E-commerce 101: How to Ship Products
Let’s talk about how to ship products. Now I’m going to warn you right up front that it’s definitely not the glamorous side of building an online business. But how you do it is important because when it’s done right, it can help customers fall in love with you and your brand even more.
What the heck do I mean by that?
Well..if you’ve ever ordered something and had it arrive all mangled up or broken (check out my post on items I wish I’d never sold), you know what I’m talking about. It completely ruins your day to tear open a box and see nothing but pieces of whatever you were once so dang excited about.
Yeah, not so awesome.
But when your package arrives and everything is fine and dandy, you have a positive feeling about the company you bought it from. And even better, when there’s a little something extra inside of the box for you, that feeling goes from good to great.
That is VERY awesome. Like running through meadows of wildflowers kind of awesome!
And that’s why it’s important to know how to ship products well.
In the video above, my daughter Makayla shows offer her mad packing and shipping skills. At this point, she’s probably shipped roughly a gajillion packages, and that’s actually a really good thing.
Why? Because it’s important to know the process of shipping your e-commerce products just like it’s important to know the other steps. Here are a few tips:
1. Check your product before it ever goes in the box.
Pretty basic, but pretty dang important too. Even if the product is packaged when it comes from the manufacturer, take it out and examine it to ensure there aren’t any chips, breaks or other negative surprises for your customer. (Because if there are…you’re going to hear about it in a not-nice way. Nobody wants that, right?)
2. Pack it well.
Some products, like clothing or other soft items, ship great in padded envelopes. Others need to be treated with a little more TLC. Brown paper is an awesome way and pretty budget-friendly way to cushion items, and you can look at other packing materials too. Just make sure that anything even kind of breakable is packed well enough to not move around a lot during the shipping process.
Oh—and even if you write “Fragile” on the outside of your package thinking that it will be carried lovingly from stop to stop, it won’t happen. Companies just don’t have the time or ability to treat the millions of packages that come in through their doors that way. It’s our job to pack products well enough that they’ll survive being thrown into and out of a variety of vehicles.
3. Add a surprise.
You guys—I cannot stress this enough. Yes, it sounds crazy that I’ve bought and shipped enough Laffy Taffy to fund an exotic vacation, but my customers LOVE it. Their kids love it. We all love it. It’s just a little something that brings even more fun to opening a package. A coupon for a future order, a catalog of other products, a coloring page…think of inexpensive ways to promote your brand while showing your customers a little adoration and pop it in the box before you tape it up.
4. Use shipping software.
My life changed the day I started using shipping software for my online business. Light shone from the heavens and I swear to you I heard the sound of angels drifting over me. Before then, I was handwriting every address label which was RIDICULOUSLY time-consuming, frustrating when I made an error (which meant starting over) and yes, it made my hand tired.
In the video, Makayla shows how easy printing off shipping labels becomes with a great shipping software program. She’s using ShipStation, which has been our go-to for a really, really long time. It’s simple to use and it interfaces with tons of deal sites, e-commerce platforms, and all those fun things. She also uses a Zebra printer—thermal printers that don’t use any ink, meaning (yay!) less cost in the long run.
Okay, last tip. Remember when I said it’s really important to know the shipping process? It’s absolutely true.
…once you know how to ship products like the back of your hand, let someone else do it for you.
My family has helped me ship products. My neighbors have helped ship products. Teens and tweens that are friends of my kids have helped ship products. And there are shipping companies out there who will help you too.
You don’t have to do it yourself, and when you let someone do it for you, you can focus on growing your e-commerce business.
Talk again soon—
P.S. Ready to start an online business or grow the one you already have? Check out my Masterclass to learn more about how Makayla and her sister Bridges have rocked the e-commerce world (and how you can too!)