Author Archives: Mathew Bell

Starting An ECommerce Company In 2021

Are you trying to start an eCommerce business right now? Well if so, I have news for you. There are just under a million other people trying to do the same exact thing as you right now. Does that scare you at all? Giving you second thoughts? Well, the good news is that you are going to be just fine, because you have me. 2021 is the greatest year that has ever existed as far as eCommerce companies go. Especially with the pandemic of 2020 (which is still a problem in 2021), it is easier than ever before to start a successful eCommerce business and make some serious money while doing it. If you have a natural knack for business and marketing, as well as money management, problem solving, and entrepreneurship, then you might have what it takes to be successful in the world of eCommerce business. However, there are still some things that you should be aware of before you go all in on this eCommerce business idea. Luckily for you, I am a super experienced eCommerce consultant and have had hundreds of these conversations with people in the past 10 years alone. Therefore, I am going to run you through some of the basics of what you need to know before you get to starting your eCommerce business. 

The first thing that you need to know is that eCommerce selling involves a great deal of market research. Are you prepared to put your nose to the grindstone and do what it takes to really understand the world in which you are selling to? Analyzing the market is one of the most important things you can do when starting an eCommerce business, because it helps you identify potential strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities that exist within the market you are selling.

You can also get a better idea of who your competitors are and how best to defeat them and ruin their next family Christmas. That’s right, you are going to need to get cut-throat in this business world if you want to compete with the big dogs. There are also a lot of different types of eCommerce business models, and choosing the right one for you is super important. This will also help you better understand the market that you are researching and how you need to be approaching different market segments.

Another important thing you need to keep in mind is that you will not have any physical storefront or contact with your customers. Rather, everything you will be doing will be completely online, which has its drawbacks and benefits. The important thing to remember is that the only physical contact that your customer will have with you is through your product that is shipped to them. Oh, that’s another thing, you are going to need to take great care to purchase the right kind of shipping materials. Not only does your product have to be good quality, there has to be a need for it. In the business world, we refer to this thing as a niche market. So, you need to be using proper shipping boxes and packaging supplies. The last thing you need is for your product to be damaged during transit, or to hurt the unboxing experience for your customer by not investing in good shipping boxes and shipping supplies. 

Where To Go For Your Shipping Needs

In my line of work, there are a lot of things that I have to be in charge of. I have to manage so many different things all at once and be in charge of a multitude of teams and projects. Honestly, it is exhausting work. Let’s face it – my life is cooler than yours and I’m way more important than you. Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you why I am writing this article. First and foremost, I absolutely hate going to the post office. To me, there is nothing worse than having to get in my car in the heat of the summer and sit there and sweat while I wait for the AC to kick on. Then when things finally start to cool down, I have to deal with midday traffic (since I’m usually at work when this happens) and spend at least another 20 minutes trying to drive to the post office. Then, what’s I finally arrive at the post office, I have to spend another 15 minutes waiting in line and waiting for the employees to get the things I need. And all for what? A few boxes and some packing materials? It just simply isn’t worth it. I am a businessman first and foremost, and I see no greater flaw like a lack of efficiency and wasted time. 

Consequently, I began to look for alternative ways to go about finding shipping supplies. Now like I said, I am an insanely busy person and would not normally waste my time looking for different means of obtaining mail supplies that are more efficient than going to the post office, but this situation in particular struck a nerve with me. I started looking for different places around the city where I might find some more supplies. Staples offered a longer drive time but less of a wait than the post office, and they had a pretty decent selection.

However, Staples is often more expensive than what I would like to pay for shipping supplies and I fundamentally disagree with the way that they run their business, so that was a no go from me. My next thought was to look for ways to order the stuff I needed online. Afterall, you can order just about anything online these days, so I figured I would give it a shot. I spent a lot of time on my laptop looking up different websites and suppliers, got quotes from several different vendors, and even went as far as to hop on the phone with some of these people. When I tell you that I take my mailing and shipping needs seriously, I mean it!

As it turns out, online shopping for my shipping needs was the way to go. It is way more convenient to just hop on a store website and order what I need, rather than going through that long arduous process of driving to the post office and all that. I honestly feel bad for any plebeians who still buy their shipping and packing materials in a brick and mortar store. Online shopping is the future baby, and I intend to cash in hard on all my sweet, sweet savings by purchasing the stuff I need in bulk online. You may refer to me as the next Bezos.

