I know a lot of my readers don’t just crochet (or knit) for fun, but also sell finished pieces online. A big part of selling items online is managing your shipping… after all, you want to spend your time crocheting, not standing in line at the post office!
That’s why I’m delighted to have a guest post by Shayna Burns from Pitney Bowes. She gives us tips for shipping… to save time and money!
Be Crafty About Shipping Your Crochet Items
You’re creative about crocheting, but what about the ways you ship the crafts you’ve sold online? Today we’ll explore an important step in selling your crochet crafts: shipping them.
Being smart about shipping is important for every business, but especially for small business owners, who often need to make economical shipping choices to maximize profits on every last sale. (If you’ve ever undercharged for shipping, you know the sting of missed profit.)
We at Pitney Bowes work with businesses large and small to find the right shipping solution for the job. Here are our tested and true top tips for shipping for crafters:
Weigh Your Craft-Filled Parcels
One of the easiest ways to lose money when shipping is by guessing how much parcels weigh. By guessing too heavy – even by an ounce – you may use too much postage and overpay. Conversely, by under-guessing, you may not use enough postage and risk your parcel being returned for re-mailing – or, worse, your parcel may be delivered, but your recipient may be asked to pay postage due. Instead, weigh your mail to determine the exact postage required.
- Rent a postage meter for a monthly fee – a good option if you tend to spend more than $50 a month on postage. Postage meters not only weigh mail but print postage and labels for you. Read more about the benefits of using a postage meter.
- Use a postal scale, and then compare the weight to a postage rate chart to calculate postage costs.
Print Postage at Home
Another easy way to save time and money is to print postage (along with shipping labels and barcodes) at home when you need it and in the quantity you require. Some online postage tools let you track shipments online and receive email updates, so you can easily manage your shipments from home. Plus, when you integrate your online postage tool with a postal scale, you can weigh your mail and print postage as with a postage meter.
Brand Your Mailings
Branding is an important step for any business. Why make your mail the exception? Try including two business cards in your packages – one for your customer, and one for sharing. Make your own ink stamp, and add your logo to your packaging.
Seal boxes or tissue wrapping with your label. Be consistent with coloring, messaging and tone to strengthen your brand online and off. Don’t forget your hand written thank-you note!
Skip the Post Office
Time is money, and so is gas. Cut down trips to and from the Post Office by scheduling USPS pick-up. Your mail carrier will pick up your parcels when he/she delivers your mail – for FREE – when you use expedited services like Express Mail and Priority Mail.
Make Your Own Packaging
Purchasing boxes and supplies at full price is unnecessary. Re-use old boxes by folding them inside out to hide labels, and reinforcing them with shipping tape. Buy discount packaging on eBay or from local businesses who want to get rid of their excess boxes. Order free Priority Mail packaging from USPS.com. Make your own padding by reusing and shredding old newspaper and magazines.
Prepare for the Holidays
Online sales are highest around the holidays, so be prepared. Keep a full stock of packaging supplies on hand. If you have certain items that sell more frequently, pre-package some so you can quickly add postage and address labels and ship them off; this is especially helpful for last-minute orders struggling to meet holiday shipping deadlines.
An extra stamp here or there might not seem like a waste of money, but cents add up to dollars. When you follow the above tips, you can both impress customers with packages that look great and arrive on time and be more efficient with your mailing.
What mailing and shipping tips do you have to share?
Written by Shayna Burns and the small business team at Pitney Bowes, which offers online US postage, postal scales, postage meters and other mailing solutions.