Monthly Archives: March 2021

Packaging and shipping the right way

Ecommerce has really taken off in 2021 and the lockdowns were key for it. In my own life the entirety of how we work and shop has changed. The reality is that our company has made a whole lot of changes and our entire marketing section just was told to do everything in the house.  That means that we are working on projects that we never have and are learning just like major marketing companies how to purchase items from the best location because costs matter. Bankruptcy is not a good look on a career.

Our company needed to get better at sending our own corporate gifts to save money.  We knew we needed our products to be of high quality and they had to look fancy.  This is a complicated task when it comes to making regular cardboard look good.  I think that our process for finding those products was good and want to share some of my information to help you out this year.

If you don’t know what you need then you are in trouble.  So research what things you need for your project.  We looked at what we had purchased last quarter from marketing companies and had sent out.  It was our first goal to deconstruct those items and then find out what we would need to look for when shopping.  So we learned that we needed a specific type of box, filling, and tape.  Those were the three main items to send these gifts which we would order separately depending on the company we were gifting to.  Now that we knew what we needed the plan was to find the best price, shipping, and availability.  That was a certainly complicated task but worth the time invested due to the cost savings we could get each quarter.  Finding less expensive shipping supplies and only paying for our man-hours that were extra was the idea.

We first whipped out the phone and looked on Amazon.  The idea was to find something that we could ship within two days and get in high quantity for a good price.  This was indeed what we found, but the shipping for large quantities actually was about a week because it was not on prime for most of the products we needed.  The other thing was that the custom great looking boxes were really not available.  This was a viable option and I kept all of the prices in the cart because I like to be precise.  I then decided I wanted to see what would happen if I went local and found a place that we could get any products we wanted by simply driving 10 minutes to.  If you can local is best. But sometimes they are not helpful. 

The first big box local store was right around the corner. The convenience was great because if we had an issue we could get any box, tape, or filing right away by driving down the road.  But the options were varied limited in-store and the idea of custom was none existent.  The prices were also much higher than Amazon and that was a sad thing.  The convenience was great but probably not worth the lack of choice and the fact that the stock was not in great quantity. So the obvious choice was to buy online.  Online was what we did and I don’t regret it at all.

Shipping Supplies 1

As a business owner I know how important it is to make sure you give your customers the absolute best experience from start to finish as possible. Especially in a world where the attention span of the consumer is shrinking day by day and the number of competitive options is growing by tenfold. One bad experience on their end with your business, and you have very well and most likely lost them forever. This is especially true in the e-commerce business. You need to be able to grab the customer’s attention quickly, hold it long enough for them to do a cart checkout, and keep them from having buyer’s remorse. All the while trying to win their loyalty, so they’ll visit your site again and again. 

In trying to win over customer loyalty a lot of focus is put on the products you sell (which is a no brainer), the design of your website, the opt-in in order to get them on an email list so you can keep in touch, and (hopefully) customer service on the backend. All of these things are important as they all play a role in a positive customer experience. There is one thing, however, that tends to get overlooked, but if done correctly can be quite the eye catcher and brand builder. That is the shipping supplies you choose to use.

Now it might seem silly to think that the supplies you choose to ship out your products should be given your attention. But that just begs me then to ask the question… What is Tiffany’s known for? Why do girlfriends (or maybe some boyfriends) buy their boyfriends man crates? How do you know you’ve received an amazon order without even looking at what’s inside? It all comes back to what you use to ship out the product that customer has ordered. It’s a little thing, but it can have a big impact on your brand. Why just a plain old box with a label slapped on it, when you can use this as an opportunity to build brand awareness and loyalty? 

Granted, you don’t want to break your budget on the shipping supplies you choose to use. But high quality and fun packaging definitely can’t hurt. Plus, the better the quality and the more care given to how it’s shipped out, better guarantees the safety of the product, which therefore leads to a better customer experience. After all, no one is happy when you receive a package that’s been damaged while in route. Then it’s just an inconvenience for them to return it, and a hassle for you to have to replace their item, and potentially severing their return business in the future. 

So instead of overlooking this opportunity, I would encourage you, if you have boring old boxes and cheap tape and labels, to go back to the drawing board and see what you and your team can come up with in redesigning the way you ship things out and make this a brand building exercise. Because how cool would it be to someday have customers know who you are and what it is you do, simply by looking at nothing more than your box? If you’re wondering what they could be like maybe go, ask Tiffany’s. They know a thing or two about that. 

There are differences in the tape you use

There is a lot of things that always surprise me.  Some of them are economy-related and politically related, but sometimes the small things in life like tape shock me. Now in eCommerce or economy, I saw a huge movement from brick and mortar business to eCommerce has taken the entire country by storm.  The reality is though that with all the lockdowns and regulations that it is much safer to be an eCommerce company in 2021 than any other.  This is simply due to the demand for shipping.  People are not going out of their homes nearly as much and in many cases, they are not allowed to by law.  This means that the demand for online shopping has skyrocketed. What comes with this?  Well shipping of course.

But if you are new to the shipping industry or your company is now finding that its most important department is shipping then there are some good lessons to learn and know.  The big thing to know is to make sure you are staying competitive in the market.  This is hard to do because technology is so vast and people can learn anything.  But having good relationships with companies is a big way to stay on top of the competitive nature that is in business 

Shipping supplies can be a huge key to being successful in 2021 and being on top of this area is key.  It is more important to make sure you have good quality contact that can get you the gear you need and on time.  There is no way to ship without a product and having a company fail on delivering the things you need is not good.  That is why having a great contact is a good thing and being able to buy products in bulk is a big part of having a great contact. 

No joke, Shipping supplies are simply costly.  There is no doubt that you need to be able to find a place to get them at a good discount.  I have to say that being competitive is more than shopping on Amazon versus going to your local store.  Yes, Amazon will be cheaper, but it will also be way higher than a major store that only sales these items and gives bulk discounts.  Bulk Discounts are a huge part of this industry and making sure you know what you need is part of it. 

Don’t lose money on each package you send.  Get smart.  This is tedious and can end up saving you tons of money. My business found a big problem with spending when we were packing up boxes to ship.  Our packers were using about 10 strips of packing tape per box.  To all of us this seemed normal and was needed to hold the weight of all these items.  But when talking with a specialist in the industry from our supplier we found that our tape was thin and not capable of sustaining our competitive nature.  So he started to inform me and my company of thicker tape that could do the job in 3 strips of tape.  This was shocking but we figured that it would just cost more.  It did, but not relative to the project.  WHen you ran the numbers you could save a ton. 

Don’t lose thousands on packaging purchases this year

With the new eCommerce economic boom in 2021, you need to make sure you are competing with your competition.  Our habits have now been influenced by the pandemic and even more and more people are shopping online.  Everyone is getting packaging sent to their home on nearly a daily basis.  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.  If you are new to the industry than you will find that packaging is expensive and will be a huge expense.

It seems like an easy concept, but it doesn’t hit home to many people that in eCommerce 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 thousands of 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 thousands of 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.  If you don’t keep up or stay ahead of the game, then you will eventually be put out of business.

Understanding where to get the best price and service on shipping supplies will make your company thrive.  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.  There are a few places that inevitably that people will go. 

Local stores are an obvious first choice for many.  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. 

There is always Amazon and it still may not be the best option. 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.  Do your own research and take a day or two and find some profitable places that are willing to work with you on prices.