efficient packaging of a coffee mug to reduce dim weight

In the realm of e-commerce, grappling with shipping costs is an ongoing battle, with dimensional weight or DIM weight often taking a significant slice of the pie. The concept of DIM weight, a pricing approach that weighs both the package’s actual weight and its dimensions, is straightforward enough. However, the complications it brings to the table for e-commerce operations can be anything but simple. To tackle these complexities, e-commerce businesses must arm themselves with savvy packaging strategies, focusing on reducing both the size and weight of their packages. Below we’ll dive into some packaging strategies your business can use to effectively reduce DIM weights and reduce shipping costs.

Packaging Strategies for Reducing Dimensional Weight Charges:

stacked flat cardboard boxed

Strategy 1: Opt for the Right Carton Size

Choosing the right carton size is the first step towards reducing Dimensional (DIM) weight. By matching the box size to your item and keeping various box sizes in stock, you can avoid unnecessary DIM weight charges. Here’s a closer look:

Finding the Perfect Match:

Make sure the box size closely matches the item being shipped. This can eliminate unnecessary space and lower DIM weight.

Carton Size Variety:

Keeping a variety of box sizes in stock helps ensure the right fit for different items, preventing the use of oversized boxes.

Box Strength:

Consider the box’s Edge Crush Test (ECT) rating, which signifies stacking strength. Higher ECT ratings can reduce the chance of damage and repacking needs, further optimizing your shipping process.

Use a 3PL Fulfillment Service:

Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) like eFulfillment Service, maintain a wide range of packaging sizes, facilitating efficient packing. They may even allow you to supply your own custom packaging, providing further opportunities to decrease DIM weight charges.

Strategy 2: Utilize Effective Dunnage

Dunnage, the protective filler material used in packaging, plays a pivotal role in minimizing unnecessary space within packages. Using the right type, while also selecting the smallest possible packaging for your items, can significantly decrease DIM weight. Let’s break this down:

Choosing the Right Amounts:

Choose the smallest amount of dunnage that safely secures your items. This reduces the overall package size and, by extension, DIM weight.

Efficient Dunnage Types:

Fill empty spaces with efficient packaging materials like kraft paper, bubble wrap, or packing pillows. They can keep items secure while minimizing unnecessary voids within the package.

Balance is Key:

The goal is to strike a balance between minimizing space and ensuring item safety. Too little dunnage can risk product damage, while too much can increase DIM weight.

items arranged in box

Strategy 3: Arrange Items Efficiently

The efficiency of your packing strategy can dramatically impact Dimensional (DIM) weight, and ultimately, your shipping costs. Key to this is the intelligent arrangement of items within your shipment box.

Nesting and Stacking:

Carefully nest or stack items together to take full advantage of the box’s interior space. Think of it as a game of Tetris, where your goal is to form a compact, solid block with no empty spaces. Be mindful of the shape, size, and fragility of items to prevent any damage during transport.

Disassembling Bulky Items:

Break down large, cumbersome items into smaller parts if possible. This strategy is particularly beneficial for objects with irregular shapes or those that occupy a significant amount of space. However, ensure the disassembly process does not compromise the functionality or integrity of the item.

Minimize Wasted Space:

Every inch of empty space is potential cost. Use void fill materials to fill gaps, but avoid overfilling. The key is to strike a balance between ensuring safety and minimizing space waste.

Strategy 4: Choose Lightweight Packaging Materials

When it comes to managing your shipping costs, every ounce counts. Minimizing the weight of your packaging materials is an effective way to reduce these costs.

Quality over Weight:

The type of carton you use plays a significant role. Our preference? C-flute corrugated cardboard cartons. These offer an optimal balance between strength suitable for shipping and lighter weight. Quality does not need to be sacrificed for lighter weight.

Efficient Cushioning:

The protection of your items during transit is crucial, but the materials you use for this purpose can add unnecessary weight. We recommend lightweight kraft paper and air pillows. They are not only durable but also light, effectively cushioning your items without adding significant weight.

