How To Package Goods In E Commerce – Test And Procedures
Aug 04, 2022 | Sanchit Kumar
Why is Packaging important?
To ensure the safety of the product, product packaging is crucial at the most fundamental level. If the company uses the proper packaging material, good packaging will not only protect the goods inside from damage during delivery, reducing the likelihood that it will be returned, but it will also significantly lower the company's costs.
Here are some facts about e-commerce packaging that actually bring out its importance:
Packaging creates a brand value
Although the idea behind e-commerce packaging may have originated as a way to preserve goods during shipment, it has quickly developed into a potent branding and marketing tactic. The packaging of your goods is a crucial point of differentiation between you and your rivals. It develops a distinctive brand experience.
Packaging ensures safety
Protection is the primary goal of packaging. The primary purpose of packaging is to protect products from the outside environment, but it also has to work the other way around to protect products from the outside environment. Simply said, effective packaging guarantees the product's safe transportation.
The First Impression
Customers get their first impression of your brand at the time of delivery, and you want it to be a good one. According to research, packaging plays a role in one-third of customer buying decisions. E-commerce packaging is essentially a tool you may use to persuade someone to choose your goods and discover more about your business.
Basic steps to package your product:
ANALYZE PACK SEAL LABEL
This step involves a proper analysis of your product. The height and weight along with nature of your product and decide the most suitable packaging for the same. If your product has a different form like liquid or powder and requires special packaging then arrange for the same.
Choose the packaging material for your shipment and place your package into the material.
Seal the package thoroughly from all ends. Make sure you use pressure sensitive and water resistant tapes. The edges must be sealed securely and the package shall be firm from all ends.
Labels are the package’s identity and all the details mentioned on them must be true. Attach the label to top surface of the package and make sure it even easily readable.
How Packaging can be sustainable?
The use of the proper packaging materials, by which we mean those that improve sustainability and are friendlier to the environment, is the foundation of sustainable packaging. This entails a greater reliance on life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle inventory (LCI) to direct the use of packaging and lessen its negative effects on the environment.
To be fair, cardboard and other paper-based packaging are among the most ecological and beneficial to the environment.
Alternatives for packaging needs:
When it comes to industry effect, the non-recyclable packaging and accessories are one of the biggest culprits because they harm the environment. This fact effectively conveys the necessity for environmentally friendly packaging, which has sparked a wave of creative, new eco-friendly substitutes for conventional packaging materials. There are countless options accessible to the environmentally concerned business, from recyclable plastics to biodegradable containers.
Styrofoam, the airy, light material used for loose-fill packaging and takeaway cartons. It has long served as a requirement in loose-fill packing for breakable or otherwise delicate objects, serving to restrain movement and absorb shocks. The only drawback is that they are non-biodegradable.
However, biodegradable air peanuts are now a viable alternative. Similar to their Styrofoam cousins, it functions the same way with the added benefit of being biodegradable.
Another excellent environmentally friendly substitute for Styrofoam or bubble wrap is an inflatable air cushion. These small bags can be inflated, so when used as packaging, they predominantly contain air. In comparison to alternative cushioning materials, this reduces the amount of plastic used in their creation and allows for minimum packaging during shipping. Furthermore, they can be re-used, recycled, and are even biodegradable
Since the traditional bubble wrap are composed of plastic, they are not the most environmentally friendly material. An upcycled corrugated cardboard bubble wrap can be used as an alternative to plastic bubble wrap. Post-consumer cardboard trash can have an additional life as a cushioning material rather than being disposed of or recycled.
Cornstarch is an organic material. It can be used in place of plastics since it resembles plastic in some ways. Cornstarch packaging adds significantly to sustainable packaging, including bottles, moulded forms, and loose-fill packaging.
Another mushroom-based eco-friendly packaging substitute uses cleaned and ground agricultural waste that is then merged with mushroom roots. After drying, the raw material can be molded into any shape and utilized for packaging. Additionally, it biodegrades incredibly quickly. Packaging for mushrooms can be composted at home and decompose into non-toxic organic matter.
