Whether you manage an online extension of your real-world business that features an e-store or your entire business operation exists solely in virtual space, you’ll find that packing and shipping are part and parcel of your cyber venture if it includes selling goods. And unless you happen to have a major manufacturing and warehouse setup in place, this probably means that you’re going to be packaging and sending items one at a time on your own. So you obviously want to make the process as easy, expedient, and efficient as possible. And of course, you want to make sure that your goods reach customers intact and in a timely manner. So here are a few helpful tips to ensure that the packing and shipping you undertake for you ecommerce operation are successful.
- Select standard sizes. Shipping outlets may charge you extra for packages that are odd shapes or sizes, especially now that both FedEx and UPS have announced increasing rates based on DIM (or dimensional weighting), a system that uses the length, width, and height of a package, in addition to the actual weight, for pricing. So selecting standard sizes could end up saving you a ton of dough. However, you’ll also want to have a variety of sizes on hand to accommodate different products. There’s no sense saving on a bulk sized box if you have to spend all your extra money filling packages with padding to protect the smaller products inside.
- Cut weight if at all possible. Suppose you have to pay a little more for bubble wrap or air pockets, as opposed to, say, Styrofoam peanuts or paper packing materials. You’ll make your money back on the reduced weight of your package. And you’ll likely see less breakage during shipping when you use air packing materials, cutting your losses on returns. It’s important to calculate all potential costs before selecting the appropriate packing materials.
- Consider flat rate shipping options. The cost of shipping can be prohibitive, and you don’t necessarily want to pass along additional expenses to consumers (although you can definitely offer them options for faster shipping at greater expense if they want it). That said, any time you can get a flat rate by package size (like the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate packages), you stand to save money, especially on the shipping of heavier products.
- Include your label. Any time you put together a package to ship to a customer, it’s a good idea to have business labels featuring your logo on hand to slap on the box. This not only makes your package instantly recognizable to consumers, but it also acts as a form of advertising.
- Get creative with what’s on the inside. The act of packing and shipping for your ecommerce business is not all about what’s on the outside, and more and more e-tailers are paying attention to the packaging that goes inside the shipping box, which is to say, the product packaging. It’s obviously important to make sure you order the Shipper’s Supplies that are going to pad and protect your products in transit, but when you take time to wrap and decorate the actual product packaging, you’ll provide consumers with that extra touch that wows them every time they receive a shipment.