Handmade Craft Business Tips for Shipping
Use online shipping sites
When I first started selling my handmade crafts, my online orders trickled in here and there. It was actually exciting for me to go to the post office and prepare my item for shipment, knowing that my handmade items were reaching people in other states and even countries. However, once I started selling multiple items per week online, the notion of going to the post office really got old fast. I tried changing my policies to reflect the fact that I intended to ship only every Saturday, cutting my actual trip to the post office down to just one day per week, but it wasn’t good practice to have those who ordered my items early on in the week wait 4-5 days before their product even shipped. Not to mention the fact that I looked ridiculous lugging a week’s worth of packages back and forth. It was then I decided to ship online.
To ship online from home, you can use the USPS website (which will actually give you a discount on shipping, and will even ship boxes and mailers free of charge if you choose Priority shipping). Stamps.com is another great place to start because they will give you a ton of free stuff (including a free postage scale and free shipping coupons). However, you might only want to choose Stamps.com if you ship multiple items per week as the $15.99 monthly charge may be a deterrent if you only ship now and then.
Set up a shipping station
My family and friends tease me by claiming I have an actual post office within my craft studio but I swear if I didn’t have a section set aside specifically for my shipments, I would go insane. Having a separate shipping station keeps you organized and stress-free when it’s time to ship your handmade crafts. Your shipping station should include boxes, envelopes and bubble mailers of all sizes – the last thing you want is to not have a box or container that fits your item the day you intend to ship it out. Your station should also include a postage scale, packing tape, labels and business cards to add to your packages.
Stock up on shipping items
Always make sure you are completely stocked up on your shipping item to avoid last-minute runs to the store that will end up being total money drainers. It is actually more cost-effective to purchase your shipping items in bulk, and actually, many online shipping product retailers will give you larger discounts when you purchase your items in bulk, thus significantly decreasing your shipping costs further.
Giving yourself a 3-7 day shipping policy cushion is a good idea because you can never plan for life’s “craziness”, but just because your shop policies indicate you will ship your items within 3-7 business days doesn’t mean you have to actually wait 3-7 business days to ship them. Shipping as fast as possible is always the best policy and will keep your customers surprisingly delighted when they get their item(s) so much quicker than they had expected.
Add a note
Most online shipping sites give you the option of adding a note to your customers. This note is always a great idea to send because it will provide tracking information to your customer, as well as give them an idea of when their shipment is being sent out, and when they can expect it to arrive.
Add business cards
A simple cost-effective way to attract repeat customers when you ship their purchased products is to include a business card in their package reminding them of your company. If you want to even take it a step further, consider including a coupon or promo code on the back of your business card giving your customer a certain percentage off their next purchase from you.