Thursday, November 10, 2011

5 Steps to Shipping

As the Christmas seasons nears, it is time to take a fresh look at your shipping and get prepared. As the season nears, people want to be sure their gifts will arrive on time and you want to be sure you are prepared before orders come in.

If you haven't really thought out your shipping too much, now is the time to go double check if you are ready. Here are a couple of steps to go through to be sure you are prepared, starting with the most basic.

1. Be sure you have packing materials: enough boxes, padded envelopes, bubble wrap and tape are all a must. Try ordering boxes online to get the right sizes and price. Try not to have to rely on running out to buy boxes as you need them.

2.  Pick a shipping method and get pricing.  I use Paypal shipping for all shipping these days, using their multi-order option for non-Paypal orders. I use Paypal because it is free, works for all orders, and slightly discounted but find what works for you. If you use Payapl or any online shipping, be sure to get a postal scale to weigh packages.

3.  Set up Shipping Profiles on Artfire. This can be a big time saver. If you have items of different sizes, set up one for different sizes then it becomes a simple matter of choosing from a drop down rather than redoing it each time.

4. Review Shipping and Return Policies. Make sure they are clear but positive. Some thing to include are:
  • How long it takes for item to be mailed - if items are custom made include this in the listing too
  • Remember you are responsible for the package until it is delivered and insurance protects you not the buyer.
  • State which address you will mail to, especially if you will only mail to the Paypal address and not the address on the order.
  • Return policy. Make sure the policies are clear. How long will you accept returns. What will you accept returns for - not happy, breakage, etc. Try to keep it positive, people will often run if return policies sound too harsh or inflexible. 
5. State a Christmas delivery date, figure out what is the latest day you can guarantee Christmas delivery.If you need time to make items or get it shipped, be sure to factor that in. I would specify this is for US orders only (or what ever country you are in) 

Now good luck with your sales and let me know if there are any questions

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice article. I've noticed a new trend in "free shipping". The NYTimes even reported on it last week. Seems everyone is doing it, but if it's not thought out, retailers can lose money. What I did was discount my shipping. I charge for normal delivery, but send Priority Mail. That way, my customer gets a discount, and I don't lose much on my end either.