Poly Mailers are a popular choice for many e-commerce sellers, and for good reason. Poly mailers are extremely cheap, lightweight, and take up less space than boxes. They’re perfect for non-fragile items like apparel and work really well with the USPS First Class Package shipping service.
Be careful with Poly Mailers
Poly mailers aren’t perfect, however. If you go real cheap on them, they have a tendency to tear and rip while being shipped to their destination, and they can be a pain to process at the post office. The post office sorts and ships tons and tons of packages daily, with a lot of machining and scanning involved in the process. For all the machines and automation used, if there’s one thing the machines don’t like, it’s a poly mailer that isn’t properly filled. An improperly filled poly mailer has spots where it’s completely flat and unfilled, with thin flips that can get caught in machinery or prevent the shipping labels from getting scanned properly. Stiffer poly mailers that are lined with bubble wrap (but are heavier and more expensive) can help you avoid many of these pitfalls. If you look at USPS Flat Rate Envelopes, they are either rigid or lined with bubble wrap, so there are no flat parts that can fold and get caught in machinery.
With this said, my point is that poly mailers are great but have some pitfalls which can lead to your package getting stuck in the mail process or can have it take longer to get where it needs to go. In the future, USPS may even start incurring penalties and consequences for shipping improperly filled Poly Mailers.
To summarize everything you need to know about poly mailers:
- Poly mailers are a great way to save money on shipping packaging and even rates due to their light weight.
- Spend a bit extra to get a reputable brand of poly mailer. A small increase in price can increase the quality of your poly mailers greatly. Cheap poly mailers tear easily.
- Consider bubble wrap lined poly mailers to make sure they’re rigid and don’t flop around.
- If you do use standard poly mailers, make sure your order completely fills the bag, or you have something to fill it up like packing peanuts.
- Due to the automation of USPS sorting, reading, and shipping of packages, if your package isn’t filled properly, it can require extra processing and risk delaying package delivery.
- While nothing exists currently, USPS might set guidelines and rules for poly mailers and consequences for improperly filled poly mailers in the near future.
This should give you a good rundown of poly mailers, their usefulness, and pitfalls to avoid if you do decide to use them in your shipping process. The savings over boxes can really add up, and anywhere you can save money on shipping is always good to know.