Episode 113 - Shipping and Packaging Tips and an Update from Mike Benson
We share our best tips for packaging and branding products and how to safely ship paper flowers. We also check in with a longtime friend of the podcast, Mike Benson.
As the holidays near, everyone’s got shipping on their minds.
How do you package your paper flowers to withstand being tossed around in the back of a truck? How do you save money on shipping costs? Just how bad are these shipping delays we keep hearing about?
In our latest episode of Paper Talk, we chatted about all this and more. Longtime friend of the podcast, Mike Benson, gave us an update on Carte Fini, including how he’s handling delays in importing crepe paper and other supplies from Italy and beyond. We also shared some of our best tips for branding and packaging your products safely, as well as how to make sure your shipping costs don’t eat into your profit.
Listen now to get ready for all of your holiday shipping. In the meantime, here’s a peek at three things you might not have thought about that we discussed in the episode.
Here’s what you’ll learn when you listen to our conversation:
► What is new and available now at Carte Fini.
► Discussion of the different weights of Italian crepe paper.
► How to charge for the handling part of shipping and handling.
► Our best tips for branding and safely packaging your products for shipping.
► How to cultivate reasonable shipping expectations from customers.
Create a Product That Can Ship
We make delicate paper flowers, but that doesn’t mean that each bloom can withstand the same amount of abuse in a shipping box. If you’ll be shipping a bouquet or flower, make sure that it is as sturdy as you can make it.
“I’m always trying to make it better. I’m going to try to in the coming months improve some of the ways that you can shop so that it’s easier. The line has grown over the years to where I don’t want people to be frustrated with trying to find the color they want, so I want to add some features.” - Mike
As we shared on the podcast, that means that certain materials like fine crepe paper should be avoided. Why? As Jessie said, “You can’t expect your customer to know how to fluff [a paper flower] up.”
No matter how beautiful your packaging is, your client will not be impressed if they pull out a flower that looks like it wilted. Make something that can withstand being jostled.
Share Tracking Numbers with Customers
Some apps will automatically send out this info to clients who purchase from you. If your shopping platform doesn’t do this, you should be emailing the customer with the tracking number as soon as you have it.
Why? First, your customer will feel like you haven’t forgotten their order. You’re maintaining your relationship with them. Second, you will save yourself some work. If they email you asking about where their product is, you’re going to look up the tracking number to see where it is. That’s something that your client can easily and willingly do. Lastly, it shows that you held up your end of the deal, and now the package is out of your hands.
This might seem like a really obvious thing to do, but when you’re a creative small business owner with often varying volume of orders, it can be easy to forget little things like sharing tracking numbers.
Throw an Aftermath Party
You should be evaluating your sales long after they have arrived to your customers. This postmortem lets you better plan for the future. When it comes to shipping, that means keeping track of your packaging and shipping costs, as well as trying to figure out what wowed your clients.
As we shared in the episode, that could mean emailing a customer to ask if your paper flower arrived, what condition it was in, if they are satisfied, etc. Obviously this should all be done in a friendly and not overbearing way. But if they liked your art enough to pay for it, they will probably be happy to share what they think.
“It boils down to your aesthetics and the presentation you want to present to the customer. Are you going to be eco-friendly? Are you going to be over the top—when they open it, it’s going to be the most magical and wonderful experience?” - Quynh
Once you have all of the info about how things went, you can dive into the details of what needs to change. Did you charge enough to cover packaging costs? How much profit did you actually make once you added on shipping? Could you change anything in your packaging to save money or improve the experience for your clients? Ask the tough questions, and your next sale will be even better.