For shippers and small businesses, making a successful sale and shipping off your goods to the customer can be the most satisfying part of the sales process. But what if your packages don’t make it from Point A to Point B? 

If you’re feeling concerned about lost, damaged, or stolen packages, you’re already thinking ahead of an incredibly common issue. By some counts, upwards of 11% of Americans had a package stolen in the year 2020. 1Add in lost packages or damaged packages, and you’ve got an unfortunately ubiquitous problem. 

So what can you do as a business owner to prevent damaged or missing packages? To start with, you’ll need to know how to protect your shipments in every part of the process. Knowing what to do if your shipment doesn’t go as planned can also set you on the path to shipment success. 

Tips to Prevent Package Loss and Theft

In the case of protecting your packaged products, the old adage applies, but with a twist—the best offense is actually a good defense. There are a few steps you can take to help you and your customer mitigate shipment risks.

Follow these steps to minimize lost and stolen packages:

  • Provide tracking numbers – A tracking number allows your customer to be more informed about the package’s arrival. Knowing when a package is due to arrive empowers the recipient to be on the lookout and prevent a package from being out in the open for too long. If a package is lost during transit, tracking numbers can also help you identify where a problem arose during shipment.
  • Offer to deliver to a secure locationPost offices, UPS, and FedEx drop sites ensure that your package is delivered to a protected location that is convenient for customers and difficult for thieves to access.
  • Buy shipping insurance – While this step may not prevent package loss or theft entirely, insurance can give both you and your customers peace of mind. It can also help you protect your business against potential losses. If an insured package is lost, damaged, or stolen, your business may be entitled to reimbursement. 

How to Minimize Damage with Proper Packing

Taking steps to pack your shipments with care can go a long way toward preventing and minimizing damage. In turn, proper packing can help reduce returns from the customer and help your business avoid having to replace damaged items.

Use these packing tips to protect your shipments and minimize damage:

  • Protect your packages from the outside in – The outer packaging for your shipment should be sturdy enough to protect anything contained within. If you ship smaller items, padded mailers may suffice. However, larger or more fragile shipments may benefit from more heavy-duty materials, such as corrugated or double-walled cardboard.
  • Fill empty space – If a package has room for items to jostle around, it increases the likelihood that something will break or become damaged if the package is dropped during the shipping process. Fill gaps with packing materials such as bubble wrap, brown paper, or air cushions.
  • Separate items with partitions – Corrugated cardboard inserts can help to prevent items from bumping up against each other during transit. This can be especially helpful if a box contains multiple fragile items, or items of varying weights. 
  • Use waterproof packaging – Waterproof packaging can help protect your shipment from the elements. If your package contains liquid goods, however, using waterproof bags to separate them from other items can also help minimize damage if something breaks open.

How to Handle Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Shipments

Even the most successful, and proactive shippers can experience shipment issues from time to time. But a company is not defined by a single shipping mishap—a business is defined by how it handles those mishaps. So what to do if your package is stolen?

Finding ways to make up for any lost, stolen, or damaged shipments can help you maintain your business’s reputation and promote positive customer relationships.

Try these tips to handle any shipment issues with poise and ease:

  • Provide clear policies – Offering clear and detailed information about your shipment, refund, and replacement policies can help your customers know what to expect and who to contact if something happens. At the same time, it may also be beneficial to determine your refund policy or learn how to handle returns as a small business. 
  • File a claim with the carrier – If the shipment was damaged or lost during transit, your carrier may be liable for damages or lost packages. 2As the shipper, you can contact the delivery service as soon as possible to get it resolved. By claiming the loss, you may end up getting reimbursed for any replacement items you need to send to the customer.
  • Communicate with your customers – Communication is key to any relationship—especially a business’s customer relationships. Keep your customer informed about any steps you may be taking to resolve the issue. Even if your business can’t afford to replace the package, let the customer know if you’re filing a claim with the carrier or insurance.
  • Use an audit service – Auditing your own shipments and filing claims for lost and damaged packages can be a time-consuming process. With a shipping solution like Shipware, however, you can rely on an audit team to manage your lost and damaged packages, helping you to recover costs faster and save valuable time.

Come Prepared, Stay Ahead of Shipping Issues with Shipware

If you’re a small business owner, having a plan to prevent and manage shipment issues can help you mitigate shipment risks and ensure smooth sailing ahead. Finding the best packaging materials for shipping and knowing how to handle shipment problems when they happen are excellent first steps. But having a team of shipment experts to support you through the process can make it even easier.

With Shipware, you’re provided with solutions and logistics to help reduce shipping costs, increase your profits, and improve customer service and satisfaction. With invoice audits and contract negotiations, you can feel confident in your business’s direction knowing you’re optimizing your shipping strategies. Learn more and contact us to get started today!



  1. Consumer Reports. How to Keep Packages From Being Stolen.
  2. FindLaw. Is Your Business Liable for Stolen Packages?