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COVID and Cardboard: How E-Commerce Retailers Can Stem Consumers’ Fears

In our “new normal,” consumers have already grown accustomed to wearing masks and using plenty of hand sanitizer when they go out, and relying on e-commerce retailers to meet their needs when they stay in. But with health-and-safety guidelines continuously evolving — and differing state to state — a lot of uncertainty remains: Is it even safe to handle those e-commerce deliveries? Can the coronavirus survive on cardboard boxes?

E-commerce retailers are uniquely positioned to reassure consumers. Keeping your customers updated on safety practices and directly communicating the latest information about COVID-19 builds trust and confidence that you are a transparent, reliable brand. It can also keep consumers safe.

What the Experts Say

The coronavirus spreads through droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Inhaling those droplets puts healthy people at risk, as does touching your face after you’ve touched a surface with viral particles on it.

Studies in late March and early April confirmed fears about how long the virus was detectable on various surfaces: a week on the outside of surgical masks; somewhere between a few days and a week on stainless steel and plastic; two to four days on glass, paper money, wood and cloth.

The result that really rattled folks who were depending on e-commerce and home delivery to keep themselves and their families safe? In the lab, the coronavirus was detectable on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

But we don’t live in laboratory conditions. Researchers tested the lifespan of the virus in temperature- and humidity-controlled rooms — rooms in which no one was breaking out the isopropyl alcohol, bleach or hand sanitizer. Outside of the lab, the likelihood of contracting coronavirus from cardboard packages is minimal, an assertion backed up by the CDC and numerous health experts. For one thing, unless consumers are ordering same-day delivery, at least a day has passed between sending and receiving the package. Secondly, as those packages make their way to e-commerce customers, they’re subjected to shifts in temperature and humidity — an unfriendly environment for viruses to thrive.

If customers are still concerned, they have a few simple options:

  • Spray or wipe down the cardboard box with disinfectants such as bleach or Lysol, making sure to use enough that the surface is damp.
  • Leave the package outside for a day or so.
  • Bring the package inside with gloves and set it on a disposable surface like newspaper or paper towels for a day or so. Throw away the gloves and wash your hands after handling it.

E-commerce Retailers can Ease Customers’ Fears

Educating your customers starts with gathering information yourself. After you’ve read up on the latest COVID-19 health information, ask your supply-chain partners — from manufacturers to order fulfillment to delivery — what measures they’re taking to ensure the health and safety of their own workers, in addition to the safety of shipments.

Then, in the interest of transparency and positioning yourself as a trusted expert, fill in your customers. You might want to tell them about what steps you’re taking, such as:

If you’d like to talk strategy on how you can ease your e-commerce customers’ fears, you can call us at 1-866-289-9010 or email us at sales (at) owd (dot) com.

Fulfillment Costs

Fulfillment costs are based on three criteria: size, weight and delivery time.

OWD offers five service levels: economy (7-10 days); Standard (5-7 days), 2-Day, Overnight and International.

Starting At

$3.99

Per Unit

FAQs

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International Shipping

The old way to ship internationally

DDU means Delivery Duty Unpaid – where the buyer pays for all of the import fees at delivery.

Unexpected import fees give buyers sticker shock – not good. When they refuse to pay, you’ve lost a sale and must pay to return your product, or abandon it.

DDU is an old idea whose time has passed. For these reasons and more, OWD doesn’t recommend DDU for e-com sellers.

The best way to ship internationally

DDP is an acronym for Delivery Duty Paid. DDP means that the seller pays for all the duties and import fees.

With DDP, your customers won’t be surprised with unexpected customs charges – good!

With OWD’s landed cost calculator, your foreign customers will know exactly what their various VAT, customers and duties will cost. No unhappy surprises.

Ship flat-rate anywhere in the world starting at:

$16.39

One World Direct, B.V.

For large-scale operations needing a full solution in Europe, there’s OWD Europe, based in Amsterdam.

We Make Contact Center EASY

Sell More with Live Agents

The Services

OWD handles phone calls, e-mails and web chat eighteen hours a day from our own state-of-the-art facility.

We’ll handle your inbound sales and customer service contacts.

You get career agents who speak American English and know how to sell.

The Costs

$99 gets you 200 calls, e-mails or chats handled every week.

You get your own phone number and custom e-mail.

We do a lot more. Call for details.

More than a Call Center

Get Virtual Assistants as needed

  • Credit Card declines
  • USPS and FedEx claims
  • Shipper Call Tags
  • Charge Backs & Credits
One World’s contact center in Mobridge, South Dakota.

The Voice of Your Brand

We Make Returns EASY

Returns? Yuck.
One World has a simple solution.

All-Inclusive Returns

OWD’s all-inclusive Returns service provides simplicity and high-end customer service. OWD includes a pre-printed return label as part of your packing slip. Your customer need only drop it in the mail.

What’s included: packaging slip with return label, QC inspection, re-bag, re-tag and return to stock. What’s excluded: postage cost, poly bags and any special packaging.

Base Price

$4.95

Add-On Services

  • Cleaning: (basic wipe down) $0.66
  • Apparel Steaming: $6.55
  • $0.50 for additional units

Call For Quotes

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  • Re-Kitting
  • Refurbish
  • Destruction Certificates
  • Lint Rolling