If you are running a business, you may need to ship products to customers. Check out these tips and strategies on the best ways to ship products to customers.
Seeing your first order come through is an exciting experience. You find yourself jumping up and down with glee, but then reality sets in.
You realize that you have no idea how to ship products. At this point, you may panic a little. You aren’t prepared and have no clue what to do next.
Shipping products is an art form. Not only are you trying to get the product there safely and on time, but you also need to make a good impression.
A poorly packed box is not a good look. A tattered box that looks like it’s been through the Bermuda Triangle is also not a great look. Packages arriving late can also affect your business’s reputation.
We all want to exceed our customers’ expectations. We want to build a brand and a steady stream of positive feedback. Online reviews can be powerful, so we need to be mindful of every aspect of the shipping process.
Ready to learn how to pack, ship, and impress your customers? Read on to discover how to ship products to customers successfully.
Mind Your Business: How to Ship Products
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How would you want a package to arrive? Do you want your customers to feel valued and special?
Explore the following tips to know how to ship products and make your customers satisfied.
Selecting a Shipping Option
There are three main carriers to use for shipping. They are FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
If you use an eCommerce platform, they may have a pre-selected carrier. They may also be able to get discounted rates for shipping because of their partnership with the carrier.
If you aren’t using an eCommerce platform, then you’ll need to compare and contrast carriers. Determine which carrier offers the best rates, services, and speed for your business needs.
Use shipping calculators provided by carriers to generate prices for various products.
Not interested in shipping orders? Leave this task to the pros. Fulfillment companies and drop shipping are two options which allow you to outsource shipping.
However, there are additional costs. The perks can outweigh these costs. Especially, if you have a high order volume or ship large quantities of product.
Investing in Packaging Materials
Packing materials are key to your shipping success.
Bare minimum packaging materials to invest in include packing tape, boxes, and package cushioning. For example, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and/or plastic air cushions.
But, first, you’ll need to analyze your products. Make note of their size, shape, and fragility. For fragile items, you should invest in bubble wrap and another package cushioning material.
You can purchase boxes online, at a store, or get them from the carrier. USPS offers free boxes for priority shipping.
If you’re selling items that can fit in an envelope, invest in Tyvek envelopes. These envelopes are moisture-resistant and they aren’t see-through.
Always have these items on hand. Stay up to date with your packaging supplies and re-order when you’re low.
Weighing and Measuring
Weigh and measure your products before you list them online. Add to these figures the size of the box needed and the weight of the box. All of these factors will affect shipping rates.
Invest in a weighing scale for accuracy. A clothing tape measurer is also a handy tool to have. Measure the height, width, and length of each product.
Then, plug these dimensions into a shipping calculator. If you use an eCommerce platform, it may automatically notify your customer of shipping costs based on their location.
Clearly list these dimensions on your product description so buyers know what size package to expect.
Who Foots the Bill?
Everyone loves free shipping. But, as a business owner, you have to be aware of your profit margins.
Footing the bill sounds like a good idea. But, shipping costs can quickly add up. Fees, insurance/tracking, and faster delivery speed all cost extra as well.
Shipping to another country could also cost extra.
If you want to offer free shipping, increase the price of your products. Increase these prices so the customer fully pays or so you both are splitting the costs. Another option is to charge a flat-rate fee.
If charging a flat-rate fee, calculate the average cost of shipping. This option works best if you sell similar products.
Labels and Packing Slips
Labels and packing slips offer you an opportunity to appear professional. You can also use them to increase your brand awareness.
Ecommerce platforms with built-in shipping allow you to buy and print these items from home. Otherwise, you’ll need to create them yourself.
If you need shipping labels, get them directly from the carrier. Writing each by hand can be time-consuming. Another alternative is to invest in a label printer.
Branding and Adding Special Touches
Now, to the fun part! Branding and adding special touches to your shipping and packaging can make an impact on your customers.
First, analyze your current branding strategy and target audience. Then, create a list of cost-effective ways to upgrade your packaging.
For example, if you sell antiques online wrap each product in craft paper. Then, use twine to tie a bow around the product. This will give the package a vintage feel and create excitement.
Another special touch is to include a Thank-You note. This can be hand-written or printed. At the end of the Thank-You note, encourage your customer to leave a review.
Ship Products and Gain Confidence
The more you ship products, the more confident you will become. Continue to improve and tweak your shipping methods as needed.
Always listen to customer feedback. If a product was damaged during shipping, offer a refund. Then, determine the cause of the shipping error and correct it.
If customers were satisfied with the product and the shipping, ask them to leave a review. Positive reviews build trust in your brand. And, trust is especially important when selling and shipping items from an online business.
Want to learn more about how to build trust in your customers? Check out our blog post to learn more.