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Marketing Monday: Packaging and Shipping

Consideration for the Customer 101--providing a good message~

You’ve received your order on Poppy Swap! There’s nothing like that feeling of knowing that someone you may never meet has connected with your art. Take a minute while you are preparing to ship your handmade herbal magic to your customer. Have you given much thought to your packaging and shipping service? The truth is, that like your photos and product descriptions, packaging and shipping are just as important to the success of your online business. It is another way we communicate with our customers. Let’s be sure we are providing a good message.

Here are some helpful packaging and shipping tips to keep your customers feeling special!

  • Wrap it up! Function first. Beauty second. Ensuring your products arrive unscathed and intact is the priority. Shipping your products in sloppy, loose packaging doesn’t give a great first impression and it also leaves a lot of room for damage.. Be sure to snuggly wrap and tape each product so there is no extra wiggle for things to be knocked loose, for labels to be rubbed off, and for bottles to leak etc. Take the extra few minutes to ensure everything is snug and secure in your shipment. Always remember, a few cents spent on the inside of your package, could save you the cost of replacing the entire item if it doesn’t make it there intact!
  • Brand with the Box: I KNOW that we herbies love to recycle and reuse. It’s in our blood! On the other hand, that tattered and old box with the label ripped off that your cat food shipment came in probably doesn’t look that great. Think about what you are about to put your beautiful herb product in to ship out to a new customer. Think about where you like to shop and the experience and excitement of getting something special in the mail. Splurge on the .25 cents for a new shipping box! Make that moment at the mailbox a good one for your customer! It will be a moment that will last in their memory. For the crafty, DIY herbie: YES! turn an old box inside out and decorate it with personalized labels and messaging letting your customer know you are all about recycle and reuse! Just make sure its done with style.
  • Be Legit with Labels: Did you hand~write the mailing and return address on the box? While some might think this gives it that ‘extra handmade and personal touch” most handwriting is just not that attractive. I highly recommend utilizing “click and ship” via the USPS for many different reasons, or printing out on your printer a nice return label and the mailing label. I print out sheets of my return labels so I can grab them as-needed and I also include my logo for a little extra ‘branding’. Having printed labels really makes the box look professional and says you take your business seriously.
  • Show Respect through Timeliness: Do you usually ship your order out within 48-hours? If not, you might want to consider ways you can improve upon your timeliness. Being prompt and responsive will lend to customer appreciation and confidence, two key attributes for repeat business.
  • Be Courteous with an Order Confirmation: As a buyer, I love to receive a personalized email from the seller that confirms they received my order and payment and that they are ready to ship. Poppy Swap also sends an auto confirmation to the buyer, but Poppy Swap isn’t the one mailing the item so it doesn’t really do our customers any good! Also, remember, one of the reasons people are shopping on Poppy Swap, is to connect directly with the herbalist! So make a point to connect, it’s worth it!
  • Savvy Shipping Notification: You don’t want to spam the customer with too many emails so if you are a swapper who sends a tracking code to customers you might want to combine your “order confirmation and shipping notification” emails into one email. TIP: In your order and/or shipment confirmation email include links to your Facebook, Twitter, newsletter and blog accounts for people to connect with you through these channels as well.

Extra, extra! Make sure that your new customer is a return customer. Give them incentive to shop with you!

~In your Poppy Swap Account, you can create coupons that run off of a code that you can provide to your customer. Send a note and give your new customers 5-15% off or free shipping with their next purchase.

~ Go to your Poppy Swap Account and browse the Free Marketing Materials! Print off some cards or stickers for your packaging or as gifts.

~If you’re really on your game, include samples of new products. People LOVE to get free stuff! But MAKE SURE that those products have an active listing in your store!!

Customer service all the way down to the last bit of tape we put on the box is probably one of the most important aspects to running an online business. Sending your products off with as much love as you created them with will make you feel good and build your business beautifully!

 

About the author:: Would you like support to expand your herbal business efforts? Kristie Nackord, fellow swapper and the ‘herb girl’ behind Spirit Horse Herbals, is also an independent marketing consultant with over 16-years marketing and business development experience available to help YOU! For more information, click here.

