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Shipping Perishable Items

Updated: 2 days ago

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Perishable items are products that are fresh until they reach the consumer. With various delivery options now available, online purchases of perishable goods are becoming increasingly popular. As an industry whole, online grocery shopping grew 53% in 2020, and although not all grocery shopping is considered perishable, it does make up a significant portion. This includes meat, vegetables, dairy products, and even prescription drugs.

Meeting Customer Expectations

Perishable items can be shipped in a variety of ways in addition to quick delivery and online pick up in-store e-commerce. Whenever you ship perishable items, you must determine how long the item will remain fresh. Be aware of the high standards consumers have for products. A product with a shelf life of 5 days, for example, would not be suitable for ground shipment across the country. Such a product would not even be edible once it arrives. You should not expect your items to be edible just one day after shipping; they should remain edible for multiple days after shipping.

If your business is taking the leap and plans to ship your perishable items, here are three ways to do it more efficiently:

Select the Right Packaging

In the case of a shipment of goods across the country, how will the products remain fresh until they are delivered to the consumer? Similarly, as when shipping fragile items, perishable shippers must rely on packaging more than most companies. Every perishable sector needs different types of packaging. Food needs packaging to keep it cool. The pharmaceutical industry is specific to the drug industry and is usually temperature controlled. Milk, Juice, and Alcohol also require particular temperatures and shipping time to make sure it arrives on time. Therefore, companies need to be careful about packing their products and take precautionary steps, including using insulated containers, plastic liners, and coolants.

Train for a Logistics Nightmare

Logistics when shipping perishable items is tricky. The importance of preparing yourself for the possibility of a small parcel delivery being delayed severely cannot be overstated. For example, if a shipment typically takes three days to get your products to your consumer, and a delay makes it six days, the goods could be expired or damaged when it reaches the consumer. Having a backup plan to your backup plan is a must. One melted pint of ice cream or one moldy item, and your reputation is on the line. The perishable industry is growing. It is an equitable business model, but it can quickly go awry if you're unprepared.

Leverage Technology

Having the right technology is crucial to any e-commerce shipper, particularly when shipping perishable goods. While any technology stack used for e-commerce is beneficial, a shipping solution will make shipping perishables much more efficient. A unique feature of DesktopShipper utilizes business rules set by your team to notify an employee of the order's perishable status during the packing or processing of an order. This helps reduce errors and streamline the shipping process. DesktopShipper's real-time rate shopping feature also sets perimeters for perishable SKUs, so scanned items will ship based on the lowest carrier rates or transit times - a necessity when items have to be shipped within a certain period.

Not just any technology will do the job for these types of businesses. Reliable technology is the way to go: ship smart, ship with DesktopShipper.


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