More and more small businesses are called upon to ship product as a growing number of customers prefer to shop online for delivery and supply chains become more complex. For businesses not accustomed to selling products by shipping, it can take some time and effort to learn to do it right. The following guide is intended to help small businesses get started and improve how they ship their products to customers.

Use Quality Packing Materials

The first thing you need to start shipping product is quality packing materials. It is important to use boxes and containers that are the correct size for your products because boxes that are too large will not only increase the likelihood of damage to the product during shipping but is also not cost-effective. If boxes and containers are too small, the items will not fit. Next, you will need to decide upon the materials that will be packed inside the box with your product to protect it from damage during shipping. If you can use more sustainable options, such as biodegradable packing peanuts instead of Styrofoam ones, that will give you even better PR because today’s customers appreciate companies that care about sustainability. Packaging that both protects your product and is easy for customers to open is something to strive for. Once you have everything you need, you can then start discovering the best ways to securely pack your products and get them shipped to customers. Be sure to make changes to how you pack or the materials you use if necessary.

Consider Using Branded Boxes

As you will need boxes to ship your products in, the choice of what boxes you are going to use will be an important one. As outlined above, you will want to choose boxes that are of the appropriate sizes for the products you are planning to ship. But another option that should be considered are branded boxes. These are shipping boxes that are personalized to display your logo and perhaps your slogan on them as opposed to generic boxes. There are significant benefits to using branded boxes when you ship products. They help reinforce your brand in the mind of your customers, which can improve repeat business, especially if customers were pleased with how the items arrived when the box was opened. They also will likely be reused by your customers to ship other items elsewhere, which essentially provides your company with free advertising and an opportunity to place your brand in front of prospective customers who have never heard of you.

Use The Right Shipping Services

Because any business you conduct online will be dependent on the company you use to ship your products, your choice of shipping companies to use is crucial. You should not choose only on price but also on the quality of delivery, tracking capability, customer service if a shipment goes missing or is delayed, and other factors that will impact the level of service your customers receive. Every service that ships and delivers packages offers several tiers of shipping options depending on destination and speed. For example, if you sell books, there is little reason not to use shipping options such as the USPS’s Media Mail. This shipping service is only available for non-advertising media and takes longer to arrive, but it is considerably cheaper than other options. Given how much books often weigh, this can save your company significant amounts of money. For companies that need to move large amounts of goods or bulky goods, land freight with a reliable shipping company should be seriously considered.

Ship Quickly

As soon as you receive an order, you should begin packing and shipping it immediately. This is because customers have come to expect delivery of their ordered goods quickly and your business cannot afford to have overly lengthy shipping times when competing against giants like Amazon. Be transparent about the processing and shipping time at checkout, as well as whether there may be delays due to stock, international shipping, natural disasters or other issues. Be sure to get a tracking number so both you and your customer can track the package as well as to possibly protect your company. If you sell via PayPal and eBay, for example, having a tracking number can serve as evidence in your favor in case of claims or chargebacks. Send an e-mail message that prominently displays that tracking number to the customer when the item ships and be prepared to provide good customer service if necessary after delivery.

Small businesses should prioritize good packing quality and shipping speed in order to please their customers and best compete with the large online retailers. Put some thought into logistics and learn how the supply chains work. A dedication to quality will always help your business come out ahead.

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