The Nesting Method: How to Protect and Package Fragile Shipments Like a Pro

If you ship made-to-order or fragile goods of different shapes and sizes or need to send a single odd-shaped item (like a monitor), you can’t just use any box on hand. If you’re packaging shipments like these on your own, you often have to experiment with packaging, which for expensive and bespoke items isn’t ideal.

Unlike selling and shipping mass-produced products (where you’ll work with a packaging consultant) or non-fragile items like books (where it’s low-risk to use common materials like bubble mailers), shipping fragile and custom goods without guidance can be frustrating, expensive and time-consuming.

When it comes down to it, though, you can package anything safely if you know how to identify vulnerable spots in your shipment and layer the right materials. The final result is a secure, package-within-a-package. Let’s call it the Nesting Method, which is similar to what we do professionally in-house.

Why nested packaging protects fragile packages best

Nesting your items—or creating layers and packages within packages, with internal buffers—is the surest way to protect anything throughout transit to its final destination.

Because shipping carriers process billions of parcels every year, every shipment quickly changes hands countless times in its door to door journey, enduring chutes and conveyor belts, bins and bags, shuttling between planes and trucks, before being deposited in mailrooms and dropped on doorsteps.

Another way to think about this method: consider a foot cast. When healing a fracture, you inevitably bump your foot against tables and doors, need to make sure you’re not scratching your skin and perhaps still need to walk, all while your bone has the security and rigidity to set properly. You nest your foot in soft cushioning, then heavy plaster, and maybe a medical boot for walking.

(Packages aren’t as serious, of course. But we treat them with similar love.)

With that in mind, every package needs to endure three types of transit hazards:

    • Shocks – You’ll need to shock-proof shipments to cushion and keep from bending and breaking when tossed or dropped. Think of bendable bases on lamps, necks on guitars, and shatter-prone dishes.
    • Scratches – You’ll need to scratch-proof shipments to protect delicate surfaces like screens and art from whatever else might scratch it in transit, like other items sharing the box.
    • Sliding – You’ll need to slide-proof shipments to remove empty space inside of the box. Excess space can also hike your postage costs, so you need to use just enough material to protect while minding dimensions.

Knowing those hazards, when you’re thinking through how to package an odd-shaped or fragile item for shipment, take a close look at its material, shape, and weight to identify vulnerabilities:

  • Material (surfaces) – Prep glass, ceramic, wood, and other finished surfaces for scratch-proofing by enveloping in a non-abrasive paper or foam, like waxed paper (for painted surfaces), glassine paper (for photo surfaces), or foam (for static discharge protection on electronic surfaces)
  • Material (body) – Items made entirely of fragile materials will need cushioning for shock-proofing, like close-fitting cellulose wadding or basic bubble wrap, wrapped snug around the body of the item and secured with tape
  • Shape (stems and voids) – When items have concave or convex features, you want to fill all of the space inside and around them for slide-proofing. A monitor’s thin base needs to be supported—perhaps with cardboard or foam protectors, depending on weight. A cup’s void should be reinforced with cardboard, paper, or bubble wrap.

  • Weight – The heavier the item, the more you’ll need to prevent tearing as part of slide-proofing. Look to reinforced and heavy-grade materials like reinforced kraft paper or heavy-duty bubble wrap instead of lower-grade counterparts.

The best way to understand these principles is to see them in action, so let’s walk through a couple of common packaging situations, illustrating how to nest packaging.

Situation 1: Many fragile items, one box

Examples: Ceramics, sculptures, jewelry, candles

Usually shipped in sets, packaging plates, cutlery, cups, and bowls of all different sizes means keeping those items from colliding (and shattering). Using our nesting method, start with the smallest items, then add protection with each layer to shock-proof and scratch-proof, all while keeping the finished shipment snug so that there’s no empty space and is slide-proof.

Let’s say you sell hand-painted ceramic plates. Here’s what we do in our warehouse. Draw inspiration from our checklist:

  1. Wrap each plate with thin foam or cardboard as a first scratch-proof layer. This protects surfaces so that plates can’t shatter. (Note! If you’re shipping something with stems, like pan handles, or mug loops, add extra protection to that part of the dish.)
  2. Stack the plates, then wrap with a layer of thin bubble wrap to secure them together as an added security measure. Ensure that the bundle isn’t too heavy—if you have heavy items over 10 lbs each, they can crush each other.
  3. Instead of placing that stack of plates directly in the final box, create mini cardboard boxes, like nesting dolls, to create another shock-proofing defense.
  4. Wrap the mini boxes in thicker bubble wrap, then place them together in the final box, also adding bumpers to fill any extra voids. To accomplish this, we print custom boxes. You can do the same with cardboard measured to exact dimensions.
  5. Tape the final box, ship it out, and breathe easy.


