Taking the order and making the sale should not be the end of the customer experience journey. If the item that they have ordered from you arrives in poor condition due to cheap or inappropriate packaging, all that goodwill can soon disappear.
This article takes a look at how you can enhance a professional image for your business by making sure your goods arrive in good condition and tell the customer that you care about them.
Think like a buyer
The first thing you should do when assessing your shipping policy is to think like a buyer. If you were ordering from your company you would want a number of key requirements to be fulfilled.
You would expect your order to arrive in one piece by being securely packed. You would also want your item to arrive as quickly as possible and to pay a fair price for the postage and packing, or maybe look for it to be included in the sale price.
Make sure that you get good quality packaging materials form an office supplier like Engelbert Strauss and think about ways in which you can exceed expectations. Take on the role of buyer and see how well your business performs and presents itself.
As well as looking at ways to stand out from the crowd by offering things like gift wrapping, you also need to consider how important it is to achieve a level of consistency with the your shipping service.
A customer may well accept your apologies and explanation for a botched or late delivery when it is an isolated incident, but will soon be dissuaded from buying regularly if your shipping lacks consistency.
Buyers like to know when and how they are going to get what they have ordered and if you make promises on timescales for getting goods to them, make sure you have the process in place to deliver on time every time.
If you have buyers from around the globe wanting your products, make sure that you fully research and understand the relevant international shipping rules.
Customs regulations vary considerably between different countries. Mistakes in this area of the process or through not researching the correct postage tariff, could easily end up costing you money as well as failing your customer through lack of preparation and knowledge.
Going green is normally good for business and sends out a positive message to many customers.
It might be considered hard to have some serious eco-credentials when it comes to the subject of shipping. By its very nature, shipping goods out is going to make a contribution to your carbon footprint but you can try to negate that by using eco-friendly packaging options.
Try to use recycled packaging materials where possible and also look at how you might be able to use sustainable packaging or biodegradable packaging. Any effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible within your business, will often be appreciated by a good number of customers.
Packing and shipping your orders will probably be a critical part of your operation if you sell goods online. You need to streamline the post room process and work out how you can achieve maximum efficiency with the space and manpower you have available.
If you run a small business and don’t have the staff or space to have a dedicated post room, at least make sure that you allocate an area of your office where you can have a packing table to help you get the parcels out quickly and efficiently.
Devise and implement a set process that works for you and your business. This means making sure that you have all the packaging materials ready and then working through the invoices and orders methodically.
It normally works well to have a cut-off point every day where you decide that any orders received after that time will be sent the following day. This means that you can set about getting the orders out for that day on time and feel like you are more in control of the tasks left to do.
Check out the competition
If you want to stand out from the crowd and be remembered for great products and prompt delivery, you might want to check out what some of your competitors are doing and see if you can imitate what they do, but only better.
Look at the businesses that regularly get good customer feedback with positive quotes about prompt delivery and goods arriving in good condition. Shipping charges can even be a strong marketing tool if you price it right or even include it in the sale price.
If you aim to treat your packaging like a pro, you will probably get noticed and customers will keep coming back to you.
About the Author: Ewan Miles embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. With years of experience running his own business, he loves blogging about his insights and techniques into building a successful business.
Photo credit: Nic Taylor Photography