When I was a full-time seller, I’d drop my packages off at our local post office daily. There was one particularly prickly postal worker with whom I was determined to make friends (this made my trips a little more interesting). It was a misunderstanding that finally cracked her. She was arguing with a difficult customer before me and when it was my turn, with a smile I said, “Well someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!”. She thought I meant her instead of the grumpy customer and she threw her head back laughing. She said, “Thanks for putting me in my place!” with a grin I’d never seen before, finally warming up to me. Sometimes you just need to challenge people in order to grab their attention, I suppose.
I’m sure many of you out there are like me, and are quite familiar with the quirks and challenges of shipping those handmade and vintage items (and all those supplies!) and have picked up lessons in the art of shipping along the way. I’m happy to gather these tips and shortcuts in this article in hopes to help those shipping adventures go a little more smoothly.
First things first, let’s let your buyer know where you are shipping from. Make sure your location is set to City, State or, if you are outside the U.S., we suggest City, Country. You can set this up in your Public Profile. Then make sure your Shipping Profiles are set up just how you want them.
Now, let’s get your office or studio set you up for success. Besides the obvious pile of boxes and mailers, here’s what every good shipping station needs:
- Packing tape
- Junky (but sharp) scissors
- Pens and markers
- Old magazines, catalogs and newspapers for stuffing boxes
- The Etsy seller behind badcandystudios suggests, “Unbuttered, unsalted plain ol’ popcorn makes for absolutely FANTASTIC packing peanuts. It’s cheap and it’s 100% biodegradable.”
- Plenty of “Thank You” notes and business cards
- A stack of necessary delivery confirmation/custom forms
- A scale
- A long ruler. Or better yet, create your own quick measurement station with masking tape like so:
- In the U.S., order free priority mail shipping supplies on USPS.com.
- Check out Etsy’s Supplies Category for handmade and commercial packaging.
- Need more packaging options? Check out this forum thread for a list of suppliers.
- Did you know FedEx offers Etsy sellers special discounts up to 21% plus an additional 5% when creating shipping labels at FedEx.com? Here are all the details, terms and conditions.
- Be sure to spell out your own shipping deadlines in your shop announcement and shop policies page. Check out your preferred postal carriers website to learn more.
Planning on offering quick shipping options for your buyers? Make sure your expedited shipping terms are written clearly in your Shop Policies. Please tag your items “expedited shipping” to help shoppers find you.
What are your holiday shipping tips? Share ideas in the comments below.