Shyp example: See our process for Chicago Candle Factory

Situation 2: Large, delicate surfaces

Examples: Artwork, framed art, screens (monitor, television), records

One-of-a-kind paintings and framed prints come in all shapes and sizes, which means that even boxes made for art (like these) won’t always fit. Instead, use a variety of materials to create protective layers. Here’s how you can tackle packaging for canvas art:

  1. Scratch-proof based on surface material. If glass, cover in glass protective tape to reinforce against shattering. If painted or printed canvas, cover with acid-free wax paper as a buffer against the next layer.
  2. Depending on fragility, fill voids in back of the canvas with cut-to-fit cardboard for stability. This also helps shock-proof against bending.
  3. Wrap the canvas in thin foam as a buffer.
  4. Sandwich the paper- and foam-wrapped canvas in cardboard cut to the exact same dimensions as the surfaces for puncture resistance.
  5. Slide-proof with heavy-duty bubble wrap and stick in place with packaging tape.
  6. At five layers, you’re going to create a nest for your canvas by sandwiching it in cardboard. Measure the new dimensions of your bubble-wrapped piece and cut two larger pieces of cardboard to fit front and back. Cut and pop out flaps in that cardboard that will hold it in place (see photo). Place the canvas inside, wrap the cardboard around, and tape it together.
  7. Create the final box. Take a final measurement, then fold cardboard around and secure with packaging tape (use a stronger reinforced tape vs. clear packing tape).
  8. Ship it out! Safe and sound.


Shyp example: See our process for painter Anna Sidana

Rather skip the packaging?

Get packaging from Shyp (a flat $2 to $25!) and then ship your item out at the best available rate (via UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL, OnTrac) based on its unique size, weight, speed and distance.

To get started, sign in or sign up to and mark “Package it for me.” We’ll take it from there.

Introducing Updates to Pickups, Packaging and More

We recently shared that we’re changing gears in order to streamline our business and focus on achieving profitability in San Francisco. We’re transparent about the fact that we should have shifted to focus on business customers sooner and have spent the past few weeks further evolving our platform to better serve their needs.

Today, we’re announcing some changes to the Shyp pickup and packaging experience to make things more efficient for the small businesses we support. Shyp will remain a utility for the more casual shippers of the world, but it’s important we double down on the needs of those who truly rely on the Shyp service to run and grow their business.

New packaging rates


Our industry-leading packaging has helped our customers
reduce shipping damage by up to 90% and save time wrapping and packing boxes, especially for fragile and odd-shaped items.

Starting today, we’re eliminating fragile fees across the board, so packaging fragile items like glassware, electronics and fine art is now nearly 70% cheaper. Shyp customers will no longer need to estimate if their package is fragile or not. Our packing staff will make the decision on their behalf and, even if the items need extra protective materials, they’ll be used at no added cost.

Despite offering a wide array of packing options, we learned recently from small businesses that, in some cases, our “small” option simply isn’t small enough. Businesses who use Shyp to send lightweight items like documents, small apparel orders, and keys don’t need made-to-fit packaging—nor should they be charged for it. Today, we’re introducing a soft mailer packaging option that will send items in an envelope, and it’s just $2.

We’ll package items in soft mailers that are crush-proof, with any side measuring less than 1″.


Pickup and shipping updates


Both Shyp’s online returns service and on-demand pickup option have always been used most by casual shippers who have an acute need. As we’ve grown, the number of businesses we work with has also grown, transforming the spread of our customer base. So to best serve the majority of our customers, we’re making some adjustments.

First, we are eliminating our pre-paid consumer returns service. We recognize this will upset some of our consumer customers, and for that we apologize. The reality is, offering online returns is expensive, and because it’s not something used by our fastest-growing customer segments, it doesn’t make sense to continue offering it. Similarly, we are removing USPS first-class mail from our shipping service classes for most customers, commonly used for small packages under 13 oz.

