How to Pack and Post Your Item Properly - AusPost Guide

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Want to pack your item securely? What are the correct address formats? Minimize on additional weight from packaging material? Which material is best? etc...
Just about every Aussie seller uses AusPost for domestic and a fair share of international deliveries.
This guide is primarily aimed at sellers - although buyers may also find it useful.

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General eBay Shipping Tips


  • Offer as many options as possible - Registered, ExpressPost, ExpressPost Platinum, Regular, Courier.
  • If it is a valuable item that is small in size; clearly explain to your buyers which services offer insurance, tracking, etc.
  • If it is a high-value item then I suggest you only offer services recognized by PayPal - such as Registered Mail, eParcel, or private Courier. EXPRESS POST / PLATINUM / REGULAR IS NOT RECOGNISED BY PAYPAL at all, you will lose the PayPal dispute if a buyer disputes with PayPal that your high priced item was not delivered; even if you give them a picture of the buyer physically holding the item. :)
  • Allow buyers to choose their own courier service if they want to, e.g. DHL, StarTrack Express, etc...
  • Allow for postage discounts if the buyer purchases more than one item of similar weight - seriously you are not going to have to post each item separately, logically you will buy a bigger mailing box/satchel and send all the items in one go.
  • Always confirm with the buyer beforehand that they are sure they want the postage method they chose; explain the pros and cons of the shipping method, (e.g. if the buyer opts for regular mail for a high priced item, or opts for courier for a low priced item, etc.) in a personal email, or if your have Selling Manger Pro list it at the bottom of your invoice/shipping auto message.

Preparing Yourself with the Proper Packaging Supplies - Even Before Listing the Item

Think carefully on how you will post your item.

You know those sellers that JUST PAY, DON'T COMMUNICATE with you, and DON'T LEAVE FEEDBACK? Guess what?

SURPRISE! UP TO 60 DAYS LATER A BUYER CAN CLAIM that the item was damaged in transit, not delivered, the wrong item, etc!
If you:
  • Didn't use a recognized 'Proof of Postage' shipping method (i.e. Registered, eParcel, Courier)
  • Didn't keep/lost your receipts
  • Didn't 'describe your item in detail (to an acceptable eBay standard) - (e.g. you sold a box of chewing gum, but listed the item as a 'bulk lot of chewing gum.' The buyer can claim that they received a 'box of... newspaper, peanuts, etc...' but they really just ate the gum)
Then there is an even higher chance that the buyer can win the dispute (with eBay and/or PayPal), and you will be forced to refund the buyer months after they made the purchase - you would have well forgotten about the particular item too.


Small Durable Items

Small items that are already durable (e.g. books, documents), or items that already come in a case (e.g. CD's, DVD's, cases) have little need for any significant protection from in transit troubles. At most I suggest you will need to purchase:

  • Packaging Tape (and scissors)

AusPost has a wide selection of satchels, padded bags, and mailing boxes. There are also specialised cases for CD's, DVD's, VHS Tapes, etc. so you prebuy/walk-in and just pop in your item, seal it up and post it. If your Post Office is really nice you don't even have to seal it, just say "I want to post this, in this..." pay for the packaging material and the weight (postage fee), and they tape it up for you.

Items that are Worth a Fair Amount of Money: (but not necessarily fragile)


For items that are pretty durable on there own, but due to their value you want to give the buyer an 'impression that you packed it well and safe,' then I suggest you purchase:
  • Packaging Tape (and scissors) - Avoid flimsy 1cm wide tape. Try to use the 5cm wide rolls.
One or more of the following:
  • Bubble wrap
  • Foam packing peanuts
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Polystyrene balls
  • Stretch film
  • Polyfoam sheets
  • Polyfoam netting - commonly used to hold soft exotic fruits such as papayas
  • Plastic heat-sealable vacuum bags
And one of the following:
  • Tough Bag
  • Padded Bag
  • Mailing Box / Prepaid Box
  • Poly Mailer / Shurtuff / Jiffy Satchel / Poly Satchel (its just like the prepaid satchel material)
  • Prepaid Satchel
And optionally:
  • Fragile tape
  • Security Tape
And for a professional look:
  • Invoice sticker sleeves
  • Paper Cutter / Guilotine for Invoices
  • Tamper Evident Seals / Do Not Accept if Seal is Broken Tape
  • Delivery Address Labels
  • Return Address Labels
  • Custom Packaging - custom company logo / colours, etc instead of AusPost PostPak branded packaging
  • Custom Made Care/Maintenance Guide on how to take care of the item - great for attracting repeat buyers!
  • Custom Made Tips and Tricks guide, and recommended use of the item