Office Supplies That You Should Have In Your Business

If you are reading this article, then it means that some divine hand has guided you to this exact moment to hear about office supplies that you need to have in your place of employment. This article is written specifically for office managers and similar roles, because if you are in charge of the office supplies and work culture then you need to be on top of your game. Office efficiency can make or break the standard workflow procedures of your business, and too many times have I seen mismanaged time and poorly allocated resources in the workplace. One thing that I can say is that when it comes to office supplies, there are certain items that I think just about everybody needs to be using on a regular basis. I wrote this article so that you may take advantage of my business knowledge and entrepreneurship that I have accumulated over the years. I hope that this is helpful to you and that it will change the way you manage your office.

The first thing that you need to think about as you analyze what types of things you need in your office is furniture. Were you not expecting to hear furniture being under the umbrella of office supplies? Well, this is a huge part of any office, and I find in most cases managers greatly lack in providing good furniture for their employees to work in. I am not just talking about office desk chairs (which need to be good quality and have a lot of lumbar support), but I also mean couches, recliners, tables, and workstations that offer your employees and their teams pleasant, comfortable, and functional places to work and relax in. Yes, I said relax! Part of working means taking breaks when necessary, so it is good to have extra couches for a quick nap session during the afternoon. You know, foreign countries often take siestas on the regular, which is basically midday naps and rest times that will allow employees to come back to work more productive and satisfied. 

Other office supplies that you should be using are different stationary items. There are the obvious ones like pens, pencils, sticky notes, envelopes, paper, legal pads, notebooks, and other things like that. It is also important to have proper technology at your office, and I don’t mean old laptops and printers that take forever to function properly. Your employees should be outfitted with laptops, printers, scanners, fax machines, iPads, and other devices that can properly keep up with them and their work. Obviously, you do not need to go overboard, but at least offer your employees proper tools to do their work and to work efficiently. 

Another crucial part of office supplies that many people overlook is the importance of mailing and shipping supplies. Even if you’re not an eCommerce business and don’t usually ship things, having some shipping boxes and other supplies on hand is always a good idea. You never know when you might need to ship something off to a client or send a letter that you forgot about. Instead of having to go to the store quickly to buy more envelopes, packing materials, or shipping boxes, your life and your employee’s lives will be much easier if you have some of those things on hand.

What The Heck Is Going On Right Now?

If you are like me, then you are a bit confused right now. I mean, I have been working at home from my home office for more than over a year at this point. Due to COVID 19 restrictions, most businesses were shut down for the time being. While most of us were sure this was only going to last for a few weeks, we have now seen it become the new normal. It is really shocking to think about all the time we have spent in this pandemic and that many things we used to take for granted are now off the table. Personally, I am getting excited at the prospect of things opening back up again. Businesses are starting to return to normal working capacities and safety regulations are being lifted bit by bit. I am hopeful that we have crossed the worst of this pandemic and can put much of this behind us for the time being. However, I still find myself working from home at the moment. According to my coworkers, my company is going to keep us at home and working for the next couple of weeks still, and that maybe we will return to the office sometime soon if things keep looking up regarding the virus.

I know a lot of my coworkers that absolutely love working from home. I can definitely understand this sentiment, because there are a lot of good things about working from home. I too enjoyed working from home for a while; it was a nice break from the monotony of the office and it was a true joy to not have to take my long commute every morning. However, I have long since been tired of waking up in the morning just to go back to work in the same exact spot in this same exact home. It is a really depressing feeling to know that day after day I have spent in this house simply wasting away. I know that might be a bit dramatic, but honestly I am a pretty dramatic person. 

One thing that has come of this pandemic is that I buy almost everything online nowadays. Sure, things are beginning to open back up again, which is great. I enjoy going to the grocery store much more now that things have calmed down a little bit, but there is still a huge part of me that enjoys online shopping. I have gotten so used to buying things online that I have a whole stash of shipping supplies in my office in the event that I need to send things back. Buying things online has truly never been easier, and lots of companies have transitioned into more eCommerce during this crazy time. It will be interesting to see, as we revert back to some kind of normal life while transitioning out of the pandemic, how much of a presence eCommerce will continue to have on our markets.

One thing’s for sure, I’ll definitely keep shipping supplies on hand still. I know that most people are ready for this whole thing to be over, and I know that I am too. However, there is always a weird nostalgia for me associated with this year; something about a time so out of the ordinary is oddly fascinating and thrilling at the same time. Whatever the case, it is also time to get a move on and get back to normal life.

