For paper items that cannot be creased, and are too big to send in a flat envelope, roll the item and send it in a cylinder designed for this purpose, provided rolling does no harm. It may be necessary to protect a surface from contact with the back of the product. Insertion of a sheet of appropriate paper may be necessary.

For photographs and art pieces, special hard enveloped prevent damage from bending. While “Do Not Bend” labels can be used, never rely only on them. Use rigid mailers.

Please leave your comments.

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    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 

      5 years ago

      I love selling online but I really hate the whole shipping process. I wish it was easier.

    • retro-gamer profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Proper packaging is important when selling online. I buy supplies in bulk myself. I've purchased quite a bit online as well and thankfully I've only had a couple experiences when the seller didn't seem to understand that fragile items need to be secured and padded. Like your lens.


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