Are you still using padded mailers?

The recent shift to shape-based postage has made padded mailers an expensive way to reach clients. Under the old pricing system, these mailers represented an eco­nomic packaging option by protecting con­tents without requiring box assembly. This former efficiency helped catapult the mail­ers into a $1 billion industry, accounting for roughly 2% of the US mail stream in 2006.

Today, most of these packages classify as parcels and carry a 33-cent rate increase compared to same-weight flats, the result of two new rules instituted by the US Postal Service to promote automated processing.

Since May 2006, when the USPS announced the move to shape-based pricing,we have worked with fulfillment houses and end users to minimize the impact on mailing costs.

During that time, we’ve concluded that the padded mailer has become something of a dinosaur. Sales kits, for instance, don’t need the added protection of a padded mailer, but many firms use this packaging out of hab­it. The 33-cent postal rate increase offers a strong incentive to search for other options.

Many companies are now turning to ex­pansion envelopes and mailers. Construct­ed with strategic folds to conform to differ­ent volumes of content, these packaging options reduce the need for multiple enve­lope capacities. Paperboard versions com­bine the protection of a padded envelope in an automation-friendly design that reduces postage and fulfillment costs.

These expandable packaging options also offer greater opportunity for brand promo­tion. Unlike their padded counterparts, these mailers can be custom printed to pro­mote your firm. Expansion envelopes also reduce fulfillment costs because of their compatibility with standard inserter ma­chines, compared to padded mailers, which require manual insertion.

Six months into shape-based pricing, the era of the padded mailer is drawing to a close. Fortunately, the market already offers a versatile, cost-effective alternative: the ex­pansion envelope.

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