Summer heat is great for beachgoers, ice cream parlors, and pool parties, but not all celebrate the sunshine when higher temperatures set in. If you own an ecommerce brand with products that can be negatively affected by warmer temperatures, then shipping in hot weather can be a hazard.
ShipMonk does everything possible to meet the needs of a wide assortment of ecommerce brands and their products. From choosing the right shipping carrier to getting your orders out to customers faster, to utilizing the proper dunnage, you can count on us to never melt under the pressure.
When it comes to hot weather shipping, we know the risks. So check out six sizzling main methods we advise for safely shipping in hot weather.
At-Risk Items Related to Hot Weather Shipping
Getting a warm product in the mail is a very big problem depending on what it is. Hot weather shipping poses different restrictions to different ecommerce brands, but managing warmer temperatures in general is pivotal for the satisfaction and safety of the purchase. Here are the three major categories of goods affected by shipping in hot weather.
1.) Foods, Beverages, & Candy
If you order a 5lb wheel of cheese and it is not kept at the right temperature or delivered under the right conditions, your ecommerce brand, the shipping carrier, and your customer can have a stinky problem. Edible/drinkable products that are not kept under a controlled environment not only get ruined; they put the safety of your customers at risk. You don’t want people linking your ecommerce brand to bad or spoiled inventory that makes people sick after all.
Keep in mind that different foods and drinks will have varying degrees of issues with hot weather shipping. Dairy, meat products, and chocolate, for example, are higher-risk items than sodas, shortbread cookies, and jerky.
2.) Fragrances, Lotions, & Cosmetics
These types of products don’t just “spoil” like foods do. Heat and direct sunlight can alter the chemical bonds that make up the formulas for these goods. Altered formulas equal ruined products, which is a two-fold problem.
On the one hand you have lotions or fragrances that may smell bad or have had their oils and other ingredients separated. On the other hand, as a lot of cosmetics can be expensive, if your ecommerce brand does not pay special attention to hot weather shipping issues, you could really hurt your margins with returns and refunds.
3.) Health & Medical Products
Not all health and medical products are going to freak out from exposure to some summer warmth. However, certain products like probiotics, gel pills, and prescription washes or creams (like standard lotions) can be quite sensitive to heat. Gel pills, in particular, face threats during hot weather shipping. These little guys can melt and stick together in higher temperatures. Regardless of how great your ecommerce brand is, if you have a customer that opens a bottle to find a melded-together mess of pills, the likelihood of them buying from you again looks about as good as that mass would.
Solutions for Shipping in Hot Weather
Every product, like every ecommerce brand, has unique needs. Even in sub categories like “perishable goods” the requirements vary because a matter of 1/2 a degree can make a huge difference. We highly recommend staying up to date on all FDA requirements for your goods at all times. For goods that require that extra attention, here are our six overarching recommendations for shipping in hot weather effectively.
1.) Use Cold Packs
Single-use cold packs are your best bet for protecting perishable products when it comes to shipping in hot weather. These come in many forms such as traditional frozen packs, gel packs, even liquid nitrogen packs that fill your boxes with a frosty level of protection. Depending on how far an ecommerce order is traveling will determine which of these options is best for your needs. Complementary cold packaging to seal in that coldness include different forms of:
- Insulated Shipping Kits
- Insulated Shippers
- Insulated Box Liners
Distance and time to reach a destination will determine how many packs you need past that. Getting an ecommerce order from one side of the city to another is very different from getting it from one state to another. As even the most powerful cold packs only last between 24 to 48 hours, your choice of shipping method will play an even greater role in hot weather shipping security.
2.) Choose a Fast Shipping Option
Faster shipping may cost extra, but in the case of protecting your products (and thus your ecommerce brand’s reputation), you need to do what’s necessary to ensure perishable products reach customers in upstanding conditions. As such, if you normally send products with standard or more economy shipping times (5 – 7 days, 7 – 10 days, etc.) those are not acceptable shipping times for the product categories listed above. Instead, utilizing faster shipping options like overnight and 2-day shipping becomes a must. In order to best use expedited services like 2-day shipping affordably, check out our tips for cost-effective 2-day shipping now.
3.) Split Inventory Across Key Locations
A hot tip for getting perishable products to customers quickly (thus safely) is keeping them closer to customers so the goods don’t have as far to travel. ShipMonk has 12 state-of-the-art locations in optimized shipping zones to minimize order distance to your key demographics. If you take advantage of that extended network, expedited shipping of products in hot weather poses a significantly smaller problem logistically and financially.
4.) Use the Right Labeling
If your ecommerce brand ships out a ceramic vase without a “FRAGILE” sticker on it, can you really blame a shipping carrier if the postman launches it over your front gate onto your driveway? They didn’t know it could break. In the same logic, if a delivery person puts that 5lb wheel of cheese we mentioned on the curb in the summer sun and doesn’t ring the doorbell, can you blame them for that carelessness if the box didn’t have a “PERISHABLE” or “TEMP SENSITIVE” type of sticker? Well, maybe a little lol. Because why not ring the doorbell, right? But that’s not the point.
Stickers and labels provide extra vital info to shipping carriers about how to handle your ecommerce brand’s goods. From the people who pack the boxes in the warehouse to truck drivers, to final delivery folks, they all need to be in the know with bright, clearly visible cues about the perishable nature of what’s inside a box. You, as the ecommerce brand owner, need to provide your shipping and fulfillment centers with these types of labels and instructions for the SKUs that require them to ensure every at-risk order is properly identified.
5.) Keep A Clear Line of Communication
Whether we’re talking dunnage, method of transportation, shipping speed, or even how products are slotted within shipping and fulfillment centers, it’s important that ecommerce brands keep a clear line of communication with their 3PL team. At ShipMonk, our tech-enhanced shipping and fulfillment centers cater to a huge range of ecommerce brands.
We want you to be happy, which means making your customers happy with accurate, efficiently and safely shipped orders. Pricing for special adjustments may vary, but we’re more than happy to customize how different products are packaged. So be sure to reach out to us with your requirements and we’ll honor them at every turn. ShipMonk has FDA-registered fulfillment centers that are equipped to handle the precise needs of products that require special treatment.
6.) Refrigerate Products Before Shipping
There’s no such thing as being too careful when it comes to hot weather shipping. If you have products that could be negatively impacted by shipping in hot weather in any way, it may be wise to freeze or refrigerate your goods in coolers before they are sent out. Naturally, not all products require intense amounts of cold (a cosmetic, for instance, may just as easily be warped by too much cold as too much heat). However, a lower-temp room within a fulfillment center, a refrigerated truck, or other cooling method that makes your product cool before it even enters its shipping phase will mean it stays cool longer. Hence why, at ShipMonk, all eight of our US-based fulfillment centers are FDA certified and compliant. You never have to worry about your precious products having a meltdown at our facilities!
Hot Weather Shipping for the Coolest Ecommerce Brands
There are a ton of shipping topics that ecommerce brands have to pay attention to each day. Normally the priorities are related to speed and cost, but when seasons change priorities can change, or at the very least they can expand. Shipping in hot weather poses significant high stakes to ecommerce brands from a variety of industries. One may even say the higher the temperature the higher the stakes.
ShipMonk is passionate about helping brands of all sizes across verticals with mastering the shipping realm with our smokin’ fulfillment services, hot cutting-edge technology, and warm, caring Client Success team. We hope the above advice has helped you think of hot weather shipping solutions. If you would like to talk more about your ecommerce brand’s needs for shipping in hot weather, shipping in general, or anything else related to fulfillment, we’re here for you. Contact the ShipMonk team to work with us; all the coolest and hottest brands do. 🙂