Moving To a New Office

I have been owning and operating my own business for about 10 years now. I started out as a small business owner with a storefront located in my small nameless town in the American Midwest, but I have recently moved my business online to participate in the hype coming from eCommerce. COVID has been a perfect time to get started with my business online, because this is a time when people are stuck in their homes for an extended period of time and may be looking more for opportunities to buy things online. Since moving my business online, I have found a lot more success in eCommerce and being able to sell and distribute my products has never been easier. I was originally really worried about going out of business with my storefront being shut down, but I’ve actually made more money over this year of COVID from not having to pay for rent the past couple of months. 

Moving my business to an online store model was not a super difficult transition. While I was originally worried about being able to effectively translate my business into an eCommerce model, it seems that there has been a lot of softwares and products made in recent years that help older guys like me figure out how to run my stuff online and actually turn a profit. A lot of the initial problems associated with my eCommerce business were found in the allocation of my shipping and packaging resources to ensure that my products were being sent to where they needed to go. One struggle was having enough shipping boxes on hand to be able to keep up with the increased demand from the pandemic. It was also quite a process to identify what size shipping boxes work best for my products, as many of my products have a different weight and size and therefore need marginally more or less room to ship comfortably.

I also did not want to have problems with my products being broken or damaged during shipping, so I had to ensure that I was packing my items with lots of bubble wrap and packing material to keep everything secure. Owning an eCommerce business has its fair share of drawbacks, though, and I must say that I miss working in my actual store at times. It is not as rewarding to work hard and create products for people you will never see; it always brought me joy to watch people, families, or young kids come in to buy my products and see the joy on their faces.

With eCommerce, most of this is gone. Sometimes I get emails from happy customers or very nice reviews on my website from people who are satisfied with their order, but it’s nowhere near the same as before. I hope to continue working with eCommerce, but I eventually want to return to my physical store when things begin to open up and COVID restrictions become a little bit looser. If you are looking to start your own online business, just make sure you are paying attention to your customers and seeing how to best target your market. ECommerce business models can be relatively simple or surprisingly complicated depending on what you want to do, so keep that in mind as you venture out into that online world.

Operations Under COVID19

My company specializes in creating commercial plastic products that are shipped out to thousands of different companies from around the world. While it’s not a glamorous business, we do very well and have found great success in this niche market. There is a great need for commercial plastics in the business-to-business world, and we have made headway in innovating new methods of manufacturing plastic materials that are safe and practical. We pride ourselves on our customer service abilities and our dedication to serving our customers well. We have a high standard for our own products and delight in making products that are practical, necessary, and in high demand. I am an operations manager at one of our bigger plants, and I oversee the daily operations in this facility. 

One big change in the market that the world has witnessed is the start of the COVID19 pandemic. This pandemic has affected almost every market in the world and has changed the way many people are doing business. While we were worried about our own relevance during the pandemic while watching various businesses face struggling financial conditions, we quickly realized that we had an opportunity to create and sell products that are in desperate demand during the COVID crisis. We began by creating plastic parts for personal protective equipment, mainly plastic straps that can be used to attack masks behind the head. That way, long days of wearing masks will not be a strain on front line worker’s ears. We produced millions of these products and shipped them all over the United States. We found ourselves working overtime to keep up with the demand and buying shipping supplies in massive quantities to have enough to send our products out daily. 

While we continued to make great headway with the mask holds, we also began to create plastic shields that were in great demand during the pandemic. While many businesses were forced to shut down during the lockdown, some necessary ones had to remain open; however, it was important for these businesses to still be as safe as possible when it came to personal protective equipment and social distancing standards. One thing that many businesses were in need of was plastic shields that would be used between employee-customer transactions. We set to work in designing shields that could be quickly produced in mass quantities and easily shipped to grocery stores, department stores, banks, post offices, and hotels all over the country. 

Things have slowed down in recent months due to the threat of COVID being more under control at this point in time, and I am happy that these products were able to make a serious impact on our country and be helpful in a time of crisis for many people in the United States. We have recently started to wean off producing these products in such massive quantities and have begun to focus back on our regular products and projects. This period of uncertainty brought on with COVID has helped us to analyze our companies efficiency with production, shipping supplies, and ordering capabilities and narrow in on any ways to improve. I feel good about my company’s contribution to the economy with plastics and personal protective equipment and hope that we are able to continue doing good work in the future with manufacturing and shipping our various plastic products. 

Tips for Moving to a New Home

Moving into a new home can be an extremely stressful time. Finding the right house, price point, and location is daunting work in itself. The added stress of packing up your life at one place and moving it to another can be incredibly overwhelming. Since I have so much experience in moving from one place to another, I’ve put together a few tips that will help you as you transition from your current home to the new one. 