How to Prepare the Item - Once It is Sold

Durable smallgoods are very straightforward, pop it in, seal and post.
I will concentrate on valuable/fragile goods.


Bubble Wrap


First, judge which direction you will wrap the item. For long items I find it best to wrap down the length of the item a few times, instead of many times around the width of the item (if that makes sense). For multiple items, I prefer to wrap each individually in 1 layer, then bunch them all together and wrap them all again in an outer layer.

BE SMART! It is best to keep on layering your item(s) in bubblewrap in order to fill all the space in the mailing package; thus minimizing movement of the item in transit. If the item is only lighthly wrapped, and only touches one side of the package, then its going to rotate, flip, shake violently while in transit, increasing the chances of it being damaged - remember that more movement = more force on the bubblewrap = higher chance of the bubbles popping (yes they do pop). So remember, layer your item in bubblewrap and fill to the edges!

For invoices (you should all include one with your posted item), if you have a sticker sleeve you can simply stick it on the bubblewrap, never stick the sleeve on the package unless it is a box. If you don't have sticker sleeves be sure to place in invoice underneath before layering with bubblewrap.

Padded Mailers

Remember that these have only a single layer of bubblewrap on each side of the mailer - the bubbles are 4.8mm thick. So if you're in a rush, and opt for these, remember to always choose the mailer that just fits your item in it, too small and all the bubbles will pop as you force it in, too big and they will all pop as the item jiggles around inside all that empty space.

Buying BubbleWrap


Believe it or not there are different sizes for bubblewrap. Most people are familiar with the standard small bubbles  (4.8mm thick). Did you know you can get larger? I generally use 13mm bubbles as think about it for a second, the wider the bubbles are in diameter, the taller they are in height (try to visualize it, hehe), thus you need less layers of bubblewrap, and thus you save on packaging material costs and time. Remember when you buy bubblewrap, your money generally goes towards the amount of plastic you are using, not the amount of air in the bubbles. :)


Foam Packing Peanuts / Polystyrene Balls

Peanuts are little cylinder shaped pieces of foam. Polystyrene balls are balls about 4mm in diameter.
They are quick and easy to use, but are very bulky and cannot be bought from a Post Office. only specialist packaging suppliers in large 500L bags.

All you need to do is
  • Get a box
  • Pour some peanuts/balls in to make a good amount of bottom layer
  • Place the item in the center of the bottom layer
  • Fill around and over the top until the box is full and seal
Peanuts/balls are great as their loose nature allows for movement to occur around your item. In transit the peanuts will shuffle around your item, but your item will generally stay fixed in the center.


How to Package the Item Afterwards


Polymailers

This is what the prepaid ExpressPost / Registered Satchel bags are essentially. If you are sending a parcel (that is, anything that is not letters/documents), then this is a great way of getting around the cubing rule (length x height x width), and its limit of 105cm in total of the 3 sides. Also cardboard/mailing boxes weigh significantly more than polymailers.

Make sure when you pack the item that not sharp corners/ends are protruding/uncovered as the tradeoff of these polymailers is that they easily rip if they suffer a piercing force.

For PrePaid Satchels it is only good to buy these when your item is within 500g under the prepaid weight allowance. (e.g. if you buy a 3kg satchel for an item weighing 501g-1000g, its much better for you to just send the item as a non-prepaid parcel, as they will weigh it and it will be charged as a parcel weighing 500-1000g, instead of you paying for a 3kg satchel.

