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Looking for advice: need to boost margin in retail ecommerce – shipping platforms & packaging optimisation

Hi all,

I run a small children's toy business that's really starting to gain traction. Long story short, we took the multi-channel approach and put effort into email, Google Shopping (including marketing feeds via Merchant Center), social media ads, influencer marketing (all gifted, micro influencers running off of % discounts in store). Our google ads runs about 600% ROAS Shopping and 1100% on search ads – which sounds good but margins are stupidly tight and we're currently breaking even.

We're at a stage now where we need to streamline to improve margin, and I've been doing some research and it looks like dispatch optimisation is one area where we can optimise where we spend money and increase capacity, as well as reduce wastage, be more sustainable and improve brand recall etc (lots of benefits to be had!!).

Currently I'm looking to integrate shipping via a platform with Shopify, then I'd integrate that with our back end systems. We definitely want to implement paperless documentation and I need the platform to allow me to add Shopify metadata to all the products to integrate HS codes, country of origin etc to get around all the horrendous paperwork headaches we've been facing shipping internationally?

Does anyone have any recommendations on this?

I have found shiptheory.com and sendcloud.co.uk as the two options – but they're pretty pricey? Does anyone have any experience with either of these platforms? Or could you recommend something else?

Shiphero looked great but was way too expensive and we wouldn't need all the features, it's the integration with shopify and product data that's important to us.

In addition to shipping integration, I also want to review our packaging .

We're currently spending a fortune on paper filler material, and it takes up loads of storage and is a pain in the backside to use – so anything that will hold the product in place would be great.

Also I've been looking at packaging with lids (like the below), but they need tape and void fill. (love the way they open up though, would look great with a logo on the inside)…

https://www.rajapack.co.uk/cardboard-boxes/postal-boxes/brown-postal-boxes-under-250mm_OFF_UK_0006.html

I've also found this box which looks VERY interesting (claims to not need void fill) but they don't sell it on the website directly. Has anyone seen something like this before or have experience with it??

https://thepackagingclub.co.uk/flypak/

Also found these post wraps, but they don't have the presentation I want for logos.

https://www.dssmithepack.co.uk/book-wrap-mailers

Thanks in advance for any help/advice.

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