Shipping Perfume 101: How to Pack & Ship Perfume
October 8, 2021
When you think of your favorite scents or fragrances, what do you picture?
A good perfume can change your mood or take you back to memory lane. An inviting fragrance can be powerful, so it’s no wonder the fragrance industry will be continue to grow and reach over $72 billion by 2023.
Perfumes also appeal to a wide audience with markets across the globe. And, with the growth of ecommerce, customers are buying unique luxury or everyday perfumes online at more affordable prices than ever before — making a reliable shipping experience all the more important.
Perfumes vary based on their oil concentration and how long the fragrance lasts. The different types of perfumes that are shipped regularly include:
- Perfume (Parfum)
- Eau de Perfume (Eau de Parfum)
- Eau de Toilette
- Eau de Cologne
- Eau Fraiche
But no matter what type of perfume you sell, shipping perfume can be a risky endeavor. If you choose to sell perfume online, it’s important to understand shipping rules and regulations, packaging protocols, and the additional handling fees.
To help you get started, this article provides an overview of how to ship perfume, including challenges and best practices.
Tips for packaging perfume to keep it safe when shipping
You might offer a delicate scent as a perfume option, but the scent itself isn’t the only delicate part.
Perfume bottles are often made our of glass (sometimes plastic if it’s a body spray) and perfumes are liquid-based, which makes perfume packaging prone to breakage and spills.
Shipping damages can sometimes be inevitable, but when it comes to perfume, you have to think twice on how you package and ship products.
Here are some packaging tips to ensure that your perfume shipments are safely delivered, free of damage.
Include packing materials to keep the perfume safe in transit
Most perfumes come in glass containers which can easily break during the last-mile delivery phase.
Therefore, when shipping perfume, you must use several layers of protection (whether it’s cardboard included at the manufacturing level and/or padding around the bottle to hold the perfume in place). Adding extra dunnage can also help keep your product from moving around in transit.
For added protection, be sure to fill gaps in the box with materials like newspaper or bubble wrap. For an eco-friendly option, you could also use kraft paper or Geami WrapPak paper, which are both recyclable and cost-effective.
Consider wrapping individually when shipping multiple perfumes
When shipping perfume, make sure each perfume container gets wrapped separately with the appropriate dunnage if you store them as bare bottles. And if shipping multiple perfume bottles, ensure that they are separated with adequate space and cushioning.
Choose the right shipping box or container
Many carriers will require liquids to be in a leak-proof containers. Whether or not it is a perfume shipping guideline that’s mandated by your shipping partner, this is a good practice to follow.
The shipping box or container should be only slightly larger than the item you’re shipping, and the closer it is, the better. Make sure it has enough space for dunnage to prevent products from moving around.
Choosing the right box or container is crucial, but it can be challenging. If you outsource perfume shipping to a 3PL like ShipBob, we make it easier using box algorithms that choose the right box size based on the item’s dimensions and your indicated packaging preferences.
If packages involve fragile items, we follow any special requirements to ensure the product type remains safe. Click here to learn about ShipBob’s fragile shipping process.
“ShipBob provided us with an in-depth analysis based on our order history and helped us understand which custom box sizes we should stock ourselves at ShipBob warehouses to help reduce our costs and remove empty space.”
Have your manufacture package it in secure, protective product packaging
The most cost-effective option for securing products is often done at the manufacturing level. Rather than receiving bottles without a box (which makes inventory shipments prone to damage while in transit from your manufacturer’s’ facility to the next distribution point), have each bottle pre-packaged in a box with product packaging that holds it in place.
Best practices when sending perfume in the mail
Establishing proper packaging processes can reduce risk during transit. When it comes to shipping fragile items, you have control over how you package each shipment. But what about once the package is placed in the hands of the carrier?
Apart from getting the packaging right, here are some best practices for shipping perfume, so it’s ready for last-mile delivery.
Check local laws and regulations
If your perfume or cologne contain alcohol, it is a Class 2 HAZMAT product (in the aerosol category). Therefore, there are special considerations you need to be aware of, which vary by country.
For instance, in the United States, you can only send perfume bottles domestically via USPS’ ground transportation. And in the United Kingdom, only 600 milliliters of perfume can be shipped in one go (something to consider if your bulk shipping inventory to a fulfillment center or selling B2B).
When shipping internationally, be sure to research different carrier and shipping destination restrictions to avoid costly order delays and disappointments.
Note: The US Department of Transportation (US DOT) requires training and certification before you ship hazardous materials. There are also fines for non-compliance and potential legal action if you are found to have willfully ignored hazardous materials shipping regulations.
