Cannabis Packaging Pain Points: Expensive Shipping & International Shipping Challenges
When the livelihood of your cannabis business is dependent on compliant packaging that ...
When the livelihood of your cannabis business is dependent on compliant packaging that arrives on time, expensive shipping and international shipping challenges are both frustrating and detrimental to your business.
This is the second blog post in our series about cannabis packaging pain points. The first blog post examined slow turnaround times and long lead times. This blog post examines expensive shipping and international shipping challenges, what causes these issues, and how you can address them.
Expensive Shipping & International Shipping Challenges
So what causes expensive shipping and international shipping challenges?
While there are some predictable spikes in demand throughout the year, such as 420 and major holidays like the Fourth of July, the cannabis industry is constantly evolving and trends come and go quickly.
These market fluctuations can make predicting consumer demand a challenging task for cannabis businesses. Furthermore, it takes a long time to collect enough data to accurately forecast demand.
This is especially true when you’re operating in a new and emerging market, like cannabis. And more often than not, this causes businesses to underestimate their packaging needs in times of peak demand.
When cannabis businesses don’t properly forecast their packaging needs, they can find themselves in a situation where their only option is to pay excessive fees for expedited shipping so they can legally sell their cannabis products.
And when compliance is the name of the game, accurate forecasting is the winning strategy.
Inefficient Shipping Options
Cannabis products come in a variety of forms, shapes, and sizes. As a result, the packaging required to sell different cannabis products in compliance with your state’s cannabis packaging regulations is often non-standardized in terms of form, shape, and size.
This can make it difficult to ship cannabis packaging efficiently because the packaging products themselves may be tricky to fit in standard shipping boxes and on standard shipping pallets. In other words, the unique dimensions and weights of cases of cannabis packaging often result in higher shipping rates.
And due to the startup nature of the cannabis industry, the volume requirements necessary to use more efficient shipping methods are not yet attainable for most businesses.
Cannabis businesses often require only a few thousand units of packaging at a time, and even larger orders are rarely big enough to warrant a more efficient shipping method, like a dedicated truck.
As a result, the most common shipping methods used for cannabis packaging are often the most costly.
Long Travel Distances and Customs Hurdles
Products that ship from overseas inevitably have longer lead times than products produced and shipped from domestic locations. Working with partners across different time zones can also contribute to slower turnaround times.
Finding an efficient way to ship products from overseas is both difficult and time consuming, especially when you consider the relatively low volume requirements of most cannabis businesses.
Shipping from overseas also entails a lot of paperwork and customs forms must be submitted and filed with the appropriate regulatory agencies. And depending on both the country of origin and the final shipping destination, this can become an incredibly complicated and time consuming process.
It’s also worth noting that products shipped from overseas have a significantly larger carbon footprint than products produced and shipped from domestic locations.
As we mentioned in our blog post about slow turnaround times and long lead times, shipping a single 25-pound package from China to the United States emits roughly the same amount of carbon as three cars over the course of an entire year.
Ultimately, the best way to address any cannabis packaging pain point is to work with a packaging supplier you can trust and to build a long-term relationship with your packaging supplier.
Solutions to Expensive Shipping & International Shipping Challenges
So what are some steps you can take to mitigate your cannabis packaging shipping costs and other shipping challenges?
Talk to Your Cannabis Packaging Supplier
It all starts with a conversation! You need to talk to your cannabis packaging supplier to ensure you are on the same page. Only then can you begin building the trust required to sustain a long-term working relationship.
Ask These 4 Key Questions
1. Do you know the true consumptive demand of your cannabis business?
Accurately forecasting demand can be a challenge for any business, but it’s particularly difficult in the cannabis industry. However, as you continue to collect and analyze sales data, you will also continue to get closer to knowing your true consumptive demand.
In turn, this will lead to more accurate forecasting and allow you to take advantage of more efficient shipping methods while mitigating your risk of having to pay for expedited shipping.
2. Where is your packaging produced and where does it ship from?
Packaging produced and shipped from domestic locations will inevitably have lower shipping rates than packaging shipped from overseas. Buying domestically produced packaging is also one of the easiest ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your cannabis business.
3. What are your typical lead times for products that require international shipping?
In addition to accurately forecasting demand, it’s also important to know the typical lead times for products that require international shipping. While this is an obvious question, you don’t want to forget to ask and risk having to expedite an international shipment.
Work with your cannabis packaging supplier to better understand when you need to order packaging to ensure you have it when you need it.
4. Do you have a dedicated international shipping carrier and proper customs documentation?
One way to cut down on the hassle associated with international shipping is for your cannabis packaging supplier to work with a dedicated carrier that handles their international shipping logistics.
Ask your cannabis packaging supplier if they have an international shipping partner and ensure that they have the proper customs documentation filed with the appropriate regulatory agencies.
Key Takeaways About Expensive Shipping & International Shipping Challenges
As we mentioned above, the best ways to address expensive shipping and international shipping challenges are to:
1. Properly forecast your demand.
2. Understand the lead times you’re working with.
3. Do your best to order packaging in volumes that lend themselves to more efficient shipping methods.
4. Ensure your cannabis packaging supplier has a dedicated international shipping partner and proper customs documentation.
One of the best ways to communicate your cannabis brand’s commitment to sustainability is through your packaging, but you need to have packaging that prioritizes sustainability first!
Contact us if you’re ready to discover the real impact your packaging has on the environment and you’re ready to build a long-term relationship with a cannabis packaging supplier you can trust. It all starts with a conversation!