How ecommerce businesses can reduce shipping costs

When you’re an ecommerce business, it’s essential to achieve good margins in order to make your venture is sustainable in the long-term. Shipping is one of the factors that can have a serious impact on your bottom line so you’ll want it to be as cost-effective as possible in order to remain competitive. So how can ecommerce businesses reduce shipping costs and how does packaging have a part to play?

Why shipping costs matter

Adding chunky delivery costs to goods can be off-putting to customers. Yes, prospective buyers may be lured in with a deal but that enticing headline figure may lead to plenty of abandoned shopping baskets if your company is then bumping up the price with hefty shipping charges. 

At the same time, heavily discounting the cost of delivery may leave you out of pocket. 

It’s a fine balance and a question that many online retailers struggle to resolve

Meanwhile, the big household names seem to be able to secure preferential treatment when it comes to working with courier services desperate to secure a partnership. It leaves the smaller independent shops with something of a dilemma – but it’s not an insurmountable problem if the right solution is chosen. 

Why are shipping costs going up? 

Couriers review their own costs annually and will themselves be at the mercy of forces such as fuel and staffing levels. 

Therefore, try not to take price rises personally. Look around for another service if necessary and consider adjusting the price of goods to accommodate any increase in your outgoings – which may also allow you to continue to offer free or discounted delivery to customers.  

However, one of the best ways to reduce costs is to look at packaging. 

Many sellers could cut down on what they pay by using less weighty packing materials when sending out items for delivery. Cardboard, which is bulky and cumbersome, may add quite substantial amounts to shipping over time. 

Less weight equals less cost. 

Polystyrene packaging is: 

  • Lightweight and cost-effective 
  • Robust and durable 

Choose light polystyrene inserts to protect goods in transit or polystyrene chips to create a cushioning effect. It’s flexible, versatile and used by a wide variety of ecommerce businesses to save money on shipping and still meet high customer expectations. 

Reduce shipping costs with polystyrene

If you’re looking for cost-effective polystyrene packaging for your ecommerce business, request a free, no obligation quotation by contacting the Vertapak team on 01384 457730.

Preparing for the festive season with the right packaging solution

If you’re an ecommerce business, no doubt you’re already preparing for the busy festive season ahead. It’s the busiest time of the year and you’ll want to maximise the opportunity to ensure a healthy start to 2020 and throughout those periods where profits may be leaner. With this in mind, we’ve created a guide to packaging your goods safely and securely in order to minimise the risk of damage and reduce the likelihood of costly returns. 

Pay attention to individual items 

Returns can seriously impact profit margins – with recent statistics suggesting that return deliveries will cost the equivalent of £450 billion by 2020, an increase of 75.2% compared to four years previously. 

Protective Packaging

There are long-term consequences as well. Those who have received broken items through the post are less likely to be repeat customers. There is also the possibility that they will leave negative reviews online, leading to a wider loss of reputation and erosion of consumer confidence in your brand.  

So, how do you pack goods well? Take care to package each individual item within any inner box as any loose goods can slide about and cause expensive breakages. This inner box should then be placed within a stronger outside container which in turn should be sealed to prevent tampering in transit. 

Internal packaging solutions 

Internal packaging should cushion and protect the contents of a package to prevent movement during transportation. 

Polystyrene chips are great for filling empty gaps and spaces while inserts which ‘suspend’ items inside a box to prevent movement are a good solution for electricals and fragile goods.

Failure to pay attention to good quality packaging over the festive period could mean a higher than necessary return rate. However, taking steps to prepare now, means that your goods will take pride of place underneath the Christmas tree. 

Why choose polystyrene packaging to protect goods? 

Choosing the right polystyrene packaging has a number of advantages. It can: 

  • Limit movement of goods during transit 
  • Be used to create a cushioning effect to minimise the impact of knocks and bumps 
  • Stop goods from touching each other – this may be particularly important in the transportation of electrical items 
  • Ensure items arrive in a good condition, ready to be enjoyed by the customer

If you’re looking for polystyrene packaging that protects goods and your corporate reputation over the festive period, speak to us about our polystyrene packaging solutions. Request a free, no obligation quotation by contacting Vertapak on 01384 457730.

