Easy Steps When Shipping Fragile Items - ChicagoShipper

Well-known as the “The Pottery Barn” rule, it says, “You break it, you buy it.” The idea of ​​blaming the buyer for a  broken item and knocking it down or dropping it can be reflected in the stressful childhood incident at the store. 

Knowing that this motto was the policy of many physical stores, the e-commerce world is creating new challenges in selling and shipping fragile products. 

In addition to packing products, even if they are in a box containing stored items, there is a high possibility that fragile items will be damaged during transportation. 

If a customer receives defective products on a regular basis, inventory, profits, and the reputation of the e-commerce business can be lost. 

Fragile products such as glassware, musical instruments, technology products, and other breakable products are especially vulnerable to breakage in transit. Carriers throw them away on gaylords and trucks,  and boxes move around in transit. That is the nature of e-commerce delivery. 

You can take out shipping insurance at any time, but it does not solve the problem at hand. 

Having 100% damage-free shipping is almost impossible, most especially when shipping items that are fragile. But we will be sharing with you things you can do to prevent shipping damages, that will further keep your consumers glad and satisfied. 

Damages as every E-commerce Business’ Worst Opponent 

All-commerce businesses can lose a huge amount of money on defective products: they have more customer service inquiries, return costs (and possibly returned items depending on your return policy), unsold inventory. You have to pay the cost, and you can lose these customers. 

The good news is you can avoid a lot of damage in transit. In some cases breakage is unavoidable, but it is an exception, not a rule. If the fragile item is properly packed with the right materials, there is little damage. 

The Importance of Careful Shipping of Fragile Orders 

Defective products cost a lot  (and for e-commerce brands, they cost much more than retail in-store). There are many more reasons why a damaged and fragile item can impact your business’s income. 

  • Returns

If you are trying to resolve a customer’s complaint about a damaged item, you will be needing to pay the amount to resend an undamaged item to them. 

If you have more specific requirements for returns, for example, you want to return and inspect a  damaged item, someone will have to pay for this return label. 

If free returns are included in your shipping policy, you will incur additional charges. And in case customers have to pay for it, it will result in further confusion. 

In scenarios like this, customers not only have to receive the damaged item and have to wait for the new item to arrive which will absolutely take much longer, but you also have to go to the carrier and pay the shipping cost. Be prepared for repulsion. 

  • Lost in Business 

Not all customers are ready to wait for a new product. And some of the customers will simply request a refund and will probably stop buying from your brand. Hence, it is not only the sale that you will lose from the customer but you will most likely lose them as your future customer, technically losing your future business with them. 

  • Poor Reviews 

Bad customer ratings can affect the success of your company. If a customer is looking forward to the arrival of an item and opens the box to find a defective item, they may leave a negative review, even if you pay all costs and ship the new item immediately. 

This can be catastrophic in e-commerce. Free products and discounts on your next order can be very helpful. If you handled the resolution correctly, don’t be afraid to ask for a review. 

Steps on How to Ship Fragile Items 

Shipping fragile items may sound complicated, but the procedure is simple. Here are some best practices for properly shipping fragile items: 

  1. Choose a box slightly larger than the item 

Do not use boxes that have too much space. The content will move. By using a box that is slightly larger than the product, you can fill the remaining empty space with storage material and keep everything in place. 

Polymailers are cheaper to ship than cardboard boxes, but they are not suitable for fragile products. There may be plastic bags filled with bubble wrap, but these do not prevent fragile objects from breaking. 

  1. Using Cushioning Materials for Wrapping 

Unless the product is made in a support package and stored loosely (that is, if you have a glass vanity tube without a small box to ship), you need to wrap the product in a large amount of filler. 

  1. Cover the Item in Foam if Needed 

For extravagant or fragile items, it is advisable to create a foam sleeve for the package molded to a specific size. Obviously, this is not a very scalable solution. 

  1. Using of Air Pillows or Packing Peanuts 

If the box is empty, be sure to put an airbag, peanuts, or wrinkled paper. This will surely help secure the item. 

  1. Ensure “Fragile” Sticker or Label is Added on the Box 

Fragile labels or labels indicate to the carrier that care should be taken when handling the box. You can also use multiple stickers to allow the carrier to see the stickers, as long as the shipping label is not covered. 

  1. Install a tilt or impact detector 

These devices are typically used for cargo that remains upright and requires very delicate handling. Rare and very expensive in parcel shipping, it not only notifies you when fragile items are damaged, but also encourages handlers to pay particular attention. 


Chicago Shipper works with e-commerce companies to store inventory and deliver fragile items intact. Fulfillment centers provide professional services and warehouse specialists are trained for your brand so you don’t have to worry about product damage. 

Shipping of fragile items for your business can be worked on and doesn’t have to be complicated at all times. With the steps that we have provided, we ensure that your products will get to the shipping address without any damage. 

If you are suffering from shipping failures or need assistance in shipping fragile items, contact our Chicago Shipper team to find out how we can assist you. Get a  quote for our retail fulfillment service and see if we are a good match.