In an industry that scrutinizes details – formulas, packaging, influencers – many brands overlook the most basic, customer-facing element: the delivery box. Here’s why you should prioritize right-sizing shipping boxes.

As an experienced logistics company working with some of the biggest names in cosmetics, we’ve noticed a common problem among our clients: they often ship their products in the wrong size boxes. While it may seem like a small issue, it can actually have negative consequences in terms of the environment, shipping costs, and customer perception. Right-sizing shipping boxes consistently can significantly impact your bottom line and brand loyalty — here’s how.

Why would a cosmetic company send products in the wrong size box?

Most cosmetics shipments are light enough to go First Class mail, which is pretty cheap, so the traditional thinking favors getting goods out the door as quickly as possible in any box that USPS will move. However, this can lead to comically large boxes for small shipments, which can result in significant waste of materials and shipping costs at a time when customers are increasingly environmentally conscious and expect companies to take steps to reduce their environmental impact. Using oversized boxes not only wastes materials but also sends a message that the company is not taking its environmental commitments seriously. 

We’ve also seen firsthand how negatively customers react to receiving an enormous box for a small shipment. For example, one of our colleagues received three small tubes of product in a shipping box that was 22 times larger than it needed to be. This shipment was in a custom branded box from a cosmetics company that emphasizes its “environmental” commitments, which made the situation even more ironic. The potential brand damage caused by such a decision (or, even worse, oversight) is incalculable, and the actual environmental impact can be significant.

What are the benefits of right-sizing shipping boxes for my cosmetic products?

As shown in figure 1.1 below, using a smaller box for these smaller shipments, such as a standard 6x6x4” box, would reduce cardboard usage by 61% per shipment and save over 70% in shipment material costs.

For this one shipment, those savings are just $0.85 to $1.00 in materials cost and about 2.6 sq ft of cardboard. But, at scale, these impacts are huge. If the shipment was to move on a primary carrier like FedEx or UPS, the dimensional weight impact on pricing would also be substantial. The larger box would be rated as a 3lb package, whereas the smaller shipment would be rated at 1lb. On average, this would reduce shipping costs by about 20%, which in this case would result in a $3.60 reduction in shipping costs.

Figure 1.1: Cartonization gives you efficiency-gaining logic at scale

The impact of right-sizing shipping boxes at scale

The impact of savings at scale is significant, whether you are shipping 1,000 or 10,000 packages per day (250k – 2.5mm/yr). The cumulative impacts of using the wrong size boxes can be staggering.

But, perhaps the biggest intangible impact here is on customer perception. Customers care about the environmental impact of their purchases, and receiving a large box for a small shipment can undermine their perception of a company’s commitment to sustainability. This can lead to a loss of goodwill and, in some cases, lost business.

By using smaller boxes to ship your cosmetic products, you can reduce your environmental impact, save on shipping costs, and improve customer perception – all of which can have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line. It’s a small change that can have a big impact and send a message about your company’s commitment to sustainability and customer satisfaction. 

So, the next time you’re shipping out products, take a moment to consider the size of the box and whether it’s the right fit for the shipment. Not sure where to start? We help businesses like yours apply efficiency-gaining cartonization logic at scale so that you package every product in exactly the right size box. Learn more about our advanced shipping software.  

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