With the rise of online auction stores such as Ebay, people can now sell their unwanted goods to anyone in the world, within reason. Courier services and international delivery services allow people to send gifts, samples and even bulk orders of their own products to friends, family and customers worldwide, with a just a few clicks of a button. This new service has made it infinitely easier to find the perfect gift for a birthday or Christmas and also makes a great way for people to earn a little extra pocket money in exchange for their unwanted items. In most cases, sending items is easy and stress-free, made quick and simple by Ebay’s fast and efficient service which will walk you through everything you need to do. However with certain types of product, it becomes a little more difficult. Take the posting of fragile items for example.
When it comes to posting fragile items using the mail service, it can sometimes be a little nerve-wracking. If those parcels have to travel overseas, it can be even more worrying, as it will be spending a lot longer in transit, so the packaging will have to stand up to a lot of movement and there is more potential for things going wrong. For items being sent to friends or relatives, while you certainly want to send the item with no fuss, it is not quite as stressful as sending an item to a buyer abroad. However, it is still important that you choose the right shipping method and that you properly pack your item to prevent it from getting damaged in transit.
Fear not – we’ve got you covered with a number of first class packing and shipping tips to take you smoothly through the process.
Making Everything Secure
Firstly, bubble wrap is your friend. You’ll need reams of the stuff if you’re considering making a habit of selling fragile ornaments and glassware. Each component of an item needs to be wrapped separately in bubble wrap. If it’s a decanter with a lid, for example, wrap the lid individually. If two fragile items are wrapped together, they may bang together and break. You’ll need extra to act as a buffer to stop the items from crashing against the sides of the box.
Secondly, you need to make sure your box provides a snug fit for the item without meaning you have to squeeze it in without extra protective packaging. An inch or two of spare room around each side of the item should be enough to add extra packaging to the parcel. This extra packaging should consist of more bubble wrap and foam shapes or beads to fill the little gaps around unusually shaped items, such as jugs or ornaments.
Thirdly, make sure everything is positioned securely in the box (with bubble wrap on each side of the item) by pushing gently on the top of the box. If it gives way, there is not enough packaging, so add some more bubble wrap. If the top seam is bulging out, remove some packaging to avoid the box bursting open in transit. Once the top of the box sits level, tape it securely with lots of packing tape, and reinforce all the other edges and corners of the box with more tape. If you want to add extra security, you can write ‘FRAGILE’ on the packaging to let postal handlers know they should be careful with the package. If you insure your package you can at least guarantee that you will be compensated if the worst were to happen.
Using Royal Mail
As the UK’s delivery service of choice, Royal Mail provides a wide range of guidelines as to what you should be using to post your item, what you can post with the royal mail, how much it is, approximate delivery times and so on and so forth. As a long established shipping company, processes have been streamlined by the royal mail so that instead of having to take your item to the post office directly, you can simply enter the specifics of your item in online and pay for postage that way. You can then drop it off at any nearby post box, making it quick and easy for you to send items anywhere in the world.
Using a Courier
With a courier service, you have a lot more options in regards to the type of item you want to send. Royal Mail have restrictions on certain items, which means you may have to use a courier if you want to send those items abroad. Couriers provide a more personalised service where you can even sometimes correspond with your courier during the process, so that you know exactly where your parcel is at every step of its journey. One thing you will need to make sure of when using a courier, is that your item can be safely shipped to the destination country. Certain items will not make it through border control, and a list of those items can be found on your local government website if you are unsure. It is better to be safe than sorry in these instances!
If you’re worried about the price of sending your fragile item, the royal mail is probably the better of the two options as they offer fixed prices that rely solely on the size and the weight of the item. However, they will not accept certain oddly shaped items, so that is where you may have to use a courier service. Ultimately, if you properly package your item, pay for the right postage and write the address and return address in clear, bold handwriting, your package should have no trouble travelling through the system. There is always the danger of fragile items becoming damaged in transit but you run that risk when transporting anything, even by your own hands. Once you have marked the item as shipped, all you can do is cross your fingers and trust in the professionalism of your shipping company. Good luck.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with market leading parcel broker Rand Logistics, who were consulted over this post.