Wrap It Up
Although a catalog’s reputation often is based on its look and merchandise assortment, it can’t perform well without essential, behind-the-scenes assistance from the operations and fulfillment departments.
Finding a product packaging solution that’s dependable and cost-effective — as well as one that fits your merchandise — is an ongoing challenge. The following products are headliners with positive reviews from several catalogers. As you embark on a search for new packaging solutions, keep these in mind.
The Fill-Air Inflatable Packaging System, manufactured by Saddle Brook, NJ-based Sealed Air Corp., produces air-filled cushions for void-fill applications. In addition to protecting fragile merchandise, it also reduces material and shipping costs and maximizes warehousing space. Packers can inflate several sizes of reusable cushions — using a 110-volt outlet — with the exact amount of air necessary for a given space.
The Sharper Image, a multichannel specialty retailer, has used this system for about four years. In addition to using it for mail-order shipments, the company internally re-uses the cushions when receiving customer returns and when sending shipments to and from retail stores.
“We do this as both a smart economic move and to do our part in recycling,” says Barry Jacobsen, senior vice president of distribution at The Sharper Image.
“[Such a system] is easier for the customer to handle than peanuts or shredded cardboard,” he adds. “The Fill-Air cushions are convenient for us to use because they come out of a dispenser. They take a short time to insert, and there’s also not as much mess for us.”
Also, The Sharper Image has had less damage in shipments because the cushions are softer on the product.
Sealed Air also manufactures Cryovac vacuum shrink bags, which provide a sound solution for various food catalogers. Ideal for perishable food products, particularly meats and cheeses, these multi-layered bags are available in myriad sizes. An air-tight seal allows the product to quickly defrost in water.