It’s that time again. Time to gear up for holiday sales and holiday shipping. Here are 10 tips to make shipping this holiday season easier, and hopefully, less stressful for you and your creative business.
1. Set up a shipping station. Set up a dedicated spot for shipping complete with labels, a good/accurate scale, tape, boxes and package filler. Make sure to have plenty of room and keep your inventory nearby to avoid wasted time running back and forth.
2. Provide tracking information. Save yourself some time answering multiple emails by allowing customers to check their tracking numbers. It will alleviate their stress thereby relieving YOUR stress.
3. Use online postage. If you ship via the USPS website you can receive a discount on shipping costs. There are also other companies that provide shipping services through the USPS. All of the majorUS shipping services offer online shipping and most offer package pick-up. Be aware that some companies charge to pick packages up at your business.
4. Have plenty of supplies on hand. Be sure to have plenty of shipping supplies on hand, organized and easily accessible prior to heaving shipping periods. The USPS provides free shipping materials for sellers who use USPS shipping. You can even order supplies online and have them delivered to your door. Make sure to have plenty of tape. That seems to be the thing I run out of first.
5. Exceed customer expectations. If your store policies state that you ship within three days do your best to get packages out sooner. Make sure all shipping and return policies are clearly stated in multiple places in your online store.
6. Hire extra help if needed. If you have a business that has super heavy volume prior to the holidays you may want to consider hiring a little extra help to be sure your packages get shipped in time. Even if you just hire a teenager from the neighborhood it will make a huge difference in your ability to satisfy your customers.
7. Offer free shipping if you can. If you have priced your product accordingly you may be able to entice customers to purchase from you, rather than the other guy, by offering free shipping. Even if your product costs a little more consumers will often opt for the seller that offers free shipping.If you can’t offer free shipping on every order maybe you can offer free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount.
8. Turn your holiday customers into repeat customers. Hopefully, you will be dealing with lots of new customers during the holidays. Be sure to do what you can to turn them into repeat customers by offering future discounts, excellent customer service and a small “extra” in their package. By “extra” I mean a few stickers, a lollipop or some other small token of appreciation.It may sound silly but it does make a big difference.
9. Compare shipping rates. Just because you normally use XYZ company for your shipping doesn’t mean they are the cheapest. Do some research (this is easier if most of your packaging is the same size and weight) and save yourself a little money.
10. Reap the benefits of impulse buys. Make sure to have a few things in your shop that would be easy for a customer to add to their shopping basket. Add a few items, in keeping with your stores overall style, that are less expensive that would make irresistible ad- ons to your normal items.
BONUS TIP: Be sure to read ALL communication from online shoppers. Most shopping cart programs, Etsy, eBay and PayPal, offer a place for customers to write a note. Be sure to read those. Maybe your customer has a special request such as gift wrapping, shipping to a different address or shipping for delivery on a certain date. Be sure that you are willing and able to fulfill any unusual requests before processing the order.
That’s it. My 10HolidayShipping Tips for Online Sellers.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments below.
By: Vicki O’Dell , The Creative Goddess