Ecommerce: you can have too much packaging!

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As parcels and packages move thorugh the postal service, or are handled by couriers, they don’t get treated with much respect. Ecommerce sellers should expect the despatches to be banged and bounced and dropped like a rugby ball on match day at Twickenham.

All that said, a proportionate approach to packaging is vital. Take a look at the parcel below. The package on the left was cased in the box on the right. Quite a difference.

Now. If you were selling delicate items. Glass. Ceramics. Precious collectables. Such a package would be entirely appropriate and absolutely desireable. But this despatch contained business cards. It was a consignment of entirely unbreakable small cardboard sheets.

It was submitted by a Tamebay reader who wrote: “It’s ludicrous to send something like business cards in such a huge box. It’s a waste of card and paper for starters.”

And he’s right. But surely all’s well that ends well? The goods arrived in one piece, didn’t they? What’s the whinge?

“I ordered the business cards in good time. I was out on the Wednesday. Once I got through to the call centre on Wednesday evening after work, they couldn’t promise re-delivery on Thursday or Friday. I needed the cards on Saturday. I ended up taking a 40 mile round trip to collect them from the depot. I doubtless spent more on petrol for that journey than on the cards themselves. But more annoyingly, collecting them was a needless waste of time.”

And the crux of the matter? “I won’t be buying from that company again. It’s so frustrating because the box of cards on their own would easily have gone through my letterbox. It was totally unecessary hassle.”

13 Responses

  1. As the package was sent via a courier it would have required signing for, therefore the size of the parcel would have had no bearing on the fact he had to go and collect.

    2 unconnected whinges methinks.

  2. Buyers do have to be aware that they may have to sign for deliveries. And generally shipping companies have a band up to 1kg so as long as the item and the packaging are less than 1kg in weight it should not really be an issue.

    Even Royal Mail have gone this way with a band up to 0.75kg for their lowest tier.

    The real issue is that the buyer was not in when the package was delivered. It has nothing to do with package size.

    I accept and sign for packages for neighbours. There are couriers who will knock on neighbours doors until they find a willing neighbour.

    Does the buyer have neighbours willing to accept deliveries for them?

    Is the carrier prepared to deliver to and accept signitures from adjacent properties in the event of not being able to deliver to the actual address?

    These are key questions for mail order buyers who are out daytime Monday to Friday.

  3. There are “green” and enviromental considerations of course. Under EU law manufacturers have to pay a “green” packaging tax and so they have an incentive to keep packaging weight, type, and size down when designing packaging for products.

    Maybe such a tax should be levied on mail order packaging?

    On the other hand I would be extremely happy to receive such a box as I could recycle it and use it for my own packaging! 🙂

    ebay sellers are masters at recycling and are the greenest folk around!

  4. The thing I get the most whingers about is the various advertising inserts from companies we include in the parcel. Chuck them in the recycle bin and stop moaning.

  5. This post started because there was an issue with delivery of the parcel. Just learn from the incident and get on. You need to do business with customers. Don’t you ? Just take corrective action and it is DONE !

  6. Business cards, how 20th century. 🙂

    All that nonsense, pollution and waste as well.

    Get with the 21st Century. 🙂

  7. Just as containerisation revolutionised shipping, isnt it about time couriers/royalmail supplied reuseable standardised boxing? all the cost of packaging going to landfill after single use has a real cost. Effective, strong, standardised boxing would solve problems for both the courier and the customer.


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