How to Choose the Right Packaging Material

how to choose the right packaging material

The packaging material you use serves as the foundation for your branding. Packaging presents your products to your customers. Although the materials seem simple, it’s important to choose the right ones.

Your industry often influences the type of packaging you need. The materials you choose depend upon the size and shape of your products and the required insulation. Whether you work in the food industry, retail, or e-commerce, consider how to choose the best packaging materials with this guide.

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Why Is Your Packaging Important?

When you have orders to fill for waiting customers, you want to make sure the products arrive securely. Understanding your products’ life cycle can help you select the best possible materials for transit.

The roles of packaging include:

  • Protection for your products: Your packaging should help prevent losses and reduce the need to replace damaged products. The packaging should also be thermoregulated for the destination’s climate when necessary.
  • Safety: Your packaging should protect the products and those who handle them. This is why your packaging materials must abide by FDA regulations as needed.
  • Enhanced consumer experience: Packaging can be attractive or have special features. You can incorporate the customers’ specific requirements in your materials, whether that be instructions for product use or information on how to recycle the packaging.
  • Design and branding: Part of your advertising to customers involves the first impression which comes from your packaging. Make a social-media worthy experience with the right packaging.
  • Secure storage: If you have a warehouse or other facility where your finished products wait to be shipped, you want to securely package them to avoid damages.
  • Retail displays: If your packaging is intended for displays, you want to make sure you choose materials that give customers an attractive view of the product. Your shipping materials should also be high-quality so everything arrives to stores intact.

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What to Consider When Packaging Items for Shipping

Making careful considerations about what type of packaging your products require will save your business money later. With the optimal materials, you can also avoid product returns or excess damages that cost more than your initial packaging. Below are the top five factors to look at when you’re choosing your custom packaging:

1. Durability

If your products are fragile or easily broken, you want to select thicker materials to protect them. When you’re deciding on the strength of the materials, you might want to go with corrugated fiberboard or a similar option for optimal protection. For products that could chip or break in transit, select packaging that:

  • Has extra protection: Choose custom-molded solutions that securely hold your product in its packaging or shipping box.
  • Is properly labeled: The fragile logo on the outside of the box is a message to the courier and the customer to be careful with the packaging.
  • Is the appropriate strength: Larger products or products with small, brittle parts should have durable packaging that can tolerate the overall weight and demands of shipping.

2. Product Weight

Select a material that fits with your product cycle and offers optimal protection regardless of the product’s weight. Depending on how heavy your products are, certain interior applications work better. For example, molded pulp is often the best interior packaging for shipping because it is suitable for a variety of weights ranging from just a few pounds to over 50 lbs.

Note any variations in your products’ weights if you ship different versions of similar items — such as a more powerful appliance or one that comes with attachments. Make sure you know the base shipping rates for the size and weight excluding packaging materials. Re-weigh the products with packaging included, and determine if you can afford to use packaging of a lighter weight.

3. Tamper-Evident Features

Products that commonly suffer from tampering include food and drink items, beauty products and medications. Tampering can compromise your products’ safety, so for these industries and others, it’s important to seal your containers in a way that consumers are able to tell if tampering has occurred.

The kind of transportation methods you use during the shipping process could also have an impact on your packaging choices. Keep your end-user safe by selecting materials that are resistant to tampering as your products pass through shipping routes.

molded pulp is a flexible shipping option

4. Cost-Effective and Convenient Solutions

Before you purchase your packaging in bulk, consider the costs and determine what additions some products could be shipped without. Your budget determines what kinds of materials you have access to and what you can afford to spend the most on.

Consider the needs of your products for:

  • Space: Rather than using a one-size-fits-all box, select packaging that is the right size for your products.
  • Materials: Bulky, insulated materials typically cost more, as do premium materials. Molded pulp is lightweight and flexible, making it a great universal option.
  • Cost of freight and shipping: Heavier items cost more to transport, and your packaging can make a difference in weight. Lightweight materials can lower your long-term shipping costs.
  • Cost of labor: When it comes to manufacturing the packaging, a drop-and-go design means easy assembly and takes less production time.
  • Storage: Stackable designs optimize your storage, allowing you to have a greater number of finished products ready to send out.

5. Sustainability

Packaging is often single-use and crafted to serve a temporary purpose. As you strive to meet the needs of your products, you also want to think about the impact your choices have on your consumers and the environment at large. Sustainable packaging involves a combination of economically, environmentally and socially conscious solutions.

As you select custom packaging for your business, prioritize learning about the types of packaging that will offer the most sustainability while keeping items intact. You can find the most affordable types of packaging while also focusing on sustainability by using biodegradable and recyclable packaging.

Molded options made of natural fibers meet both of those qualities. This option appeals to industries and consumers concerned with eco-friendly or green packaging solutions. Paper-based protective pads are 100% recyclable curbside, meaning your customers won’t have to wonder how to responsibly dispose of your packaging. They’re also biodegradable, unlike plastic and other packaging options.

order custom shipping solutions with fiber interior packaging

Order Custom Shipping With Fiber Interior Packaging

You have many factors to consider when you’re looking for the right packaging for your products. Our Great Northern Fiber Interior Packaging™  protective molded solutions are sustainable, cost-effective alternatives to foam or airbags. We can help you reduce labor costs with eco-friendly fiber interior packaging. Contact us to get started on your custom shipping solution, or give us a call at 800.925.2626.

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