So, you’ve decided that your online store will benefit from using entry-level automation. Nice, that’s a smart choice—it’ll help you manage packaging and salary costs while also improving productivity. But, now you’re wondering where you should start off. There are plenty of options out there, in a variety of formats (powered or unpowered, mobile or stationary), and it can get a little confusing. We’re here to help with that, so here’s 5 categories of packaging gadgets that’ll help your online store with its packing efforts.

Air Cushion Machines

Packaging Gadgets: Air Cushion Machines

Bubble cushion has been a mainstay of packaging strategies for years, and with good reason. Its air-filled cells provide fantastic protection without weighing down customer shipments. But, it takes up a lot of space, and when storage is at a premium, bubble cushion can hog the shelves. That’s where packaging gadgets like air cushion machines come in handy. Built as a tabletop device that can be moved around, it inflates and seals rolls of film on the spot—a bubble on demand system that creates as much or as little bubble cushion as you need.

Great for online stores that… sell expensive or fragile products like electronics, jewelry, artwork and hand-made items.

Label Dispensers

Packaging Gadgets: Label Dispensers

Using labels is an effective and attractive way to brand your store’s products and customer shipments. They’re easy to peel and apply by hand, but as order volumes increase it’s far more efficient to use powered packaging gadgets. Label dispensers speed up the application of labels by separating them from their paper liner, saving your hands from a repetitive and stressful task. Manually-powered versions are ideal for smaller labels or low production runs, while electrically-powered versions create a veritable assembly line of product labelling. Read our blog on label dispenser types for even more insight into which one’s right for your online store.

Great for online stores that… sell products in containers or use custom packaging for their shipments.

Tape Dispensers

Packaging Gadgets: Tape Dispensers

Corrugated boxes are the most commonly used shipping container for customer orders. But those orders aren’t going anywhere unless they’re sealed, and that takes quality carton-sealing tape. But, it can be maddening to pull, apply and cut packing tape from a roll—and if you’ve ever lost track of the end of tape rolls, you know the madness we’re talking about. Tape dispensers are packaging gadgets that not only save you time, but save your sanity as well. Everyone knows the hand-held type that movers love so well, but there are powered tabletop versions with their own major functions. Not only do they handle the pulling and cutting of tape for you, but they also dispense specific lengths of tape, speeding up the packing process while reducing packaging waste.

Great for online stores that… process high volumes of customer orders, especially during major promotional periods or selling seasons.

Tagging Guns

Packaging Gadgets: Tagging Guns

Tags are often a beneficial addition to many products, showing off branding, detailing sizing or providing useful instructions. But, they can be difficult to wield by hand, becoming time-consuming to attach and risking damage to products if not handled right. Tagging guns are the kind of packaging gadgets that solve all those problems in one little piece of machinery. After loading the tag and tie, all that’s needed is a pull of the tagging trigger, and the tag is attached with no difficult or damage. Fast, safe and reliable.

Great for online stores that… sell handmade items, need to provide specific information, or just want to take advantage of another opportunity to brand their products.

Twist Tie Machines

Packaging Gadgets: Twist Tie Machines

Whether you’re closing a bread bag or bundling items, twist ties are enormously useful for creating tight, secure seals. But, much like labels or tags, they can be repetitive and tiring to apply by hand. Twist tie machines are the sort of packaging gadgets that remove the stress and strain, while also speeding up packing times. Electrically-powered tabletop versions are great for high volume use, like when an entire packing team is tying up bags and bags of candies. Handheld battery-powered versions are ideal for when mobility is necessary, like sealing up heavy packaging or bundling the stems of flower bouquets. Read our blog on the businesses that’ll benefit from twist tie machines for more insight into which one’s right for your online store.

Great for online stores that… ship perishables, gifts or other products in primary packaging materials.

There’s no doubt that entry-level automation will help you take control of your online store’s packing efforts. Packaging gadgets like tape dispensers and twist tie machines (and many others) will reclaim time that you can focus onto other projects, like production, marketing or social media. Visit the gadgets section here at The Packaging Company to get your entry-level automation efforts started.