So, you’ve just started your new business selling bath bombs/small-batch hot sauce/vegan soy candles/et cetera. Congratulations! Before cracking open the champagne, though, it’s important to consider the less-exciting aspect of running a small business: getting the product to the buyer. Though it isn’t very fun to think about, it’s a fact that the way you manage your business’ shipping, fulfillment, and returns process will strongly impact your long-term success. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the questions and options, below are some key small business shipping tips that can help you get started.
Weigh Your Carrier Options
When people set out to purchase a car, they generally don’t just go with the closest option, or the first option they see. The same mindset should be applied to choosing a shipping carrier for your business. FedEx, USPS, and UPS all have different rate options depending on the items’ distance traveled, dimensions and weight. Make sure to compare and contrast all the available options before making a decision. You can perform your price comparisons by hand, or you could invest in an online software that identifies the cheapest carrier for you. Once you’ve chosen a carrier, try to establish a good relationship with your account manager, as this can open up doors to benefits like shipping discounts.
Implement a Low-Risk Return Policy
Though returns can be a bit of a headache, having a zero-return policy is generally a bad idea. Firstly, it can result in some outraged (and vocal) customers; even worse, many consumers won’t risk purchasing an item in the first place if they know it cannot be returned. Therefore, as much as it may hurt, recognize that buying something online is a high-risk activity, and if customers can be assured that there is little risk involved, you’ll be much more profitable in the long run. If you can provide an easy and pleasant return experience, a disappointed customer might be willing to give you another try.
Consider Ways to Offer Free Shipping
“Free shipping.” No two words are more appealing to modern consumers. And thanks to Amazon, free shipping is expected of all vendors these days, even though few can afford it like the giant itself can. Luckily, there are two great ways to offer customers free shipping without tanking your profits. Firstly, you can create a “free shipping threshold”, which requires customers to order a certain amount of product in order to receive free shipping. This is a great way to drive up your sales without irritating your customers—most purchasers are actually secretly happy for the excuse to buy more goodies!
The second way to offer free shipping without sacrificing your profit margins is to simply bundle the shipping costs into the product cost. The item will be more expensive, but shipping can still be listed as “free.” Is this a little sneaky? Maybe—but, as a counterpoint, consider that the customer will end up paying the same amount either way. The bundled distribution only changes how the consumer feels about the purchase; not the actual amount leaving their wallet. We say, no harm, no foul.
Don’t Forget to Factor in Packaging Costs
When charging customers for shipping, don’t forget to factor in the cost of packaging items, like insulation, cushioning, boxes, and tape. All these items can add up fast, and you are unlikely to be profitable if you swallow the cost yourself. Remember that your customer isn’t just paying for the actual delivery; they are paying for the extra steps you take to ensure their product arrives safely, too.
Offer as Personalized an Experience as Possible
Today’s consumers expect online orders to be delivered rapidly and cheaply, but small businesses rarely have the resources to meet those demands. What we do have, though, that the big distributors don’t, is authenticity. The more automated and remote our world becomes, the more value is placed on authentic, human connection. That’s why you should strive to make your entire purchasing experience as genuine and personal as possible.
For instance, try always including a handwritten note in every box you send out. Include stickers or other “surprises” not mentioned on your product pages. Follow top clients on their social media pages, and don’t be afraid to “like” and comment on their posts. Every personal interaction you can create will strengthen your client relationship and reiterate the value in ordering from you, rather than a massive corporate retailer.
Need Packaging Supplies in Richmond VA?
If you are located in Richmond, Virginia or a nearby area, consider SSI Packaging for all your packing and shipping needs. During this tough time in our nation’s history, we are proud to be able to keep small businesses going from the safety of their owners’ homes. Our business shipping products include everything from boxes and stretch film, to bubble wrap and envelopes. We are also able to mark and code individual products to help them as they move along the distribution pipeline. To place an order, check out our online store here.
