Poly mailers continue to gain popularity for shipping in the ecommerce industry. Also referred to by bubble mailers, mailing bags, poly bubble mailers, poly bags, and plastic bags, they have gained a lot of popularity over the years as it pertains to ecommerce shipping.
Make no mistake about it, when it comes to shipping costs, you always want to make sure you’re choosing the right packaging or mailing envelope for your shipments. It can cost you a lot of money if you’re using the wrong packaging or box sizes to ship out products.
If you’re paying too much for shipping, this will definately hurt you and increase customer acquisition cost. If products are damaged or not secure, this will effect the customer experience. Unboxings are a big deal these days, if that experience is bad, they may never buy from you again.
While there’s a lot of different items you can use for shipping, poly mailers are one of the most common packaging options for retailers. This is because they offer protection for a wide range of different products and they’re usually at a lower cost versus other shipping materials. When it comes to your order fulfillment, you always want to maximize efficiency while lowering your costs.
Key Points On Poly Mailers:
- Poly mailers are lightweight, sturdy plastic bags that are designed to ship at a low weight – great for items that are not fragile
- Poly mailers can help ecommerce sellers by lowering shipping costs and packaging – they’re affordable, lightweight, and don’t take up much space
- Poly mailers are relatively cheap, you can get them for as low as $0.25 per unit if they’re purchased in bulk lot
- Poly mailers are one of the most widely used items for shipping – thanks to their low costs, low weight, and ease of use
For anyone that has an ecommerce order fulfillment, one of the main elements focus points is always cutting costs, the exact type of packaging materials you use does play a role in how the price you pay to get orders to your customers. If you want to get a positive return on customer acquisition cost, retailers must keep shipping costs low. Even if you’re outsourcing fulfillment like our customers do, you still want to be aware of your shipping costs.
While there’s several strategies to keep shipping costs low, one is making sure you’re using the right packaging materials for shipments. You’ll need to make you protect items from getting damaged during shipping. A lot of companies and ecommerce sellers still use cardboard boxes – these boxes can be used for many things, especially fragile and delicate items. However, if you’re shipping apparel, boxes are unnecessary and usually expensive – especially when compared to using poly mailers.
One of the main reasons why poly mailers are popular in the ecommerce shipping industry is because they’re an affordable alternative to standard packaging options you have. They give eeommerce merchants a chance to balance their shipping options, a way to keep items safe for customers while also reducing shipping costs. A win-win for everyone.
In this article, we define what poly mailers are, the common reason retailers use them, the type of product they can ship, and where to get them. We will also look at some of the shipping solutions that Thill Inc. provides to eeommerce retailers to help them drive down shipping costs further.
What Are Poly Mailers?
Poly mailers are lightweight, durable plastic bags that are used to send light and less fragile products. They’re a wonderful alternative to traditional packaging. Because they are cost-effective and take up less room on the truck while in transit, they help ecommerce sellers save money on packaging and delivery expenses.
Poly mailers are also very easy to use, definately a much faster shipping solution compared to boxes. They have a self-sealing fold over lip and require no tape. Shipping labels can easily be added to the bag. Not only are they easy to pack, they’re also easy to ship. This is exactly why poly mailers are a great alternative for shipping non-fragile items that don’t have to be shipped in big box.
The Different Types of Poly Mailers
While all of us try to focus on lower shipping costs, this is also a great way to add additional protection for items. There’s a wide range of different types of poly mailers that you can use, hopefully you’ll be able to find one that fits exactly what you’re looking for.
In general, there’s going to be 4 types of poly mailers you can use;
- Regular white poly mailers: This one is the most popular and inexpensive poly mailer with no bubble padding. If you want to save money on shipping, these are your best option. They’re ideal for things that aren’t fragile, like clothing, or delicate items that already come in robust packaging and require no additional protection.
- Bubble padded: Poly bubble mailers are exactly as described, they come padded with bubble wrap on the inside which gives you added protection for items being shipped. These poly mailers will cost you a little more money but they’re great for higher quality items that need the extra protection to prevent damage.
- Expansion poly mailers: These heavy-duty poly mailers have a padded bottom, this allows you to ship bulky items. Despite their size, they’re very strong, they’re built using polyethylene and protect items from moisture damage during shipping. Expansion poly mailers are also puncture and tear-resistant.
- Eco-friendly: Multi-layered, waterproof paper is wrapped in a waterproof liner with sufficient room for branding. For eco-conscious companies that want to minimize waste and maximize the use of renewable energy, these are kind of custom poly mailers that come in biodegradable and recycled choices. Because they are safe for both customers and the environment, they’re an ideal shipping option for many.
Why Should You Use Poly Mailers?
