Shipping reflects your brand – do it well and you could be rewarded with future sales and customer loyalty. It also takes time – and that’s probably the resource you have the least of. Here’s how to stay on top of it.
Create a packing station
Your goal is to make shipping as efficient as possible. That means no duplicating your efforts, no retracing your steps, no wasting time looking for supplies.
Your station can be any flat surface that can accommodate your largest package. That surface might be as small as your kitchen table.
Try to keep your packing station as close to your inventory as possible, so you’re not running to the basement or other end of your home every time you need to prepare a package. Time is money and running around is a waste of time.
Get the right supplies
- Scale and measuring tape: Weight and size impact your shipping costs, so you need to be able to check weight and dimensions of each package.
- Tape: you need to seal your packages tightly. Clear tape is easy, or you can use branded tape to reinforce your message and turn each package into a marketing opportunity. Depending on your printer you may also need it to tape labels in place.
- Printer: For a few labels a day, any office printer will do. Eventually though, you’re going to want a thermal printer and it’s an investment worth making (they cost about $200). Thermal printers use heat to transfer pigment to labels. They don’t require toner and they create labels in seconds.
- Packages: The sizes you need depend entirely on what you’re selling. Whether you choose boxes, envelopes, sleeves or tubes, use the smallest package possible to protect your goods and reduce customer complaints. It’s also better for the environment, which matters to Canadians. If you have the space, prepare for peak selling periods by assembling shipping boxes in advance. Anything you do to make packaging go faster will mean less headache later.
Become a Solutions for Small Business member and start saving – it’s free!Sign up now
Plan for returns
No matter how fabulous your product is, at some point someone is going to make a return. Don’t take it personally.
Whether they want a refund or an exchange, that item is probably going back into your shipping station. You need room to open it and examine it before you re-stock it.
Shoppers want returns to be hassle-free, affordable and convenient. One-third of Canadian shoppers say the ease of making a return is a critical factor in their decision to purchase.1 Focus on optimizing returns, and you’ll boost conversion rates and loyalty. (Learn what consumers want: check out our step-by-step returns guide.)
Use parcel pickup to save time
If you have enough items, a pickup service will save you time. Schedule weekly pickups or use a pickup service only when needed. Canada Post Snap ShipTM members benefit from reduced rates.
1 Canada Post. E-commerce Returns: From Costly Complication to Competitive Advantage, 2017.
Find more small-business tips to help you grow.
Get information on how to package minimally.See tips