With COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc on our social practices, many of us are struggling to feel connected with our friends and families. Step up your virtual hugs by sending out stuffed animals to your loved ones! Toy businesses are booming with all the kids (and adults) stuck at home, so learning how to ship stuffed animals and plushies is important to those businesses as well. Whether it’s to a customer or a loved one, learn how to send a smile and a squeeze here.
Package Your Stuffed Animals Thoughtfully
For a basic, smaller-size stuffed animal shipment, all you’ll really need to worry about is protecting your item. You can do this either by using a waterproof poly mailer or wrapping the toy in plastic wrap. The only thing after is to add bubble wrap around the stuffed animal to protect it during transit.
Anything beyond this requires a little more thought, but that’s okay! Here are the ways you can level up this basic shipment to fit your needs:
- If you’re shipping out a bulkier plushy, consider popping it into a space-saver ziplock to make it more compact. This will only really matter if you’re shipping something weighing over a pound. If you’re under a pound, you’ll just need to find a poly mailer that fits the item.
- If you’re shipping out a large amount of stuffed animals, a box might be a better way to ship. Basically, you’ll line a box with bubble wrap, and toss your toys in from largest to smallest. Add a layer of bubble wrap at the top and seal your box with waterproof packing tape. Depending on what you’re sending out, consider poking some small holes into your box to allow air circulation during transit.
- If you’re shipping out anything of high value or with a battery compartment, do not skimp on packaging! Be sure to use a waterproof bag with bubble wrap, then put that into a box for extra protection.
The main thing to worry about is packaging your stuffed animal in a way that protects the toy without damaging it.
Pro Tip: If you’re shipping out larger boxes, watch out for dimensional weight charges! If you’re shipping anything weighing more than a pound and larger than your standard teddy bear, be sure to double-check your shipment for dimensional weight and vacuum pack your shipments to reduce its size. The smaller your package is, the more likely you’ll be to avoid any dimensional charges, which can be very expensive.
Match a Shipping Service to Your Stuffed Animal Shipment
When choosing a shipping carrier, you’ll be best shipping stuffed animals and plushies with the Postal Service. USPS is the premier carrier smaller, lighter shipments, and will always offer the cheapest shipping rates. There are a couple of different USPS service options to consider here, which do have an impact on what kind of packaging you’ll use for your shipment:
- First Class Package Service will be great for anything less than 18″ in any direction and weighing less than a pound. For these shipments, a bit of bubble wrap and a poly mailer will do the trick.
- Priority Mail will be the next option for anything over a pound. The only thing to watch for is larger, more lightweight shipments. These might incur dimensional weight charges after you buy postage, so the best way to avoid this is by vacuum sealing your larger stuffed animals and keeping your package as small as you can make it.
In any case, keep in mind that a standard box will weigh between 2-5 ounces. If your item is hovering below a pound, opt for a poly mailer to meet First Class Package Service requirements. Anything over a pound will ship well with Priority Mail, at which point using a box won’t affect the cost of postage for your shipment.
Use Online Shipping Software to Save the Most Cash
We chatted about First Class Package Service and Priority Mail above, but there’s lot more to those services if you choose to use online shipping software to buy postage for your stuffed animal shipments!
With First Class Package, the first thing to note is that you can ship up to 16 ounces if you’re using online software that allows access to commercial discounts through USPS. On top of that higher limit, you can save up to 59% on postage. What’s not to like there?
Priority Mail is a little more juicy here, with a whole new service available with the help of online shipping software: Priority Mail Cubic. This service is based on the dimensions of your shipment, rather than the weight. This will be a huge help if you ship small, heavier plushies, like Beanie Babies for instance (remember those?). Priority Mail Cubic will save you up to 90% on what you pay at the Post Office. On top of that, you’ll save up to 40% on what you pay for regular weight-based Priority Mail Services by buying postage online.
One more thing – with online shipping software, you can schedule contactless, free pickups from the comfort of your home. This way, you can take care of yourself and continue to run your business or connect with your loved ones. All that said, buying postage online is a huge tool to use during this time of quarantine and social-distancing. With these savings through USPS, you can send out boxes of happiness to those in your life without breaking the bank.
When in Doubt, Take it Step by Step
This guide is stuffed (stuffed…animals, get it?) with information, but as long as you take things step-by-step, you’ll pick this up quick. Just remember to think about what you’re shipping and the service you’d like to use, and the way you package your shipment will naturally fall into place.