With your online boutique set up and garage stuffed with product ready to be shipped you have got to be prepared ship out the orders that will be rolling in. It may be obvious that customers complain most about shipments being to late, damaged or didn’t receive at all, so now with this step you need to make sure you do the shipping postage correclty.
Getting the right package
First we need to purchase packaging that is the most appropriate size for your products. Sensibly-sized packaging will lower the costs you attain when you have to buy postage.
- Jiffy bags are excellent for small, light items and provide a reasonable amount of protection.
- Poly bags are excellent for clothing and non-fragile lightweight products.
- In the case of boxes, it is important to ensure you select the right box for the job. If you are sending heavy items you better be sure that your boxes are of quality to sustain a long trip. When I first started out selling things online I use to sell antique paintings and you best believe I learned very fast after the first few boxes being ruptured that it is of the utmost importance to have a durable box.
If you’ve chosen the right outer packaging, you may not need internal protection, but if you are sending a fragile item, it is a good idea to wrap it in Bubble wrap. Make sure the flat side of the bubble wrap is facing outwards. The next step is to fill any empty space around the product; this is known as void fill. Brown paper void fill is good, as are air cushions. When you have done this, add a good quantity of loose fill such as packing peanuts on top. This should ensure that your products are held securely, surrounded by packing material that will absorb impacts and prevent the item from moving in the box. Most damage occurs when items move inside the box and hit the outer wall or other items in the package.
Seal it up
To seal boxes, use a good quality tape and apply it is best to apply it with a tape gun. Take particular care with the bottom of the box, first taping the two outer flaps down the center then down the two edges of the flaps forming a letter H. If you are using a double walled box for heavy items it is a good idea to use a double layer. Add ‘Fragile’ stickers if needed and you’re ready to ship your parcel.
Getting it to the location
The postal service receives a vast number of complaints about lost and misdelivered items, yet the majority of problems could be avoided if extra care is taken when addressing and labeling packages. If something about an address looks wrong then you should check it. Google maps and the USPS postcode finder are cost-effective methods for ensuring you have received the correct address. As well as marking the recipient’s details, include your own address, postcode and phone number on the outside of the parcel, in case there are any queries during transit.
Amazon, Ebay and a host of other online retailers that you can sell on all have their own accounts with USPS, UPS and Fed Ex and they will take care of finding the best rates. If you are creating your own boutique website and do not have an account with Fedex or UPS it would be a good idea to go ahead and sign up for a business account. Although you need to ship about 1000-2000/month to receive some significant discounts its still a good idea to start building a relationship with a company you plan to use for some time. Most small items should be shipped via USPS. USPS is by far the most employed and geographically linked company that can get the job done fast and cheap. You can go the flat rate option and see if you can utilize the 5 dollar flat box or 10 dollar, or you can go regular postage and have your package just as cheap but delivered in a much slower time.