As a seller, receiving customer complaints about items damaged during transit can be disheartening. Damage can occur for various reasons, such as improper handling, inadequate packaging or even accidental impact. Ultimately, the best way to deal with commonly damaged items is to recognise that packaging is key. In this article, we will highlight some of the top items that are easily damaged during transit and provide tips on how to protect such items.

What causes packages to be damaged

The first step in understanding how to prevent damage is to know what causes it. Improper packaging, inadequate protection and environmental conditions are some of the most common factors that lead to damaged packages during shipping. Here are some of the key elements which can cause damage:

  • Insufficient or inadequate cushioning material: When the item is too tightly packed or insufficiently cushioned, it can easily be damaged by movement during transit.
  • Inadequate sealing: Improperly sealed packages are more prone to holes and tears because they offer less protection against water and air infiltration.
  • Temperature extremes: Items sent without temperature control may suffer from extreme temperatures, which can lead to melting or cracking. If the packaging is not waterproof and humidity-resistant, any moisture that gets in can damage the item.
  • Incorrect labelling: Incorrect labelling can lead to misdirecting or misplaced packages, which may result in delays or damage due to mishandling during delivery.

1. Glass items like wine bottles

Glass items such as wine bottles are highly fragile and prone to damage during shipping. Wine bottles, in particular, are at risk of breaking due to the pressure changes during transit. To protect your wine bottles during shipping, use solid and durable packaging and add extra padding to cushion the item. Consider using a wine shipping box with dividers or individual wine bottle bags to prevent them from bumping into each other during shipping. Also, avoid shipping wine bottles during temperature extremes, which can damage the wine. Check out our guide to wine shipping best practices for more information.

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2. Food or groceries

Food and groceries are highly perishable and can be easily damaged during shipping. The leading causes of damage are temperature changes, moisture, and pressure. To protect your food items during shipping, use high-quality packaging materials and seal items in bags to protect from moisture. Use insulated packaging to keep food items cool or warm, depending on the requirements. Also, consider using oxygen absorbers for freshness, and aim to ensure you have the right documentation for sending food. Read more about ensuring your perishable food items are kept fresh.

3. Automotive and industrial items

Automotive and industrial items are often heavy and bulky, making them prone to damage during shipping. They are also at risk of getting scratched, dented, or damaged due to improper handling. To protect your automotive and industrial items, use solid and sturdy packaging materials, and consider using a custom-built crate to protect items during transit. Label the packages with the appropriate weight and handling instructions, and consider using a professional moving service for more oversized items.

4. Electronics

Electronics such as laptops, smartphones, and other gadgets can be easily damaged during shipping. They are also at risk of being stolen. To protect your electronics during shipping, use solid and durable packaging, add extra padding to cushion the item and ensure the package is not overly easy to open. Also, consider insuring the package against theft or damage.

5. Artwork

Artwork such as paintings and sculptures are also highly sensitive and can be easily damaged during shipping. To protect your artwork, use high-quality packaging materials, and consider using a custom-built crate to protect the item during transit. You may also want to insure the package against damage or theft.

By observing these steps, you can help protect your items during shipping and ensure they arrive at their destination safe and sound. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry, so take the time to properly package and protect your items before shipping.

Best practices for minimising damages

Packaging Is key

To minimise the risk of damage during transit, it is imperative to invest in good packaging. Consider protective materials such as bubble wrap, foam inserts, and sturdy boxes. Properly packing items not only prevents damage from occurring but also keeps the items in place during transit.

Use the right packing materials

It is also essential to ensure that the packaging is marked with “fragile” labels, giving the courier a clear indication of the delicate load that they are carrying. Take a look at our packaging guide for further advice.

Choosing the right courier

Selecting a reputable courier service can go a long way to preventing damages in transit. Some courier services have a reputation for parcels being damaged by couriers, which can impact the condition of your shipment. Ensuring that your courier service provider has a good track record of delivering items free of damage, especially for delicate items like electronics or pottery, is crucial.

Claiming for damaged shipped goods

Despite taking all the necessary precautions, damage of goods in transit may still occur, and one may need to make a claim for damaged shipped goods. In such an instance, it is essential to have proof of the damage, either through photographic evidence or a witness statement.

Documentation, such as the courier’s delivery note, is also crucial in making a claim. It is advisable to promptly address the issue with your courier service provider as soon as possible to initiate the claim process.

Other considerations

Stolen packages are an unfortunate reality of shipping. To safeguard your items, consider insuring them against theft and other risks such as loss or damage of goods in transit.

Opt for signature-required delivery to avoid packages being left unattended at the doorstep. Tracking numbers are also useful in monitoring the shipment’s progress and alerting you if anything goes awry.

Finally, keeping your customers in the loop when shipping goods is essential. Tracking information and delivery updates helps build trust with your customers and keeps them informed of their package’s progress, helping to ensure a positive customer experience.

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By taking the necessary precautions to protect your items during shipping, you can avoid damage if goods are in transit and ensure they arrive at their destination safely. Proper packaging, insulation, and labelling can protect fragile items such as wine bottles, electronics, artwork, and even food or groceries. By using high-quality packaging materials and a reputable shipping service, you can safeguard your items from damage, theft, and other risks associated with shipping. Remember, a little extra effort in packaging can go a long way in protecting your shipments and keeping your customers happy.