Did you know that nearly 30% of all products ordered online are returned, and improper packaging is a leading cause? With the rapid expansion of online shopping, it’s no surprise that businesses are relentlessly seeking innovative ways to send their products.


Poly mailers have emerged as a formidable contender, offering many compelling advantages that traditional shipping methods struggle to match. Their lightweight design and durability give your products a protective embrace, ensuring they weather the journey’s rigors and reach your customers in pristine condition.


In this blog, let’s unravel why poly mailers could be the linchpin in your eCommerce logistics strategy.


What are Poly Mailers?


Poly mailers are essentially lightweight envelopes crafted from durable plastic, predominantly polyethylene. At their core, poly mailers are designed to address a fundamental need in eCommerce – shipping non-fragile items securely and cost-effectively.


Their self-sealing fold-over design eliminates the necessity for additional tape, streamlining the packaging process remarkably. The exterior of a poly mailer presents a smooth, adaptable canvas, ideal for placing shipping labels directly onto the bag, ensuring a hassle-free handling and delivery process.


Poly mailers are predominantly made from polyethylene – a type of plastic known for its strength, flexibility, and resilience. This material choice is not arbitrary – polyethylene’s unique properties make these mailers resistant to tearing and punctures, safeguarding the contents from the rigors of transit.


Furthermore, poly mailers boast an inherent resistance to water, providing an additional layer of protection against environmental elements, a feature particularly crucial in ensuring the safe delivery of items regardless of weather conditions.



How to Measure a Poly Mailer for Shipping?


Understand Your Product Dimensions


Begin by closely examining the item you intend to ship. Use a reliable ruler or measuring tape to measure its length, width, and height. For items that are not perfectly rectangular or square, like apparel or soft goods, consider their shape and volume when fully packed.


Allow for Extra Space


Once you have your product dimensions, it’s crucial to allow extra space for easy packaging and to ensure the product isn’t compressed or cramped. A general rule of thumb is to add half an inch to each dimension.


Account for Seal and Overlap


Poly mailers come with a self-sealing lip. When measuring the mailer for your product, ensure that you account for this additional space.


Choose Based on Product Weight


While size is critical, so is the weight of your product. Heavier items might need poly mailers with a thicker gauge (which indicates the strength and durability of the poly mailer material) to ensure they can withstand the weight without tearing during transit.


Why the Right Size Matters


Opting for the right size poly mailer is an economic decision that is more than just ensuring a snug fit for your products.


Oversized mailers lead to wasted material and can increase shipping costs due to unnecessary bulk. Conversely, a mailer that’s too small risks product damage or the possibility of the mailer tearing open during shipping, resulting in customer dissatisfaction.


Moreover, accurately sized mailers show that you value customer experience right from the moment they receive their package. It’s a subtle yet powerful element of your brand’s message about its attention to detail and commitment to quality service.



Poly Mailers vs Boxes


Material and Durability


Poly mailers are made from polyethylene – a lightweight, strong, flexible material. This composition makes them tear-resistant and capable of withstanding various weather conditions. They’re perfect for non-fragile items like clothing or books.


On the other hand, cardboard boxes, constructed from corrugated paper, offer a rigid structure that provides excellent protection for fragile or heavy items. They can shield goods from impacts and are better suited for delicate electronics, glassware, or multiple items needing compartmentalisation.




When it comes to shipping costs, poly mailers often have the upper hand due to their lightweight nature. They are cheaper to produce and can significantly reduce shipping fees, a boon for businesses and consumers. Conversely, cardboard boxes are heavier and bulkier, leading to higher transportation costs. However, the level of protection they offer can sometimes justify their higher price, especially for valuable or delicate items.


Storage and Convenience


Poly mailers require less storage space and are straightforward to handle, making them a convenient choice for businesses with limited space. Their flexibility allows for easy packaging of various shaped items. In contrast, while providing more structure, cardboard boxes demand more storage space and can be time-consuming to assemble.


Customisation and Branding


Both poly mailers and boxes offer excellent branding opportunities. Poly mailers can be customised with brand logos, designs, and colors, making them a walking billboard for your brand. Similarly, cardboard boxes provide a larger canvas for creative branding and can be printed with intricate designs, brand messages, or handling instructions.


Situational Suitability


Poly mailers are ideal for lightweight, non-fragile items and for businesses aiming to reduce shipping costs. They’re also preferred for their minimal environmental footprint during transportation. Cardboard boxes, however, are the go-to for fragile, heavy, or high-value items that require more protection and for situations where product presentation is key.