The first tip for moving into a new home is to do a complete walkthrough of said home. There is no better time to search for undisclosed issues or problems with the house than when it is completely empty. So before you begin to move all your stuff in, make sure that you have gone through and checked all parts of the house. It might be helpful in seeing if all the agreed-upon renovations and repairs have been made by the previous owner or landlord before moving all your furniture and other belongings into the home. 

Another tip might be more valuable before you have moved all your belongings out of your current home. By this, I mean: make sure to keep your stuff organized as you pack. Many people end up losing valuable and loved possessions as they transition into a new home because they did not keep their belongings organized. Label all shipping boxes or containers that are filled with your items, and make sure you know what is going where. The last thing you’d want is to find out that not all of your stuff made it to the new home. When I was younger, I remember moving with my parents and siblings to a new home across the country from our current one. After everything was said and done, it turns out that we had forgotten a few boxes of things in our old home and had to pay friends and family in the area to ship them over to us via UPS. This was not a fun experience and made for a more complicated moving process. Don’t be like my family or me; stay organized instead.

There are many questions to ask yourself when moving homes and many decisions to be made after the house is bought. To start, it’s important to identify if you are going to hire professional packers or are planning to do it yourself. In addition, you can save money if you are careful and intentional with how you pack your belongings. Use shipping boxes that are of an appropriate size to fit the proportions of their contents and try not to waste space. Also, make use of packing supplies like bubble wrap to ensure proper cushioning for your fragile items. Knowing your moving budget is helpful in identifying where you are going to be spending your money and which things would be more cost-effective for you to do it yourself. 

Packing your items in a specific order is also helpful. By packing things that are already in storage, like off-season clothing items or books, you can start packing much earlier and get ready to move before you start to pack your everyday things like kitchen appliances and such. It is also possible to ship your car if you don’t have enough driving hands to bring it along with the other moving vans or trucks.

Items Your Business Needs!

Let’s face it; running any kind of business in today’s world is tricky. Worrying about taxes, laws and regulations, marketing and advertising, assets, and liabilities, and employee wages and salary payables can be a huge stress on any business owner. Not to mention the added complications that come from running a business on a global scale. Issues related to shipping costs and transportation of goods can create even more stress for an entrepreneur like yourself. That’s why I’ve put together a short list of important shipping supplies that will be helpful in reducing your stress levels that come from shipping and handling your products. What’s more, hopefully, these supplies will help you cut costs that are created through mismanagement of your purchases and inventory. If you’re planning on international shipping, I highly recommend you take a gander at this list. It is super important that your customers are receiving their products in a timely manner and without product damages or losses. 

Corrugated boxes are insanely helpful for any business that deals on an international level. These are among the most sought-after products in the world of eCommerce shopping. ECommerce has been at an all-time high due to recent causes from the pandemic. Consequently, you need to make sure that you are giving your customers the best experience as they order your products from around the world. We all can remember back to a time where we ordered a package online that we just could not wait to receive in the mail. For me, it was a desktop gaming computer that I ordered with my tax return one summer. I was super excited to receive my computer in the mail, and I remember being extremely worried that it would show up at my door being damaged or lost in shipping. However, I got my computer in great condition and enjoyed countless hours playing League of Legends and Warframe, my two favorite video games. Anyways, boxes can make a huge difference in the overall online shopping experience for your customers. Corrugated boxes provide sturdy packaging for fragile items and make the unboxing experience better for the consumer. Make sure to choose the smallest possible box for your product in order to get a snug fit and save on shipping costs!

Bubble wrap and other cushioning materials are also shipping supplies that every eCommerce business must have on hand. I’m not kidding when I say this stuff works! It comes in handy for giving extra cushion to your products and ensuring that nothing is damaged or lost during transit. A word of caution – do not fill your packages with too much bubble wrap, as this will increase the overall weight of your package and increase the shipping cost. My favorite part of bubble wrap, though, is the way it pops when you play with it. As a kid, I used to love it when my family received bubble wrap in the mail, and I can spend a good amount of time relieving stress through bubble wrap! 

Packing tape is also a great way to tightly secure the contents of your packages. It would be a darn shame if you went through all the trouble of building and producing your product, getting an order from your website, just to have it all fall out of the box during transit.

