How to Package Fragile Items for Shipping?

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Almost anything a consumer may want can be purchased online and delivered to their door. Products that were once only sold in physical stores because they were too difficult to ship have been taken over by e-commerce sites.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2023 by Packoi Team

These days, it’s common practice for companies to deliver even bulky and heavy items like mattresses, furniture, and exercise equipment to customers. Shipping fragile items can be complicated for e-commerce businesses selling fragile goods. If properly packaged, however, even fragile things can be safely shipped.

If you break it, you have to pay for a new one.

fragile package

You may be reminded of a traumatic experience from your youth when you hear about “The Pottery Barn rule,” which states that customers are financially accountable for any damaged goods they accidentally break while shopping.

This mantra has long been the philosophy of many brick-and-mortar stores, but the advent of online shopping has introduced new challenges when it comes to the sale and transport of fragile items.

Some fragile items can still break in transit, even when packed with plenty of dunnage and in their original packaging.

It’s bad for businesses to have defective products consistently shipped out to customers. When shipping fragile items, it’s next to impossible to keep them safe from any kind of harm. This guide, however, will teach you how to properly pack fragile items and select the most appropriate shipping container.

Damage Or Breakage: The Enemy of Every Online Store’s Brand

damage package

Glassware, musical instruments, and technological products, among other fragile items, are especially vulnerable to damage during shipping and delivery. Boxes are thrown around in transit, whether being tossed into hands, loaded onto trucks, or dropped by carriers. The shipping industry for online stores is inherently flawed in this way.

Shipping insurance can be bought; however, that doesn’t alleviate the issue. Many factors contribute to financial losses for online retailers when products arrive damaged, including an increase in customer service inquiries, the cost of re-shipping (and possibly the returned item as well, depending on your return policy), the cost of the unsellable inventory, and the possibility of losing that customer.

The bright side is that many forms of shipping damage can be prevented by packaging fragile items the right way.

Breakages are rare but do occur on occasion. Damage to fragile items should be minimal if you use adequate packaging.

Which Products Are Most Susceptible to Damage While in Transit?

fragile items

Glass, crystal, and porcelain are the first materials that come to mind when most people think of fragile items. Fragile products, regardless of their nature, require proper packaging to ensure safe shipping.

Chips and cracks can appear on anything, from a piano to a coffee table. For this reason, various standards for product safety must be met.

Specifically, product damage accounts for 34% of returns connected to packaging. This necessitates particular caution when handling these things to avoid client complaints.

Other breakable products are listed below. That way, you can be sure to ship fragile items with the packing and care they deserve.

  • Electronics
  • Lampshades
  • Items made of ceramic
  • Antiques
  • Artwork
  • Glassware
  • Mirrors

Why Must Online Stores Exercise Caution When Shipping Fragile Products?

Damaged goods are very expensive (and much more money for e-commerce brands than brick-and-mortar retail). Here are some other ways in which broken, fragile products might hurt your company’s bottom line.


If a consumer complains that they received a damaged item in the mail, you must pay to have the original item reshipped to them at the very least.

Someone will have to foot the bill for a return label if you insist on more stringent return procedures, such as sending the damaged item back for inspection.

Your bottom line will increase if you cover the shipping costs of customer exchanges as part of your return policy. Most customers will get even more irate if you make them foot the bill.

They not only received a damaged item and will have to wait longer for a replacement, but they also had to make an extra trip to the post office or carrier’s location for the additional shipping costs. 

Lost Business

Not all buyers are patient enough to wait for a brand-new offering. Some customers may request a refund and never shop with you again. You probably spent money to get this customer, and now you’ve lost them and any future business you may have gotten from them because of their negative perception that you can’t deliver things in good condition.

Negative Feedback

Customer feedback, especially negative comments, can make or ruin a company. Suppose you ship multiple fragile items to a customer and they receive a damaged product after eagerly awaiting its arrival. In that case, they may submit a poor review even if they are compensated for their trouble and given a replacement immediately.

This is a disaster for online stores. Offering a freebie or a discount on their next purchase is a great way to show your appreciation. Don’t be shy about asking for a revised rating once you’ve made things right.

Choose the Appropriate Box Size

the appropriate box size

It’s tempting to use a massive shipping box with lots of empty space around the fragile item you’re transporting. This can backfire in more ways than one, as the packing peanuts and bubble wrap will likely shift about during shipping, and you’ll end up paying extra for shipping overall. However, you won’t get enough protection from buying boxes that are a perfect fit for your product. So, how many is the optimum?