The Different Types of Poly Mailers


Standard Poly Mailers


Standard poly mailers are the quintessential choice for cost-effectiveness and practicality. You’ll encounter These most common types – lightweight, typically made of a thin layer of polyethylene. They’re perfect for items that don’t demand extensive protection, such as clothing, documents, and various accessories.


Bubble-Lined Poly Mailers


Next, we have bubble-lined poly mailers. These are standard poly mailers lined with a layer of bubble wrap. This added cushioning feature makes them ideal for shipping more delicate items requiring extra care–like electronics, small gadgets, jewelry, or glassware. Bubble-lined poly mailers perfectly balance safeguarding the contents and keeping shipping economically viable.


Heavy-Duty Poly Mailers


Heavy-duty poly mailers come into play for larger or heavier items requiring robust packaging. These are crafted from thicker material and are designed to endure more stress and weight. They stand out for their enhanced durability and strength, making them suitable for items that might prove too challenging for standard poly mailers.


Gusseted Poly Bubble Mailers


Gusseted poly bubble mailers are a specialised type designed for bulkier items. These mailers feature an expandable bottom, allowing them to accommodate products that need more space. Made from polyethylene film, they are spacious and offer the protective qualities of bubble lining.


Returnable Poly Mailers


Returnable poly mailers are an innovative solution, especially for businesses that experience high return rates. These mailers come equipped with dual-adhesive strips, allowing for original and easy return shipping using the same mailer. They are ideal for items customers might need to try before making a final decision, such as clothing or shoes.



Benefits of Using Poly Mailers in Shipping




Poly mailers’ lightweight nature is a significant boon for eCommerce brands, drastically reducing shipping costs – a key consideration in any business’s logistics strategy. Poly mailers are notably more affordable than alternative packaging options like cardboard boxes.


Space Efficiency and Storage Benefits


Poly mailers are champions of space efficiency. Their flexible nature allows them to conform to the product’s shape, eliminating the wasted space commonly associated with rigid packaging options. This efficiency extends to storage as well – both before they are used and after they have served their purpose.


Custom Branding Opportunities


The surface of these poly mailers can be printed with brand logos, slogans, and unique designs, providing a visually appealing package that enhances brand recognition.


Environmental Considerations


Poly mailers score points regarding the environmental impact of packaging, too. Many are made from recyclable materials, and advancements in material science have led to the development of biodegradable poly mailers. These eco-friendly options demonstrate a business’s commitment to sustainability, appealing to a growing segment of environmentally conscious consumers.


Weatherproof and Durable Nature


These mailers are designed to withstand various elements and protect products from water, dust, and general wear and tear during transit. This durability is crucial in maintaining the integrity of the shipped products, especially when dealing with long-distance or international shipping. The peace of mind that comes with knowing products are well-protected in transit is invaluable for the business and its customers.



Challenges of Using Poly Mailers in Shipping


Limitations in Colour and Customisation for Small Orders


While larger companies can afford bulk orders that justify the cost of custom designs, small businesses often find themselves restricted due to minimum order requirements or higher costs per unit. This limitation can be a significant hurdle in achieving the desired branding and aesthetics, as the scope for color variety and intricate designs becomes constrained.


Sizing Constraints and Potential for Wasted Space


Poly mailers come in standardised sizes, which might not always align with the dimensions of various products, particularly those with non-standard shapes or sizes.


Risks Associated with Improper Packaging and Handling


The use of poly mailers can bring risks associated with incorrect packaging techniques. These risks are particularly pronounced when shipping items that, while not fragile, still require a degree of protection. Inadequate packaging or handling can damage the product during transit, affecting customer satisfaction and potentially increasing return rates.



Different Products You Can Ship with Poly Mailers


Poly mailers, with their lightweight and flexible design, offer an excellent shipping solution for a variety of items:


List of Suitable Products for Poly Mailers


Apparel: Clothing items are ideal for poly mailers due to their lightweight and non-fragile nature. Apparel such as shirts, jeans, dresses, and other fabric-based products can be easily folded and placed into poly mailers without risk of damage.


Health and Beauty Products: Poly mailers are also well-suited for certain health and beauty products. Items like sealed cosmetics, wellness supplements, and other non-fragile beauty accessories can be safely shipped in poly mailers.


Books and Printed Media: Shipping books and printed media is another excellent use case for poly mailers. They provide adequate protection against the elements, ensuring that books, magazines, and other printed materials are not damaged by moisture or dirt during transit.


