As your business grows, shipping can quickly eat up your time and money. Use these tips to manage your shipping operations for improved ROI.
Shipping is one of the most difficult and mundane tasks you will face as a direct seller. From gathering shipping supplies to purchasing shipping labels and packaging orders and then finally making that trek to stand in line at the post office – shipping can become a time suck that most of us would like to skip.
To make matters even worse, shipping costs are rising. Unfortunately, many direct sellers must eat the costs of shipping, which means the rising costs will continue to cut into your profits and earnings. And while your costs are rising, so are your customers’ expectations.
Just a few short years ago, the idea of receiving an item that you ordered within a few days or even a few hours was completely unimaginable. “Back in the day” catalog and online orders took time to fulfill and deliver. Fast forward to today, and it’s easy to see how Amazon has drastically changed consumer expectations. Now, we expect shipping that is not only fast but also free. Which is really too bad, after all, someone has to pay for shipping and it will likely be you. Expedited deliveries generally cost even more. The bottom line is that it’s challenging for small business owners to meet customer expectations while simultaneously keeping their shipping costs as low as possible.
As much as you’d like to skip it, shipping has become a crucial aspect of modern-day direct selling. You may have already realized that for a home-based business, shipping can quickly become a nightmare without a well-organized process to handle it. So, how do you ship products to buyers after you make a sale, at the lowest costs and with the fewest headaches? The good news is there are plenty of “hacks” available to help you get the job done faster and easier at reasonable rates.
1. Use a Shipping Software
Using a shipping software simplifies the entire logistics process for your business and allows you to spend more time growing your business. A good example is the Ship.com shipping platform. Direct sales business owners are happy to report that Ship.com makes shipping faster and easier for them.
One of the biggest advantages of using shipping software is cost savings. Software providers generally ship several thousand shipments each month through their platforms. This allows them to negotiate vastly discounted rates through the various providers and then those savings are passed on to customers. With the right shipping software, you can significantly reduce your hard shipping costs.
Ship.com can also automatically import your orders, not only does this save you time but it also reduces potential shipping orders. No more manually entering each customers’ shipping info! After your account is set up you can select shipping and print labels in just a few clicks.
With Ship.com you can even schedule a free USPS pick up right from your door. Which will free up even more of your time by eliminating those dreaded trips to the post office. Access customer information, manage your orders, and track data in one simple, secure place. Using a shipping software is a great way to run a hassle-free home-based business.
There are several additional features that provide enhanced business tools to direct sellers using the Ship.com platform. The automated Rewards program lets you track gift progress and send emails to customers who have almost reached their free gift. Speaking of emails, the platform includes automated shipment tracking and delivery notifications that allow you to send follow-up emails after packages are delivered. Plus, more email marketing features are coming soon!
2. Order Free Shipping Supplies
Not many people know it, but you can get free shipping supplies from the United States Postal Service (USPS) delivered directly to your door. We’ve already talked about rising shipping rates but the costs of packaging materials can also make a big dent in your expenses. Not only that, it’s time-consuming to run around shopping for shipping supplies. Well, never fear because it only takes a brief visit to the USPS to get everything you need, at no additional costs.
Visit the USPS store online to order free boxes and envelopes. The post office typically delivers boxes in packs of 10 or 25. If you happen to live close to a physical post office, you can also drop in and pick up free supplies.
Available Supplies Include:
• Priority Mail boxes and envelopes
• USPS labels and stickers
3. Create A Memorable Unboxing Experience
Unboxing is the name for the customer experience of opening a product for the first time, removing it from the shipping box and product packaging. Pop on over to YouTube, search for “unboxing”, and you will find a treasure trove of videos that demonstrate what today’s customers expect when they receive a product by mail.
When a customer opens your shipment, you have a unique, and often overlooked, opportunity to surprise and delight. This is important because happy customers are loyal customers who are likely to return again and again for repeat purchases, increasing your profit margins. Create an unboxing experience that works for you and your business. Start by reviewing the unboxing videos of similar products on social media.
When someone receives your product, imagine their surprise and delight if you were to include a brief personal thank you note and a piece of gourmet candy or any other small, inexpensive gift. This simple touch can leave customers more excited about your product and motivate them to share their experience, resulting in new customers and more future sales. As you can see, a rewarding unboxing experience doesn’t need to be complicated or even cost a lot. In fact, it can even save you time and money by creating a cohesive methodology for fulfilling your orders.
4. Promote Future Sales
A great way to encourage existing customers to buy more products from you is by using coupons. Coupons have proven to be effective sales tools for all kinds of businesses, including direct sales. It is a fact that shoppers like coupons and many of them are actively looking for them before they make a purchase. You can easily create a flyer or printed coupon to add to your shipments and let customers know about upcoming sales, discounts, and promotions.
5. Create A Shipping Station
Running a home-based business, like direct sales, and shipping orders can make your home disorganized to say the least. Between your product inventory and shipping supplies, things can get quite cluttered. To prevent this, it is set up an organized space dedicated to shipping. This will not only make your home organized but also create a more efficient shipping process.
6. Ship Orders ASAP
As an independent retailer, you want to ensure you deliver the best experience to your customers. One way to do that is to ship orders as quickly as possible. We’ve already mentioned “the Amazon effect” – today’s shoppers have extremely high delivery expectations. If a customer is excited about purchasing your product, you can make them even happier by getting them the product as quickly as possible. On the flip side, slower deliveries are highly likely to dissatisfy your customers. The best way to create a speedy shipping response is to follow all of the shipping detailed hacks above.
Viola, now you’re ready to ship like the pros! Armed with shipping software, discounted shipping rates, free shipping supplies, a memorable unboxing experience, coupons for future sales and a shipping station you’ll be ready to reap the benefits and grow your business. You can quickly integrate these practices into your shipping processes and you will soon see significant savings in your time, money and effort spent on shipping. Implement these shipping best practices to save yourself from unnecessary stress, keep your home organized, grow your business and help you handle shipping in the easiest and most effective way.
We hope you find this information to be useful, stay tuned for additional tips to help you optimize your shipping and marketing tasks. If you have any questions, feel free to click the chat icon in the lower corner of your screen.