6 packaging and freight considerations to discuss with your 3PL provider

You have great products, sales are growing and reviews are glowing. It’s time to step up your logistics! Fulfilment is one of the most critical aspects of your online retail business. When it comes to choosing your 3PL provider some of the most important considerations are around the freight and packaging options available and how these fit with your business requirements. In today’s competitive ecommerce market quick turnaround and fast deliveries are paramount. In fact, 73% of shoppers expect affordable and fast deliveries whenever they shop online. But it’s not just about speed. When customers interact with your ecommerce brand, packaging is one of the most frequently encountered elements. It’s a necessary part of getting your goods from warehouse to customer securely, but has much wider consequences on your business. Having a solid packaging and freight ecommerce strategy in place can make the difference between a sustainable ecommerce brand that’s setting up for long-term success and one that’s just getting by and won’t be around for long.

Here are 6 important packaging and freight considerations to discuss with your 3PL provider.

Size and type of your ecommerce product

From scented candles to artwork for your garden – there is no limit to what consumers are now able to buy online. The size of your products, whether they are a heavy or bulk item, fragile or even flammable, will affect the packaging options available to you, as well as the cost of the freight. Different 3PL companies will also offer different pricing strategies, that will likely also be dependent on the size and type of your product. Some 3PLs price freight by size, some by weight and some by a combination of both. There may be additional costs for fragile or flammable items. Consideration of your product offer and how each of these factors will affect the packaging and freight costs for your business should be a fundamental conversation with your 3PL provider.

Ecommerce freight options

Your ideal 3PL provider should have relationships that can benefit your business, such as with regional carriers. Since shipping costs are likely to be most expensive part of your ecommerce order fulfilment costs savings here can have a significant overall effect. There is no one-size fits all for ecommerce shipping strategy but being able to offer your customers a variety of fast and affordable shipping methods can help to decrease shopping cart abandonment and increase conversions. When it comes to freight options, location is key. Discuss with your 3PL provider whether they can offer next day as well as 2-3 day delivery, even if just to certain key locations.

Freight surcharges

Surcharges are additional fees that apply on top of the transportation base rate. In New Zealand freight surcharges are most likely to relate to the location of the delivery – is it residential or rural – and fuel. Freight surcharges may also vary season to season, or even month to month, as labour and fuel costs vary. When looking at freight surcharges you may find there are extra costs for residential delivery as well as rural delivery. While this may seem strange, it is used to cover the inconvenience of having to deliver one package to one location, as opposed to a business address where the courier is likely to deliver a number of packages at the same time. Since fuel is often the most expensive part of a long-distance shipment, fuel surcharges may be a significant part of your overall freight costs.

pick pack and despatch

Packaging options

The packaging options for your ecommerce shipping can seem endless. From different product wrapping options to different shaped boxes, as experienced shippers, your 3PL can help you to choose the best packing materials to reduce costs and prevent damage to your products. Some 3PLs will charge for packaging materials as a separate line item, while others will include them as part of their fulfilment management services. Whether packing materials are individually priced or as an inclusive cost, it is worth ensuring you have discussed packaging options with your 3PL provider. The quality of your packaging will reflect the quality of your product and is likely to have an impact on customer retention.

Customising your delivery

Creating an unforgettable unboxing experience can help your brand stand out from the competition. Often receiving your package will be the first in-person experience a customer has with your brand, so branded packaging can leave a big impression. Your 3PL provider can help by adding additional marketing material, inserts and gift notes to your package. They may also be able to add stickers on the package or use customised branded tissue paper.


With the rise of ecommerce, packaging constitutes a major portion of household waste. For eco-friendly brands and customers, eco-friendly shipping is a must have, starting with eco-friendly packaging. There are many eco-friendly packaging solutions available that use biodegradable material or material that can easily be recycled. If your business is selling eco-friendly products, or you are keen to reduce your business’s impact on the environment, then discuss eco-friendly packaging with your 3PL provider. 

A 3PL provider that puts your customer first

At Stocka we understand the importance of ensuring your packaging and delivery reflect the quality of your brand. We work in partnership with you to identify the best packaging and freight options for your products, and your business. By putting your business and your customers first we can help to ensure your long term success – a win-win!

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