If you’re in the business of selling things on the internet, whether it’s via an enormous multinational retail conglomerate, or a one-person bedroom-run operation, you’ll need to take time to minimise the losses you suffer from things getting lost or damaged along the way.
Wrap things carefully
To minimise the chance of your package getting broken along the way, you’ll want to be sure that it’s properly packaged alongside a protective layer of bubble-wrap and polystyrene chunks.This is particularly important if you’re shipping very fragile items, like crockery, or very valuable items, like consumer electronics.
Record the address properly
One of the most common reasons for packages to be shipped to the wrong location is because of the address being inaccurately recorded.This might be down to error on the part of the customer or the retailer, but the result will be just the same – a package that gets lost and must be replaced.In order to minimise this likelihood, use a postcode lookup service.This will require the input of just a postcode, from which the software will be able to summon a list of valid addresses to choose from.What could be simpler?You might also use an address data cleansing program to get the address even more accurately matched.
Transcribe the address legibly
Of course, it’s no good having an address faithfully recorded if the person delivering the package can’t read the label.For this reason, it’s worth investing in a dedicated label-making printer.They cost barely anything, and will happily sit on your desk and churn out a string of laser-accurate labels over the course of many years.
Offer free postage…
One of the things that’s likely to turn your customers away is hidden costs.By offering them free delivery, there’ll be no sudden price-hike when they arrive at the checkout and postage gets factored in.This is sure to help foster trust and turn your customers into loyal ones that’ll come back again and again.
…but allow your customers to opt-out.
At the same time, there a few things more annoying than being tethered to a given price-point for postage.If your customers are willing to pay that little bit more in order to receive their goods in a timely manner, than giving them a range of different price-points to choose from is preferable.
Choose the right carrier
It should go without saying that not all carriers are the same.Some will offer slightly different services, some will be more competitively-priced, and some will just be outright more competent than others.When making your choice, be sure to select a reputable carrier.If you should notice performance that’s consistently sub-par, then don’t be averse to simply making a switch to a superior provider.
Keep packages small
While it’s important to ensure that your items are sufficiently well-packed, you’ll want to do so without making your packages too big.Not only is this a waste of materials, it’ll also add to the cost of delivery.If you’re sending out thousands of parcels, these little economies can amount to a more profitable operation!
Choose the right insurance
If you’re sending valuable packages out, then you’ll want to choose the right cover accordingly.In some cases, this will be factored in to the cost of delivery, in others, it will come as an optional extra.In the case of the Royal Mail, for example, choosing to add in postal insurance can cover your loses for up to several thousand pounds – but you’ll need to pay a little extra to receive the cover.If you’re going to be sending very expensive packages out, then factoring in the cost of this might form a crucial part of the deal.
Take customs into account
Another factor that one should consider is the cost of sending your packages across political boundaries.You might have to pay a tariff in order to do so – which in many cases can make shipping unfeasible.There are also non-tariff barriers to contend with – if you’re shipping replica greatswords or other materials, you might suffer your goods getting impounded at the border, which will prove expensive and disruptive.It’s better to anticipate these problems in advance by avoiding borders where possible, and perhaps stopping shipping to countries whose border agencies are a touch over-zealous.
Setting up an online retailer has never been easier or more rewarding, but in order to get the best from the exercise you’ll want to ensure that you’re keeping postal losses to a minimum.