Why polystyrene packaging is the product of choice for the pharmaceutical sector

With high-value and sensitive pharmaceutical products, transporting goods safely – with no risk of damage or tarnishing – can be a real challenge. Products that arrive in less than perfect condition can pose a danger to safety while also potentially harming the reputation of the manufacturer. In a highly competitive sector, it is important to operate to the highest of standards. Fortunately, when it comes to packaging, polystyrene is the solution that ticks all the boxes and ensures your product arrives safely, every time. 

Polystyrene is cost-effective (but that’s not the only benefit) 

Polystyrene packaging is durable but lightweight, which means that it won’t add to overheads in the way that bulky and weighty alternatives might do. 

However, saving money isn’t the only reason why pharmaceutical companies choose polystyrene packaging.  

Because it’s an effective insulator, it keeps temperatures inside a box stable. When moving medicine, this can be a critical factor and it is often of vital importance that the contents of a delivery are not exposed to extremes of heat or cold. For this reason, polystyrene is favoured by pharmaceutical firms for its all-year-round capabilities. 

It’s obvious why it’s also used to transport food products too. Where perishable goods may quickly spoil due to heat, a container which utilises polystyrene to insulate is the ideal choice. 

Making sure pharmaceutical products arrive in a good condition with the end user is one way to promote trust and an ongoing positive relationship. 

Polystyrene does not absorb moisture 

Unlike other packing materials, polystyrene does not take on water. For the pharmaceutical sector, ensuring medicines are not compromised or contaminated in any way is of great concern, and that’s where polystyrene offers real peace-of-mind. 

Polystyrene Packaging

Then there’s the fact that it effectively absorbs the shocks and knocks that are an inevitable fact of transporting goods. When medicines are shipped in glass bottles or jars, there is the potential for damage and breakage. Here, polystyrene packaging can be used as a cushion or even used to ‘suspend’ products inside a larger container.

It’s a flexible material that can be shaped and customised to meet precise needs. Ask us about our consultancy service, where we can design the right product to match your exact specifications.     

If you would like to talk to us about bespoke polystyrene packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical sector, contact the Vertapak team on 01384 457730 for an informal chat.

Is polystyrene packaging recyclable?

With many businesses looking for ways to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly, it is important to consider the impact of any packaging used to ship out goods. What’s more, customers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to recycling and expect companies to follow suit.

However, there is a misconception when it comes to expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging. In our throwaway culture, when people see discarded takeaway containers or abandoned polystyrene boxes, they assume the problem is with the material, and not the behaviour of consumers.

From packaging to insulation, the fact is that the material has many uses.
Yes, it may be slow to biodegrade, but that doesn’t mean it’s not 100% recyclable – because it is.

The local picture

Some councils even accept EPS with other recycling – with about 100 tonnes processed every month in the UK. Before putting it in your recycling bin, however, it’s best to check with your local authority first.

Worldwide, there is less of a desire to recycle EPS, although that doesn’t mean there won’t be a shift in attitudes in the future. Indeed, expanded polystyrene that has been used can be reformed into other useful products including:

  • Park benches
  • Garden furniture
  • Picture frames

In addition, EPS is made up of 98% air and releases no harmful CFC (Chlorofluorocarbons) gases.

Other uses for EPS

Polystyrene is a highly effective insulator. Precisely because of its insulating properties, it is the packaging material of choice when it comes to transporting products which need to be kept at a stable temperature such as food or medicines.

If you can’t recycle your packaging, you could always repurpose it yourself. Consider breaking it up and using it as drainage at the bottom of plant pots, using it as a seed tray or incorporating it into an arts and crafts project with a little one.

Alternatively – and because of the very reasons outlined above – you could use a polystyrene box to keep picnics cool on a hot summer day.

Here at Vertapak, we recycle by mixing old beads with new beads before these are moulded into blocks or by compacting granulated materials into bricks. These are then sent to a recycling depot where they are made into new products, to be used and enjoyed all over again.

If you would like to make an enquiry about using polystyrene packaging in your business, contact Vertapak on 01384 457730.