Products Not Recommended for Poly Mailers


Fragile Items: Items that are inherently fragile, such as glassware, ceramics, or electronics, require more protective packaging than what poly mailers can offer. These items need cushioning and a rigid structure to protect them from impacts and vibrations during shipping.


Heavy or Bulky Items: Similarly, particularly heavy or bulky items are not well-suited for poly mailers. Their weight can strain the material of the mailer, leading to tears or breaks, while their size might make it difficult for them to fit into standard poly mailers.



How to Pack a Product with Poly Mailers for Shipping?


Packing products for shipping in poly mailers, whether packing from home or large warehouses, requires careful consideration to ensure that items arrive at their destination safely and in excellent condition. Follow these steps to pack a courier with poly mailers.


Here’s a quick guide to safely packing the products in poly mailers.


Preparation of Products for Packing


Before you even reach for a poly mailer, it’s crucial to inspect the product thoroughly. Check for any pre-existing damage or issues that could be exacerbated during transit. Once the product passes this initial inspection, clean and prepare it for packing.


Selecting the Right Size of Poly Mailer


Choosing the correct size of poly mailer is a vital step in ensuring your product’s safety during shipping. A poly mailer that’s too large could allow the product to move around and potentially get damaged, while one that’s too small could stress the material and lead to tears. Measure your product’s dimensions and add a little extra space for padding, if necessary.


Securing the Product Inside the Poly Mailer


For delicate or fragile items, use bubble wrap, foam sheets, or other protective materials to wrap each item individually. This extra cushioning layer can absorb shocks and prevent damage from minor impacts.


Sealing the Poly Mailer Securely


Poly mailers typically come with a self-sealing adhesive strip. To use this feature, remove the covering on the adhesive strip and firmly press down to seal the mailer. Ensure the seal is strong and secure to prevent the mailer from opening during transit.


Labeling and Post-Packing Checks


Once your product is safely sealed within the poly mailer, the next step is labeling. Ensure that the label is visible and securely attached to the mailer. Any necessary documentation, like customs forms or invoices for international shipping, should also be attached at this stage. After labeling, do a final check to ensure everything is secure and the package is ready for shipping.



Best Practices for Poly Mailer Packing


  • Wrap each item individually and ensure it’s secured snugly. This helps stabilise the items during transit, preventing unnecessary movement that could lead to damage.


  • Placing the item in a clear poly bag before putting it in the mailer adds an extra defense line against water, dust, and other debris.


  • If you are packing multiple items in one mailer, or if the items are heavy, consider reinforcing the seal with additional tape.


  • It’s also important to be aware of the maximum height restrictions set by carriers. For example, FedEx stipulates a maximum height of five inches for poly mailers.





Poly mailers are a practical, efficient, and responsible choice for eCommerce shipping. Their adaptability to a range of products, coupled with the ease of use and cost benefits, positions them as an invaluable tool in the shipping arsenal of any eCommerce business. To enhance your shipping experience, use NimbusPost to choose the ideal shipping bags based on product-to-product bases.


With NimbusPost, businesses can optimise their operations through the industry’s best eCommerce fulfilment services and also enhance their customer services through state-of-art freight transportation and personalised tools like a shipping label generator, courier recommendation engine, shipping rate calculator, NDR management, and much more.


Therefore, eCommerce businesses are encouraged to consider NimbusPost as a viable and effective solution to meet their shipping and packaging needs.





What is the ideal size for shipping bags?


The ideal size for shipping bags, particularly poly mailers, is 10″ x 13″, suitable for various items. For smaller products, 6″ x 12″ poly mailers are often adequate, while larger items may require sizes like 14.5″ x 19″.


What can I use as a shipping bag?


Here are some options for shipping bags for eCommerce:


Poly mailers: These mailers are an excellent option for eCommerce business or someone sending a lot of shipments.


Bubble courier bags: These bags are widely used by courier companies, eCommerce companies, and other industries.


Tamper-proof courier bags: These bags are useful for mailing documents, shipments, and valuables.


Mailers: These are typically made with lightweight packaging materials used as flat-laying envelopes.


Corrugated boxes: These boxes are a sustainable, high-quality packaging option.


What size poly mailer is ideal for hoodies?


The size of the poly mailer you need for a hoodie depends on the size of the hoodie:

  • 12 in x 15.5 in: Fits small, medium, and large hoodies.
  • 5 in x 19 in: Fits XL and XXL hoodies.
  • 19 in x 24 in: Fits two medium hoodies.


What size poly mailer is ideal for a shoe box?


For shipping a standard shoe box, a 14.5 x 19-inch poly mailer is typically an appropriate size.

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