Earth Day 2020 is something we will all remember, even if we're a little confused on which day today is. With most of the world's population observing stay-at-home orders, we're seeing an amazing impact on the environment. The canals in Venice, Italy are crystal clear, toxic gas levels have had a sharp decline, and pollution in major cities and remote villages have been replaced with clear skies. In a way, the corona-shutdown has given the Earth a much needed reset.
While the environmental impacts of the corona-shutdown is great for Mother Nature, it has also had major impacts on businesses and global economies. Some companies have closed and may never open again while others are thriving like never before. The thing about the American economy is that challenging times often give birth to innovative solutions from entrepreneurs and business leaders. We are already seeing factories pivot from things like clothing production and car manufacturing to high-volume mask and ventilator production. New innovations are already on the market like gadgets that let you open doors and use ATMs without actually touching anything to new methods of supply-chair production and delivery.
As new innovations develop, SSI Packaging is here to help solve your packaging and shipping needs while providing eco-friendly solutions that help protect the environment. Our eco-friendly packaging supplies can help continue the healing of the Earth while delivering the much needed goods and services needed around the globe. For example, our boxes are 100% recyclable and, even better, reusable. We have bubble wrap, loose fill (packing peanuts), kraft paper, and shredded paper solutions that can protect your products in shipping and transportation while being environmentally conscience.
If your business needs reliable eco-friendly packaging and shipping supplies, we're here to help. Our Richmond, VA warehouse is stocked with thousands of eco-friendly packaging supplies that are ready for curbside pickup. Just call one of our packaging specialists at 804.649.1111 for curbside pickup or order online at www.ssipackaging.net and we will ship it to you right away.
If you’ve ever had to prepare a few bags for a trip you know how stressful packing can be. You want to make sure you bring the right things, that your items are organized, and that you don’t forget anything! This confusion is amplified when you’re moving to a new place. The mess of packing and managing things during a big move can be overwhelming to some people. Hopefully these tips can help you get ready for moving day!
1) Organize beforehand
Before you begin, make a checklist of everything you might need during the move. You will want to prepare by getting a variety of materials and items to facilitate your move. To protect your things you will want protective foam, bubble wrap, loose fill, moving blankets and floor protection. It’s also important to gather a variety of boxes like wardrobe boxes, hand-hold boxes, and file boxes to suit all of your packing needs. Lastly, what goes on the outside of the box matters just as much as what you put inside. We’ve all had the experience of the bottom of a box falling out because it was not taped properly. Be sure to gather the right kinds of packing tape to prevent this from happening, and also labels and markers so that you can label your packages.
Some other techniques to organize before hand can help you save time and limit stress during your move. Create a moving file that will hold all-important documents related to the move like hotel reservations or the realtors contact information. Keep this file in a space where it will not get mixed into the things going into your moving boxes. Make sure you accurately document everything, and take this moment to capture photos of complicated electronic setups, like the back of your TV for example. This way you wont wonder how to put things back together when you’re settling into your new place.
2) Get rid of things you don’t use
This tip can be difficult to follow for the packrats among us, but it’s worth it. Take the few weeks before moving to analyze how much you use everything you own, and sell anything that you haven’t used in over a year. You can also donate unwanted clothes, shoes or electronics to donation centers to lighten your load and help others in the process.
Part of this cleansing process will also include food in the weeks leading up to your move. Try to eat up anything in the house that you don’t want to drag with you. An in the week directly before your move, don’t buy lots of perishable items. If your budget allows it, try to eat most of your meals outside of the home to reduce the amount of food that you’ll have to throw away on moving day. Take advantage of your empty fridge by defrosting it, saving you messy cleanup later on during your move.
3) Pack smart
Begin by organizing your belongings into categories; the general rule is to pack up one room at a time. This way you will find it easier to unpack and stay organized once you arrive to your new place. Another tip is to try to begin packing at least a few things a couple of weeks before hand. One box a night is much more manageable than packing the whole house during a long weekend.
