What are Poly Mailers and How Many Types are There?

poly mailers being packed and labeled on a desk.

Poly mailers are one of the most cost-effective packaging options for eCommerce businesses. They cost less than bubble mailers, and they do a better job than cardboard boxes and bubble wrap at protecting glass ornaments and other fragile items. Best of all, you can customize your poly mailer with your company’s logo. You can choose conventional poly mailers or expansion poly mailers, depending on your business needs.

Ultimate Guide to Poly Mailers

A poly mailer is a flexible envelope made out of a synthetic material called polyethylene. They are a space-efficient way to ship flexible items such as food and apparel. You can also use them to ship books, which do not need the protection of bubble wrap. Since polyethylene mailers weigh so little, your eCommerce business can ship its products less expensively than you could with other packing materials. You can even design a mailer with your company’s return address on the shipping label.

What are Poly Mailers?

A poly mailer looks like a plastic envelope, or perhaps like an envelope-shaped plastic bag. The polyethylene material of the mailer is only about six millimeters thick, so it is only slightly thicker than a cardboard envelope. Despite this, the synthetic material of the mailer is very strong and resistant to tearing. The corners of hardcover books cannot rip a poly mailer like they can do with a loose-fitting paper envelope during shipping. Poly mailers come in sizes ranging from the size of a letter-sized envelope to approximately the size of a flat shipping box. They are flexible enough that relatively large mailers can fit inside home mailboxes.

What Are Poly Mailers Made of?

The main component of poly mailers is polyethylene. It is one of the most common plastics for industrial use. For example, it is a component of plastic shopping bags and plastic drink bottles. Approximately one-third of the plastic items you have ever used are made of polyethylene, the same plastic that is in poly mailers.

Why Poly Mailers?

Your eCommerce business should consider poly mailers as one of its preferred shipping options. Polyethylene mailers are versatile, inexpensive, and durable. You can use them to ship many different kinds of products, from foods stored in glass jars to Christmas ornaments. Poly mailers are not just for shipping fragile products. You can also use them to ship books or soft items like shirts and jeans, which do not require a structured mailer. Some poly mailers are small enough that you can fit them inside the cramped mailboxes of the mailrooms of high-rise apartment buildings.

What to Ship in Poly Mailers

Most eCommerce businesses find that poly mailers are among their favorite shipping items. They have enough cushioning that you can safely leave them on the recipient’s doorstep. You can use them to ship clothes, food, books, holiday ornaments, or anything that is small enough to fit inside a polyethylene envelope. Even some kitchen tools are small enough that you can mail them in a poly mailer. When you send your products in a poly mailer, there is virtually no waste from packaging. Even better, you don’t have to worry about the goods getting damaged in transit before they reach their destination.

Advantages of Poly Mailers

eCommerce businesses love poly mailers, and so do consumers. Because they add virtually no weight to the package, their addition to the shipping costs of eCommerce items is negligible. You can choose poly mailers in a variety of styles and sizes, including expansion poly mailers for larger items. They are an economical and space-efficient alternative to cardboard boxes and bubble mailers. You can send your products in poly mailers from the post office or by FedEx or UPS. Best of all, eCommerce companies love poly mailers because you can customize them with your brand logo. You can even have mailers printed with your company’s logo or theme colors covering the entire surface of the mailer.

Designed for Durability

Poly mailers give your products maximum protection while adding minimal weight and minimal cost. They are designed to help your items survive the arduous journey from the fulfillment warehouse to the recipient’s doorstep, or mailbox, without sustaining damage. You can choose poly mailers with an additional layer of padding when you are shipping fragile items or rectangular items with sharp edges. The polyethylene material of the mailer is so strong that once you have sealed a poly mailer, it is almost impossible to tear it open by hand unless you use the tear strip at the bottom of the mailer. In other words, poly mailers are as secure as they are durable. There is very little risk that the package will rip before it reaches its destination at the consumer’s address.

Made for Easy Storage

One of the reasons that eCommerce companies love poly mailers is that they are so easy to store. It does not take up any more space in a warehouse to store an eight-by-eleven-inch poly mailer than it does to store a sheet of letter-sized paper. You don’t have to worry about empty mailers getting bent in transit because while they expand to accommodate the shape of their contents, they are strong enough that they do not bend unless you want them to.

How Many Types of Poly Mailers are There?

All poly mailers are made from the same polyethylene material, and they tend to be rectangular when empty. They come in as many sizes and decorative designs as you can imagine. You can emblazon them with your company’s logo or even have the entire mailer printed in a repeating pattern with your company name, graphics, or some combination thereof.

Optimal Uses for Poly Mailers

Poly mailers are ideal for shipping soft, flexible items, such as clothes, knit hats, or baby blankets. They are also a good choice when you are fulfilling orders for paperback books. If you are sending something fragile or something with sharp edges, you will need additional padding before you insert the item in the poly mailer. For example, you can safely ship cosmetics in a poly mailer if the items are wrapped in bubble wrap or packaged in styrofoam inside the polyethylene envelope.

Ways Not to Use Poly Mailers

Poly mailers do not have a lot of padding. Therefore, you should not use them to ship very fragile items, such as champagne flutes or decorative glass ornaments. You also should not use poly mailers to ship liquids in glass bottles, at least not unless you include a lot of extra protection. For example, you can ship a glass bottle of perfume, because it is already in a cardboard box designed to prevent movement during shipping. To be on the safe side, you should wrap the perfume box in bubble wrap before you put it inside the poly mailer.

Do I Need Both Poly Mailers and Bubble Mailers?

You know your product line better than anyone else does. If your eCommerce store exclusively sells T-shirts, socks, and other soft items of clothing, then poly mailers could be sufficient to take care of all of your shipping needs. You should also buy bubble mailers if some of your products are fragile. Hardcover books are better suited to bubble mailers than poly mailers, because of their sharp edges. Paperback books are fine in poly mailers, though.

Key Takeaways

Poly mailers are an excellent investment for your eCommerce business. They are versatile and durable, and they help you and your customers save money. They are easy to fit into a mailbox and hard to damage, and they help avoid packaging waste.

Poly Mailers FAQs

These are some common questions that business owners ask about using poly mailers for eCommerce. Keep reading to find out more about whether poly mailers are among the best shipping options for your eCommerce business.

How Much Does It Cost to Send a Poly Mailer?

Poly mailers weigh so little that they add virtually nothing to the cost of shipping. The cost of sending a poly mailer is less than the cost of sending a cardboard box or bubble mailer with the same contents.

Are Poly Mailers Reusable?

Poly mailers have a single-use tear strip, but ecologically and economically minded consumers can reuse them. To reuse a poly mailer, simply fold its edge over and secure it with tape.

Are Poly Mailers Good for Shipping?

Poly mailers are the best shipping option for soft items such as clothing. They are good for shipping many different types of products, as long as the items in question are not fragile and do not have sharp edges.

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