Seaweed packaging has the potential to be the next big thing in environmentally friendly packaging options because it is made from a plentiful and renewable raw material. Its application as a packaging material was prototyped by a design team, and they were recognized with a design prize.
Recycled cardboard and paper:
Cardboard and paper are organic materials and are some of the most recyclable materials available
Eco-friendly plastic and recycled plastics:
If nothing from above list of alternatives is affordable for business then you may go for plastic as there is not much ecological options left but make sure the plastic you will be using in the packaging process is eco-friendly and recyclable plastic.
ISTA and the need for testing packages.
The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) is an organisation that develops test methods describing how packages should function to ensure protection of their goods. Testing labs can be certified to carry out package testing to these ISTA standards.
Testing is necessary because it is challenging to forecast what will happen in complex procedures and because judgments must be made before implementation. Every test is really a decision-making exercise. The test results give the decision-maker information to aid in making the most informed judgments possible. Preshipment performance testing of transport packaging often informs decisions about how well the package will safeguard its contents throughout distribution.
Visible evidence that a packed product has undergone an approved ISTA preshipment test is provided by the ISTA Transit Tested Certification Mark on the packaging. It gives the design, test, and packaged-product performance verification procedure the highest level of confidence.
Packaging Procedure according to product classification:
Products can be classified in various categories such as Jewels and apparels, furniture, fashion accessories and textiles, home decors and garden. Each product classification has its own way of packaging. Furniture packaging needs to be in hard big package that can handle the weight and size of the material. The same thing goes for home decors &garden. The packaging may differ from product to product depending on the nature, weight and size of the item to ensure the safety of the product. Unlike furniture, jewels and apparels and fashion accessories and textile need to have soft packaging material and not to be as hard and tough as in the case of furniture.
We will discuss the steps of packaging for each category in more detail. Majority of E-commerce products lies in four different categories:
Jewels and ornaments
Apparels and textile
Home décor and garden.
It is important to know what type of furniture you're working with so you'll be able to plan the packaging accordingly. Disassemble the furniture items wherever possible and pack each element separately. Eg. – table legs, headboards and foot-boards from beds etc. This breaks down the dimensions of the shipment, and makes an otherwise absurdly shaped item easier to pack and transport. Isolate the glass element from the piece of furniture that you simply are moving entirely. Pack the glass bits independently after taking all the mandatory precautions.
Steps to package Furniture:
Ensure the safety and integrity of fragile parts of the furniture with many bubble wrap. To make your packaging more sustainable and environment friendly one can go for paper/cardboard bubble wraps instead of using plastic bubble wraps.
Proceed to wrap the furniture with blankets. For additional layers of packaging round the furniture, one can also use old newspaper or old clothes.
Tighten the packaging materials in place with ample amounts of tape. Make sure that the tape isn't applied to painted surfaces to stop the colour from being fainted.
Add a layer of shrink wrap to maintain the artificial padding in place. A more sustainable alternative to shrink wrap is using ultra-thin 100% recyclable stretch film, cold wrap that uses 70% less plastic and 40% less cardboard to create eye-catching consumer-friendly packaging that save around 20% on the production costs. This step will help in ensuring that newspapers, blankets and other materials won't slip out of place during transportation and also prevent dust and liquids from seeping inside and damaging the furniture.
Use large sheets of corrugated board, fold them into smaller pieces and tape them round the corners of your furniture pieces. Use cardboard to guard the outer surface of your furniture.
Add another layer of shrink wrap for extra protection and tie it off with rope for the right finish.
The above tests are more than enough to ensure a good furniture packaging and greater safety can be assured with the results after undergoing various test procedure prescribed by ISTA by taking the required steps, if needed.
Jewels and Ornaments:
There are various varieties of packaging for jewelry business looking on the kind or brand of jewellery.