Remember those materials you gathered earlier? This is when they come in handy. Having a variety of boxes on hand will help you while you pack, and you can use specific types of boxes for certain items. For example, your hand-hold boxes are ideal for the heaviest items because they are sturdy and give you a good grip. You should pack the heaviest items on the bottom of your boxes, and pay close attention to the positions of your items. Bubble wrap, kraft paper and foam will fill in any extra spaces making a snug fit for your valuables.
SSI has you covered on moving day! You can order everything you need for the big day on our site, and if you’re in a hurry you can drop by our RVA warehouse to grab what you need. Are you moving a lot of stuff? We even offer pallets of moving boxes, and we can deliver them right to your location. Call us today to speak to a packaging expert at 804-649-1111
If you’ve ever had to make a big move you know how stressful planning, packing and shipping your things can be. Making sure that your items arrive to their destination in one piece can be difficult when there are so many unknown variables involved in the process. When shipping glassware, factors like clumsy movers or bumpy highways can have a big impact on delicate items. Learning how to pack up your glassware correctly can prevent any nasty surprises when you’re unboxing after your move.
To begin, you’re going to need to select some boxes. Make sure you pick at least double layer corrugated cardboard boxes because the additional layers will add stability to your package. You could also go to grocery stores and ask if they have divided boxes, which are like normal cardboard boxes but the inside is segmented into sections. The layers of cardboard will separate your items, protecting them even further. You should also take the size of the box into consideration. If you pack a big box with lots of glassware, it will become pretty heavy which increases the risk of bumps and drops. Choose medium sized boxes instead to make sure you’re using space efficiently, but not overdoing it.
Before packing your box cover the bottom with a thick layer of material. You can use Kraft paper, sheets, newspaper or dishrags; the key to this step is making sure the layer is thick enough to cushion your glassware. If you decide to use fabric to cushion the bottom of the box it can work well, as long as you make sure it is layered enough. And if you use old newspapers for this purpose keep in mind that you’ll have to wash the glasses after they arrive at your new home because oftentimes the print can transfer onto glassware.
To wrap your items, use alternating layer of packing paper and bubble wrap. Wrap the item in a layer of paper and then one to two layers of bubble wrap and secure the wrapping with a piece of tape. If you have glasses with fragile stems like wine glasses you should always wrap the stem first, and wrap the glasses one at a time rather than in pairs. This helps to make sure that the most easily breakable part of the glass is sufficiently protected. Your most breakable glasses should be packed on top, meaning they are placed into the box last.
Now you should fill the spaces in between your items with filling, whether it is packing peanuts (loose fill) or more layers of paper. After adding extra cushioning to the top layer of your box, you are all set to seal it. It would be a good idea to try to shake the box to make sure there are no big gaps left to fill. You can choose to tape the box closed, or to place it in an entirely different and larger box, which will give it even more reinforcement. Just make sure to fill the extra space with more materials if this is your desired option.
Whether you are shipping family heirlooms or the wine glasses that you used at your wedding ceremony, it’s sure that you want your items to arrive in one piece. For all of your shipping needs you can turn to SSI Packaging Group. We are dedicated experts in packaging, specializing in personalized service. Call us at (804) 649-1111 to speak with a representative or view our products to find out more.
Typically when it becomes time to ship an item you are faced with a variety of considerations. You need to think about the size of your item, the distance it will go, how much it weighs and how it is shaped. These factors can help you determine what kind of container to ship your item in and the materials it should be made from. When faced with these choices you can decide between boxes and mailers. The intricacies between these two options are broken down in this post.