Why polystyrene packaging is perfect for fragile goods

In a world where it is possible for a customer to be online and complaining within seconds, impeccable service is everything. For merchants who deal in fragile goods, this can represent a particular challenge. From food in jars and electrical items, to perfume and cosmetics, sometimes events that are beyond control mean that goods can arrive in a less than pristine condition.

While a certain amount of damage needs to be accepted as an inevitable part of the delivery process, it’s up to businesses to limit this as far as possible and give customers what they want.  

Give a good impression

Image matters. If goods have been shipped in scruffy containers that aren’t up to the job of protecting the contents inside it, then the customer will already be on high alert before goods are even unboxed.

However, if products have been transported in a carefully packaged container, using polystyrene sheets, beads or bespoke moulds for protection, then it’s a big green tick.

Creating the right perception from the outset will only enhance the customer experience and positive reactions to a brand.

Minimise the potential for damage

Unfortunately, even if products are not damaged at the point of dispatch, there are many opportunities for breakages and spoiling along the way.

Overheating or exposure to cold can be an issue, as can careless couriers.

That’s why polystyrene packaging is becoming the material of choice for many different types of business who send goods to customers every single day.  

It’s a versatile product that can be shaped and moulded to create tailor-made inserts that ‘suspend’ items inside a bigger box. This is particularly effective when transporting fragile electrical devices which may include different components.

Meanwhile, polystyrene beads or chips can create a cushioning effect that absorbs the knocks and bumps associated with loading and unloading in transit.

Other benefits of polystyrene packaging

Polystyrene is good for insulating, so that the temperature inside a box is kept stable and protected from the external variations of hot or cold. Again, this is a highly desirable feature among companies which ship perishable items and medical supplies.

It’s also lightweight yet strong, so even though fragile goods are protected, the costs associated with using such a durable packing material are kept to an absolute minimum.

Speak to the experts about polystyrene packaging options for fragile goods

If you would like to make an enquiry about using polystyrene packaging, contact Vertapak on 01384 457730.

What are the uses of polystyrene balls and beads?

Polystyrene balls are made by heating and processing hydrocarbon molecules, after which they can either be joined together to make bigger beads or formed into even larger structures. A highly versatile product, most people associate it with stuffed toys or beanbag filler (for which it’s excellent) but there are many other uses too.

Benefits of polystyrene balls

While versatility is one reason why polystyrene has become widely used for a number of applications, there are other benefits. Polystyrene balls are:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Shock absorbing
  • Insulating
  • Moisture resistant

Indeed, when looking at the advantages listed above, it’s clear to see why polystyrene has become the material of choice for packaging. As a lightweight product that is also strong and does not absorb moisture, it’s great for ensuring goods arrive safely and intact – but without the costs associated with bulkier, heavier packing materials.

Small foam chips can be used to create a cushioning effect when shipping – so are an ideal choice for electronics and delicate items including medicines, ceramics, glassware and foodstuffs.

Meanwhile, polystyrene balls can be bound together, moulded or extruded to make other packaging materials such as protective casing which can keep the contents of a package ‘in suspension’ while in transit.

Other uses of polystyrene balls

Takeaway cups, plates and food containers are other popular uses for polystyrene. Rather than being seen as a throwaway item, however, it is important to remember that polystyrene can be recycled.

Made up of 98% air and with no damaging CFC gases, larger polystyrene sheets or moulded products can be broken down into beads and mixed with new beads to form new blocks.

Alternatively, granulated polystyrene can be sent on to be used in other products including plant pots and garden furniture.

In addition, polystyrene balls can be used as insulation in cavity walls. A small hole is cut into a wall or plasterboard, before the beads are inserted with an air blower, filling up the empty space.

This forms a barrier, and due to its insulating properties, locks in heat and improves energy efficiency. (Again, this is one of the reasons why it has established itself as a good material for transporting goods which need to stay at a stable temperature.)

We are proud to design and manufacture polystyrene for a variety of applications including bespoke packaging. If you would like to make an enquiry about our polystyrene products, contact Vertapak using the online form or call the team on 01384 457730.

