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Hi! I’m Lucy. Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
Do you do a little dance every time you sell one of your products? Hopefully it’s not just me! But after the sale comes through, you still have some work to do. This work includes packaging and shipping your item to its new owner. This part of the process can be confusing if you’re new to online selling, so I have a few shipping tips for you to make it easy-peasy!
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
When you set up your online shops, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to ship your products. Part of this decision will be based on what you’re selling.
Most items can be shipped through the post office with no problems. You might want to give your customers options as far as the speed of shipping. Each option will be priced differently, so make sure your customers are aware.
And if you do offer Express shipping services then you also need to be aware that you’ll have to ship those orders fairly quickly.
Make sure your policies and shipping information clearly states which shipping service you use, what your handling time is (that’s the time period between when the order comes in and when you ship it), and how you handle any shipping issues that might arise.
Okay, you’ve got some orders! Let’s get them ready to go to their new homes.
These tips apply to any type of product you may be shipping. Once you’ve printed out your orders, it’s time to calculate your shipping costs and what materials you’ll need.
The good news is that if you sell similar products, you’ll eventually have common sizes and weights for your packages. You can make a “cheat sheet” of these measurements and you won’t need to do this step each time.
Assemble the product, all your packaging materials (boxes, paper, inserts, etc), and the box or envelope you are going to ship it in. Put the whole she-bang on your shipping scale and weigh it out. (Here’s one of my recommendations for a scale if you don’t have one.)
Once you have the weight, measure the shipping box or envelope.
Now you have all the information you need to process your shipping and create a label. If “create a label” made you gasp, read on! This step is going to streamline your entire process.
If you are shipping one or two packages a month, then you can do most of your shipping manually. You can write the address on the package, head over to the post office, purchase the postage and off it goes.
But hopefully you’re making a few sales per week (or even better – per day). At this point it makes more sense to process your postage and labels at home.
There are many software options that you can try to make processing your orders super easy.
But if you sell on multiple platforms and have a higher volume of sales, and want something that pulls together all your orders, you may want to give one of these options a try.
Remember each of these apps has a fee associated with them. Make sure you include those costs in your pricing calculations.
The benefit of using any of these options versus just going to the post office is that you will get a discounted postal rate.
Plus, they save you time, since you can drop off your packages at the post office (or have them pick them up), instead of having to wait in line then process each package with the postal worker.
No matter which program you use, you’ll enter the weight and dimensions of your package, and check that the customer’s name and address are correct.
Check the shipping speed your customer chose if you offer those options, so you make sure you choose the right one.
Then it’s time to print your labels!
There are printers made specifically for these labels and they are a game-changer! Print your labels out on label paper that’s sized correctly and simply peel and stick!
One of the most popular label printers is the Dymo 4XL. It handles large batches of work easily, and integrates with any software or website.
The best part of this printer is that it never needs ink. It is a thermal printer, so you will need to use special thermal printer labels with it. But it’s truly a workhorse. My shipping process is SO much easier since using this machine.
If you’re still starting out and have a lower volume of packages, you can print out labels on your inkjet printer, of course!
Look into getting inkjet labels so your process can still be a lot quicker and easier.
It’s time to pack up! Ensure your product is protected in your packaging. If it’s fragile, you need some sort of bubble or paper packaging to ensure it arrives safely.
You want your customers to be delighted and excited when they receive your package, so take the time to make sure it’s secure and looks good.
Include your contact information in the package. A handwritten thank you doesn’t hurt! When someone buys something handmade, they expect a bit of “you” to come through, and a note is a great way to do that.
Most online shops will automatically send customers a shipped notification along with the tracking number once you process the label. But if yours doesn’t, then you might want to send your customer this information.
During busy seasons, customers will be tracking packages and the more information you can give them, the less emails you’ll need to answer.
I always get excited on shipping days, because I know my creations are going to people who are excited to receive them! When I ship a package, it’s validation of the hard work I’m doing to grow my business.
I hope these shipping tips help you create a system for shipping your products that’s easy and effective.
If you’d like even more tips on how to make your handmade business BLOOM, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter below. I send out weekly emails filled with advice and information to help your craft or handmade business grow.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!