To ship bigger, bulkier items corrugated boxes are recommended because they are designed to protect items from bursting, crushing or puncturing the boxes when in transit. Corrugated cardboard boxes are strong and lightweight, made from layers of Kraft paper, a type of paper that was designed to be resistant to damage. Kraft paper is commonly made out of pine that has been pulped and processed. There is also a type of paper that is often used for the process called Test paper. Test paper is resilient yet has been made from recycled materials is also a reliable and sometimes less expensive option. Either types of this strong paper is processed in a facility and then crimped on a giant machine called a corrugator.
For the typical corrugated box that is single wall, two layers of flat paper sandwich between them one layer of paper that has been crimped. When purchasing corrugated cardboard boxes generally this will be the most widely available option that you will see, however there do exist two other types of corrugated cardboard that have been designed with varying levels of strength in mind. Double wall corrugated cardboard consists of two pieces of crimped paper, which are glued together by one ply of non-fluted (or, not-crimped) paper or cardboard. The exposed outer surfaced are then covered with one piece of paper respectively. If the items that you chose to ship are especially heavy and you think they would need extra reinforcement, triple wall cardboard is the best solution. Triple wall corrugated cardboard is similar in its construction to double wall cardboard, with three plies of fluted paper instead of two. These layers of paper are held together by two pieces of paper or cardboard, and the outer surfaces are each covered with one ply of paper or cardboard. This extra layer provides additional support, perfect for large and bulky items.
If your items are small and lightweight, resilient to shipment and are of varying degrees of fragility you can choose to ship with mailers. Bubble mailers are envelopes that are made from protective bubble wrap, and are designed to cushion and protect your items from damage during transit. In a similar vein, padded mailers are paper envelopes that include a layer of padding on the inside, so that they can lessen the impact of rough transport. Both of these types of mailers are efficient in protecting your items, however oftentimes you can find padded mailers made from recycled materials, which could be a benefit to your business if you are seeking ways to be more eco-friendly. Poly mailers are flat mailers made from durable polyethylene film, which means they are moisture resistant and lightweight. They are a great choice for e-commerce sellers because of their lower price point, small size and durability. Paper mailers are also lightweight, and are often made from renewable materials and are able to be recycled post shipment. However paper mailers are not weatherproof and can be a little bit more expensive than poly mailers, which tend to be cheaper because they are easier to produce. Finally, if you find yourself shipping items that need to retain their shape during shipment like photos or diplomas, your best possibility is flat mailers because they are rigid and retain their shape during shipping.
Whether you want mailers or boxes, SSI Packaging Group has every necessity to get your shipment out the door. We specialize in providing personalized service and a variety of options for any of your packaging needs. Call us at (804) 649-1111 to speak with a representative or view our products to find out more.
Small business owners are all too familiar with the challenges that come with reducing shipping costs and maximizing efficiency. Here are a few ideas that can help you to tackle this common challenge.
Don't be afraid to negotiate with carriers
Sometimes it’s easy to feel like a little fish in a big tank, especially when it comes to negotiating shipping rates with popular carriers. But don’t despair; if your business is shipping a high number of goods it is possible to negotiate prices with your carriers. This is because shipping companies set their pricing schedules based upon the volume of items that you ship, so more items usually equal lower rates. To facilitate successful negotiations try to maintain clear goals while presenting reliable data. And probably the most important step: make sure that you reach out to several different shipping companies at once. This will allow you an additional bit of leverage that you could use to your advantage (plus encourages a bit of friendly competition between carriers!).
Maximize efficiency by purchasing a label applicator
Practical solutions like purchasing a label maker can help you streamline your shipping process and reduce costs. This way you can avoid writing each label individually, which takes a lot of time and can look unprofessional. If your looking to eliminate operational issues like jams or mechanical adjustments, The Videojet 9550 is a model that can help improve productivity while lowering costs. For business owners with flexibility in mind, the CTM 360a Series Label Applicators are a series of printers that are an industry standard. These printers can be instantly adjusted onsite with any software updates, ideal for entrepreneurs that are on a time crunch. More interested in thermal printers? The CTM 3600PA Printer Applicator is a durable model that can apply labels at high speeds, and the CTM 1800PA Thermal Transfer Printer Applicator is low cost and efficient-the ideal tool for entry level applicators. By making the move towards professional labeling systems you can set up your business for big payoffs later on down the line.
