Sending Packages in 2021

We all have had to really work on a new model for life as the year has changed.  It is more complicated to go shopping in person and that is why eCommerce has really changed the whole game for the United States.  The times are getting a little crazy as retail stores have had to change.  The Covid-19 Pandemic has systematically altered the American Economy and many stores are having to adapt quickly.  Lots of stores have gone from open storefronts to only being allowed to operate as e-commerce companies.  What the unforeseen effects have been is that now every item is being shipped instead of having a customer pick it up in the store.  This is creating lots of extra costs in many different areas.  

Many companies are really learning to flex and become more online-focused.  This is not the easiest transition though and truly the unforeseen cost in all of this is time.  Changing a company from a brick and mortar store to an e-commerce business takes lots of time.  Now entire departments have to be created or changed in order to actually ship out orders. There now is no longer a cash register but a computer telling you to gather up an individual’s order.  This could be lots of products from all around a store.  There now has to be essentially a new position of shopper created to gather all the orders. This takes time away from current employees doing their normal jobs because the orders have to actually be gathered and then moved into a new shipping area. 

It is also true that you can help survive in this new time by being wise and learning to cut costs anywhere possible.  One area that many stores did not quantity in their change to becoming e-commerce retailers is the cost of shipping supplies.  Products that were once going to be sold directly on-off the store shelf and put into a bag are having to be packaged into shipping bags or boxes. Each and every box or bag now comes with separate costs.  The retail stores purchase the shipping back or box.  Some products require extra cost due to their weight.  Some heavy-duty boxes cost between10and 200 dollars just for the box.  Then each package must then be sealed.  The costs go up because many different types of tapes have to be used.  Before they can be sealed some products are fragile and have to be packaged with extra materials.  So stores must now purchase packing peanuts or air bubble products, and in some cases massive amounts of paper to make sure products won’t shift during shipping.  

Now don’t get caught up in other people’s issues.  See their failings as an opportunity to jump into the market with full force and heart.  The shipping supplies stores are having trouble keeping up with demand.  Amazon just hired 100,000 workers in order to keep up with demand and now prominent packaging stores are struggling to create enough boxes and packages themselves to ship to all these new e-commerce retailers. So take into account that there will be extra time for supplies to reach you. Try to keep up with the correct quantity of orders coming in and purchase ahead of time. And know that you are in the best possible place and that is supplying where others stores are simply failing. 

How do you eCommerce in 2021?

Now that the pandemic is full-blown rather it is or not has let us know that shopping online is the new normal.  We have to because of all the regulations being put in place.  The change in shopping has also left us with a change in how packages arrive.  Goods that are shipped across the country and internationally are something relatively new in the history of trade. It was only a century ago that most things were bought and sold in a brick and mortar shop. Sure, people would send items long-distance, but those were almost exclusively to friends or family members, not for business.

Now that times have changed and the whole industry is different it is pretty cool.  The problem wasn’t that we didn’t have the technology to ship containers or boxes or parcels. It was the technology of payment that was lacking. Think about it. Why would a company want to send you a product if you couldn’t pay them until after you received it? Similarly, why would you want to pay for something across the country and only be sent it after they received your check or cash? The whole international shipping and legal side of life were really working hard then. 

But with times comes change.  The internet, however, has solved this problem. Credit cards make it easy to put in your payment information in a matter of seconds, and before you know it, your items are being packaged in shipping supplies and loaded up in a truck to start their journey to your house. This has left us now in the pandemic with hundreds of boxes per house to get rid of. 

But bad things will always happen and the fact is that it’s taken quite a bit of time for our conception of trade to evolve to the state it has, but it begs the question: What will our business model be like in another 50 or 100 years? Will shipping be twice as quick? Will things remain as they are since our transportation is a pretty high speed and efficient as it can get as is? It’s too early to tell what will happen, but I can bet that autonomous vehicles will be a cog in the system that speeds the process up even more. Sure, everyone seems to be a bit timid or even afraid of the idea of vehicles driving themselves, but by taking the human component out of the model, business is actually faster, more efficient, and more objective. Yes, we’re gonna leave the whole can of worms that is jobs vs. AI out of this article.  That is simply something we don’t want to touch. 

