My question is, how do you deal with shipping in the summer time since it's so hot? Inside the delivery trucks are probably even hotter!
I am looking to sell a bundle box containing lotions, bath items, and some edibles like dark chocolate to make kind of a "spa box". I don't want my customers to end up with melted treats, separated lotions, or anything leaking because they liquified. Thanks in advance for any help!
I'm Michael from Shopify-partner, Fulfillrite.com. We run a fulfillment center for e-commerce order fulfillment, so we ge this kind of thing from time to time. Our warehouse is minimally temperature controlled (doesn't get too hot in summer or too cold in winter, but it isn't like being in room-temperature) which works great for the products we ship. However, we are very careful before accepting temperature-sensitive items at Fulfillrite for just that reason. If you use a fulfilment service, always choose a fulfillment center that specializes in handling temperature sensitive items.
In any event, here are a few things for you to consider:
1. The integrity of your packaging. I understand chocolates can melt in heat, but lotions should be able to hold up fairly well if packaged correctly. Test your items yourself and see how well they hold up. If they won't hold up in the heat, chances are, the quality of the packaging will cause other problems as well, such as breakage, spilling, etc. That's a mess you definitely don't want!
2. Scheduling shipments. At our fulfillment business, our carriers come at the end of the day. We are able to maintain warehouse temperature until the items are picked up each day. We know that by the time the products are picked up, they won't be sitting in the truck long, and will be in the carrier's distribution center relatively shortly. Schedule your pickups for the end of the day if you can.
3. Keep it inside. We never leave any products outside at any time of year. Make sure that if you are shipping it yourself, you aren't leaving your products outside. They should be left inside and picked up from your warehouse, or the fulfillment center.
4. Finally, you should consider substituting comfort gifts in the summer. Changing up your offerings is a great marketing tool in any case, and folks understand that you wouldn't send chocolates in the summer. Find a great summery comfort item to send and keep your seasons fresh and exciting.
Hope this helps. Best of luck to you, and let me know if I can help with any other fulfillment or shipping related questions!
This is a great question! We have a lot of subscription boxes that we handle over at ShipMonk, and with warehouses in Florida and Southern California, you can believe that it gets mighty toasty at times. :)
That said, you'd be surprised just how resilient chocolate can be during shipment. There are a few things that will dramatically affect the likelihood that your customer receives something other than a melted ball of goo.
Michael touched on a lot of things here. If you are shipping with a fulfillment center, you'll want to make sure that they have a climate controlled area. Most excellent fulfillment centers do. If you're shipping yourself, you actually have an even bigger advantage. You should be able to literally refrigerate the chocolate. If it starts cold, it stays colder for longer. Start from a good temperature!
Next, you'll want to consider packaging. There are two things you can do here that will make a world of difference. First, over-pack. Give your chocolate significantly more space than you otherwise would need, since the amount of space inside the box will cause it to warm more slowly. Second, bubble wrap is actually very useful, especially if you can get the variety that is covered in mylar, as this will act to insulate against heat.
You're looking at a nominal expense if you go it alone: invest in some larger cardboard boxes for your subscription box (if that's an option), refrigerate your chocolate ahead of time, and buy some mylar bubble wrap. Alternatively, if you've grown significantly by then, you can speak with a fulfillment center to take care of this for you.
Either way, you sound like you're well on your way. Good luck out there!