Choose the right materials
It might be tempting to forgo quality packaging when looking for ways to reduce shipping costs. But using cheap packaging has long-term hidden costs that can damage your reputation, and impact your bottom line. That’s why it’s important to consider not the price of your packaging supplies, but the value of your materials. Instead of picking the cheapest box for your big bulky items, choose corrugated cardboard and heavy-duty boxes so that they can be adequately protected in transit. And try not to make the mistake of assuming that each product can be shipped in any sized box, while filling in the excess spaces with packing foam or bubble wrap. It’s safer and more cost efficient to coordinate packaging sizes with the weight and size of the items you are shipping.
Find a Packaging supplier that will treat you right
SSI Packaging Solutions is a team of specialists that are dedicated to serving any and all of your packaging needs. Whether this means making sure that your items arrive safely, or helping you select quality products- we pride ourselves on providing excellent service to small and big businesses alike. Call us at (804) 649-1111 to speak with a representative or view our products to find out more.
If your packaging could talk, what would it say? First impressions count, and packaging is a great way to communicate brand values to consumers from the bat. Items that are delivered in poor conditions do more than just risk damage to the products that you are sending. Big packaging errors tell customers that you don’t have your head in the game. Here are some common packaging mistakes, and how to resolve them.
Tape it up
Contrary to what you might have assumed, there is no one-tape-fits-all in the world of packaging. Different tapes are especially designed for a variety of package sizes, weights, and even temperatures. If you ship out boxes without regard to these specifics your customers could end up with peeling issues, boxes that have been over taped and are difficult to open, or some that are falling apart entirely due to weather fluctuations in transit. Play it safe and match your tape specifically to your shipments individual needs.
Label your stuff
Have you ever tried to read a label and just couldn't quite make out what it said? This irritating event is downright dangerous in some cases (think food production) and can impact the perception of your brand. It is important that your items are marked clearly and efficiently using appropriate coding and marking systems.
Take note of dimensions
There is a good reason that packaging materials come in all different shapes and sizes. Whether your items need tubes, small boxes or mailers, it is important to make sure you select the ideal sizes and materials for your items. Imagine opening up a huge box to find a delicate piece of jewelry inside that has been bounced around during transit! Not matching the sizes of your packaging materials to the needs of your items runs the risk of damaging them. Not only practical, this tip is also environmentally friendly. By paying attention to these details it gives the added benefit of downsizing any potential waste from excess packaging.
Play it safe
Your items should be distributed with care, and this means choosing the appropriate materials to pack with them. There are a few key rules here- for heavy items it is important to use Instapak foam packaging for effective caution and protection. For void fill applications, fill air by Sealed Air will provide light weight solutions to prevent product shifting. For medium to light items paper packaging, inflatable packaging, Bubble wrap, and bubble bags are all excellent choices for protection. Light foam is an excellent choice for surface applications (think table tops, mirrors, etc.). And for electronic items, consider antistatic bubble rolls and bubble envelopes. The shipping process can be rough on your packages, which is why it’s so important to make sure you choose the best materials to protect them.
By identifying and resolving these common packaging issues you can make sure that you are proving your true value to your customers! We know how important packaging is towards building your brand, which is why at SSI Packaging Group “we help you pack and tack your image”®. We offer the latest in industrial marking, coding, and printing technology, as well as premier packaging solutions like bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, foam, and more to help you beat any and all common packaging mistakes.
When companies are looking for ways to reduce expenses, high-quality packaging is often the first thing to go. Many business owners decide to rely on cheap boxes, tape, pallets, and interior fillers in the hopes that they’ll save on operational costs. However, cheap packaging is actually far from cost-effective. Here are four reasons why.