Many different kinds of boxes

When talking about shipping boxes, there are many different kinds of boxes.  If you are a shipping company, whether that is a small eCommerce business or a big company, you will have the need for a kind of box for shipping. The few types we are going to look at are cardboard boxes, wooden boxes, and plastic boxes. Each of these kinds of packages has its own benefits and downfalls, which we are going to take a look at. The common standard for shipping containers is a cardboard box. If you are a company that deals in large equipment or heavy machinery, then you may be familiar with wooden boxes as these provide better support for those big parts compared to a cardboard box. 

Cardboard boxes are the gold standard when it comes to shipping items, and rightfully so. These boxes are made from paper which is a relatively cheap material to produce, although it does hurt the environment. These boxes can easily be mass produced due to their low cost of making. Cardboard boxes have a significant effect that allows for them to repel water before soaking it in. This is good as it will ensure the product inside is free of damage when it arrives at the customer’s desired location. Cardboard boxes are also quite sturdy. This allows for any kind of product to be placed inside of it unless it is very heavy; then it is recommended and more safe to go with a wooden box. 

Speaking of wooden boxes, these are an excellent and effective method of transportation. These boxes are generally made around the product being shipped. The good thing about these boxes is that they are very sturdy and can house almost anything. Also, because they are so sturdy, they can be easily stacked on top of each other, which will reduce in the space they take up, thus making them more easy to store. Most of the time, these boxes are used to ship large items like machinery. Wood is an easy material to access, but it hurts the environment more than the production of cardboard because it requires wood and not sheeted wood that makes paper.  

The final box for shipping is plastic boxes. These boxes are not seen as often because of their high price. These boxes also require fossil fuels to make like crude oil, and that drastically hurts the environment as it is slowly reducing the number of fossil fuels available. These boxes are pretty sturdy, much like wooden boxes but not to that level. The good part about these boxes is that they can be reused as much as possible until they get a break in them. A break in the box would require it to be retired or melted down to make a new one as it has lost its structural integrity. 

In my opinion, cardboard boxes are the best when it comes to shipping boxes. I say this because not only have they been used for a very long time but they are the most cheap to make. Not only are they the most inexpensive to make they also do not hurt the environment as much as the previously mentioned ones. The good thing about all of these boxes is that they can be made from recycled materials, which has less of an impact on the environment. 

Choosing the right kind of supplies

When it comes to choosing the right kind of shipping supplies, there are so many different things to think about. The types of fillers to keep items safe and boxes to ship those items and so many different kinds of each can be tough to determine the best materials for sending your products. For a start, you need to be thinking about the products you have to ship. If your company deals in small items, you should be able to get away with using just the envelopes with bubble wrap on the sides. This could be an effective choice and a money saver as these supplies are relatively cheap. 

There are many different types of packing materials, and it can be hard to figure out what one is the best for you. One of my favorites is bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is an excellent kind of packing material because it provides the greatest protection for an item being shipped. It also has an anti-static effect that is very useful when shipping electronics. Another great kind of shipping material is packing peanuts. These peanuts are easy to work with as all you need to do is put a small layer on the bottom of the box you are using. After placing the item in, fill it with more packing peanuts, and that’s all. The one downfall this material has is that it can create a bit of a mess. Sometimes the tiny bits of foam can get into the shipped item.

After choosing the kind of packing material, you need to determine the sort of box or shipping container you are going to use. Cardboard boxes are an excellent choice and can be gotten for an affordable price. Most of the time, these boxes can be bought in bulk. Buying in bulk means you generally get a lot of material for a small fee. I would recommend cardboard boxes and another product we will talk about later. Cardboard boxes are very versatile and offer a good amount of protection. They have the ability to repel water before absorbing it, thus protecting your items if they are left out in the rain. 

Another great kind of material for shipping is the envelopes with bubble wrap in them. This is good for smaller items like stickers or markers. To determine if this works best for you, you will need to take a look at what you are trying to provide to people. If the items at your business are smaller, then this would be a good shipping option. The buying of this material is also cheap. Much like cardboard boxes, you have the ability to buy these in bulk which will reduce on costs. If your business can solely rely on this material, then your shipping costs will be very inexpensive. 

With so many different kinds of shipping supplies, it can be challenging to determine which is the best for your company to use. The many different types of packing materials make it hard to choose the best way to keep your items safe in transit. The kind of box or packaging you use will depend on the things you are providing for purchase. If you are dealing in only small items, the bubble wrap envelope will be the best option for you as you will not need to take the extra step in buying a protective material to add to the package. If you are not then, I would suggest cardboard boxes with bubble wrap as both of these materials are very versatile and come in many shapes and sizes.