Your box should have exactly two inches of space on all sides when the item is placed inside. That’ll do for keeping the shipment protected and cheap.

Make sure everything fits snugly in the box every time by carefully measuring the contents.

Compile everything you’ll need and set it up in the order it will appear when the buyer opens the box. Consider what you can do to make the moment a consumer opens one of your boxes one they’ll never forget.

How to Measure the Size of the Box Required?

Use a ruler or measuring tape to gauge the distances surrounding your objects. Specifically, you should verify the following:

  • front-to-back for width
  • side-to-side for length
  • top-to-bottom for depth

Make sure to give yourself some breathing room when arranging your stuff. As a general rule, you should add about a quarter of an inch to each dimension to ensure easy packing (and unpacking).

You can use our convenient calculator to help determine the ideal box dimensions for your unique packaging needs.

Boxes within boxes are an option for shipping products as fragile as China.

You should acquire custom shipping boxes to ensure that they are a suitable size for transporting fragile items. Packoi offers a wide variety of standard box sizes, but you can also design your own.

This can determine whether or not a consumer receives their item in one piece and whether or not they need to submit a return or exchange form after receiving their order.

Pick Premium Packing Supplies

In order to ensure that your products make it to the client without a single dent, scratch, or ding, you should view the packaging materials you choose as an investment because that ensures shipping fragile items successfully.

Low-quality materials won’t simply give your products a negative impression; they also won’t keep them safe throughout shipping. There may be initial savings in material costs with thinner, flimsier packaging, but this will quickly be offset by the increased frequency with which customers return items and for which replacements must be provided.

  • You could end up losing customers and paying more money in the long term. It’s crucial for companies that ship a lot to invest in maintaining loyal customers.
  • You may see the value of client loyalty in this context by thinking about monthly subscription boxes.
  • You should probably budget for something a little more robust when packing fragile products for shipping.

Use Bubble Wrap to Save Your Valuables

bubble wrap package

Use plenty of bubble wrap to ship fragile items and protect them during the shipping process. Fill the package up with packing peanuts or cushioning material before placing your goods inside. It’s an art form in its own right to do this.

  • Fill any gaps with crumpled paper or bubble wrap if the item you’re mailing has an opening or hole.
  • Wrap the object with paper to protect it. If it starts to come loose, just use some Scotch Tape to secure it.
  • Bubble wrap it in two layers, making sure each one completely covers the one below it. An alternative to traditional bubble wrap is a green wrap, which is created from biodegradable materials, or recycled bubble wrap.
  • Packing tape will do the trick here.
  • If needed, steps 3-5 should be repeated again.

Do not succumb to the temptation of wrapping everything in countless layers of packing tape; a small amount will go a long way. Overdoing it can make unwrapping a frustrating process, and if the customer struggles too much, they may damage the fragile product themselves.

Wrap the Package in Padding

fragile package

You should now use the additional two inches on all box interior sides. Packing the bottom of a box with crumpled paper, bubble wrap, peanuts, or air cushions is the first step.

Whether you choose to protect the fragile item with bubble wrap first, as described in Step 3, or the surrounding area first, as described in Step 4, is up to you.

You want to make sure that your boxed product doesn’t move around too much in there.

When packing an item in a box, it’s best to put extra padding around all four sides and on top. After you’ve tucked in the last of the flaps, give the box a quick test to check how it looks and how it feels.

The package should be able to be sealed without bulging, and it should be flexible enough to be moved in different directions without its contents shifting. Packoi boxes are manufactured to be quickly assembled and securely closed, cutting down on packaging hassles and saving time.

Make Sure to Clearly Indicate That the Contents are Fragile

fragile indicate

Try to keep in mind that unforeseen events can and will occur. Even if you put a label saying “FRAGILE,” the fragile package could still get dropped or damaged during transit.

Still, you should always include a fragile sticker when shipping your fragile item; doing so will give you far more leverage with your shipping company in the event that your package comes damaged.

When customers mail a fragile item, they experience anxiety. Avoid the last-minute panic by printing “Handle With Care” or “Fragile” on each package and taping it shut.

Packoi’s box customization features make it easy to incorporate crucial shipping data while maintaining a consistent brand look.


If you run an e-commerce business, shipping fragile items does not have to be a hassle. If you take the necessary precautions, your goods will arrive in one piece.

Contact the Packoi team via the form below if you’re having trouble with damaged shipments or need assistance in shipping fragile items. Check out our retail fulfillment rates and determine if we’re a suitable fit for you.

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Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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