If you want to outsource your perfume shipping and fulfillment, ShipBob helps online retailers navigate and comply with the US DOT when shipping HAZMAT products, including perfumes. Click here to learn about how we manage inventory and ship HAZMAT items for our merchants.
Get a tracking number to provide to your recipient
Perfumes are likely to be expensive shipments, in terms of the value of the goods and the shipping costs. But no matter what you sell, it is always recommended that you track perfume shipments to ensure they get delivered.
Providing order tracking information for your customer provides them with regular delivery status updates, estimated delivery dates, tracking numbers, etc. This helps to reduce theft, as well as orders being left outside on a front doorstep for too long (sometimes in extreme temperatures).
In case of theft, damages, or other issues, it’s always a good idea to opt in for shipping insurance to protect your shipments, especially if the value is over $100.
“When shipping glass bottles, especially in the winter, the longer the transit time, the more likely it is to break. We see that our customers are getting their packages safer, with fewer frozen bottles exploding.”
Lindsay Louise, Fulfillment & Retail Manager at Synchro
Factor weight into the cost of the product
Don’t forget about dimensional weight pricing from the carriers, which charges you for whatever is greater: the weight of the product or the size. And perfumes can be on the heavier side for their size.
To calculate dimensional (DIM) weight, multiply the length, width, and height of a package, using the longest point on each side. Then, divide the cubic size of the package in inches by the DIM divisor to calculate the dimensional weight in pounds.
Shop around different carriers to find the best prices
Negotiating shipping rates with carriers is a challenge for small businesses. That’s why many perfume brands turn to a 3PL like ShipBob that has established partnerships with carriers and can always ship products out the most optimal way, following regulations.
ShipBob negotiates bulk discounted shipping rates, which allows you to offer better shipping incentives for your customers.
“As we started to hit that first inflection point of growth, it became apparent we needed to look for a 3PL that could help us expand geographically in the US and also drive down shipping costs and expenses.”
Michael Peters, VP of E-Commerce Operations at TB12
Selling perfume online? ShipBob can help with that
Perfume, fragrance, and scent fulfillment is a more complex process compared to selling other types of products. We simplify it by taking care of everything from storage to packing items safely and preparing them for shipment.
For perfumes, a shipping strategy that ensures products are delivered in the fastest way possible is important since you want to minimize the time perfume shipments are in transit (as well as reduce shipping costs). Some fragrances are also temperamental to extreme temperatures.
Offering affordable 2-day shipping can be possible by distributing inventory. Through ShipBob’s growing logistics network, you can split inventory across multiple fulfillment centers to offer faster shipping via ground as opposed to using just one location.
There is much growth and competition in the fragrances industry. ShipBob has helped global fragrance brands stand out by turning their logistics strategy into a competitive advantage.
Perfume and scent brand Dossier sells vegan, cruelty-free fragrances and knows that logistics is something you never think about until it stops working, and they’ve never come to that point with ShipBob.
With ShipBob, everything just works:
“We have a Shopify store but do not use Shopify to track inventory. In terms of tracking inventory, we use ShipBob for everything — to be able to track each bottle of perfume, what we have left, and what we’ve shipped, while getting a lot more information on each order.”
Ines Guien, Head of Logistics at Dossier
Fragrance hand sanitizer brand Touchland has been working with ShipBob since 2018 and there are several reasons why ShipBob has been the perfect partner for them — including their speed to scale and fast pick, pack, and ship process has been seamless, as their business grew 1,200% in a couple of weeks, as well as their locations across the globe.
“Touchland sells flammable goods that need to be shipped via ground, so ShipBob has been a great ally as they have fulfillment centers all over the US, facilitating a 2-3 day delivery time for any customer in the US.”
Andrea Lisbona, Founder & CEO of Touchland
To get a glimpse inside our fulfillment solution, check out a 3D experience below:
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Shipping perfume FAQs
Here are the top questions answered about shipping perfume.
What’s the best carrier to send to perfume with?
You may ship your perfume orders via any of the major carriers such as UPS, DHL, USPS, and FedEx. But, be sure to check on their shipping guidelines for packing and shipping flammable goods, including perfumes.
What shipping option should I use when sending perfume?
To domestically ship perfumes, use ground shipping (specifically, the carrier’s service for hazardous materials (HAZMAT) to ensure safety and avoid unnecessary clearance delays.
Am I allowed to ship perfume with UPS?
Yes, but there are rules. Make sure to follow these UPS guidelines when transporting flammable liquids (such as perfumes containing alcohol):
- It can only be sent via road or rail transportation.
- It must be packed in sealed, waterproof containers.
- It must be marked with easy to read orientation arrows and the nature of the liquid contents.
- Liquid shipments of more than 4 ounces must be packed in 3 special layers.