Product returns a growing concern in the shipping industry
How often are laptops, tablets, cellphones, televisions, medical equipment and other sensitive products rejected and returned by your customers following damage they had suffered during airline shipping? How much of your profit margins are being eaten up by returned and damaged products? If your answer is “too damn much!” then you are, unfortunately, in good company. It seems that not even the bulkiest and most expensive packaging solutions have been able to reduce damage in shipping of delicate electronic products to acceptable proportions.
A plague of product returns
The statistics of product returns are staggering. In the U.S alone, it is estimated that return deliveries will reach an astronomical $550 billion by 2020, an increase of 75.2% compared to 2016. Returns are so massive that businesses are devoting entire departments and warehouses to meet the challenge of reverse logistics. The steps undertaken by your company to deal with this “new normal” are perhaps the most critical for your product success.
In fact, many businesses are touting a generous product return policy as an enticement to increasingly fickle clients. That is not a bad approach, but before you find ways to reduce friction around product returns, it is certainly worth your time and effort to adopt measures to reduce the incidence of damaged products reaching your clients in the first place.
How to reduce product returns
The best way to reduce product returns is by ensuring the product is securely protected once it comes off the production line and is ready to withstand the journey from the factory to the hands of the consumer, arriving in the same condition as when it left the line.
There are various ways to protect the product; however the best way is the one that maximizes protection of the product, whilst minimizing costs.
Airguard packaging solution does just that.
How does it work?
A sample product is sent to Airguard’s manufacturing facilities. There, a professional design team creates a custom-made air cushion, taking into account the product’s sharp edges, unique shape and packaging box size. Airguard protective packaging is custom-designed for each individual product, maximizing shock absorbance and protection levels during transit.
Airguard collaborates with customers to ensure seamless integration into the workflow, providing installation of an innovative auto-inflating machine and training at the customer’s site, and ensuring the inflation process is integrated into automatic packing lines, if required. The cushions are shipped uninflated to the customer’s site and auto-inflated just prior to use.
The advantages of customization
Airguard aims to deliver a cost effective solution to its customers.
Unlike the “one size fits all” approach of other companies the customization approach of Airguard protective packaging is custom-designed for each individual product, maximizing shock absorbance and protection levels during transit, whilst achieving reduction in package size (Dimensional weight).
Additionally, the air cushions themselves are placed strategically around the product, avoiding sharp edges or unusual protrusions in the product, which may damage the air cushions.
Dimensional weight and packaging solutions
Until 2015, cost of shipping parcels in the USA was based on package weight and on the target destination. It is no wonder that bulky but light foam packaging became the norm.
But then FedEx and UPS changed the rules and introduced a new pricing model based on dimensional weight – the amount of space occupied by a parcel. Since 2017, the model has been revised, with the dimensional weight measure applied to all packages, large and small. This in turn created a new market need for packaging materials and methods which prioritized volume reduction. Wasted space is now taboo.
Customers choosing to use Airguard Packaging Solution mitigate the problem of product returns, seeing reduction in associated costs and incurring other benefits:
• Saving shipment costs of returned products
• Avoiding any additional accidental damage caused in transit on return journey
• Saving labor costs in dealing with returned products
• Saving on Customer Service’s time dealing with complaints
• Gaining a better reputation in the market place