With pickups, we’ve learned that the vast majority of our small business customers prefer to schedule their outbound shipments at a specific time of day. So starting today, pickups will no longer be available on demand, and must be scheduled in advance. Not only does this allow our customers to build precision and routine into their distribution efforts, but it also enables us to better route our couriers—especially for bulk shipments that require a larger vehicle.

And, because bulk shipments now account for the majority of our pickups, we’re tweaking our pickup pricing structure. Pickup price will now be determined based on the number of items a customer is sending.

Finally, while the Shyp team remains mighty, it’s no secret we’re now smaller. So it’s important that we work against a product roadmap that’s ruthlessly prioritized. As we work further to create new features for businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re temporarily rolling back our label printing service. We hope to resume operations on the feature, but for now will be focusing on improving other areas of the Shyp ecosystem.

Have any feedback? We’d love to hear what you need to make shipping more simple. Let us know and thank you for your continued support.

—Kevin Gibbon, Founder/CEO

Refocusing on San Francisco, Business Customers, and Profitability

Today we’re sharing with you an incredibly difficult decision we’ve made, which is to streamline our business and focus on achieving profitability in a single market, the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result, we’re suspending operations in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, and reducing headcount at headquarters. We believe these steps will allow us to prove our business model and set Shyp up for long-term success.

This decision was not made lightly. It impacts our employees, customers, and partners, and I know it will upset, disappoint, and inconvenience many of you. I offer my deepest apologies and want to provide some background on why we are scaling back.

Four years ago, we set out with an ambitious vision—to make shipping simple yet powerful for consumers and small businesses. From scratch, we created courier operations to ensure we would arrive at your doorstep within 20 minutes of a selected time. We designed an industry-first warehouse system so items—chandeliers, bikes, TVs—were expertly-packed with extremely low damage rates. And we’d find the right carrier at the best price to ship your item anywhere around the world. We’re proud of what we’ve built—a high-quality service that has garnered top awards, excellent customer reviews, and strong partnerships with eBay, Shopify, and our carrier partners.

We’ve learned a lot along the way. We expanded to new customer segments, entrepreneurs and small businesses, building out features like advanced scheduling and bulk upload. We streamlined courier and warehouse operations while maintaining quality. As a result, we made major movement on unit profitability and increased revenue per transaction by 150 percent.

Hundreds of thousands of you supported us and helped us grow the business—and for that we thank you.

Knowing what we know now, there’s no question we’d do some things differently. We would have built profitability in from the beginning. And shifted to serve business customers sooner. In a business that requires significant investment to grow physical operations across multiple cities, we would have focused on achieving success in one market before expanding into others. And while there are many things we could have done differently, it’s also become clear that the market for venture financing has changed and there is now a higher bar for profitability—one that we might have met had we made different decisions early on.

With that said, I’ve never felt more strongly that Shyp needs to exist in this world. I’ve seen the impact Shyp has had on our business customersdrastically reducing time spent on packaging and shipping, saving money, and helping them serve new global markets. We’re rolling out product features designed for high volume shippers, and will continue to build out valuable services that our customers need and want.

As of today, Thursday, July 20, we are no longer accepting new orders in Chicago, LA, and New York. Any items already handed over to us will be fully processed.

One of the most painful realities of this decision is the departure of so many of our amazing employees. They have given their hearts and souls to make Shyp what it is today. Words cannot express my gratitude for the sacrifices made. We’re committed to helping these employees by connecting them with recruiters and companies looking for talent. Please contact me at kevin@shyp.com if you have roles to fill.

For our customers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, we thank you for the trust you placed in us. It’s been a pleasure serving you and I hope to have the opportunity to do so again in the future.

Root for us!

—Kevin Gibbon, Founder/CEO

New! Expanded Shyp Service in San Francisco

We’ve arrived in Silicon Valley! From San Mateo on south to San Jose, ship from home or work all along the 101. Across the Bay, use Shyp in select areas of Berkeley, Oakland, Piedmont, and Emeryville, starting today.

Get your first pickup free

Sign up or sign in to apply code XPCITY17 and schedule your first (free!) pickup through July 1. Not in one of these zones? Hold tight—we’re continually adding more service zones.

New! Schedule a Pickup 5 Days in Advance

We recently expanded shipment pickup schedules, so you can request a Shyp pickup five days in advance in NYC, LA, Chicago, and San Francisco. As always, a pickup is just $5 for an unlimited number of items.