Kristie Nackord
Marketing Consultant~
http://www.KristieNackord.com

Replies to this topic

  • greenjourney
  • greenjourney

This dawn of a new day finds me once again learning from you, Kristie! This one is easier for me as I have been doing some mail order already.

Here are my takes on your tips:

  • Wrap it up! I use bubble mailers to protect our seeds in shipping. My paper supplier sells cushioned mailers with 100% recycled paper/10% recycled plastics. I get several sizes for a good fit. I discussed shipping options with my local postmaster, he showed me how much lighter the bubble mailers are compared to padded mailers...thus reducing postage costs. I package the seed card sets in a poly sleeve first and then in a CD size mailer, and that way they don't need a box for protection.
  • Brand with the Box: I can use your inside out idea if a box becomes necessary. However, the post office is not keen on folks reusing the priority mail boxes this way, and once my parcel was rejected because I did just that.
  • Be Legit with Labels: You wrote: "I print out sheets of my return labels so I can grab them as-needed and I also include my logo for a little extra ‘branding’." Yes, I agree.
  • Show Respect through Timeliness: Do you usually ship your order out within 48-hours? Yes, I do.
  • Be Courteous with an Order Confirmation: Can you give a simple example?
  • Savvy Shipping Notification: I like the combination idea, but do I send it out when I get the order, or when I am ready to ship?
  • TIP: Poppyswap is our only "channel" at this point in time.

Extra, extra! Make sure that your new customer is a return customer. Give them incentive to shop with you!

I'm still considering this...one idea is to give a coupon for a free pack of seeds with the purchase of 3 or more items? I'm not clear as to how this works online. What do you think?

Thanks Kristie for all your work on Marketing Mondays! You are a precious resource for all of us!

Sharing is Oneness,

Aline

 

Aline Crehore, Green Journey Seeds
In Plants We Trust
http://www.poppyswap.com/shop/greenjourneyseeds

Hi Aline~

I'm so glad you are enjoying the weekly posts!

Simple example of email confirmation~ This is generally what I write in my order confirmation.

Dear XX~

Thank you so much for your Spirit Horse Herbals order! I will be shipping your order to you tomorrow via USPS mail from Westcliffe, Colorado. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you!

Kristie

p.s. Are we connected?

http://www.facebook.com/spirithorseherbals

http://www.spirithorseherbals.com

Because I tell the customer when I am shipping out their order, this to me is enough so that I don't have to send an email confirming their shipment. I'm not a seller who uses a 'tracking number' or requires delivery confirmation. In the last 3 years I've only had one instance where a person did not receive their order. So, I trust that and try to keep the process as simple as possible! Hope this little example helps and inspires your own creative juices!!! And for that 'extra extra', yes, a coupon of some sort, free shipping, or because you sell seeds, perhaps you want to include samples with links for them on how to order. Just a few ideas to get those wheels spinning~

Kristie

  • RosaArtemisia
  • gwendolyn ♥
  • Wrap it up! I reuse all the packaging that comes with my purchase of bottles, supplies, or herbs.  I also have a paper shredder which I use to shred all junkmail, my phonebook, and any printing errors.  This shredded paper is my packing material.  I am thinking of stepping it up a notch with my packaging, but I'll share those details some other time.
  • Brand with the Box:
    I use brown paper padded envelopes when shipping small items via First Class mail.  I use the free Priority Mail boxes for everything else. 
  • Be Legit with Labels:
    I have never branded my boxes, but perhaps I will from now on.
  • Show Respect through Timeliness:
    I generally ship within 48 hours unless the order comes over the weekend or if it is a made-to-order item.
  • Be Courteous with an Order Confirmation: I always send a brief note to each of my customers to let them know I received their order.
  • Savvy Shipping Notification:
    I always send out a second message to let them know when it is shipping.  I also send along a tracking number, which is free because I purchase most of my shipping via PayPal.
  • TIP:   I always include links to both of my shops on my labels, however including them in my message is a great idea.

Extra, extra! Make sure that your new customer is a return customer. Give them incentive to shop with you.... I love free samples, who doesn't?  I always include something extra when I have it on hand.

Gwendolyn Rose Botanicals ~ ♥
http://www.GwendolynForever.etsy.com

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