If you’re unfamiliar with retention and suspension packaging and the increasingly important role it plays in e-commerce packaging, allow us to explain.
Let’s say you ordered an expensive electronic product online, like a laptop. You’re obviously excited for it to arrive at your home, and you may have even thought about the perceived risk that you took by ordering it online rather than making a purchase at the store.
The risk we’re talking about? Shipping.
Especially with the recent spike in online shopping, it's important that consumers can trust companies to ship products safe and sound. That's why it's important to use protective packaging, such as retention and suspension packaging, to help eliminate the risk of damaged products.
Retention and Suspension Packaging Eliminates Risk
Typically, product packaging isn’t a major concern for soft goods that are purchased online. But for expensive, fragile things like electronics or housewares, it’s a different story.
After all, packages get tossed around, might be dropped or even stacked on top of one another as they go from Point A to Point B. Mitigating the risk of damage in the shipping process requires significant attention to be paid to packaging, since the physical shipping process is out of most companies' control.
The last thing you want to do is have to worry about returning a damaged or busted product upon delivery. And that’s where retention and suspension packaging come into play to offer consistent protection for fragile products.
How Does Suspension Packaging Work?
Retention and suspension packaging uses special corrugated inserts and plastic flexible film.
The inserts fit into the shipping box and work to suspend the product so that it is more centrally located within the open airspace of the shipping box and away from the major points of impact.
Additionally, the product is secured into place with plastic flexible film, which prevents it from slipping around or moving within the box itself.
Each of these packaging solutions on their own would be helpful in maintaining the sanctity of products out for shipment, but when combined, they increase the level of protection significantly.
What Are the Benefits of Suspension Packaging?
Though there are many benefits to suspension packaging, possibly the most attractive aspect is that it presents a more cost effective alternative to conventional means of secure shipping, which often involves the use of foam, die cut molds, or other materials.
Here’s a look at some of the key benefits to this type of packaging:
- The look
Because products are secured in place with flexible plastic film, most retention and suspension packaging is a one-size-fits-all type of solution thanks to the conforming properties of the film itself. The film is resilient and low slip, meaning it can suit almost any product you're shipping.
The flexible film used to hold products can be easily reused, as it maintains its effectiveness. Additionally, corrugated suspension components are often made out of recycled materials.
Noting these aspects, suspension packaging is considered a more sustainable packaging option.
On most packages you’ve opened over the years, you likely had to dig through the box and break apart foam to get to the product you bought.
This creates a bit of a mess that you’re left to clean. When you open a box with retention and suspension packaging, you’re able to see the product right then and there as soon as the box is opened.
There’s no digging around or messy cleanup. In fact, the corrugated retention inserts can be recycled too.
Retention and suspension packaging is easy to assemble and install. As more effective packaging options are developed and put in place, the days of boxes filled to the brim with "packing peanuts" are getting further behind us.
Ultimately, customers want to open a box and access their new product without a giant mess, and workers in shipping facilities everywhere are smiling because they don't have to mess around with Styrofoam all day.
Making the Switch to Suspension
If you want to ensure happy customers, you need to make keeping your products safe in the shipping process a top priority for your business.
Protect from repeated drops and impact consistently to ensure a positive customer experience.
If you're looking to upgrade your packaging, but aren't sure where to start -- just call Bob!
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in October of 2018 and was updated in June of 2021 to reflect more recent insights and data.