Below are some main kinds of packaging for the jewellery business:-
For handmade and artisan jewellery pieces, organic or "green" packaging solutions are the ideal choice. Recycled paper, cotton, hemp, or handcrafted display cards, for instance, can add a handcrafted sense. Packaging jewelry for shipping this manner can impart a novel feel to your products and make them stand out from bulk-produced items.
Budget packaging for your jewellery business is more appropriate and practical for you if you sell jewellery in large quantities. When packing jewellery for delivery, you'll utilise hangers, packaging slides, cellophane, and imitation velvet displays. Budget packaging for the jewellery industry is great if you are a wholesaler and package jewellery for retailers who will sell jewellery under their own brand name.
Steps to package jewels and ornaments:-
The first crucial step in the packaging of delicate items like jewelry and apparels is a large enough bubble mailer (basically a bubble wrap) for your product. An alternative for bubble mailer could be compostable wraps to comply with sustainability code of conduct.
Assemble all of your items together and think about employing extra packaging like tissue to secure the jewellery.
Final outer packaging depends on the purpose of packaging, by which we mean whether you are a retailer and use lighted-glass display cases then you would also require equally ornamental cases. You may need silk, velvet, or gossamer bags or jewelry boxes for re-packaging jewelry for shipping or in-store sale. On the other hand If you sell jewelry in bulk, budget packaging for your jewelry business may be more suitable and feasible for you. You can use plastic jewelry tags, hangers, plastic packaging slides or cellophane, or faux velvet display for packaging jewelry for shipping.
Apparel and Textiles:
Wrap your product in paper bag, tissue or transparent bag (use recyclable plastic bags) You can use self-seal bags or bubble bags and jiffy envelopes for this too. A Ziploc bag is also a good option. If you can avoid boxes, do so. Courier bags that are moisture and tear resistant are your best bet.
Seal the bag properly. It is a basic but important step as to protect the product from losing out.
Make sure you do double packaging. It ensures that your product remains intact even if a sharp object pierces through the outer packaging during transit.
Home Decor and Garden (Pottery and ceramics):
There are various kinds of products in the category of home decoration and garden and also majority of products in this category can also overlap with furniture category in term packaging but pottery and ceramics requires a special attention while packaging as they are sensitive to transportation procedure. So, it is better to follow the right procedure for packaging of these products for a safe & damage-free shipment.
Steps to package
It is vital to "freeze" the pottery in place. The pot should not be able to move in any direction once it is in the box. The best choice is a box just big enough to fit the pot after it has been wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap.
Fill any open areas with more bubble wrap, solid pieces of Styrofoam, or wadded plastic grocery bags. Close the box so that the top lays flat. Do not interlace the flaps. Make certain that the outermost set of flaps meet without gaps or overlaps. If there are overlaps, add more packing material until the box is completely filled.
Attach the shipping tape to the side of the box facing away from you. Draw the tape up and over the top of the box, keeping the flaps firmly in place, and down three to four inches on the side nearest you. Cut the tape free.
Place your label to the right on the top of the box.
Prescribed tests for various product categories:
The packaging various from product to product, so the test procedures. Certain test and procedures depends on weight and size of product whereas some depends on the nature of the product which basically the category of the product. There is a whole set of guidelines for selecting the test procedures for your business on official website of ISTA. Here are two major prescribed test procedure for your product (the list is not exhaustive):
ISTA Test Procedure 2C
The package test necessary for furniture packaging is summarised in ISTA Test Procedure 2C. This process specifically comprises assessing the separately packaged furniture items (box goods) for shipmen.
The following set of tests is optional however atmospheric conditioning is advised. The pack is put through one or more of the numerous situations throughout this series. Extremely low temperatures, high temperatures, and both high and low humidity are among these circumstances. There are also conditions that are advised, varying from one range to another. 72 hours is the typical wetting period for conditioning. This test's objective is to determine the package's performance within the anticipated restrictions of the atmosphere. This will help the seller understand how damaging these extreme ends will be while shipping furniture.
