Cardboard shipping boxes may not be the container of choice for every shipment. For lighter, flatter, less fragile items, a shipping pouch or envelope may be your best option. This choice is valid even if you have to pay for the envelope instead of using a recycled box.
Why? — Weight, convenience, and overall costs.
Shipping envelopes are light. Even a large padded envelope weighs only an ounce or so. A properly wrapped item weighing 6-10 ounces will have a final shipping weight under 13 ounces – a very key number. [More on that later.]
Self sealing envelopes are also easy to use without the necessity of tape.
Keeping overall weight under 13 ounces, will allow the shipment to be sent for $3.77 or less anywhere in the US via USPS 1st Class Package, significantly less expensive than other, slower USPS delivery options.
Real Example Shipment
My wife’s shop on ETSY sells among other things, a wide range of vintage items. Sewing scissors are one such item. She sells them for $10-$20, depending on age, condition and quality. It is important to keep the shipping costs low to offer customers good value on these lower-priced items.
The three pictures above show how my wife recently packaged the scissors first in small sheets of cardboard, taped them together, and placed them in a bubble wrap envelope for shipment. This protected the scissors from any damage — cosmetic or otherwise — and the total packaged weight was just 10 ounces. The scissors alone weighed six ounces.
The customer was in Iowa, a Zone 7 shipment from us in Oregon. Shipping cost $3.26 by USPS 1st Class package rate that the USPS says should deliver in 2-3 days — the same service level as Priority Mail. In a small box, the packaged scissors would weigh over 13 ounces and would not qualify for the 1st Class package rates. Its shipping would be $6.35 for USPS Standard Mail (formerly Parcel Post) and deliver in 4-5 business days. We saved over $3.00 by packaging appropriately. Added cost for the padded envelope? – just 75 cents.
By creatively packaging, my wife gave her customer excellent service and value, along with allowing her to price shipping competitively. In this case, she was even able to help pay for the packaging materials in her low shipping charge.
Next – buying packaging for less – far less.