How to Ship Bicycles: Keep These Tips in Mind
Summer has arrived and the weather is right for a bike ride. Consequently, bicycle retailers are seeing an increase in orders. That’s the good news. However, shipping bicycles poses some unique challenges.
For example, bikes are fairly expensive and easy to steal, which makes them a favorite target of thieves. They are also oddly shaped and subject to damage. These factors and others make it important that they be properly packaged. Unfortunately, as the number of orders that retailers are handling climbs, it is not uncommon for packers to start taking shortcuts.
And, the challenges are magnified for businesses that are new to shipping bikes. They want to do it right, but like all companies, want to save money where they can.
Safety & Security: What’s at Stake When Shipping Bicycles and Bike Parts?
It is important for businesses to carefully consider how they ship bicycles and bike parts. Why? There are a number of reasons. One is that many bike components — wheel spokes, shift mechanisms, etc. — are subject to damage in transit. Another, as noted above, is that bikes are attractive to thieves, and those in poorly sealed packages that make it easy for criminals to “tear and go” are even more so.
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Also, if damage or theft occurs, a company can lose more than just the cost of the bicycle. Unhappy customers may be quick to share their displeasure through social media, which can do long-term damage to a business’s reputation.
3 Ways to Protect Your Bike Shipments
Here are three proven tactics for helping ensure that the bicycles you ship reach their destination safely and damage-free:
- Use a strong shipping carton and proper padding. Corrugated cardboard containers work well for most shipments. Inside, ample bubble wrap or an eco-friendly alternative can ensure the bike doesn’t shift during shipping.
- Use the right packing tape. Water-activated tape (WAT) creates an extremely strong seal, is effective with just one strip, and shows signs of tampering, which makes thieves think twice. Plus, WAT can be branded, which makes for a better overall buyer experience. Like Amazon’s logo tape, it can create a powerful sense of anticipation and excitement in the recipient.
- Understand your options with shipping insurance. By one estimate, 30 percent of Americans say they have experienced package theft, and it is reasonable to expect that number to grow as the trend toward online shopping continues. Consequently, every business should look into shipping insurance. Other smart strategies include taking advantage of package tracking options and requiring a signature upon delivery.
The True Cost of Shipping a Bike
While it may cost a little more to ship a bicycle the right way, the cost of failing to do so can be much higher. You can help control the “right way” cost by making it fast and efficient for packers to prepare a bike for shipment. For example, if you use WAT, you should be sure that you are using the right dispenser for your needs. (Use our flowchart to help with your decision.) You should also take steps to maximize packing station safety and efficiency.
Finding the right carrier for your shipments is crucial as well. Bulk shipping through a major carrier may be the best option in some cases, while working with a niche carrier may make more sense in others.
Once You Get Rolling with Your Bike Shipping Practices…
The great thing about the time and effort you put into updating your bicycle shipping practices is that those processes will continue to pay dividends for years to come. Interested in learning more about water-activated tape, water-activated tape dispensers, and other products to meet your shipping needs? Contact us today!
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