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How to Protect Original Manufacturer Packaging For Direct to Consumer Shipping

There’s a growing trend of manufacturers offering direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping. Here’s how to ensure original manufacturer boxes are properly packaged.

As e-commerce sales soar and more customers shop online, many manufacturers have started to pack and ship directly to consumers. Forbes reports that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce by “four to six years,” even after the market grew by 14.9 percent in 2019.

But it makes sense: There’s much to gain in the world of direct-to-consumer (DTC), specifically increased profit. Selling online and handling fulfillment in-house removes traditional retail constraints, like shelf space and pricing.

However, there’s significant work that goes into pivoting to a DTC operation. Pack and ship operations have their own challenges, such as managing efficient warehouse practices and controlling shipping costs. With that comes the increased risk of product damage when shipping in original packaging.


Here’s what to do:


The Danger of Using Original Manufacturer Packaging

Original manufacturer packaging isn’t always meant to withstand DTC shipping — this type of packaging is often flimsy, light, and designed primarily to stand out on retail shelves. Though manufacturer packages hold up well when shipped in bulk on pallets, they’re not strong enough when packed and shipped individually to consumers.


How to Repackage Original Manufacturer Boxes for Shipping

For manufacturers interested in increasing profit through DTC, it might seem counterintuitive to invest in better packaging for shipping. However, product damage and reshipping can put a serious dent in profitability. Use the Pregis EcoGauge tool to help calculate the true cost of reshipments, both to your bottom line and the planet.

The easiest way to protect original manufacturer packages for delivery is placing them in outer cartons with the appropriate void fill and cushioning. The shipping container should be at least six inches (15.24 cm) larger than the original package. Paper void fill and air cushions provide the impact absorption needed for light and medium weight packages. Heavy or fragile packages should be cushioned with foam-in-place packaging, which absorbs the maximum amount of impact and can’t be deflated like air cushions or crushed like paper. Form-It™ Customizable Foam and Edge Foam® Protective Foam are suitable solutions as well.


Repackaging Merchandise or Creating Solutions

Some manufacturer packaging will never be suitable to pack and ship to consumers. In this case, the merchandise should be removed from its box and placed in a new parcel package. These boxes need to be large enough to fit the actual merchandise and suitable cushioning, rather than accommodating the box.

Since the COVID-19 e-commerce boom began, many construction and appliance manufacturers began shipping products directly to contractor sites to expedite delivery. The team at the Pregis IQ helped a distributor solve a similar problem with toilets without original manufacturer packaging. The heavy, fragile products had a 14% damage rate when shipped to consumers — and because of the scale of their operation, this equated to hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoidable replacement and reshipping costs.

Foam-in-place packaging is an ideal solution in instances where manufacturer packaging is inadequate or non-existent. The foam is automatically molded around the merchandise as it dispenses, conforming to items even with incredibly complex shapes and making it the most versatile packaging solution in the market. Pregis IQ helped reduce the damage rate for this customer from 14 percent to 4, lowering the cost of damage by $500,000.

The rewards for manufacturers who launch a DTC operation are exciting — but certain measures must be taken to ensure that fulfillment is well-managed and merchandise is appropriately packaged.


For help overcoming the toughest packaging challenges

Contact Pregis IQ for a custom-designed and validated solution