Just the other day, I was chatting with a friend about her business shipping needs and what her currently method was. Maybe 5 minutes into the conversation, I stated that her plan needed to be redesigned to completely. See, most small business owners think a customer’s experience with their store ends after the purchase is made. It doesn’t. It extends way past that, all the way up to them receiving their order in the mail. This can either help you land a repeat customer or lose one.
First, let’s talk about the professionalism that is associated with shipping customer’s orders. Yes, you are a small business but with platforms like, WordPress, Bigcommerce, and Squarespace, your company ends up looking like Nordstrom. Run your business with a higher caliber of service. I have been on some small business websites where there is no shipping or return policy. This is a HUGE no no in my book, and I bet your customer’s too. It’s a red flag on the play; customers will immediately leave. Stop and take time to outline these things on your website:
- Processing Time
- Shipping Time
- Cost of Shipping
- Return Policy
- Insurance & Tracking
- International Orders
- Carrier You Use (FedEx, USPS, or UPS)
Invest in your product packaging. Yes, click and ship flat rate boxes are great, and they save you maybe $0.25 cents an order. However, they are not cohesive with your whole brand. You don’t have to spend thousands right out the gate getting customer poly mailers or boxes. I have had clients do that (against my advice) and they end up regretting it later. One, their budget couldn’t handle that expense. Two, they wanted to rebrand on top of changing things months later. You can order supplies on Amazon, Etsy, or eBay for a fraction of the cost. You can find colored poly mailers, too. If your product is shipped in boxes, you can get plain white or craft brown boxes. Then, buy tape with your company name on it to seal the boxes.
Branding Your Company
You can do basic branding on a small budget with companies like Zazzle; where you can print stickers with your logo on it. This is something IC did with Brownstone Closets; she ships sequined letters and hangers. She had a simple black sticker created that she uses to seal all her bags with. Another way to brand your company is to get the tissue paper or crinkle paper in the color scheme of your company. I have had body scrubs, notebooks, and several other things come like this. Very low cost ways to brand.
No Surprises In Packages
No one wants glitter, confetti, or a waft of perfume immediately attacking them when opening a package. I had a boutique and thought it was great to do all three. I was sneezing left and right. The sneezing caused the glitter and confetti to go everywhere. I am not 5 years old and neither is your audience. I’m certain you know how hard it is to get glitter off of you, so don’t do it to your audience. Also, adding scents to packaging is not a good idea. You don’t know what kinds of allergies people may have. If someone, wants to smell like Chance by Chanel, they will buy it.
Paper Trail of Information
Your customer should not be left in the dark when it comes to their order. Last month, I supported several small business owners. Out of about 10 or so that I supported, I would only purchase from maybe 3 again. The lack of progress updates kept me out of the loop. Body by Frank coffee scrubs is a perfect example of what to do when it comes to keeping customers in the loop. Here are some of the emails your customers should be receiving from you:
- Receipt from Order
- Confirmation of Order
- Order Processing
- Order Shipped
- Follow Up – (if necessary)
When you’re packaging customer’s orders, keep yourself in mind. How would you want the order shipped to you? What experience do you want customers to have with the company? Make it a great one! Especially, if you want to foster a relationship that builds repeat support.