Shipping- Your Expectations Are Your Customer's Expectations

  I regularly buy online not only for the convenience, but out of sheer nosiness about how other online sellers handle their shipping. My experiences run a broad expanse from poor to over the top. The worst was a crunched up box with no support or protection whatsoever inside. And yes, my purchase was damaged. The best? A card I received for my mother's birthday that looked like all the bells and whistles inside cost more than the actual card! Superb!

  While most of us use recycled packaging, boxes, newspapers and bubble wrap that package is your calling card and forms your customer's final opinion of the experience. It's important to make sure packaging is free of spots or dirt. Remove any leftover tape from bubble wrap. I even go so far as to turn my cardboard boxes inside out to give a clean, neat appearance to the package. I can remember the first package I received with an inside out box- I was so fascinated as to how in the world they did that! (I remember that box, but could not  tell you what it contained- the box was the best part!)

  What I keep on hand "brand new":
  • Plastic poly mailers of several sizes (they make an ugly box new and protect your package)
  • White tissue paper- it just looks "special" and clean. White- because it will not stain if it gets damp.
  • Tape- of course!
  • Bubble wrap- a high price item deserves protection AND clean packaging.
  • Priority boxes- because they are FREE! If you haven't gotten any yet- go to they are free to order and they come right to your door!
  Packaging aside I think about the customer experience from the time they pay to the moment their package arrives. (I have to admit- like most people I do have room for improvement!) I sometimes think to myself- what a leap of faith to hand over your money to a stranger and hope for the best. This is probably the most important part of your relationship with your customer which should be handled with care and professionalism. I recently purchased an item and minutes after I paid I received a personalized notification from the seller letting me know my payment was received, mentioning my item in a way that complimented my choice and when to expect delivery. Excellent! Immediately I was confident in my purchase.

  Thinking about "finalizing" the sale I have come up with an achievable short-list of what I think might put the "cherry on the top" and, at least for me, goals to aspire to achieve. These ideas are gathered from personal experience, listening to shows about it, articles on the subject and, yes, criticism (ouch!).

  • Clean, neat, professional packaging (or at least make that recycled look new!)
  • Notification (automated is nice, but personal is best!)
  • Ship on time... or sooner! (nothing is better than getting your package sooner than you expected!)
  • Protection- (there is nothing more disappointing that opening the package you were looking forward to receiving and finding your purchase broken!)
  • Magic!- my personal favorite idea gleaned from an article. What can you do to make your package unforgettable to the recipient?
  Hopefully this article inspires you as much as it inspired me to ponder it while I was writing. Best of luck with your own online shop and...

Happy Shipping!