How using polystyrene for packaging creates the right first impression

Customers expect the best and in today’s competitive climate, it only takes one offhand comment or negative review on social media to seriously dent your company’s reputation. Using polystyrene for packaging can help to protect the image of your business by ensuring goods arrive in mint condition and customer expectations are met, if not exceeded.

Perception matters

How your products arrive at an intended destination is crucial in determining the perception of your brand.

Imagine you are a customer and you are presented with a crushed and crumpled box, with no care for the contents inside. As a purchaser, you may have been looking forward to enjoying the latest electronic gadget, food item or beauty product.

There is a reason why the saying, “First impressions count,” remains so widely used. When little attention to packaging has been shown, the customer’s trust is likely to be damaged. Without trust, there is less chance of a repeat order or positive online review.    

Rate of return

Ask any eCommerce business about the problem of returns, and you’ll be told it can be a real issue that can cut profit margins and attack conversion rates.

However, with the right packaging that risk can be minimised.

Polystyrene inserts can be used to ‘suspend’ fragile goods within a larger container, holding items securely in place to stop movement in transit.

Meanwhile, polystyrene beads can be used to absorb the shocks and knocks that are part and parcel of going from A to B.

What’s more, because it is watertight, polystyrene can be used to provide a protective barrier around goods which may spoil if exposed to damp conditions.

Environmental credentials

With more businesses keen to show their commitment to the environment, expanded polystyrene is a great choice to add to the green credentials.

The material is approved for direct contact with food and because it contains no harmful CFC gases, it can be fully recycled after use.

Here at Vertapak, we recycle polystyrene by:

  • Breaking waste into beads and mixing it with new polystyrene beads before these are moulded into blocks
  • Compacting granulated materials, forming these into bricks before sending on to be reused for other products including plant pots and garden furniture

Learn more about polystyrene options

If you would like to make an enquiry about using polystyrene for packaging or to make an appointment please contact Vertapak and using our online form here or call the team on 01384 457730.

Why your eCommerce business could benefit from bespoke polystyrene packaging

Standing apart in the world of eCommerce can be a challenge. It’s difficult enough to lead customers through the journey of ‘just browsing’ to ‘checkout’ without having to worry about dispatch and delivery headaches once you’ve got them to commit to making a purchase.  

Keeping customers on your side 

Products need to arrive in pristine condition if you want to keep people happy, keep them coming back for more and to pass on the good name of your business. This is especially critical if sending goods such as fragile electrical devices or perishable food and drink items, where the rough and tumble of transportation can cause (sometimes substantial) damage in transit. That’s where bespoke polystyrene packaging can make a real difference – both in terms of customer satisfaction and increasing the likelihood of repeat business.

Polystyrene packaging helps to ‘suspend’ electrical goods and fragile items by preventing them from moving inside boxes and outer packaging to:

  • Prevent damage and absorb shock
  • Stop items from touching inside a package
  • Limit movement

Build your brand

Just like every other customer-facing aspect of your ecommerce venture, the packaging you use to pack and send products should reflect your brand. You wouldn’t expect many online browsers to buy a product if your website was shoddy or you had dozens of poor reviews. Equally, you wouldn’t sell low quality goods in the hope that no-one will ever notice and therefore risk continual bad feedback.

So, if you’ve invested time and money into researching a niche, sourcing the best deals and building an interested audience, why would you fall at the last hurdle with poor packaging? This creates a bad impression, not to mention the possibility of having to refund unhappy customers if there is damage to the product on delivery – a less than ideal scenario if you’re already operating on slim margins.

What’s more, because polystyrene packaging is an insulator, it keeps temperatures inside a container stable and not prone to the external fluctuations of hot or cold. Better still, polystyrene protects its contents from water too.

That means it is ideal for eCommerce enterprises specialising in:

  • Electronics
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Beauty and medical products

Polystyrene packaging protects goods in transit

Because polystyrene is such a versatile product, it’s no wonder that it’s become the packaging material of choice. It’s lightweight, durable and can be moulded to fit the exact requirements of a retailer – whether the goods sold are large televisions, jars full of sweets or a selection of craft ales.  

Find out more about polystyrene packaging

If you would like to talk to us about bespoke polystyrene packaging solutions for an ecommerce business, contact the Vertapak team on 01384 457730.