Now when it comes to this whole new eCommerce world what do you think? Will our idea of shipping supplies evolve in the next century, too? Will cardboard be outdated by a newer, cheaper, sturdier substance that is just as eco-friendly? Will shipping become a cheaper thing overall, or will prices rise simply because the efficiency will increase? Has it really worked or have we just left our economy and also our environment in a bigger hole. If only we could peer just a few decades into the future, I’m sure a lot of these questions would be answered in a short fashion. But life is hard and the world keeps moving on.  

Holiday Packing Supplies that help

This is my favorite time of year.  The winter is here and the holidays bring about the best of times for most people in the United States.  This is also the time that you stock up on office supplies, many of those including stuff you can use to ship items, and then the supplies sit there unused for years. You forget about them, much like other home essentials that have been untouched for ages and they continue to sit there.  But really this is a time to take an account of all the things that matter. If you’re going to spend the money on supplies, you surely meant to use them at some point, right? It is wise to make the most out of what you have and where you are going to be getting them from so you don’t waste hard-earned cash.

In 2020 this is the time to get your eCommerce supplies in gear and spending too much is simply not an option.  Well, we all have good intentions for most of our purchases. Shipping supplies are no different. Life just gets in the way. But luckily, there are ways to make use of those supplies you once intended to use, and you can have fun using them this holiday season, too. It may take a tad bit of work on your end, but it almost always guarantees to make someone else (and yourself!) happy around this time of year.

Don’t forget to be thoughtful.  When life gets in the way of your household and items you don’t use, it also tends to impede close friendships. People move away. You fall out of touch. What better way to rekindle a friendship than to randomly send a small bauble or a book as a gift to an old-time friend of yours? Pack it in a box, tape it up, wrap it, label it, and ship it out. They’ll be surprised and see that you cared enough to think of them.

Keep in touch with your family.  Whether you choose to send one of these to your elder family members that you can’t always visit, family friends, coworkers, or someone you know who’s away at college, family Christmas letters are nice little surprises for people that may not always be able to keep up with your life. These also show you care when you send them to someone close, and it’s a great way to show off the family and home!

Take the extra gear and have some fun with it.  Use your scissors, tape, twine, and packing paper this year to spice up your decorations, whether you’re wrapping “fake” gifts as decorations with packing paper or using twine as draping on your trees.

And for the decorations that don’t make it up this year, think about using some of your cardboard boxes and packaging tape to store what you don’t use. You can simply box up the clutter and store it in the attic, basement, or a closet, especially since it’s tough to throw certain things away.  There you have it. Three simple ways to repurpose the shipping supplies you once bought but never got around to using. Whether you’re making an old friend’s day, touching base with a distant family member, or decorating your home, you can be sure to get some use out of these common items that you’ve neglected for too long. Just remember to have fun!

Sell More Pay Less on Packaging

This year is super exciting for the business world.  It is truly fun to see so many new companies taking over the eCommerce world and learning how to sell online.  It is a huge part of the economy now and is becoming necessary for so many who may be susceptible to COVID-19.  That mostly applies to the elderly, but being able to have most items in the whole world delivered to your door and not having to go out is not only life-changing but maybe life-saving as well.  What we have seen in our company is that all the companies we work with are changing how they are doing work.  We are seeing tons of companies selling more online and learning how to send items to their buyers in the wisest of ways.  But we are also seeing a lot of failure in this whole area as well.  It is sad to see the failures of these companies and some of them are simply because they are buying shipping supplies at the wrong location and for the wrong price. 

What we are seeing is that many companies and business owners are so stressed and busy that they are not looking for the best deal on shipping supplies and are brushing off the missed savings as a necessary thing.  But I have to remind people that if your entire company is based around sending items to people then each box, bag, and every single sell could be losing you tons of money if you are not shopping for them wisely.  That is a huge thing to think about and it is so many times overlooked.  What we see most often is that the owner is moving from a brick and mortar company to an online selling business.

The online business is generally something they have done a little bit before but never full time.  So they have purchased their boxes and bags at a higher price from a local vendor and just keep buying them.  What they are not doing is shopping around for the best prices.  They are not looking for bulk deals or going to the source of the box makers or bag creators.  Instead, they are paying an upcharge amount because they are not willing to spend a little bit of time shopping for an actual deal.

I also see these newer business owners buying from Amazon for all of their products.  This is bad because they are instantly being charged 10% more for buying off a platform that charges the seller 10% per sale at a minimum.  This is so unwise to do in the long run because you are losing at least that amount on each sale.   The truth is that the major online packaging companies are willing to send you all the gear and supplies you need for 20-30% less than you are generally paying at the other location.

