This is an exciting time for technology. Innovative advances are happening every day and transforming the way we live, work and connect with each other. As technology becomes more powerful and efficient, one thing remains static: their fragility. Electronics are often some of the most easily damaged items. High tech items tend to be especially susceptible to moisture and breakage. At the same time, they’re progressively becoming more expensive and highly anticipated by consumers, yet smaller in physical size. This means it’s logistically easier to ship, but there’s an increased risk of theft and damage to multiple products at once.
For these reasons, high tech items need a distinctive set of shipping considerations. From special packaging to white-glove service and security, it pays to plan in advance to anticipate customer needs and to drive their brand loyalty. Let’s take a look at the top five considerations when shipping high tech equipment.
1. Is your packaging suitable for transit?
Tech giant Samsung once again tops the tech space with 20% market share globally. They shipped 59 million phones in Q1, 2020. With this many phones shipped in Q1, not to mention the consumer excitement they create, companies need to be diligent when delivering these coveted items to their final destinations. At the speed that news currently travels, a new tech launch can be adored one day and become a PR disaster the next when things don’t go as planned. Companies invest huge marketing budgets into announcing their new products, which can quickly fizzle out if they arrive damaged.
What’s the best way to avoid tech delivery mishaps?
Climate controlled packages and transport:
Most, if not all, high tech products need to be stored in dry, dust-free environments. Moisture and particles can easily damage these sensitive machines. Also, take into consideration that packages may be exposed to outside weather conditions when loaded on and off transport during delivery. For this reason, they should be sealed tightly and contained inside weatherproof packaging.
Anti-static packaging materials:
Even a slight amount of static electricity can permanently damage the circuitry inside electronics. It’s important to always use anti-static materials when shipping these valuable products.
Regardless of how well you package your products, there will likely be customers who want to return their items. Giving them reusable packages is one way to offer great customer service. Making it easy for them to return items means they’ll be happier and more likely to buy from you again. This also reduces the amount of packaging materials used.
Tamper-evident packaging and sealers:
High tech products are not only expensive but will often end up storing your customers’ highly sensitive personal data (e.g., phones and laptops), so it’s imperative that they’re not tampered with en route. Shipping high tech equipment in tamper-evident packages or with tamper-evident seals will give you and your customers’ peace-of-mind.
2. What’s more important for your business… speed or cost?
There are two options for long distance and overseas shipping: ocean carriers and air. Ocean carriers, while slower (taking weeks to reach their destinations), is the cheaper option by far. Air shipping, however, has the outright advantage of speed. Deciding between fast deliveries or cost-savings can be a thorny issue for companies, especially in the tech industry.
High tech generally has a short shelf life. For example, mobile phones tend to be in the market for only 6 to 9 months. With such short lifespans, companies want to make the most of their product launches, and waiting weeks for an ocean carrier to deliver their products often doesn’t make logical sense. With these small time to market windows, many lean toward air shipping. While air has the advantage of speed, it comes at a huge price. This type of delivery can cost up to 10 times more than ocean carriers. This ‘ouch’ factor can be difficult to reconcile for many companies. For small companies or startups, in particular, the price of air shipping may simply be out of reach. Nonetheless, when timing is paramount, air shipping may be the best solution.
3. Do you need a white glove service?
Like being unexpectedly bumped up to first-class on a flight, one way to make customers feel valued is to offer them white-glove service. Technology, like sound systems and home theatres, are excellent additions to any home, but can be difficult to set up due to their weight and delicate pieces. Most customers have little experience in handling and setting up these types of high tech items, and a company that goes the extra mile for them would likely remain top-of-mind when it’s time for their next purchase or for recommendations to friends.
White glove service drastically reduces the amount of work customers need to do before enjoying their new purchases. This type of service can cover any of the following:
- Coordinating proper transport on behalf of the customer. Bulky, oddly shaped and large items need special transportation, which can be difficult for customers to source themselves.
- Carrying the items into the customer’s chosen room, even if it’s upstairs.
- Have trained personnel install the products to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Positioning the items within a room to the customer’s satisfaction.
- Removing and recycling leftover packaging.
Offering unique, innovative products is wonderful, but in today’s ultra-competitive tech industry it’s often not enough to impress consumers. Remember: a customer’s experience with your product doesn’t just start when they first use your product, it begins at the delivery stage. How they’re treated here will influence how they feel about their purchase and whether they buy from you again. So go ahead, turn on the charm and make them feel special.
4. Is your delivery partner actively minimizing the risk of in-transit theft?
As with any valuable and highly desired items, high tech items can be very susceptible to theft, which is why it’s important to choose a delivery partner wisely. To start, look for a provider who has an excellent reputation. Here are some questions to consider when looking for a highly reputable provide:
- Do they conduct comprehensive background checks on all of their employees?
- Do they offer real-time tracking of your shipments en route?
- Do they have established procedures in place to trace missing items?
- Do you have a detailed contract in place with them specifying how your items will be transported and handled from pick-up to delivery?
Once these logistics are taken care of, there are the physical warehouses to consider. Make sure the shipper has advanced security equipment inside and outside their warehouses. Some things to look for:
- State-of-the-art security equipment (e.g., cameras, motion detectors, perimeter protection, etc.);
- Security guards patrolling the grounds and inside the warehouse;
- And good lighting throughout to deter theft.
Finally, establish detailed in-transit safety procedures for your deliveries beforehand.
- Decide on how your goods will be described on the documentation. Consider keeping the descriptions generic so as not to give away the contents’ value.
- Minimizing the amount of handoffs in-transit will further protect your shipments. The more times a shipment is loaded on and off a carrier means more exposure to theft or damage.
- Reduce the amount of time your high tech products are sitting in any one place—this is when shipments are most vulnerable to theft.
- Set maximum shipment sizes and value to contain the impact of any potential loss.
5. Is your delivery partner safeguarding your products in-transit?
The final step to ensuring the integrity of your high tech shipments is securing a partner that gives you peace of mind in-transit. High tech equipment is costly and damages can quickly eat away at profit margins, so having a shipping partner that’s optimizing their delivery capabilities—in other words, giving you the white glove treatment—is essential. Here’s what to look for:
Pallet integrity and configuration:
- First, make sure the shipper is using pallets approved by the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association. Damaged pallets can easily harm shipments, so using sturdy, functioning ones is crucial.
- Second, pallet configuration can also affect your shipment’s integrity. For instance, heavy loads should be placed on the bottom to avoid crushing lighter, delicate loads.
- Also, simply adding extra padding to pallets can greatly pave the way to a smoother delivery.
There are several innovative ways technology can protect your shipments in-transit:
- Impact sensors placed inside packages can immediately detect if your packages are being compromised.
- Sensory tags alert crew members in real-time of potential damage, allowing them to address the issue immediately.
- Shock loggers can accurately measure the shock, tilt, vibration and roll of your shipments. They can also monitor temperature and humidity—imperative when products need to be kept dry and cool.1
Shipping your high tech equipment with confidence
If you think of the lifecycle of high tech products as a journey, then moving along the beginning and middle of the path are companies who are spending enormous resources and time to develop the most innovative, game changing technologies. And standing at the final destination are customers eagerly anticipating these products. The shippers, then, are the bridge that connects the two. They’re the important final step in the journey to getting these prized items to their intended users. Therefore, you want a shipping partner that instills confidence—through their handling and protection of your goods, to whether they offer white-glove service to both you and your customers. Finally, find a shipper that delivers your shipments at a speed that suits your needs and budget. By utilizing these five tips, you’ll secure a great experience for your high tech customers, right to their front door.