Isn’t it frustrating that customers actually want the products or services they ordered right after they click the purchase button. Don’t they understand how much time it takes to find the product in the garage or warehouse? Isn’t it obvious the product doesn’t package itself. The pickup for UPS or FedEx has passed, why do they think it should go out today?
Thank the stars many businesses feel like the last paragraph. Where they see a problem, we see an advantage. People are use to products taking time to get to their doorstep. Some businesses see this as a way to up-sell shipping and make an additional profit. If an industry standard is to deliver when convenient for them, this is an opportunity to surpass the competition. It is still possible to up-charge and make additional profit for expedited shipping, but setting the standard for fast processing while still maintaining the condition of the product will have customers ordering from your company instead of the competition. Here are a few key points for getting products to the customer.
- Have a fast system to find your products
- Developed a detailed system for packaging each product
- Have a way to identify which products can be shipped together
- Beautifully Package your products
- Know the shipping rates for every company that can deliver your product
- Market – Market – Market
If you’re just starting out, or have been in business for a while, having a system for finding the products your selling makes a difference. It sounds like a no brainer, but it is incredible how many people do not do this. If you’re just starting out and you know the product is in a pile on the floor with every other product, it can take you valuable time to find it. Also, was that product protected. Did machine leak last night and damage or destroy the product? Was the warehouse floodeded during the last rain and cost you half of the inventory in stock? Proper shelving and a little organization will save you valuable time. Time you should be spending finding new customers or building your business.
Shipping companies are not know for hiring delicate people. It’s pretty shocking the first time you experience someone taking your beautiful package into the back and seconds later hear the echo of it hitting a pile of other packages. The temptation to shake common sense into someone is almost overwhelming. Stating how important to know how breakable your item is can not be done with the spoken word. The best case scenario is insurance coverage from the shipping company and an understanding customer. More customers than is possible to imagine are not patient. They see the replacement product being shipped out a second time as a failure from your company in giving them what they want the minute they want it. Do everything possible while being cost effective to keep your products safe.
Something as simple as identifying which products can be shipped safely in the same box can improve your profits on that sale. Additional packaging time is employee wages, or worse, yours valuable time. More boxes, tape, printed labels, and padding means more money on supplies. Sometimes simply identifying which products can be shipped together can be the difference between little profit and decent profit on a sale.
People tend to want to get the cheapest packaging on the market. Cost is very important, but always remember that everything you do is being judged by the customer. That beautifully packaged box contain your product in top condition will be a lasting impression the customer will have forever. If the box looks like it was thrown together from old milk cartons, retaining that customer will be more difficult. But, if they see the most beautifully packaged box of their life, they will remember that, even if it is only on a subconscious level.
In this wonderful age of software, it is easier than ever to get rates from all the shipping companies in a fast an efficient way. Some programs even show you the prices side by side. Shipping faster or cheaper is not the only considerations, but they are the two main ones. It is common to run into the problem of one company being cheaper but taking a lot longer, where the other company is a couple dollars more and they will be there four days earlier. This decision can sometimes be made by customer if you charge for shipping. If you charge a flat rate for product and shipping, considering which company will be an even more important part of your business. It may sound ridiculous to not charge the customer shipping, but it may play into your pricing strategy that separates you from the competition.
Let’s go back to the beautiful package. Everything you do is marketing. The ultimate goal is customer retention. If it’s possible to use custom stickers of your company logo instead of tape, or putting a sticker on the box will give your company more exposure. Who will see my logo you ask?
- The shipping employees
- neighbors holding the package until their friends come home
- people receiving the box when their friends try to save on packaging material
A custom box, or a nice sticker will provide many more scenarios than listed that will allow people to see your company. Remember that everything your company does is part of marketing. Below are some ideas to include in your packages.
- Thank you letters
- Free gifts
Always remember CUSTOMER RETENTION IS KING!!! That is why it is so important to have an organized method to find your products. Keep them safe from possible danger. Develop a system for fast and easy packaging. Save money by shipping products together when possible. Know the rates from different companies. Let your customer see a professional and beautiful package. Unless you have a follow up strategy, this is potentially your last contact with this person. Make an Impression!!!