E-tailers: 3 ways to improve your packaging


Even pros can get better. Here are smart tips for experienced shippers.

You're a shipping guru who has seen and shipped it all (using UPS's premier WorldShip® system, of course). You know your stuff. Or do you? Here are three things you could be doing even better.

Need a hand with your shipping process? Have a UPS package engineer conduct an on-site evaluation.

1. Seek a custom solution. A custom packaging material, such as polyurethane foam molded specifically for your product, will better protect uniquely shaped or especially fragile items (such as computers, TVs or guitars). It's best to begin working with UPS on a custom shipping strategy as soon as you know what you're shipping.

Any potential new product must first be tested for shipment. "This reduces the burden of the number of calls coming in, as well as the 'ship-agains' (where products have to be sent again due to damaged first attempts)," says UPS Packaging Solutions Engineering Manager Quint Marini. "And if you look at sustainability, if one product gets damaged, you're actually doubling the carbon footprint of that product."

2. Get a better box. Use a box that's strong enough to protect the package within, says Marini. There are different grades of single- and double-wall boxes. Larger packages require stronger boxes to bear the weight of smaller boxes that will be stacked on top during transit. How does your box stack up? Refer to the UPS Box Strength Guidelines on, which were designed by UPS Packaging Solutions.

3. Avoid the void. Reduce the void – or empty portion – in your packaging to help items stay in place and prevent breakage during transit. Depending on the amount of dead space, you may be able to decrease your box size, which could increase cost savings.

A UPS package engineer can conduct an on-site evaluation of your packaging process to pinpoint places for improvement. "Our engineers will watch people pack the orders and try to gauge how much void or space is in the box," Marini says. "They'll then come back with a recommendation."

Got your own packaging tips? Share them below.


Reader Comments

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The difference between inside dimensions and outside is miniscule. The inside dimension is always smaller as it refers to the space taken up by the flaps when they go inside. I don't work for UPS, but a quick way to learn about corrugated is to go to your local phone book and find a custom corrugated box manufacturer.
It's always comforting to know a product is being shipped to you using custom fitted padding. It's true that not all boxes are created equal. Some boxes can get beat up pretty easily. It's always nice when companies take the time to package things well so that you don't have to constantly worry about what kind of shape your product will be in when it gets to you. Thanks for the article!
Judy Brown
When shipping packages does it save our company $$s to make sure we enter the box dimensions under package place of shipping invoice? It has been discussed that box sizes relate to the measurements of inside the box; but the outside dimensions reflect a difference causing Adjustment charges back to the company account.