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Some holiday season shipping advice

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So the holiday frenzy is finally upon us and now’s the time to buckle down and sell, sell, sell but with increased volume comes increased headaches with the inevitable delayed or disappearing packages or worse yet the dreaded open box or envelope. Sadly, these things happen but there are steps you can take to keep these delays and losses to a minimum.

Get scanned- this one is especially important for USPS users. The temptation to just drop and dash can be pretty overwhelming it’s the holiday season you have better things to do. The problem is if one of those packages in your bag of goodies falls thru the cracks and does not get scanned you have a big problem. No scan greatly increases the likelihood of that package simply disappearing never to be seen again, if you’re lucky it could be discovered and scanned days later causing delays, so what is the solution? Get a scan. Are you a high volume seller, with dozens or hundreds of packages a day? Print a scan form, that’s one scan for all of your bundles of holiday joy. Not getting your shipments scanned is not worth the risk and a few extra minutes may save you money and protect you your seller status.

Penny wise pound foolish- do you regularly ship high dollar items? $100-$200+ items? How do you ship them? Cheapest possible without insurance? Light items 1st class mail? This is a classic example of the old expression penny wise pound foolish. First class is great for those small low dollar items, if it’s a $12 shirt and it gets lost no big deal but when its $100 or more sale and it gets lost that’s a bit more painful of a hit to absorb. Again if your primary carrier is USPS the bulk of your items should be shipped priority mail its fast and insured automatically for $100 when printed online with no additional cost. First class has its place as mentioned previously for those small dollar items and in certain instances first class with insurance is a good option too as long as it’s not a time sensitive shipment.

Is theft a concern? Camouflage it- Does theft happen? Yes, absolutely! It’s rare but it does happen, the solution is to not give any indication of the item that’s being shipped. What do I mean by this? If you are selling a piece of jewelry, say a watch or necklace do not use a padded envelope to ship it. The reason? Seasoned thieves can very easily tell that the item in the package is a piece of jewelry. It could be a $20 necklace but the thief has no clue and could be thinking it’s a gold necklace worth a few hundred bucks. This rule of thumb really applies to any item that can be easily recognized by its packaging, especially if it’s a higher dollar item.

The season for delays- it happens every year around the holidays when shipping volume is at its peak and something goes wrong. Packages are delayed and customers’ complain, the key is to communicate with each customer that you are aware of the problem and that you are doing everything you can to fix it. First, is the shipment in the delivery window? If so, explain to the customer the average transit time for the type of shipment. If it’s out of that delivery window get on the case as soon as possible, open an investigation and if that fails file a claim. Most carriers are pretty responsive when they are made aware that there is a problem if it’s a holdup at a sorting facility they can generally get it moving again with a call or email.

Is your packaging adequate for the holiday rush?- Care is frequently the first thing scarified in the holiday rush so make sure your packaging can survive some added abuse. First if you are shipping fragile items make sure they are properly padded. The item should not be pressed up against the interior sides of the box if it is move up a box size or better still pack a box in a box with padding in-between. It may seem trivial but try and make your packing as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Why do this? It shows you care about the merchandise you sell! Even if the package is beaten to death by your carrier in transit the customer will see you did everything you could to insure a positive buying experience, people do notice these little details and do appreciate them. 


 

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