Old wives tales, urban myths, some conspiracy theories, and guides to packaging and mailing CDs and DVD's safely, share a large element of fantastical thinking. With most packaging or mailing guides for CD's and DVD's, people have helpfully shared their experiences of making the process a whole lot less painful for THEM. The problem is, that often many pieces of advice in this area completely miss the point, or go about the whole thing in a very strange and haphazard way. Some even provide BAD advice, which will hurt YOUR business, and upset YOUR customers.
As usual, Google provides a broad range of sources for advice on packaging and mailing CDs and DVDs. Here are some of the page one and two results that I found most interesting:
- YouTube Video - A bubblemailer, custom assembled cardboard taped around the DVD. (Way thicker, heavier and overpackaged than is required.)
- EBay Blog Post - Bubblewrap, bits of cardboard, and LOTS of stickytape. (Ineffective, time-consuming, and ugly as hell.)
- Amazon Seller Forum Thread - Discussion around the use of Polymailers, Bubblewrap, BubbleMailers, cardboard, and more. (All of the sellers in this thread miss the point...)
- Forum Post - Discussing the merits of shipping CD's or DVD's, and how to package them. (With a bizarre suggestion about using Christmas cards!)
- WikiHow - An article on how to package CD's or DVD's. (As much use as a chocolate teapot, and you cant even eat this!)
- YouTube Video - A how-to on creating custom packaging to mail CD's and DVD's. (I strongly advise against using this method, especially if you want happy customers.)
- EBay Australia Blog Post - How to save money at the Post Office on Mailing CDs and DVD's. (Some sound advice, but misses the point about what sort of packaging to use.)
- Forum Post - Trouble in the world of ROCK! (Real shipping concerns, met with advice from non-experts. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.)
- A Serious Guide to CD/DVD Packaging and Mailing - Everything you need to know... except... (This took serious work to put together for someone in the US - kudos. However, we recommend using neither bubblemailers nor clasp envelopes for this.)
Among the good, the bad and the ugly advice that's out there, we've got some key themes that come out every time...
CD and DVD Mailing Challenges:
- Flimsy Products: First of all, we all have to admit that CD and DVD cases and the discs themselves, are pretty flimsy and easy to damage. Especially cases known as 'jewel cases' - with a frustrated and annoyed nod to the hinges on them in particular. So protecting these easily damaged discs and disc cases in transit is a real problem that causes thousands of returns and refunds for retailers every year.
- Stabbing / Scratching: As you've seen in the above examples, and beyond - much of the advice about shipping CD's and DVD's centres on using bubblemailers, jiffybags, bagmailers, bubblewrap and custom-assembled packaging. You might think that these kinds of packaging would be vulnerable to stabbing or scratching which could pierce them, and damage the product inside. You'd be right. The answer from the internet? USE MORE PACKAGING. Which is a bit silly really, as the correct answer is USE BETTER PACKAGING.
- Bending: Many complaints are about CD and DVD mailers being bent in the mail, and damaging the contents. The problem here is that by the very nature of a flat product, they're prone to being bent in the mail, which means we all benefit from careful parcel deliverers. The only real way to avoid this with certainty is to use a mailbox or some other box form packaging - but you can minimise the chances of this by using inherently stiff flat packaging options.
- Impacts: When it comes to minimising the damage that any drop or impact can cause on products inside packaging, there is a golden rule - "Mind the gap." This means that if there is a risk of dropping a product, or it suffering an impact on a particularly weak area inside the package, then you need a gap between the product and the packaging. Too much, and you'll damage both the product and the packaging. Too little, and the force of the impact will translate directly through the product causing damage. With mailing CDs and DVD's - especially in those fragile 'jewel' cases - this means the edge of the case (or the hinge) is the weakest point needing most protection, and a carefully planned 'gap'. Even boxes and other volume based packaging should have 'built-in' gaps on the crucial areas.
- Cheap isn't always helpful: Bubblewrap is cheap. Cardboard sheets are cheap. Bubblemailers are cheap. Mailing bags are cheap. Paper envelopes are cheap. The problem with all of these is that to begin to create packaging that even begins to alleviate the problems listed above, you'll need to combine several of them (no longer cheap), and you'll need to take the time do so (time is money!). Meaning, you'll end up out of time, out of pocket, with an ugly looking mailer. Not cheap, and not helpful. From this, it sounds like you need to modify what you class as 'cheap'...
- Mailing Cost: Because the margins and profits you can make on DVD's and CD's are ever decreasing, there is ever more pressure to cut corners when you're shipping them. This is a false economy, because you'll experience more returns and refunds that hit your bottom line. Using cheaper packaging causes refunds and returns as explained above. But because you'd need to use MORE packaging to protect your products, it would also make the package 'thicker' and 'heavier' in the mail, meaning that you will pay more to send them. An #EPICFAIL in anyones business book. You need to keep the packaging thin and lightweight, to keep your profits healthy.
- Bad for the Environment: Plastic packaging is one of the worst polluters of the worlds seas, and responsible for a too-large potion of landfill waste each year. Avoiding using plastic packaging is not only more sensible, but also better for the planet. So the next time you reach for a plastic bubblemailer... think again!
Now that I've laid the challenges out, how can you overcome them? You need packaging that is lightweight and flat (or lightweight but in a box format), cost-effective, attractive, easy and quick to assemble, recyclable, and most of all - safe to mail CD's and DVD's inside. We could provide you with bubblewrap, plastic mailers, and tape to wrap them in. But we think there are better ways to ship CD's and DVD's:
Cardboard Envelopes: Stiff, resistant to impacts (with a gap around the edge) and stabs, gouges or scratches, lightweight, low-cost, recyclable, and no need for bubblewrap, tape or any other packaging. One of the worlds largest retailers saved millions of pounds using this range for mailing CDs and DVD's - you could save time and money as well, especially as 'letter' and 'large letter tariffs' are accessible using these envelopes.
Still not strong enough for you?
Corrugated Cardboard Flatpacks: Even stiffer, and even more resistant to impacts - the heavy duty flatpacks feature the same design as the envelopes with the 'impact edges' taking any knocks and reducing the chances of damage to your CD's or DVD's. But instead of simple cardboard, the board is now corrugated. Just as recyclable, cost-effective and attractive, some of the flatpacks are large letter compliant, with others falling into the 'small parcel' tariffs.
Still not strong enough for you? Need total protection?
Corrugate Cardboard Bukwraps: Our range of bookwraps, entitled the 'bukwrap', wrap around your CD's and DVD's completely, with crush-able flanges and impact / gouge resistant surfaces protecting every angle. When you're mailing CDs and DVD's through the post, you wont find more protective packaging than these - but remember - it's a fine balance between over-protecting the product and maintaining your margins and keeping your cost base low.
In summary, before you start packaging and mailing CDs and DVD's through the post, think carefully about your business model, your clients, and your sanity. Because all three can be affected severely by the choice of packaging that you select.