As we’ve discussed so far in the article, poly mailers are an affordable alternative to standard packaging. Next, we’ll discuss why retail sellers are using poly mailers.
- Provide cheaper shipping options: The price is one of the main reasons retailers use poly mailers. Out of all the shipping options available, poly mailers are one of the most affordable. Poly mailers may cost as less as $0.25 per unit if you buy them in bulk. Compare that to a cardboard box of equal size that may cost you $1.00-$1.25.
- They are smaller and lighter: Poly mailers can save you a lot of space. That means they take less space on shipping trucks. Due to their lightweight and small size, they help eeommerce merchants cut back on shipping costs compared to cardboard boxes that come with the dimensional weight element. Poly mailers help reduce dimensional weight, that means it save you money on shipping costs.
- They give you added protection: If you need additional protection, poly bubble mailers can help. These come with an added cushion to protect your items. Items can be damaged during shipping, if you can add additional protection for a low costs, it’s worth the peace of mind. Fragile items definately need protection, the added padding with bubble is a good way to maximize security and prevent your item from damage.
- You can brand and customize them: Just like with custom boxes, you do have the option to customize your poly mailers with a brand look – enhance the unboxing experience. When you compare branding costs for poly mailers and boxes, you’ll find it’s easier and cheaper to brand poly mailers.
- They have eco-friendly options: At first look, if your brand is environmentally conscious, you may avoid standard poly mailer bags because of their environmental impacts. No worries, you can find several eco-friendly packaging options for poly mailer bags. You even have the option to reach out to a packaging company to make custom poly mailers that are recyclable and biodegradable if you wish too.
- They make shipping easier: If you can use poly mailers versus cardboard boxes, it’s going to make shipping easier. It can save you time and money. Think about how long it takes you to pack a single box versus using a single poly mailer. You can really see the time and money savings when you’re shipping out hundreds/thousands of products a day. This is exactly why we give our customers the option to use poly mailers.
- They are weatherproof: Most poly mailers give you protection from rain and snow.
- They are tamper-evident: All poly mailers are inherently “tamper-evident” but those with strong adhesives that cannot be opened and then resealed ensure that your customer knows if someone tampered with their package between shipment and delivery.
What Items Can I Ship?
Now that you know why retailers of all sizes are using poly mailers, we need to cover this common question.
What ecommerce products are ideal for shipping with poly mailers? Poly mailers are great for shipping non-fragile items that can’t be crushed, or items that have solid packaging. Apparel and shoes would be two great examples in these categories.
If a product won’t get damaged if thrown about or heavy boxes are tossed on top of it, then it can be shipped in a poly mailer bag.
Poly mailers are great for keeping your items safe, however you should avoid using them on fragile objects made of glass or other things like food that may be broken and crumbled. When shipping such goods, stick to boxes. If you want to put certain products in a poly mailer bag, make sure they’re well-protected before you ship them out.
With that being said, let’s look at the main categories of items that can be shipped with poly mailers:
- Any items in solid packaging: If the item you’re shipping out already has solid packaging, you’re likely wasting resources using a cardboard box. Rather, you can use poly mailers, they’re great for shipping those types of products. You can also use them for soft and flat items that can’t easily be crushed, this includes tablet cases, phone cases, playing cards, board games.
- Cloth and fabric-based products: Like with apparel (below), most products made of cloth, cotton, or any type of fabric are good candidates for poly mailers. This can include swatches, yarn, face masks, sheets, pillows, and other bedding products.
- Apparel: products like Shirts, footwear, and jeans that can’t be crushed in transit are great candidates for poly mailers. You can also ship cloth and fabric-based products such as beddings, face masks, swatches, and yarn. When shipping apparel that contains fragile beading and ornaments, it is advisable to use poly bubble mailers or boxes to avoid damages.
- Book and printed media: Bubble-lined poly mailers are great for shipping books and printed media because they provide the extra padding needed to prevent rips and dents on such shipments.
- Some health and beauty products: Poly mailers provide an excellent option for shipping some health, beauty, and wellness products. Popular products in this category include vitamins and supplements, cosmetics, and nutrition products. As long as they are already encased in sturdy materials, these products can be safely shipped with poly mailers.
We work with a lot of clients that use Shopify – between them, they sell hundreds of different types of products. Why poly mailers are not always the right solution, if it makes sense to add them to their Shopify fulfillment, we recommend it. It doesn’t matter what platform you’re using, it matters “exactly” what you’re selling.
If you want to learn more about order fulfillment for the specific platforms we integrate with, check out the following:
Who Do You Buy Poly Mailers From?
So far, you know what poly mailers are and the type of products you can ship with poly mailer bags. But where can you buy them? All of the major carriers have poly mailers to buy. However, you can also find poly mailers elsewhere.
