One of the biggest issues with online selling is that it’s considered to be so impersonal. There is no greeting as you browse through the store, or time to talk about how it was made and developed; and there certainly isn’t a chance to thank them face-to-face for purchasing (or reminding them to return in the future). In most cases the package you send is the only actual physical contact you make with your customer; and therefore can be one of the most important tasks you complete during a sale.
Obviously the primary purpose of product packaging is to get your sold item from A to B safely. The Post Office is not your only option for postal products. You can try Officeworks for great bulk packs or there are many websites that sell products in bulk such as Signet. It’s also fine to reuse jiffy bags; or for the Eco option, Ecocern is your place. If your items don’t need a lot of padding, why not simply wrap them in brown kraft or butcher paper? Price wise, trying to make a few extra dollars on postage is a no-go, and be sure to have the registered post as an extra option if your item calls for it. Remember that most of your customers will be regular online purchasers and therefore are likely to understand general postage costs.
To Pretty or Not to Pretty
There are different schools of though when it comes to gift-wrapping your product. Personally, I think there is nothing more enjoyable than receiving a delightful package in the mail. When I purchase an item, I always look forward to seeing how things come packaged. A beautifully presented handmade item demonstrates pride and thoughtfulness in what has been created and follows the ethos of the handmade revolution. It can be simple and cost effective, and can make your item stand out from the rest. Use things from around the house – fabric, doilies, ribbon scraps, an old atlas; or re-purpose some golden books, perhaps an old textbook or sewing pattern. Bakers thread or twine with threaded buttons also looks effective. There are many Etsy sellers that specialise in pretty packaging if you want brand your items. A few of my favourites are Packagery and CaliforniaCraft, and you can also have your logo printed on to stamps or stickers to use in prettying things up.
You can always thank returning customers with a little something. It can be as simple as mini gift card (sew a square of fabric onto a folded piece of card or tag) or a few pretty buttons or appliqués from your collection. Pretty Moo Cards with a ribbon at one end make lovely bookmarks. What about a sample of a new line your starting? Ask them for their opinion or a review on one of your information forums. There are a number of Etsy sellers that have bulk mini gift packs with slogan or vintage print badges, stickers or even mints. I like to offer an incentive to return; perhaps free postage or a percentage off their next visit.
Must Not Forget
Without a doubt, your best advertising is your product. Give your customer the tools to share in the excitement of finding such wonderful products. At least two business cards are a must inclusion. Word of mouth is documented as the most effective form of building your business – so encourage it.
How about your networking options? Got friends in the craft selling business? Then why not organise with them to swap each others business cards. These can be added into your package when you make sale and visa versa. I love to pop business cards of my favourite shops into my customer’s packages when I think it will compliment what they have bought from me.
Most of all don’t forget your handwritten thank you note. This personalises the online buying process and reminds your customer that it’s just you - creating, marketing, selling, packaging and shipping your items, especially for them.
If your still looking for a little inspiration don’t forget to check out the Etsy Packaging Pool on Flickr.
Good luck and happy selling,
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