The vibration test is the following set of tests in the ISTA 2C test. This test sequence requires random testing under a dynamic load . The top load replicates the weight of a transport unit that is mounted to the ground in a 108-inch trailer. The top load test levels consist of three stages.
Each cube in the bottom level weighs 12 kg. Ten kg each cube make up the next level. Eight kg per cube make up the third level. The carrier is assuming that air driven trucks are being used in the third level approach. For top load, there are various prerequisites. It ought to exceed the test sample in size. The specimen should droop no more than 1.5 inches, though. It should also spread the weight evenly over the entire test unit.
It is a shock test in the posttest sequence. Three alternative shock test methods will be available for the sender to select from. The drop test is the first accessible technique. Slope crash testing is the second technique. The final method is a horizontal impact test.
ISTA Test Procedure 3A
For testing packages weighing less than 150 pounds, ISTA Procedure 3A is the industry standard. This package test standard was created for products that will be shipped via parcel service. Four distinct sorts of packages are covered by this test. These packages are frequently delivered in isolation by ground or air. The types include standard, small, elongated, and flat packages.
Standard Packaged Products are packaged products that do not meet any of the definitions below for a small, flat or elongated packaged product. Standard packaged products may be traditional fiberboard cartons, plastic, wooden or cylindrical containers.
Small Packaged Products are packaged products with a volume less than 13,000 cm3 (800in3), with a longest dimension of 350mm (14in) or less and weight of 4.5kg (10lb) or less.
Flat Packaged Products are packaged products with a shortest dimension of 200mm (8in) or less, next longest dimension that is four or more times larger than the shortest dimension, and having a volume 13,000 cm3 (800in3) or greater.
Elongated Packaged Products are packaged products with a longest dimension of 900mm (36in) or greater and both of the packages other dimensions at 20 percent or less of that longest dimension.
Any packaged product that does not fit any of the other criteria for a tiny, flat, or elongated packed product falls under the ISTA 3A packaging guidelines. Traditional fiberboard cartons, plastic, wooden, and cylindrical containers are a few examples of them.
Unless the product is deemed fragile or liquid, one test sample is required per ISTA 3A. A fragile product is defined as an item that could easily break when dropped without having protective packaging.
The heights of the ISTA 3A test drops may vary by package. Products like pottery, clay, electronics, glass, and porcelain are examples of fragile goods. Liquids include solids as well as semi-liquids and liquids that can turn into liquids at temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
ISTA Test procedure 1A
The ISTA 1A is a test procedure designed to evaluate packaging products weighing 68kg (150lb) or less. It offers a common set of tests to help users understand how different packages function under various handling scenarios. It can also be used to evaluate how different product and package designs function.
Overall, it makes sure that the package and product are viewed as a unit and not as distinct things. Certain circumstances, including transit, moisture pressure, and unusual handling are covered under the ISTA 1a standard. To provide valid results, it is crucial to keep in mind that shipments must have been transported through the supply chain unharmed before testing.
What are the benefits of ISTA packaging testing?
Buyer assurance that the packaging has passed rigorous testing and won’t cause them reputational damage is one of the most important advantages of an ISTA certification. In fact, bigger shops like Amazon often demand an ISTA certification. Additionally, you are certain that there will be less product and client loss due to transit damage.
As a result, product makers gain a number of advantages which includes product protection, cost savings, brand loyalty, increased customer satisfaction, and a decreased need for trial shipments are all benefits.
The Bottom Line
The packaging of e-commerce goods is the crucial part of manufacturing and delivery process of an E-commerce industry. A properly packed box, at its most basic, communicates to your customers that you take the time to carefully ship their orders. The extra touches you include strengthen your brand and increase client loyalty. Each component of your E-Commerce packaging, including the box, envelope, tape, and filler, sends a different message.
Keep in mind that your packaging and infill are not static. Keep refining your packing methods and supplies. You might wish to update the design and feel of your e-Commerce orders as your business develops. You will also have access to newer, greener, and more appealing packaging and infill alternatives as packaging materials and methods advance.
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