It incurs more damages
First, let’s discuss the obvious: Cheap packaging breaks. Thin boxes collapse, flimsy adhesive falls apart, and cheap stuffing alternatives--like shredded newspaper—doesn’t provide adequate cushioning. If the package is too large, the item is at risk for being knocked around; if it’s too small, the item won’t be safe from rough handling.
Don’t underestimate the troubles your packages undergo once they leave your hands. This National Geographic video shows just how many steps a package goes through during the UPS shipping process—and all the tossing, throwing, bumping, and shoving it needs to withstand.
Needless to say, a damaged package means additional stress for you. Unless you want to risk the wrath of already-disappointed customers, you will have to pay for your customer’s return shipping; you will then have to either repair or replace the damage. Which leads us to…
It harms your reputation
In this day and age, customer dissatisfaction is both loud and instant. When a customer receives a dented or damaged product, he or she has instant access to a variety of review sites, and can voice his or her displeasure right in the heat of the moment, before having a chance to cool off.
Once a negative review has been posted on Yelp, Google, or Facebook, it can be screenshotted, saved, and distributed for eternity. Getting a negative review removed from these sites is either impossible, or expensive—either because you will have to pay the site directly, or pursue legal action. To save yourself the headache, it’s essential to invest in good, sturdy packaging that protects your products as well as your reputation.
It ruins your brand experience
Even if a product arrives perfectly intact, cheap and flimsy packaging can diminish the customer experience you are hopefully trying to convey. Your customers want to feel like they have purchased an item of quality, and the entire experience of opening it should facilitate that feeling. A great example—probably the best example of any brand today—is Apple, which has elevated the “unboxing” experience into an art form.
Youtube and similar sites have literally hundreds of unboxing videos wherein happy Apple customers film themselves receiving their new devices. These videos are a testament to the sheer power of clean, well-designed packaging. Remember, your product’s packaging doesn’t just exist to transport your product safely; it also exists to communicate what your brand stands for and the kind of quality your customers can expect.
It takes longer to assemble
Cheap packaging can also affect the time it takes to assemble and distribute your products. Think about it—cheap tape breaks; cheap boxes take more time and human effort to assemble. If a cheap palette collapses, your employees have to pause production to move the mess and fetch another one. By spending a little more on packaging that is of higher quality, you can actually reduce costs and increase productivity, meaning faster delivery times and happier customers.
Give your customers quality with SSI Packaging
Looking for high-quality packaging solutions in Richmond, Virginia and the surrounding areas? SSI Packaging has everything you need to package, track, and deliver your products. We offer the latest in industrial marking, coding, and printing technology, as well as premier packaging solutions like bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, foam, and more. Click here to view our full selection of products.
Neither rain, nor wind, nor driving snow will stop the delivery of the mail. Nor, apparently, will disgusting items; heavy items; bizarre items; or the fact that the item is a living human being. Here are some of the strangest things people have successfully sent through the mail.
When the U.S. Postal Service began delivering packages in 1913, it didn’t take long for people to realize that it was cheaper to mail their children than it was to buy them train tickets. One such couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Glen Este, Ohio, paid $15 cents in stamps to send their son to his grandmother’s house. If this sounds a little foolish, not to worry: the couple also insured their son for $50.
It didn’t take long for the Postal Service to outlaw the practice of shipping children, but certain Postmasters were inclined to be lenient. During this time period, one couple even successfully mailed a 14 lb baby to its grandma. Finally, in 1915, the straw that broke the camel’s back came when May Pierstorff, just shy of her 6th birthday, was over 73 miles away to her grandparents’ house. After that, the Postal Service declared an all-out ban on child delivery. Neither rain, nor wind, nor driving snow will stop the delivery of the mail. Nor, apparently, will disgusting items; heavy items; bizarre items; or the fact that the item is a living human being. Here are some of the strangest things people have successfully sent through the mail.
