Your e-commerce store is almost all ready to go. You have orders coming in and a product waiting to be shipped. You just have one final step before you can fulfill your orders – finding the right size box to pack your product in.
At first glance, this seems like a straightforward task. Find a box with the correct dimensions, and you’re done, right? But there are a few common questions and mistakes that can cause problems for new e-commerce businesses.
In this short guide, we’ll walk you through the most important questions and help you find the perfect size box for your needs.
What are you shipping?
Start with the basics. What product are you shipping, and how big is it? Measure the item’s dimensions in this order: length, width, height. Is it a standard size and shape, or is it a specialty item that may not fit into a standard box? Can you turn your item to make it fit in a smaller box?
Follow this golden rule: look for a box that is just large enough to fit your product – and maybe void fill – but not much larger. If you buy a box that is too big, you end up paying more for packaging materials and shipping (and your operation becomes less eco-friendly)
If you plan to send flat products via courier delivery the best solution is a letter box, which is an economical and versatile packaging solution. Depending on the size, you can use these boxes to send a variety of different items such as clothes, books, documents, accessories, etc.
If you're considering sending a larger quantity of products in one box, we recommend using postal boxes. They are more rigid than letter boxes.
And if you need to send heavier items, our single and double wall cardboard boxes are the best option. Double wall boxes can support a weight of up to 15 kg or up to 10 kg for stacked shipments, making them particularly sturdy and reliable, and single wall boxes are recommended for parcels up to 5 -10 kilograms.
How to measure a box?
A box’s dimensions always measure its internal measurements, not external, in order of length, width and height. For example, a single wall cardboard box with dimensions 381 x 248 x 127 mm is a box with an interior length of 381 mm, an interior width of 248 mm and an interior height of 127 mm.
If you need a custom size and shape you can request a quote for your custom boxes.
Is your product breakable?
If you are shipping a product that isn’t fragile – like a book or a T-shirt – then you don’t have to worry about leaving space in the box for void fill. You can simply choose a box that fits your product snugly, no need for any protective padding.
But if your product is breakable, you need to take extra care to prevent damage. You must leave a little bit of extra space around the product for void fill – shredded paper, tisue paper or bubble wrap - to keep the item from moving around inside the box and ensuring that nothing gets damaged in transit.
Are you shipping multiple products at once?
Since e-commerce businesses often sell diverse products and customers buy them in a variety of combinations, shipping orders can feel like constructing a 3-D puzzle. Get creative when you try to fit multiple items into one box, turning and nestling them in various ways to find the best arrangement. You may have to buy several different sizes of boxes to fulfill orders.
Pay attention to customer shopping behaviours over time. Do people often buy certain items together? Do you offer incentives or discounts for customers to buy a specific quantity of products? Use this information to predict what size boxes will be most popular.
With all of the different types of packaging on the market, you want to make an informed choice for your business.
Browse DS Smith’s diverse product selection to find the perfect fit.