Types of Shipping Boxes & Where to Use Them

This post may contain affiliate links. Feel free to view my disclosure here.

Types of shipping boxes to use

For many business operators, shipping boxes are an essential part of sales. Experienced sellers know this and that associated costs can quickly add up. Therefore, it is wise to seize every opportunity to cut down on expenses involved in shipping.

However, shipping items is not limited only to sellers, so whether you run a business or are just someone shipping presents or other items or valuables to friends or family, packing boxes is an essential skill you need to acquire. Of course, the type of shipping box you use will depend on the product you are shipping. In order to ensure that your items arrive safely, you will need to consider different types of shipping boxes and which is more cost effective and suitable for the product you are delivering. In this article, we will be going over the shipping boxes used on eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, and OfferUp. You might ask, is it better to use the USPS boxes, or are your own regular boxes preferable? Let’s find out.

First, let’s consider using these shipping boxes individually, highlighting their advantages and downsides.

Use Of USPS Boxes

The use of USPS (United States Postal Service) boxes, whether flat rate or priority mail, large and small, is a common solution for a good number of retail traders when it comes to shipping items, regardless of the size, weight, or destination. These boxes (especially flat rate) are heavy-duty and are designed to protect items in transit, offering some level of convenience to retailers. But the downside to such convenience is that it comes at a price, especially for items that weigh less than 20 pounds. A large or medium-sized flat rate box might cost you as much as $9.3 extra to ship. Where flat rate boxes are put in use, standardized rates are applied. Fundamentally, shipping costs across all the shipping zones are the same, notwithstanding the size and weight of the package.

Another downside to using USPS boxes for shipping is that these boxes are branded with USPS materials. This can result in a negative impact, especially for sellers, sending the wrong message to the mind of their buyers. With such branding, your business may lose an opportunity to delight customers with custom-branded packaging that could help reinforce customer loyalty and brand name.

Use Of Your Own Regular Boxes

The use of your own regular boxes for the shipping of custom-sized objects has a greater number of advantages when compared to the USPS flat rate shipping boxes. Not only does using your own regular and custom-made boxes enhance the after-purchase experience of your customers, in the case of sellers, but it also cuts down the costs of shipping products or objects, especially for lightweight packages traveling short distances.

Some customers now care mostly about their experience with a brand and prefer to receive their packages in delightful, elegant, and satisfying wrappings. Therefore, using your own regular and custom-printed boxes for shipping items is a shrewd way to fortify your brand and put brand loyalty in your customers through their experience while unboxing, thereby winning over more recurring buyers to your eCommerce business. When packages are delivered in USPS branded boxes, they do not tell buyers anything about the seller’s business, depriving sellers of the opportunity to get their name out and leave a mark.

A plus side still to the use of your own boxes is the reduction in the costs of shipping. Custom packaging, when combined with the right USPS service, can be cheaper than the use of the large or medium-sized USPS flat rate boxes. Since both the medium sized and large flat rates are offered for free by the USPS, one might think it’s a great option when cost cutting is the aim. It is. But noteworthy too is that, even though these boxes are provided for free, you might end up paying more than when you use your own custom-made boxes and carry out shipments via a different USPS service offering better rates. Depending on your business, to fully take advantage of cost-effective USPS services, it may be better to avoid the use of flat rate boxes and make use of your own regular and custom printed boxes. This way, you can achieve improvements on your bottom line and a cut down on the expenses of shipping.

After knowing the pros and cons of using both USPS shipping boxes and regular shipping boxes, which can be used on eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, and OfferUp.

On eBay

Carrying out sales on eBay can be a productive way of making money online, but the policies and practices involved in shipping can be quite daunting especially to those new to selling online. But it’s not as difficult as one might think.

First, get a scale. That way, you will know the weight of the item you will be shipping. Based on the size and weight of what you’re selling on eBay, it’s a good idea to keep various boxes on hand to ship items of different sizes, shapes, and weights. If you are shipping a heavy item or shipping to a distant place, the flat rate USPS boxes work well in most situations like this, but it may not be advisable, price-wise. A regular box of your own in the right shape and size will be more cost-effective. But if the item you intend to ship from eBay is light in weight and appropriately sized, the USPS priority mail shipping boxes can come to play in this regard. Most important is taking advantage of the free eBay label printer offering the best pricing available for USPS shipments.

On Poshmark

Poshmark uses the USPS priority mail shipping boxes for all US orders. Orders on Poshmark are shipped using boxes labeled priority mail, regional rate, and priority mail flat rate. Padded envelopes and standard brown boxes of your own can also be used. Besides that, other USPS boxes, including Express Mail, are NOT accepted and may result in delays in shipping and delay in receiving your earnings.

On Mercari

Mercari allows sellers to ship whatever they like by providing various options for sellers when shipping. If you use the Mercari prepaid shipping option, deliveries to all 50 US states are made using Flat Rate boxes with either the USPS, FedEx, or UPS. The use of your own regular boxes is also permitted, provided it doesn’t go beyond the size requirements stipulated on Mercari.

On OfferUp

Packages shipped on OfferUp can be sent using USPS priority shipping labels because they use USPS priority shipping labels. You can make use of your own regular boxes as well. But when doing so, OfferUp requires that the box be plain without any markings like addresses or barcodes and is adequately sized to suit the item to be shipped. Ensure that the box is well sealed and won’t come open. Finally, just make sure to use your OfferUp label when your box is ready for shipping.