Try scheduling a pickup in advance if you:

  • Ship goods with set production schedules
  • Prefer planning your shipments for the week ahead of time
  • Send ecommerce orders in batches vs. one by one

Try it out

Sign in on web, iOS, or Android to schedule a shipment, or sign up to get started.

 

‘Fulfillment powered by Yes’ with Shyp + Kit

ship_kit_launch_blog
Shyp now works with Kit, a virtual assistant, to simplify fulfillment for Shopify orders. Kit will alert you when orders are ready to be shipped, arrange a pick-up by a Shyp courier, and more.

What is Kit?

Kit is a virtual employee that can help you market and manage your Shopify store. Kit helps drive sales by creating highly-targeted Facebook ad campaigns, sending personal thank you emails to customers, fulfilling and shipping orders using Shyp, and handling other apps that you use to manage your store.

You can talk to Kit through SMS, Facebook Messenger, or Telegram.

How it works

If you’re located in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York or Chicago, you can give Kit permission to notify you when you have orders that are ready to ship. Kit will offer to arrange a Shyp pickup. All you’ll need to do is confirm the time and Kit will make sure the pickup is scheduled.

Once packages have been picked up, Kit will send you a link with tracking information. Shyp will also fulfill the order in your Shopify account.

shyp kit

To connect Shyp with Kit so it can handle shipping for you, all you need to do is:

  1. Make sure both the Kit app and the Shyp app are installed on your Shopify store
  2. Go to the Kit Skills Library (kitcrm.com/apps), find the Shyp skill and click on “Learn More”
  3. Verify that you’re an existing Shyp user in the pop up

That’s it! Once you’ve confirmed the connection, Kit will get to work right away arranging your shipping to help you be as successful as possible.

If you’ve never used Kit before, you can use the promo code SHYPWITHKIT to get $25 towards your shipping needs to get started.

All New: Scheduling & Bulk Shipping for Web

Earlier this fall we added the ability for customers to purchase and print shipping labels. As part of this announcement we introduced a web dashboard, allowing customers to manage a higher volume of shipments for their business. The dashboard has proven itself as a valuable addition to the shipping workflow and we’ve decided to build on this offering.

Starting today, we’re adding the ability for Shyp customers in NYC, LA, Chicago, and San Francisco to schedule pickups for their shipments from the web dashboard. This is an exciting new product experience that will improve the workflow when sending many shipments at once.

product_full_serve

Here are a few of the new features that are available on shyp.com:

 

icon_connectIntegrate your Shopify or eBay store

Get seamless order fulfillment when you connect your Shopify or eBay store.

 

icon_importImport orders in bulk with a spreadsheet

This new feature allows you to import shipments via a spreadsheet in CSV format.

 

 

icon_dashboardSee all your shipments at a glance

With the dashboard, it’s easy to see all your shipments at once, regardless of carrier, and view their shipping and tracking information.

 

icon_pickupSelect packaging

You can package them yourself or let us do the work for you – it’s your choice!

 

 

icon_packagingSchedule a pickup

Last but not least, now you can schedule a pickup for your shipments from the web dashboard! Rather than opening the Shyp mobile app to schedule a shipment, now you can get a pickup in just a few clicks.

 

Get Started

 

Plus: Get $10 in free holiday shipping

This holiday season we’d like to give you the gift of free shipping. Get $10 in free shipping credit for your holiday shipping needs! To redeem this promo, simply log into your Shyp account and enter the code: SHYPHOLIDAY.

Watch this tutorial about how to setup your Shopify store and schedule a pickup on web:

Still have questions? Check out our Help Center for more info.

Important 2016 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

The holidays should be about spending time with loved ones — not spending time on shipping. This year, use Shyp to send your holiday gifts and get more time to enjoy with friends and family.

We’ve prepared a list of important shipping deadlines to help you make sure your gifts are delivered on time:

  • Nov 30 – International Non-Express Cutoff
  • Dec 13 – International Express Cutoff
  • Dec 15 – Domestic Economy Cutoff
  • Dec 19 – 3 Day Express Cutoff
  • Dec 20 – 2 Day Express Cutoff
  • Dec 21 – 1 Day Express Cutoff

Plus, with our pickup and packaging services in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, all you need to focus on is the gift-wrapping — we’ll pick up all your gifts in one visit, securely package them, and deliver them for the lowest price.

Download this guide for a complete list of holiday shipping deadlines:

holiday-shipping-dates2x

Happy Holidays!

