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running a product-based business has a lot of moving parts, and shipping orders is just one. but obviously a super important part!
to make things run smoothly, first, ya need the right tools!
first things first.
start with an organized workspace. set yourself up for success by having a dedicated space that has all the shipping tools you need within easy reach. make sure everything is well stocked, especially durning the busy season!
- boxes and/or mailers: in a variety of sizes to fit your products.
- packing paper: (newsprint, crinkle cut paper etc)
- shipping tape: (heavy duty)
- scissors/box cutter
- inkjet or laser printer (for printing labels and packing slips)
- shipping label printer: streamline and speed up your label printing with this thermal printer …it makes fulfillment a breeze!
- carrier shipping account(s): to get the best rates, make sure to signup for a business shipping account at UPS, fedex, USPS, etc.)
- shipping apps: shipstation integrates with tons of e-commerce (shopify, etsy, etc.) platforms. this allows you to consolidate shipments from your various shops. plus, there are often deeper discounts on shipping than you can get on your own. also consider shippo which has a pay as you go plan, and shipeasy which has a free plan!
- branded packing tape: quickly elevate your shipments to pro status with branded packing tape! it’s a fun way to add some flair and immediate brand recognition to every shipment.
- tissue paper: add an extra layer (literally!) of style to your packages by using tissue paper that coordinates with your brand. it quickly makes the package feel special and elevates the consumer’s experience. check out nashville wraps for lots of options!
now that you have all the right tools, let’s get to work! here’s 5 easy steps to shipping like a pro!
- set up your work station. pick a space that is roomy, well-organized, and in close proximity to your inventory. think of it like the a kitchen “work triangle”, but for packing + shipping! if you have the room, i recommend setting up two spaces. set up one for packaging individual products, and one for shipping. stock each with the corresponding tools in easy reach.
- pre-package products. make filling orders a breeze and take the time to package your products ahead of time. it may seem like a daunting task, but it makes shipping a whole lot easier. if you don’t have a team to help you out, consider having packaging parties with friends or family a couple times a month. focus on your best-selling items and make sure you’re shelves are stocked with finished product ready to pick, pack, and ship!
- process your orders in batches. no need to print packing slips and shipping labels one at a time! batching orders can be done right in your shop if you use shopify. or using shipping apps that seamlessly integrate, like shipstation. really streamline things and process either once a day or throughout, depending on your order volume, shipping cutoff, and workflow.
- get creative. create a customer experience that is share-worthy with little things that make a big impression. if it fits your brand, use patterned tissue paper, or add fun stickers or packing tape. also, consider including a freebie, like a sample of a new card or even a grab bag of oldies but goodies.
- ship on time. when you order online, nothing beats getting your order quickly! and customers are more likely to order when you have a quick turnaround (and live up to it!). make sure you have clear shipping policies you’re able to meet or exceed.
- BONUS! make it personal. a great way to add a personal touch is to add a handwritten note. now, if you’re sending out hundreds of packages at a time, this may not be doable. but even if you’re at that level, you can still include a preprinted, personal-style note in each package. perhaps you can personally sign a big stack ahead of time to keep handy!
using these tools and tips will not only streamline your fulfillment process, but improve your customer’s experience, too!
what are your fave shipping tools? do you have a perfect process in place? we’d love to hear all about it!