I recently bought a waffle maker online. It was sent to me in the exact same box the manufacturer uses for displaying it on a store shelf, but with a little extra tape. No surprise that it showed up at my house bumped, bruised and broken.

When a product is damaged during the shipping process, the damage typically occurs because the product was incorrectly packaged for its method of transit or the product packaging couldn’t survive the rigors of transit and come out intact.

how to reduce damage from shipping

And damage is a real problem for e-commerce. Our research reveals that 68 percent of U.S. shoppers credit retailers for their good experiences vs. the shipper — and 70 percent of them are unlikely to be repeat customers after a poor shipping experience.

How to reduce damage from shipping

As e-commerce continues to increase and more products are shipped to consumers at faster rates, some of these delivery trips can be treacherous.

If you’re like me, you rarely go into an actual store these days. Why bother driving, parking, and shopping in a store when nearly everything you want or need can be purchased online? I’ve ordered everything from bath soap to a bathtub — right from my smartphone.

Online shopping is our present and our future. There’s going to be a lot more of it. And with more online shopping comes more package deliveries. And with more package deliveries — which often arrive in just one or two days — comes a higher risk of receiving damaged goods. Faster rarely means safer.

Design for delivery

To prevent damage to e-commerce orders, many retailers use varying degrees of packaging materials, such as air pillows or paper. But what if, in some cases, secondary packaging wasn’t necessary? What if more products were designed for delivery?

Designing for delivery ensures that products are packaged properly at the onset, such as at the manufacturer site.

Historically, packaging for shipping has mostly been an afterthought. Now, as more products are being jammed inside loaded trucks, the packaging paradigm needs to be flipped. What’s been learned and implemented with primary packaging should now be applied to secondary and tertiary packaging.

Oftentimes, something as minor as a small household appliance will arrive in nothing more than its retail packaging — and that’s where problems occur. This kind of primary packaging isn't designed for delivery.

What’s the solution?

It can’t be more boxes. There’s a tremendous cost to putting everything in an extra box. Instead, the answer is to design original packaging to endure the rigors of transport to the customer’s door.

Designing for delivery can be as simple as adding flexible packaging material and extra cushioning on the inside of the primary packaging along with minimal protection on the outer shell. This type of design will cut costs on shipping because secondary boxes aren't required for protection. 

If my waffle maker had been designed for delivery, it would have been secured in durable packaging that was right-sized for the application, and I would have been able to whip up a tasty breakfast right out of the box. Instead, I had to pack up the appliance, prepare to return it and settle for a bowl of cereal. Fail.

Retailers need to consider the journey a product will take from warehouse to doorstep. Positive consumer experiences are planned from the beginning, not accidentally achieved on arrival.