Saturday, June 12, 2010

Selling tip #1: Packaging

Here comes a long post... don't worry it'll be good! Today I thought I'd share an online selling tip! I've been on etsy since 2006, over time, I've learned a number of things that I hope have made my customers extra happy. Keeping that in mind, here is my tip for you: One of the best things you can do for your customer is to package their order nicely! I know, I know... you might think SENDING a package has nothing to do with the actual selling... but trust me when I tell you that it does! I've almost hit 800 sales thanks to lovely people, and I can honestly say that loads and loads of those sales are actually from repeat customers. Although I've changed the ways I've packaged over the years, taking care to send off your items after they've been purchased shows that you have pride in what you do and that you care about your customer's experience!

Packaging your orders nicely ensures a number of things, the first being that your customer will open your package and feel like you really appreciate their order. Another benefit of packaging orders nicely is that if done well, nice packaging can also protect the items inside from being damaged in transit. Finally, (though I'm sure there are loads of other reasons) your packaging can be a very important part of branding yourself and your business. Some considerations you will want to consider when thinking about packaging your items:
  1. Cost of packaging materials. Make sure to consider the cost of shipping/ packaging materials... for example, I used to package everything individually which would really bulk up my envelopes; think about combining similar items into one container.
  2. On a related note, think about how much your packages weigh, and how big your items are. Every single one of my items will fit into a bubble envelope, and can be mailed through a regular U.S. post box (less than 13 ounce parcels, meaning I don't always have to go to the Post Office) and that I avoid having to pay extremely high shipping fees. I'm usually never caught off guard as far as shipping prices. You'll have to make the choice for yourself whether or not to ship internationally, though I love all my international customers dearly! Check the shipping fees and restrictions in your area and try to plan your product line and shipping prices accordingly. Your local mail service may also have ways to save you money or time, so it's worth finding out more from a website or your friendly postmaster!
  3. My shipping prices (listed on etsy) include handling, which is where any money that I have to spend outside of actual U.S. Post fees comes from; this includes the higher prices we pay in Hawai`i for materials, the amount of time and money it costs me to go to the post office, and also the prices it costs for me to package an item. Shipping and handling should never be exorbitant, but they should allow you to cover some of the things mentioned above. Use your shipping profiles wisely, and find a way to let your customers know that they are paying for both shipping AND handling!
Keeping those things in mind, consider how you would like to package and present your items (don't forget no matter how carefully you package, things might get squished and wrinkled in the mail).

I place most orders in either a resealable plastic pouch or a small paper bag, which protects it from getting wet in the mail and also helps it to look more professional. Keeping this in mind, try not to resort to ziploc baggies! Because I sell items in various sizes, I have lots of different bags in all shapes and sizes... from tiny earring bags to large pouches that hold multiple/amigurumi and or a clutch or two.

Two of my greatest investments have been an address stamper and professionally printed business cards, both from Vistaprint (a company I know people have had trouble with... I had a really great experience though!) If you have a lot of orders, I would definitely recommend spending some of your monies on these two things; the stamper saves LOADS of time and the business cards help brand you and also allow your customers to spread the word! Business cards in life are a good idea, haha!

I use bubble mailers for all my items, again in a variety of sizes. Depending on your item, you might want to consider other envelopes (tyvek?) or even boxes. Don't forget that it is often economical if you buy in bulk! It also pays to seal your packages well, with a deco tape for example (regular clear masking tape works well too). The safer the better, I always say! It's also nice if you decorate the package in some way, such as a rubber stamp or a little doodle!

I always include a handwritten thank you note (from paper scraps I cut out after making buttons) and a little extra something, such as a sticker. On bigger orders, I include a little bit more! It's always nice to receive a little something extra :D (just don't forget that including too much will increase the cost of shipping, and your customer shouldn't have to pay for that!)

Finally, let your customers know when you have shipped their items, and give them a general timeframe in which they can expect to receive their packages. I usually tell my US customers it will be 3-5 business days and my international customers it will be 5-7 business days. All of these extra steps will help make buying and receiving items from you a really great/fun/awesome/special experience for customers!


  1. I don't sell anything online, but this article was very interesting and useful! Thank you for writing it up^^

  2. I always love to get my little Holly goodies in the mail! Your packages are always so cute >_<


  3. Thanks for the great advice! I've been looking for an article like this since I am new to the biz! I was afraid to get bubble/envelopes, but since I see you use them and have been successful, I won't shy away from using them in the future!

  4. I agree with you :-) although I have never used etsy.... never........ yet ! :-)
    Cat food boxes are out then ?
    x x x

  5. Lots of nice advice. Even though it's sort of a small thing, I like it when sellers do some of the things you mentioned, like decorating their packages, and including handwritten notes or extras. Even business cards are nice too, because if they have a nicely decorated side they can easily be hung up as tiny pieces of art.

  6. Thank you for the helpful article! Your business cards are ultra-awesome too :)

  7. omg!! holly you are such a sweet person b/c you are offering advice to people who could be potential competitors but NO ONE can NEVER top you in your little extras and the handwritten notes makes us buyers feel appreciated.:o)

    it's always the little things that matter. for me it means you took the extra time & effort to package my item with love and care the same when you created it. :OD thank you holly

  8. Holly,
    I LOVE all of your amigurumi, your tips and tutorials, and your blog! I was wondering where you get your fancy tapes and business cards!
    By the way, I tried out your takochu pattern and my little takochu turned out great! It is so cute and thank you!

  9. Thanks everyone! Cj, I got the business cards from Vistaprint... just make sure you check your cart carefully before you check out. And I'm really lucky, because in Hawaii there's a store called Heiko which sells Japanese tapes, otherwise you should try etsy!!! big hugs :D

  10. Thanks Holly! I will have to visit Hawaii sometime big hugs to you too! :D

  11. Verrrrryyyy useful becuase I wnat to start selling soon :)

  12. I just love your blog designs, etsy banner, and your logo!I've always wondered how you create them. I've tried using Paint on my computer, but they always seem so pixelated and unprofessional. How do you do it? Do you use a professional program?

    1. Hiya Knittyninja! Thanks so much for your sweetie comments! I use inkscape, which is a free vector program (vector-based drawings don't get pixalated no matter how big or small the get). Search for inkscape, you'll find it no problem :D good luck!

  13. Thank u so much! Ill try it. Hopefully I'll be able to make them as pretty as yours!


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