But they are also missing out on the advice they are not getting from buying from a company that simply does not have a chat or even a phone line.  If you go to a packaging company online you can at least get good advice on the packaging you need. I have found my company has saved 35% by making this choice and I hope you are able to do the same.

Is Your Warehouse Ready for 2021?

This year has been a big ball of change for much of our world.  The United States economy has completely changed and the way we do business has shifted into a whole new realm of shopping and buying.  People are now buying online out of necessity or in some cases even law.  It is a wild situation we are in thanks to the regulations put in place due to COVID-19 but there are some things you can do to make sure your company is staying ahead of the curve.  I have been working with a lot of businesses and they are all making changes to their warehouse to stay relevant and to stay on top of this crisis.  I know some things will not apply to everyone, but most of the changes are revolving around their shipping supplies and their ability to be able to be a more efficient business.  That is important when millions of new companies are jumping into eCommerce and you may be one of them.  So let’s go over a few things to make sure you are aware of some easy changes that can save a whole lot of money.

The first and most important thing is to make sure you are ready for getting your products to your customer.  This is a part that many people think they know the best or understand more than others.  The truth is that I have seen more companies struggle on the simple logistics side of getting products to buyers more than anything.  I have also seen more companies fail in this area and turn to bankruptcy because they refused to make changes or take just a few hours out to look for better deals.  When it comes to finding the best prices on your shipping supplies you must not settle for the easiest route. 

What is really happening is companies are moving from brick and mortar to eCommerce and they are slightly aware of packaging.  They have purchased small amounts of boxes, bags, and tape from the same company for years.  They are generally charged a large amount more than they should be and when they go to buy in bulk they get really hurt due to that huge upsell in prices. This sounds simple, but it happens over and over again and these guys who have been with teh same company for so long just think their prices are fine or ok.

The flip side to this is that a new company just orders all their stuff on Amazon.  It is simple to do this and fast, but the issue is that they are losing at a minimum of 10-15% every single item they purchase because Amazon takes that percent right off the top.  The truth is that if you shop and find the manufacturer or the major packaging stores online you can save a bundle of money by getting not only the correct products for yourself and your warehouse but at the best price with actual advice going behind them.  

These companies have departments that are ready to help you find the right item for your product.  They want you to ship the best so you ship more and buy more from them.  It is a win-win situation and you won’t get that from any other location at the best price. C

Having the Best Box For the Job

One of the areas that I have enjoyed being in has been the business world.  By working in business and being able to have my own small company on eBay I have been able to see and do a whole lot of things.  I have lost money and learned many lessons from my mistakes and from simply not knowing.  But I have learned many positive things as well from successes and from watching what others were doing.  I found it amazing that using the correct shipping supplies could end up changing my margins on the items I was selling.  I changed some sales from 60% profit to 80% profit just by using the right boxes.  It ended up saving me money in the long run due to returns as well.  So I want to go over some steps for why having the best box for the job is really an essential part of running a business.

The best part of running a business is making money.  For some people that come in when they list the item.  Or for some people, they love when they finally ship the item and then they feal amazing about the wholesale.  But either way, I think you feel even better when you are able to make more money doing it.  The end of the month recipes of sales is what I love and being able to make those numbers go up is what gives me hope and encouragement to keep moving in that direction.

I started reading articles about different kinds of boxes, bags, and stuffing for each.  I found out that I actually knew nothing about the shipping supplies world and that I needed to up my knowledge base in order to get the correct items and stay ahead of my competition.  Some of my competition was actually winning in this area and I didn’t even know it.  By them being able to purchase boxes at a lower price that fit their products better they were able to in the end have more merchandise than me and sell it at a slightly lower price than me as well.  I have my reputation, but most people simply go for a lower price over a better-rated seller on eBay.

So I finally learned that major companies are all around the internet that specializes in boxes and bags.  By doing this and not selling on a third-party location like Amazon they can sell them cheap and still make more money themselves.  So that is one of the best places to look for the boxes you need.  I was able to call a few companies up and find a better product.  Then I was able to get a bulk discount from each and then see which one would go lower than the other.  It was not mean, but I honestly wanted to know.  I decided to go with the more flexible company and I have gone back to them to show my gratitude as well.  If a company is willing to take a little less to keep me then I am going to be more loyal to them and show my gratitude.  It is a cycle of respect that businessmen and women understand and appreciate. So get the right box and rock your business.

