We understand inconsistent packaging can result in the inability to predict fulfillment pricing, which is really frustrating. So, starting April 15th, 2019 we will enable our new Box Selection algorithm in all ShipBob Fulfillment Centers.

What is a Box Selection algorithm?

Basically, a bunch of math! The algorithm uses dimensions and your packaging preferences to tell us which package size we should use for any order combination, so your orders will have more consistent fulfillment pricing.

How Does it work?

To function, the algorithm needs 2 inputs:

  1. Product packaging details: this tells us what type of packaging we should use. You can learn more about how to update these details here.

  2. Dimensions and weights of the products in the order: this helps us calculate what size packaging we should use. This is automatically done to your products using our new Cubiscan machines.

These inputs go into the algorithm, which then creates an output: a “prediction” what size and type of packaging should be used out of our Standard Packaging Options.

Some rules are built into the algorithm - for example, orders containing fragile products will always go out in boxes with protective dunnage, even if the rest of the products have a packaging preference of poly mailers.  

What do you need to do?

You need to update your packaging preferences. You can do so in 2 ways: Update all your products at once using our Bulk Update tool. Update your products one-by-one on our Product Details page. Orders containing products with no packaging preference will be placed on hold.

What if you want to use custom boxes?

If you want your items packed in custom boxes, you will need to do 3 things:

  1. Update each product record that is a custom box as “This item is a custom box”.

  2. For each product record that you want to be packed inside these custom boxes select packaging type = "Custom Box”.

  3. Ensure ShipBob has these products set up as bundles including the custom box SKU, or a rule applied to your account to add custom boxes to orders. Note: if you’ve already done this, you do not need to do it again. A third option is enabling your packing materials for the box selection process. Enabling the box selection process means that a your orders will go through the box algorithm, and the algorithm will suggest the best fit custom box. If no custom box fits the order (or there are no custom boxes in stock), then the algorithm defaults to a ShipBob box.

How to mark products as custom boxes on your Product Details view:

How to mark products that should be packed inside custom boxes:

Reminder: if you take no action, orders will move to on-hold status and we will not fulfill them.

Based on your preferences, we've optimized the order packaging. Identify if an order's packaging has been optimized through ShipBob's Package Selection Algorithm with the new 'Package Verified' icon.

I’m still confused. Example please!

Let’s say you sell T-shirts and Bowls. You want the T-shirts to be packed in poly mailers to save cost, and the Bowls to be packed in boxes, so you update your Product Details accordingly.

Before, this is what might have happened:

  • Order A contains 1 T-shirt, and goes out in a poly mailer

  • Order B contains 2 T-shirts, and goes out in a 6x5x4 box

  • Order C contains 1 T-shirt and 1 Bowl, and goes out in a 10x8x3 box.

With ShipBob's new Box Selection process:

  • Same result - Order A goes out in a poly mailer

  • Smaller weight/dims - Order B goes out in a poly mailer, too.

  • Smaller weight/dims - Order C goes out in the right-sized box, which is 9x7x5

So in this case, you’d save weight and/or size on 2 of your 3 orders, which means lower costs!

What happens when the algorithm fails?

If a given order for some reason doesn’t fit into the recommended packaging, our packaging associates will choose the closest available size and type.

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