Why polystyrene is the perfect solution for food packaging

If you own a business that deals in the production of food and perishable goods, then you’ll know that customers expect freshness and a standard of good quality that does not diminish prematurely.

Perhaps you offer a meal subscription box or you’re an independent food or drink retailer selling produce directly to consumers. Either way, it’s a highly competitive industry and those who receive less than satisfactory goods are quick to criticise and take their money elsewhere.

Transportation is a particular challenge, which is why polystyrene is the perfect solution for food packaging.

Food packaging that ticks all the boxes

Polystyrene is a highly durable yet lightweight packing material – which means that it’s a great choice for producers and retailers who don’t want bulky, not fit-for-purpose packing materials that seem to do nothing but add to their overheads.   

Still, cost is not the only reason why polystyrene is the go-to solution for food businesses.

Where goods need to be kept at a stable temperature, the insulating properties of polystyrene food packaging make it an obvious winner. It acts as a barrier for the food and effectively ‘locks in’ the desired levels of heat or cold inside a package.

In the case of food items which need to be kept chilled and at a stable temperature to prevent spoiling, it means that food will arrive fresh, ready to be unboxed and enjoyed.

Create a good impression

No matter what the weather – if it’s snowing heavily or blisteringly hot – polystyrene packaging ensures a stable temperature inside a package. This makes it as effective for use in the transit of food as it is in the safe delivery of medicines (and indeed for any products in which stability in temperature is crucial).   

Because polystyrene does not absorb moisture, there is no danger of food products getting ruined by water in transit.

All of the above benefits mean that when the package finally arrives, food will be as perfect as the day it was dispatched for delivery. This creates a good brand impression with customers – who are then likely to return time and time again and recommend your products to friends and family.

Discuss quality polystyrene packaging with the experts

If you would like to talk to us about bespoke polystyrene packaging solutions for a food business, or if you’re unsure about the options available, contact the Vertapak team on 01384 457730.

Why polystyrene protective packaging is the number one choice for the electronics industry

Sending electrical items in the post can be a real challenge. Making sure goods arrive safely and in pristine condition is essential if you want to keep customers happy and maintain a company’s reputation for great service. What’s more, no courier can completely guarantee the contents within a parcel will arrive intact – it’s the job of the sender to try and minimise the potential for damage.

So, just what makes polystyrene protective packaging the solution of choice for businesses who want to transport potentially fragile and costly items?

Polystyrene protective packaging is versatile

Before transporting any item, you should first check that you are able to send it through the post. Assuming that your electrical goods can indeed be shipped, the next step is to think carefully about packaging.

If using a larger outer container to transport electrical items, individual parts within it must not be allowed to move and bump into each other. For this reason, firm polystyrene surrounds can be used to keep items suspended and locked into position – without fear of loose parts moving around and breaking in transit.

Providing additional cushioning against possible impact while being moved around is also a wise choice. Bubble wrap or polystyrene chips can be used to absorb the inevitable shocks and knocks that otherwise could result in your parcel arriving in a less than satisfactory state.

Of course plastic pollution is a big problem today so polystyrene is a great cost-effective alternative that is also recyclable.

Because expanded polystyrene is sterile, unpolluted and made up of 98% air it can be recycled after use very easily due to no harmful chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) gases contained.

Protect electrical goods – whatever the weather

The problem with inferior packaging is that certain materials can take on moisture.

Newspaper and shredded paper simply does not offer the same cushioning effect as polystyrene chips or beads. That’s not the only issue.

Paper can become sodden in poor weather and can therefore seriously compromise the contents of a parcel. When electrical goods are involved, this could lead to serious faults and many unhappy customers. 

Polystyrene does not absorb moisture, making it perfect for packaging come rain or shine. It also insulates the contents of a box, keeping the temperature inside a parcel stable and not prone to fluctuation.

Delicate electrical items do not respond well to extreme hot or cold, so the right packaging solution can offer real peace-of-mind, whatever the weather.

Talk to us about polystyrene protective packaging options

If you would like to talk to us about bespoke polystyrene packaging solutions for an electrical or retail business, contact Vertapak on 01384 457730.