Mailing Boxes

These are great for anything bulky, or significantly heavy.
A great tip my local PO taught me, if you buy those AusPost PostPak Mailing Boxes, cut off a bit/all of the inner flaps that you fold - it can save up to 200g in weight!

For PrePaid Boxes it is only good to buy these when your item is within 1Kg under the prepaid weight allowance. e.g. if you buy a 10kg box for an item weighing 5kg-6kg (you just missed out on the 5kg box), thats a waste of money. It's better for you to just send the item in a non-prepaid box, as they will weigh it and it will be charged as a parcel weighing 5000g-6000g, instead of you paying for a 10kg box (a waste of 4 kg's!).


How To Avoid Your Item From Being Delivered to the Wrong Address / Return to Sender


Always write clearly and legibly the delivery address of the recipient. It is even better (and more professional) to buy a label printing system / those Avery Label Packs w/ software to ensure that the address is clearly readable.
I have gathered these formats from both my friend who works in the Business Distribution center nearby, and my favorite Post Office workers.

Residential Address

This is the format:

Name --->                                   Flippy Star                                                            <---- Bold the Name of the Recipient
Street Name ---->                        123 Guide Grove                                                  
Suburb , STATE---->                    PlaceVille, NSW                                                     (abbreviations for states: NSW, QLD, WA, SA, NT, TAS, VIC, ACT)                         
Postal Code ---->                         2000                                               

PO Boxes / Locked Bags

This is the format:

Name --->                                                         Flippy Star                                                            <---- Bold the Name of the Recipient
Locked Bag / PO Box Number ---->                    PO BOX 123                                                  
Suburb of Post Office , STATE---->                      PostTown, NSW                                               (abbreviations for states: NSW, QLD, WA, SA, NT, TAS, VIC, ACT)                         
Postal Code of Post Office ---->                           2000                    

Business Buildings / Office Blocks

This is the format:

Name --->                                                           Smiley Face Pie Offices                                                           <---- Bold the Name of the Company / Building
Recipient--->                                                        c/o Flippy Star                                                                           <---- Name of the Recipient (c/o means in the care of)
Level (Optional) ---->                                            Level 3                            
Suburb , STATE---->                                            OfficeLand, NSW                                                                          (abbreviations for states: NSW, QLD, WA, SA, NT, TAS, VIC, ACT)                         
Postal Code ---->                                                 2000

Hotels / Caravan Parks / Holiday Parks

This is the format:

Name --->                                                           3Star Serviced Apartments                                                        <---- Bold the Name of the Company / Building
Recipient--->                                                        c/o Flippy Star                                                                              <---- Name of the Recipient (c/o means in the care of)                        
Suburb , STATE---->                                            VacationLand, NSW                                                                          (abbreviations for states: NSW, QLD, WA, SA, NT, TAS, VIC, ACT)                         
Postal Code ---->                                                 2000

Government Buildings / Military Facilities

This is the format:

Name --->                                                           Flippy Star                                                            <---- Bold the Name of the Recipient
Section  ---->                                                       Section 123A (Security Division)
Sector / Area ---->                                               Discretion Sector
Level ---->                                                           Level 3                                             
Street Name ---->                                                987 Trust Way        
Suburb, STATE---->                                            LockDownTown, NSW                                               (abbreviations for states: NSW, QLD, WA, SA, NT, TAS, VIC, ACT)                         
Postal Code ---->                                                2000                                  

Law Firms

This is the format:

Name --->                                Flippy Star
Section  ---->                            Barrister's List  (List D)
Sector / Area ---->                    Legal Chambers
Level ---->                                Level 2
Street Name ---->                     987 Law Way
Suburb , STATE---->                 Manipulation Grove, NSW
Postal Code ---->                      2000

Military Barracks

This is the format:

Name --->                            c/o Flippy Star
Sector---->                           K104
Sector / Area ---->                Foxtrot Lines
Barracks ---->                       Chinook Barracks
Suburb, STATE---->              Mtown, NSW
Postal Code ---->                  2000


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