When you’re new to sending out online orders, shipping can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, the more packages you send, the easier it becomes, so don’t get discouraged. Whether you sell on Etsy or another site, here are a few hints to make it a breeze!
1. Confirm Addresses
If you’re sending an order to an address that looks a little “off,” it’s always a good idea to confirm it. Googling the address is the first step and will usually answer any questions you have. Occasionally, a customer will make a small mistake in an address, maybe a misspelled street name or an incorrect zip code. Sometimes people move and simply forget to update their information.
If this doesn’t work, the next step is to contact the customer via email or Convo before shipping. This is also a good idea if you have two different locations to pick from and don’t know which to ship to- for example, if their Etsy account address differs from their PayPal address. Thankfully, Etsy now asks U.S. buyers to verify their address. If the one entered does not match the USPS-recommended data, they will be prompted to correct it.
2. Invest in a Postage Scale
Knowing the exact weight of your packages can help streamline your shipping process and save you money in the end. I bought an inexpensive postage scale online that has already paid for itself many times over. Once you know the weight of an order, you can print postage online without wasting money from over-estimating.
3. Use Shipping Labels
Printing your own postage can save a lot of time and money. You no longer have to wait in line to ship your orders! Most small packages can be placed in a blue mailbox or dropped off with a post office clerk. Use your postage scale to weigh the package and print a label through PayPal, Etsy, USPS, or Stamps.com (depending on where the item was purchased). You can either print on plain paper and tape it onto the package or buy sticky labels to print on directly. And now for the best part… it’s actually cheaper to print your own shipping labels. The USPS offers reduced rates when you buy postage online, adding up to big savings for your handmade business!
4. Check Tracking Frequently
The USPS also has a really cool app for your iPhone or Android smartphone that allows you to track packages, find post office locations, etc. You can add all of your packages’ numbers to the tracking page so you can check them all at once! You can also track them without the app either online or by calling the Post Office’s customer service number. Checking the movement of your orders will make your customers happy and give you peace of mind that they get delivered on time.
5. Go International
Offering international shipping can really open up your customer base. Don’t be afraid of selling internationally, just do your research beforehand to be sure it goes smoothly. Make sure to set your shipping prices correctly (using your postage scale to calculate the weight) and the Post Office’s online shipping cost estimating tools. Also always remember to sign and date the customs form and never lie by marking an order as a “gift” on the form to reduce possible customs fees for a buyer (this is illegal.)
Many countries now also have a tracking system in place that coordinates with the USPS so you can monitor your package and see when it’s delivered. Once you’ve shipped overseas a few times it becomes as simple as domestic shipping. And an added bonus: several of my international customers have become repeat buyers and even friends!
What others suggestions do you have to make shipping orders faster and easier? Let us know, and then check out my Etsy shop!
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