1916, there was no law against shipping an entire building through the mail, because no one thought that someone would attempt it. They didn’t count on William H. Coltharp, a man with a dream to build a bank and a limited shipping budget. He calculated that the best way to send his bricks to his construction site, 127 miles away, was via the U.S. mail. He had 40 crates packed just under the 50 lb limit, for a total shipment of 40 tons.
The Utah post office was overwhelmed, but to their credit, successfully completed the job. However, the episode prompted the then-Postmaster, General Burleson, to limit the weight one person could send to 200 lbs per day. "It is not the intent of the United States Postal Service that buildings be shipped through the mail,” he wrote.
The Hope Diamond
The most expensive item to ever be shipped through the mail was the Hope Diamond, the rare, blue, possibly-cursed diamond whose ownership records date back over almost four centuries. After passing through the hands of Kings, Queens, royal mistresses, thieves, and jewelers, the gem wound up in the hands of New York merchant Harry Winston in 1958. Winston never believed that the diamond was cursed, and in fact exhibited it for several years in his “Court of Jewels” tour. He eventually donated it to the National Museum of Natural History, not because he feared a curse, but because he hoped to establish a U.S. national gem collection.
Not a man of great fussiness, apparently, Winston wrapped the diamond in brown paper and shipped it through ordinary post. He paid $2.44 for postage and about $142 for insurance. The diamond arrived at its destination safe and sound, and was given a new name, Specimen #217868.
A pet chameleon
While you can’t send a cat, dog, or child through the mail anymore, there are a few live animals that actually can be sent. In 1954, an Ohio man known only as “David” decided that his pet chameleon would be much happier in Florida. A few weeks after sending it on its way, he received the following note from Orlando’s then-Postmaster: “Dear David, I received your chameleon yesterday and he was immediately released on the post office grounds. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas!”
For those curious, other live animals that can be mailed include bees, scorpions, chickens, fish, and animals smaller than 20 inches. You can view a complete list here.
For centuries, people have tried to push the envelope (get it?) of what can and cannot be sent through the mail. In 2000, a team of social scientists decided to test the Post Office’s limits once again. Researchers mailed themselves items ranging from a single ski; a green coconut; a street sign; a wheel of rancid cheese; a deer tibia; and…a human molar. All of the items, including the molar, arrived intact to their destinations.
The tooth was the only item with which the postal service apparently had some deliberation. While the rest of the items shipped within 7 business days, the tooth took twice as long to arrive. Finally, it was delivered in a repackaged mailer with an accompanying note: “Please be advised that human remains may not be transported through the mail, but we assumed this to be of sentimental value, and made an exception in your case.”
50,000 pink panties
In 2009, a right-wing Indian group called the Sri Ram Sena attacked young women in a nightclub. The group accused the women of destroying Hindu culture by dressing provocatively, and promised to enact more violence on Valentine’s Day. Although the attack was caught on film and received some media attention, it would likely had been forgotten had not one group, the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women, decided it was time to take action.
The group started the Pink Chaddi campaign, a movement that invited women to mail the SRS a pair of pink “chaddi”, or “undies”, in protest. The movement spread across the nation, with thousands of women sending in, er, contributions. At the time of this writing, organizers have received more than 50,000 colored panties, with about 2,000 winding up in the SRS mailbox. The SRS eventually withdrew its threat of Valentine’s Day violence, and several members were placed into custody by an embarrassed government.
A human foot
This story happened in gentle, peaceful Canada, where everyone loves their politicians. Just kidding. Politicians are hated everywhere, and one dissatisfied voter decided to express his disagreements with then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper by mailing in a severed human foot. According to Ottawa police spokesman Marc Soucy, the package was shipped despite what appeared to be bloodstains on the outside of the box. Staff members then called the police.
Hours later, authorities discovered a second suspicious package containing a human hand at the Ottawa Postal Terminal Tuesday night, which police confirmed was sent from the same origin as the foot. They declined to say where the package was being shipped, the condition of the appendage, or whether had been postmarked.
