If you’re looking to sell physical products over the internet, then there’s never been a better time to set up shop. To get the best out of your fledgling business, however, you’ll need to be sure that your parcels arrive at their destination, and do so in one piece. Let’s look at some of the ways you might go about doing this.
Offer free postage
There are few things more likely to annoy your customers (and probably bounce them away from your website) than the sudden hike in price that comes when postal costs are added without warning when they reach the shopping cart. To avoid this, you can offer free delivery – but bear in mind that you’ll need to make cuttings elsewhere in your service in order to achieve this.
But don’t mandate it
Each of your customers is slightly different, and thus they’ll have slightly different priorities. It might be that some of them would prefer a speedier delivery, and that they’ll be willing to pay slightly over the odds in order to get it. To cater to everyone, and cause the minimum of upset, present your customers with a range of options – that way each will be able to choose the option that best matches their situation. More options might mean more administrative work – but it might be that the uptick in business compensates for it.
If your products aren’t sufficiently well-packaged, then they’ll stand a much-reduced chance of arriving at their destinations intact. This point is especially salient if you’re shipping fragile or valuable goods. In such instances, it’s worth erring on the side of padding – cram bubble-wrap into the box and ensure that things can’t rattle around when they’re in the back of the van.
When you’re entering address information, there’s a chance you might make a mistake. This will invariably lead to packaged going missing. This problem can be combatted with the help of postcode lookup systems. The user of such a system need only enter their postcode to be presented with a list of potential addresses, from which they can choose their own. This eliminates the possibility of error, and thus hugely reduces the number of misdelivered packages.
Similarly, you might keep your database of customer addresses in good shape with the help of address data cleansing. This technique works in much the same way as the spellchecker on your computer – it’ll scan the database in search of inaccuracies, and identify and correct them.
Cut stamping costs
If you’re sending out a sufficient quantity of diverse items, then it becomes all the more important to secure your business a proper franking machine. A device of this sort will provide a unique barcode that’ll bill you automatically for the post when it arrives at the sorting office. Alternatively, you might rent such a machine affordably.
Get a printer
Another problem that’s likely to cause post to go missing midway through delivery is an illegible label. Fortunately, there exist tried-and-true methods of avoiding this particular problem – invest in a decent printer and have your addresses printed in unmistakably-sharp high-resolution black and white.
To keep your customers onside, and therefore more willing to come back for more, you might be tempted to bundle in special extra items into your parcel. You’ll want to be sure, however, that such gifts don’t contribute too much to the weight of the item. If you’re shipping something heavy, like a 3d printer, then a bag of sweets won’t make too much of a difference. If you’re shipping a paperback novel, then it just might.
Keep things snug
Excessive packaging has the potential to ramp up your postal expenditure. The reason for this is twofold: using more packaging costs more money, as it uses more material, and the cost of shipping typically depends on the volume of the parcel as well as its weight. If it’s possible to do so, be sure to use a parcel of a regular size.
To keep track of how much your items weigh, it’s worth investing in a small scale. It’ll sit in your office and help you to avoid any nasty surprises when you reach the post office. Be sure to log the weight of each parcel being shipped – that way you’ll be able to use the information to arrive at better logistical decisions in the future.