Can your bags and boxes make you go bankrupt?

The year is 2020 and most people are not purchasing consistently online.  With the COVID-19 pandemic even more and more people are shopping through eCommerce.  It really is the truth that the new normal is shopping online and having the convenience of shipping to your door becomes mainstream.  With where I work now I have seen so many eCommerce companies succeed and also fail with the unfortunate circumstances of bad choices.  This is something that I really don’t like to see.  So today I want to go over some things that I saw failing companies do and areas they ignored which actually ended up costing them enough money to begin a downward spiral.  The thing is that where you shop for bags and boxes can have a massive impact on your bottom line.  The revenue savings from purchasing your basic baseline products that you know you are going to use can be the difference between success and instant failure.

The first thing I always tell people when they are getting into eCommerce is to understand that every item they sell will be shipped.  They all laugh and think I am talking really basic, but I then like to go into the fact that shipping supplies make and break companies.  When competition is tight and maybe you are facing 300 people in the same industry then you need to be able to stay ahead of be competitive.  So how do you do this? What if those 300 companies are all purchasing the same items from the places you are?  Well, then you have to cut corners and find ways to stay ahead to either sell at a lower price or offer a better shipping rate or discount.  This is a really big deal and you must know how to do this or you will end up losing in the long run.

The first thing you need to do is to find the best source for all your shipping supplies.  Most people fail right here and at this point.  They simply do not search hard enough for the best company.  Or they don’t negotiate enough for the best deal and they end up losing lots of margins on each and every single item they sell.  It certainly is hard to stay competitive when every item you sell loses you some money.  What I see the most is that people always shop one of two places. 

The first place they shop is a local store.  It is really nice to put that you only shop locally and all your products are shipped with local goods.  People like this and it can be a selling point.  The fact is that it is usually only successful if your local store is an industry leader and able to give you the same discounts and rates as a large nationwide company.  This is why most little companies that shop locally end up losing because their rates are twice as high and their options are usually lower.

The next option is Amazon.  This is where most people shop and if you are doing this for an office and picking up regular supplies more power to you. But the costs are still higher than you can get elsewhere and people simply give up and concede that convenience is worth more to them. Find a major manufacturer online instead and negotiate until you crush amazon prices.  That is my advice and what you should attempt to do.

Get the Right Box for the Right Task

I have been in a whole lot of different industries throughout my career.  It has led me down many paths and some of them were revolved around manual labor and other management.  The joy of being able to be in many different industries and jobs is that you get to learn how to deal with a variety of situations.  This year I am glad for my past experiences because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It has led to such a change in our economy and the way that we do business that my past experiences have come in handy.  Our company has shifted to doing some extra marketing tasks in-house.  This meant that my knowledge of past shipping supplies and how to utilize them came in handy.

We ended up having to order all the products directly and put our own marketing together.  This was a task that needed some past warehouse knowledge in order to get down what we needed.  Working and managing a warehouse led me to understand how manual processes and ordering of products in bulk can be the difference between success and failure.  The reason I knew this was because I had taken a warehouse department at an auto dealership more efficient one summer while I was going to college. It was a great job for the summer and it was my goal to do such a good job that they would hire me back summer after summer. 

I learned that understanding that the way a job was done could be money saving.  This was done by watching different people do the same job.  I learned that some people did things because they were told to do them and some would do what they wanted.  I asked people than to do the job differently than normal and I tracked the type of products they used, the location they did the work, and how much time it took them.  I then found the most efficient way by seeing people with experience and those without expereince do that same job.  From there I was able to track the tape, boxes, and labels that were used and how much of each product was used.  This allowed me to figure out the most efficient way for tasks to be done.  I then created systems after seeing what worked best and had the teams follow those systems.  I walked them through how each step saved their time, and the store’s money and didn’t penalize them for doing more. 

This whole lesson taught me how to take out the marketing department in-house and work on finding the best products and best way to put our projects together.  Then I went shopping for the best shipping supplies stores and found the best deal for our company. It is not an easy task to then take what you know and justify it to a board of directors. So I had to price out local stores to see what they could give us.  Then I went on Amazon to see what deals were available for our products and the time and cost of shipping involved.  When I went to major online retailers I was able to get the best deals and costs and justify it to the board with proof.  I hope these tips help your company thrive through the pandemic as well.

Is your tape costing you money?