Introducing Hassle-Free Fulfillment for Shopify Sellers

 

shyp-shopify

Today we’re proud to announce a partnership with Shopify that streamlines one of the most challenging parts of running a business: shipping the goods you sell. You can now connect your Shopify account within the Shyp app to easily and affordably ship what you sell online.

Our dedicated fulfillment experience for Shopify sellers offers seamless integration from selling to shipping. When you sell an item on your Shopify store, it automatically appears in the Shyp app with your buyer’s shipping information — no more manually entering addresses.

In San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Shopify sellers will enjoy the complete end-to-end convenience of our full-service platform, including pickup for any orders you need to ship, high-quality packaging, and shipping from today’s trusted carriers. Sellers in other U.S. cities can take advantage of our all-in-one shipping dashboard, where you can instantly compare carrier rates, batch print labels, and track shipments from any device.

Once your shipments are out the door, we complete your sale on Shopify and provide tracking information. Since our shipping dashboard is available on web or from the Shyp mobile app, you can easily manage your outgoing shipments from the office or on-the-go.

product-shopify

Shopify continues to be the leading platform for starting an online business, with many merchants already choosing to fulfill their orders with Shyp. Our new integration will help Shopify sellers save even more time on shipping, allowing them to focus on growing their sales and pursuing their entrepreneurial passions.

Today’s launch represents an exciting milestone for our team, as we continue to focus on powering businesses and building innovative fulfillment solutions. We look forward to supporting the Shopify seller community with an effortless shipping and fulfillment experience.

To get started, log in to your Shyp app and connect your Shopify store. Learn more at shyp.com/shopify »

Shyp’s Price Comparison Service: Now Available Nationwide

 

This summer, we introduced powerful new features for our customers to power their businesses with Shyp. Since then, we’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response from individuals, online marketplace sellers, and businesses that have adopted Shyp as a critical tool to run and grow their business, saving them time and money. 

Over the past few months, we’ve met with those online marketplace sellers and businesses to learn how Shyp helps them, and what we can do to improve. It’s no secret that business owners are constantly looking for ways to cut costs and save time, so it wasn’t surprising to learn that frequent shippers value our price comparison technology greatly. For many businesses, the trickiest part of fulfilment isn’t packaging or transporting an item to a carrier; it’s navigating the complex shipping ecosystem to determine how to get items in the hands of customers in the most cost effective way. 

Countless customers have told us they’d benefit from a standalone service that enables them to utilize Shyp’s pricing technology to compare carrier rates and print labels instantly, while handling packaging and drop-off themselves. Today, we’re excited to share that we’ve taken that feedback and built a new service that allows just that, and it’s available nationwide. 
combined-rates

Starting today, no matter where a customer is based in the U.S., they can use Shyp to instantly compare carrier rates and print shipping labels for items they’re sending anywhere in the world. Because this service is software-based, we’re able to unlock it nationwide – introducing Shyp to millions of new businesses at once. 

And, because we know many businesses use a desktop computer as a central command center for their business, we built this new service for the Web, in addition to iOS and Android. Now, customers can track all of their shipments from one easy-to-use dashboard no matter where they are. So whether they’re on a laptop at the office or checking their phone on-the-go, their logistics operation is never more than a few clicks away. As the only carrier agnostic, end-to-end shipping platform on the market, Shyp customers never need to worry about having several accounts with each carrier—everything happens seamlessly through Shyp. 
label-printing

So, how much does this service cost? For the first 90 days after a customer purchases their first label via Shyp, the service is free of charge. Subsequently, labels cost 50 cents each to purchase. As with our flagship, full-service product, the more customers ship, the more they save. Here’s a breakdown of volume-based discounts for labels purchased via Shyp: 

  • 20+ items per month: 25 cents per label
  • 50+ items per month: 10 cents per label 
  • 300+ items per month: 5 cents per label

This new service further evolves the Shyp platform to cater to the needs of a customer set that’s more diverse than ever. As with every new feature and product we launch, we’ll continue to learn from our customer’s feedback to further iterate this experience for them. 

Our full service product line for standard shipping, online returns and eBay sales continues to grow at a consistent and exciting rate. We will continue to iterate this product line by implementing more platform and marketplace integrations, evolving and expanding Shyp’s API, and aggressively expanding the full-service business geographically in 2017. One of the benefits of having a nationwide price comparison and label printing service is the powerful customer data it equips us with, which will help inform where we expand next, based on customer interest.

Visit the all-new Shyp.com to learn more about today’s news.