Material Choice:

Choosing lightweight packaging materials is essential. But remember, durability and protection should never be compromised. The ideal materials should provide the necessary security for your items while also being as light as possible.

stack of custom packaging boxes

Strategy 5: Invest in Custom Packaging

When it comes to optimizing your shipping strategy, custom packaging is a game-changer. By tailoring your packaging to fit the unique dimensions of your product, you can achieve a host of benefits.

Precision Fit for Items:

Custom packaging solutions allow for a perfect fit, eliminating unnecessary space that would otherwise increase DIM weight. It’s like designing a custom suit for your product, resulting in a snug and secure fit.

Minimize Wasted Space:

With a package that fits your product like a glove, you minimize wasted space, which in turn reduces DIM weight. The result? Significant savings on shipping costs.

Enhance Product Safety:

Beyond cost savings, custom packaging offers improved safety for your products during transit. By minimizing movement within the package, the risk of damage is substantially reduced.

selecting the most efficient packaging

Strategy 6: Consider Alternative Packaging Materials

Sometimes, thinking outside the box (quite literally) can yield great results. One such approach is the use of alternative packaging materials, which can lead to substantial weight savings and a reduction in DIM weight.

Polybags and Mailers:

For non-fragile items, consider switching to lightweight packaging alternatives such as polybags or mailers. They’re not only lighter than traditional boxes, but can also offer sufficient protection for less delicate products.

Some fulfillment centers, like eFullfillment Service, provide Autobag processing utilizing vinyl mailers-on-a-roll technology, which is the strongest and lightest weight packaging material on the market.

negotiating shipping prices

Strategy 7: Negotiate with Your Carrier

Your relationship with your shipping carrier can be a powerful tool in managing your shipping costs. The key is negotiation, especially when it comes to the Dimensional (DIM) weight divisor.

DIM Weight Negotiation:

For businesses with high parcel shipping volumes, it can be beneficial to negotiate a better DIM weight divisor with your carrier. Understanding DIM weight calculations is crucial for these negotiations to be successful.

Partnering with a 3PL:

For small to medium-sized businesses, collaborating with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) can be a smart move. They often have access to larger DIM weight divisors, which can lead to cost savings on shipping.

Let Us Cut Your
Shipping Weight in Half!

Partnering with a 3PL can save you money on DIM Weight Charges.

We lower your cost by offering the best dimensional shipping weight in the industry. View the example below and contact your sales rep to learn more.

Actual Weight Package 3 pounds
Ship Weight with Us 3 pounds
Ship Weight with Others 6 pounds


While the above techniques can help to reduce DIM weights, balancing this with ensuring product protection is vital. The safety and integrity of items during transit should always be prioritized, making it crucial to select the most suitable strategies for your specific products.

FAQs: Dimensional Weight Packaging

What is the lightest packing material?

The lightest packing materials often include air pillows and polyethylene foam. These materials are not only lightweight but also offer excellent protection for your items during transit.

Is honeycomb paper better than bubble wrap?

Both honeycomb paper and bubble wrap have their merits. Honeycomb paper is eco-friendly, biodegradable, and provides good cushioning. On the other hand, bubble wrap is lightweight, reusable, and offers excellent protection against shocks and impacts. The choice between the two depends on your specific packaging needs and sustainability goals.

What’s the cheapest way to package large lightweight items?

The cheapest way to package large lightweight items is to use lightweight, cost-effective materials like corrugated cardboard boxes or poly mailers. Using a custom-sized box that fits the item closely can also help to reduce costs by minimizing DIM weight.

What type of packaging is most sustainable?

Sustainable packaging options are those that are biodegradable, recyclable, or made from recycled materials. Examples include corrugated cardboard boxes and Kraft paper. Also, packaging that is custom-sized to minimize waste contributes to sustainability

What is a sustainable alternative for plastic packaging?

There are many sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging. Compostable options such as mushroom packaging, cornstarch packaging, and seaweed packaging are increasingly popular.