Some of the most common locations include:
- Office Depot
What Sizes Do Poly Mailers Come In?
Finding the right sized poly mailers is important, you always want to make sure you get a good snug fit for the item you are sending.
Take apparel for example, a small t-shirt will need a different poly mailer size than an XXXL t-shirt. The table below gives you a ballpark of common poly mailer sizes and the products that are best suited for them.
- 12 X 15.5″ or 14.5 X 19″ – Sweaters
- 12 X 15.5″ – 3 Shirts
- 6 X 9″ – Socks
- 9 X 12″ – Pants
- 10 X 13″ – Dress Shirt
- 9 X 12″ – Fabric Sets
Poly Mailers vs. Standard Packaging
While standard packaging such as cardboard boxes is ideal for shipping certain products, it may be unnecessary sometimes. For example, it won’t make sense to put a product that is already packaged in a sturdy box inside another cardboard box.
Remember that carriers use both the actual weight and dimensional weight -whichever is greater to calculate the shipping rate of your package.
Take for example a pair of shoes, that is already packaged in a strong cardboard box. Putting it inside another cardboard box adds both the actual weight and the dimensional weight of the package. This increases the shipping rate.
If you ship your pair of shoes inside a poly mailer bag, you are not only reducing the actual weight of the package, but also the dimensional weight. That means you will significantly save on shipping costs.
Therefore, it is advisable that you use poly mailers to ship products that are already in sturdy packaging, and any other items that cannot easily be crushed or broken, and only use boxes to mail fragile items that are susceptible to damage if sent without a box.
Important Things to Consider for Your Shipping Process
Poly mailers are a great option when it comes to saving on shipping costs because they are lightweight and take up less room on delivery trucks. Remember, you want to make sure customers receive their package in the very best condition possible. Due to this, there’s a few key points we want to make in regards to your shipping process.
Here’s what you need to know:
- You never want to use poly mailers to ship fragile items – the only time you would is if it has solid packaging
- Don’t use cheap poly mailers, these can easily tear open, exposing your items. We only use reputable sources, this ensures our poly mailers are high-quality.
- For items that need additional protection, use bubble-lined poly mailers to keep them safe.
- Always make sure the product fill the bag if you’re using standard poly mailers. If you do have additional space inside, consider using additional padding materials – you can use bubble wrap or packing peanuts. This is easier to process at the post office and minimizes your risk of delivery delays.
Does USPS Accept Poly Mailers?
As of 2022, USPS does allow you to ship items using poly mailers. Poly mailers are an alternative to standard packaging that are lightweight and sturdy plastic bags, perfect for shipping items like clothes. Many of the major shipping carriers accept poly mailers.
USPS Rules For Poly Mailers
While all the major carriers have poly mailer options, most poly mailers are shipped with USPS. Due to this, you want to make sure you’re aware of USPS rules and guidelines as it pertains to shipping poly mailers.
Here’s what they say:
- Poly mailers will need to be at least 2 mil thick for shipments up to 5lbs and at least 4 mil thick for shipments up to 10 lbs.
- The overhang should never exceed 0.5″ when the package is laying completely flat.
- You can only use First Class Mail can on poly mailers that weigh under 16 oz.
- You can use Priority Mail for any poly mailer weighing under 70 lbs.
- You can use USPS Media mail for any poly mailer weighing under 70 lbs. The content type would be printed music, books, blu rays, videotapes, DVDs, sound recordings, etc.
How Thill Inc. Can Help
Poly mailers are a great alternative when you’re shipping products that are already in good packaging or non-fragile items that can’t be easily crushed or broken. They give your company an affordable option to your basic packaging options, It’s a great way for ecommerce sellers to save on shipping costs and packaging costs.
Thill Inc. can help retailers take a next level step with poly mailers in a number of different ways:
- Lower shipping costs: Since we’re a full 3PL fulfilment company, we can help you save time and money on your shipping. We have fulfillment centers all across America, allowing you to reach your customers faster. Thanks to our strategic locations and partnerships, we can help you get better shipping rates.
- Custom branding options: If you want to brand and customize your poly mailers or boxes, Thill Inc. We have a wide range of branding shipping options to choose from, be sure to check our value added services.
- 3PL fulfillment and support: To further help you drive shipping costs down we partner with fulfillment providers in different locations and have a network of over 250+ to help you reduce shipping time and cost.
- Real-time analytics: From order tracking and sales data to Integrated key data elements – cleared media, telemarketing data, Web data, shipping data, billing data, customer service data, returns, cancellations and declines – our software suite gives you all the tools you need to make important business decisions.
Contact Thill Inc. by clicking this link and learn more about how Thill Inc. can help you with retail fulfillment while growing your ecommerce business.