Selling cards online using TCGplayer means at some point you may have to ship cards to a customer. Having an understanding of card protection is critical for successful sales and returning customers. We’re here to share the best ways to prepare packages for safe travel, so we can help prevent transit damages.
How do I make sure my cards are protected?
Sending out products to customers can be scary, since you want to ensure your products look the same way after arrival as before they shipped. Proper packaging is key to guaranteeing your products retain their quality while they are in transit, and that your customers continue ordering from you in the future! The things you will need to package your cards effectively are as follows:
- A Mailer or an Envelope
- A Box, Penny Sleeve(s), Team Bag(s)
- Rigid Protection
If your package contains these three items sized properly for the products you are sending out, your items will be well protected and your customers will be more likely to order from you again.
Preparing the Cards for the Mailer
Before placing your cards inside of the mailer, you will need to make sure they are secured together. Cards that are loose will cause damage in transit, increase your chances of negative feedback, and can result in your package being returned to you. This can be avoided by properly securing your cards. Here are a few examples of ways to keep your cards in one place:
Penny Sleeves are used to keep up to 12 cards secured neatly together, and to give you a surface to be able to secure it to rigid backing. You can use tape to adhere the penny sleeve with cards inside to either cardstock, toploaders, or cardboard. You can also place a penny sleeve with cards inside of a slightly bigger plastic pouch with rigid backing on the inside, and then secure the bag shut to create another safe way to protect your cards.
Team Bags come in a few sizes, but can hold up to 75 cards comfortably in the larger sizes. These are great to use when you have too many cards to be able to fit into a sleeve, while also giving you a surface to be able to secure it to rigid backing. They also provide the option to place a toploader and penny sleeve inside to create backing for a small amount of cards. When used inside a mailer, they keep cards from moving around while in transit. Most Team Bags also come with an adhesive strip near the opening so you can secure them neatly without having to use extra tape.
Rigid Backing can be created using a variety of resources, including but not limited to cardboard, thick cardstock, and toploaders. Using rigid backing is important as it ensures your cards are not damaged from being bumped, dropped, or affected by any sort of blunt force. Rigid backing also gives your customers confidence that their products will be well protected when they order from you. This practice cultivates a returning customer base so you will increase the amount of repeat customers purchasing products from you as a seller.
Card Storage Boxes are a great way for shipping cards that don’t need rigid backing, as the box itself provides this protection. Boxes come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 100 cards to 5,000 cards! Keep in mind the bigger the box you use, the more expensive it will be to ship. Sometimes while using card boxes to ship out products, you may have extra room in the box that the cards were unable to fill. In this instance, use packing peanuts, tissue paper, or another soft filler material to pack any gaps to keep the cards from shifting around while in transit.
Each specific Mailer type has a maximum number of cards you can comfortably ship without running into transit issues along the way. Let’s look at the various types of shipping mailers and how many cards they can each hold:
Plain White Envelopes can hold up to 30 cards comfortably with rigid backing. With envelopes specifically, you may have to use a thinner cardstock as opposed to toploaders/cardboard due to space limitations when shipping above 20 cards using this method. You can send up to 3 oz worth of items in an envelope, and can purchase 1, 2, or 3 oz stamps to use for shipping purposes. Every 10 cards requires at least 1 oz of postage. Plain White Envelopes do not have tracking numbers, and take about 7-9 business days to arrive at their destination.
Bubble Mailers and Padded Mailers vary in size, but some can fit about 180 cards before needing to upgrade to beyond a First-Class Mail Label. First-Class Mail labels go up to 15.99 oz before needing to upgrade to the next Mail class. These bubble mailers are great for using a combination of Penny Sleeves, Team Bags and rigid backing to protect your cards while in transit. The bubbles/padding add a supplemental layer of protective wrapping in addition to any protection you use to secure the cards inside the mailer. First-Class Mail comes with a tracking number, and takes about 7-9 business days to arrive at its destination.
Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes and Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelopes can each fit about a maximum of 1,000 cards in them. These package types also come with a 3-5 business day delivery assurance (Flat Rate) and a 1-2 business day delivery assurance (Express) respectively. These mailers are great because they allow you to use card storage boxes for shipping purposes. They also have a single flat rate price no matter how much your package weighs. You can fit 100, 200, 300, 400, and 550 count boxes inside these mailers comfortably. When using 300 and 400 count boxes you can fit two boxes side-by-side in the mailer. While using 100 and 200 boxes you can fit more than two of each box into these envelopes simultaneously. These envelopes take 3-5 business days and 1-2 business days respectively, and both come with Tracking Numbers.
While there are many ways to package cards, the key thing to remember is the presentation of your product to the customer is just as important as getting the sale in the first place. If you work hard to create a positive experience for your customers, they are more likely to buy products from you in the future when using TCGplayer. Repeat customers create a steady flow of revenue for your business, and a series of positive reviews are likely to attract new customers in the future! Package your products neatly, with care, and with extra protection so you and your customers enjoy the most of what TCGplayer offers.