Now more than ever, packaging matters. For any given product, consumers are faced with dozens of choices that are all extremely similar to one another (remember the last time you tried to pick out a tube of toothpaste?) As a result, it’s packaging that ends up doing most of the selling—and a clever, eye-catching design can be the difference between a success and a flop. Below are 7 incredible packaging designs that hit their design challenges out of the park.
CS Light Bulbs
When challenged to come up with a compelling, unique design for CS, the largest lightbulb maker in Belarus, designer Angelina Pischikova had a bright idea: use intricate, beautiful illustrations and paper cut-outs to incorporate the product into its packaging design.
With help from illustrator Anna Orlovskaya, the designer was able to create beautiful, whimsical, clever packaging that both protects the delicate product within, and elevates it above the competition.
Thelma’s Cookies makes fresh cookies to order, like a pizza, and deliver them still warm. In order to market such a unique product, co-owner Dereck Lewis and Brian Sauer of Saturday Manufacturing developed a box that resembles a classic, 1950s-style oven, complete with illustrated knobs and burners.
Aside from being really, really adorable, the packaging successfully furthers the company’s brand of cozy, homemade goodness. “The thought process really became, how do we convey that sense of joy of getting warm cookies from grandma,” said Lewis in an interview.
After adopting the new packaging, Thelma’s Cookies’ business doubled in a year. Lewis credits much of the success to the fact that customers crave the box as much as its contents. “We’ve had people and moms step in and pick up a couple boxes because their daughters use them to play house. People come in and say, ‘How much for a box?’ Stuff like that happens to us all the time,” he said.
Ford Ranger Extreme Matchbox
When Ford wanted to promote its Limited Edition Ranger Extreme, a truck with a cargo bed extender that could accommodate up to 30% more material, it turned to Malaysian Ad Agency JWT. The agency developed a custom matchbox that perfectly illustrated the product’s special feature.
It then distributed 5,000 matchboxes throughout local pubs frequented by blue-collar workers in auto repair, construction, and plumbing. The results? Over 1600 people visited Ford’s website to view the truck, and the Limited Edition Ranger Extreme was sold out a month ahead of schedule.
Nikita Konkin Pasta Hair
How many brands of pasta are out there? Quite a few. Designer Nikita Konkin had to come up with a way to make ordinary pasta—which is pretty much standard across the board—into something extraordinary. His resulting playful, clever design converts everyday Cavatappi into a fabulous hairdo, and immediately grabs the attention of anyone passing by.
Fit Buns by MEX Ad Agency
Fruity Toilet Paper Rolls
Few things are more boring than your everyday plain, white toilet paper rolls. For those who seek a beautiful bathroom, toilet paper is a constant irritant; it needs to be on hand, yet it doesn’t have any design appeal whatsoever.
Japanese designer Kazuaki Kawahara, however, challenged all that with his quirky packaging design that reimagines the paper as various fruits. The vibrantly printed rolls resemble either a kiwi, strawberry, watermelon, or orange, and contain no dyes or fragrance.
In Japan, it’s not unusual for a company to give its clients a roll of toilet paper as a sign of goodwill, and Kawahara has said that he designed the rolls with this use in mind. The trend hasn’t quite caught on in America, but with rolls this pretty that can be ordered online, it just might.
Festina Profundo Waterproof Watches
Almost all packaging says what the product can do, but very few packages actually show what the product can do. Not so with the Festina waterproof watch, which has to have some of the most gutsy, confident packaging we’ve ever seen. The waterproof divers’ watches are packaged in actual, distilled water, proving to consumers beyond a shadow of a doubt that the watches can, indeed, survive long periods of submersion. To make the message even more powerful, there are no words on the packaging except for the brand name, logo, and slogan—showing off the fact that Festina doesn’t need to say a word to sell its products.