Knowing how to stay competitive in a market that is completely focused on eCommerce in the United States in 2020 is hard.  With the COVID-19 Pandemic, every company is fighting to stay ahead of everyone else and is using all its capabilities to do so.  It can be very hard to stay ahead of everyone and stay successful without closing down.  I think that there are lots of things you can do to stay ahead of the competition.  Some of them won’t cost you money to get either.  IT can be as simple as taking some of your time to overcome the hardships and costs that your current practices may be costing you.  So if you run an eCommerce company and are constantly purchasing shipping supplies this may be the read for you.

I think that knowing everything that is going on in your business is important to be successful.  I don’t mean being a micromanager or an overseer of everything.  But knowing what systems are in place and what is being done in each area is important.  The systems you have in place can be the difference between being successful and closing down.  But putting those systems in place is really complicated.  So I want to talk about one system our company decided to improve and show where that went in the long scheme of things and how it ended up saving us money.

The shipping department in my company turned into the most important part of our business when COVID-19 hit.  We were no longer able to use our storefront and get walk-in customers.  This meant that all of our products that were sold came from online.  Our shipping department was now responsible for getting our products safely to our customers without getting damaged.  I have to admit that this was something that we did maybe once a week but most of our orders came from inside the store.  This all changed and we had to find ways to make our costs go down.

We looked at all aspects of shipping and found that corrugated boxes were going to be the way we were able to ship out items out.  We started to count every box and every single bit of tape that we used to seal them up.  We researched labels and every aspect of the costs involved in getting our products out the door.  So we watched multiple shifts accomplish the same job and without a doubt, we saw a lot of tape being used.  This was because these groups had seen our boxes open up without 3 strips on the top and bottom before. This was 6 strips of tape per box and that seemed like a lot. 

It turns out that we wanted to check and make sure we were doing the right thing.  We didn’t really know where to turn, but someone suggests we call a shipping supplies store and ask about what we were doing and to see if they had suggestions of ways to cut down on cost.  What I found out was that we were using a tape that was not rated for the weight of the boxes.  They gave us a tape that could do it in a single strip and it ended up saving us 30% in costs between the difference.  So I hope this small tip helps your company as well.

How to Save money this Quarter Letters and Wax and Tape

Our company has had to make that 2020 pivot.  If you don’t know what I am talking about let me tell you a little about 2020.  This year we had the COVID-19 Pandemic and our entire economy went nuts.  The majority of states went on a house arrest lockdown and shut down all non-essential workers from working.  Yes, it sounds a lot like communism just happened and well it did. But this is more about how our company survived the freedom sucking economy collapsing event.  We decided to use our own ingenuity and purchased a bunch of packaging supplies and took all of our own marketing in house.  We decided to instead of pay thousands of dollars for a marketing company to do work that we know cost about half that we would instead do it in house. 

Our first task was to go through all the numbers.  We had to track all the purchases and sales that were made from previous marketing and find out what was actually making us the most money because we have to be fragile and fast in this market.  Our goal was to hunt marketing out like a panther and that is what we did.  We researched hard on what was landing us our money and pounced on it.  It turns out that our packaging supplies idea was right and that direct mail was the answer.

our most popular and money-making marketing item was a direct mail campaign.  There was no point in spending money on anything but this and well emails.  It is easy to follow up on the direct mailers with emails in order to give the 1 two punch to make our marketing work.  So with this in mind, we had to find a way to make our company capable of doing direct mailers.  Most of us are technologically savy so we figured we could write out our letters and then put them into a nice looking format.

Formatting turned out to be a hard part because of looks matter.  We wanted to make sure these looked professional because even if we did them cheap if they look cheap they won’t work.  Perception really is a reality so we decided to step up our game.  We used color copies for our letters and had the look of it to be very professional and branded.  Then we had to go ahead and buy a bunch of good looking letters.  Buying letters, paper, and inc for this project was part of the expense. 

We tracked every single cost, from letters, labels, stamps, and paper.  Then we put on a special sauce wax seal to finish off the letters.  By the time we finished, we found out that the cost of each one was about 1 dollar when done in mass production.  We had to call up big companies and order all of our items in bulk in order to cut down on costs.  Going to Amazon was not going to work for costs if we are going to make money doing this.  So the next part was to get our team together to make these happen.

We ended up taking shifts each week and spending a three-hour shift to accomplish all the letters we would need for the week. Everyone pitched in, even our CEO and we all have had a good time doing this on our own.