When you get an order through your business, it’s not the end of the customer journey. You still need to make sure that your customer will be happy with the items that they receive. Of course, you also need to make sure they receive it in the first place. When they get their order, you want them to be satisfied with it and perhaps even pleasantly surprised at how it’s presented. Before you dispatch an order, you should go through a checklist of things to make sure that each order is ready to go. Use this guide to ensure you’ve done all of the necessary things for your products to arrive as they should.
You Have the Right Order and the Right Destination
Before you do anything, you need to check that you have the correct order matched up to the correct address. This might seem like basic stuff, but it’s so easy to accidentally mix things up. You don’t want to send the wrong order to the wrong customer. It will inconvenience everyone, and cost you time and money. You should have a system in place for matching up the correct orders with the correct addresses, and checking that everything is as it should be.
Everything Is Packaged Safely
Safely packaging your products is important, both to protect the products themselves and to avoid any accidents while they’re in transit. There are two main things to consider: you want the product to arrive at its destination undamaged, and you don’t want it to hurt anyone along the way. You need to consider how your packaging can protect the products that you send out. You might need to ensure that the products are securely held in place in their packaging, or that there are instructions to keep the package the right way up. Perhaps you need to use cushioning, like packing peanuts to keep everything in place.
Some products need more protection than others. If you’re shipping hazardous materials or anything that could pose a danger to people, there are likely further steps you need to take to make sure everything is secure. You might need special packaging to ensure safety, and sometimes you might need a special delivery service too.
Your Packaging Complies with Any Shipping Laws
Some products can’t be shipped unless you follow the rules set out for them. If you’re shipping any potentially hazardous materials or perhaps something like food and drink, you might need to follow some strict regulations. This might mean that you need to find the correct packaging to meet these rules. At www.clsmith.com, you can find packaging that meets specifications for the safe shipping of batteries. You might also need packaging that works for liquids, glass items or biological substances. If you’re shipping internationally, remember that you will need to follow the rules for both the departure location and the destination country.
You Have Completed Necessary Customs Forms
Another thing to consider if you’re sending packages overseas is that there are often customs requirements to fulfill. Sometimes, this just means filling out a form or putting a sticker on a package. You usually have to declare what’s inside, along with its value. There might also be taxes, tariffs or duties that you need to take care of. However, these are often expected to be paid by the recipient. Let your customers know that these charges might be due when their order arrives so that they don’t feel like it takes them by surprise. You can include it in your shipping policy.
You Have Branded Your Packaging
Your product might be very distinctive and show your brand. Even if it’s not unique to your brand, you can customize it with branded labels and other touches. But your packaging for dispatch doesn’t have to boring and plain. It can also have branding to make each of your orders distinctive and attractive. Whether you use cardboard boxes, jiffy bags, envelopes or some other type of packaging, you could put your logo on them or just use your brand colors. You can also put your branding in your internal packagings, such as tissue paper or bubble wrap. Use brand colors or print some stickers that you use to hold packing together.
You Have Included an Invoice or Receipt
Including an invoice or receipt with each order helps you to ensure that they are all correct. It reminds your customer of what they ordered and what should be contained in the package. It also shows whether they have already paid and, if not, how they should pay. It’s even to print off these slips at the same time as printing the address for the order. In fact, you can print it all on one sheet of paper, with a peel-off sticker for the address. This can help you to keep everything organized and help you make sure that you put the right items in the right package.
You’ve Added a Thank You Flyer (and Special Offer)
Package inserts are a great way to add further branding to your orders. It can also give you a good way to promote other products you might have, even if they’re under another brand, or perhaps team up with other businesses to promote them. If you don’t already have any, consider designing and printing some flyers that you can add to each of your orders. They could just say “thank you for your order,” or they might feature a special offer.
Giving your customers a discount is an excellent way to get them to come back. If you keep track of your customers, you might only want to give them a discount when you package their first order. Another way to give your customers a special offer is to include a discount that they can give to a friend or a referral offer. Perhaps if a friend places a new order and uses a code, the original customer benefits by getting free store credit or a gift. People often like receiving special offers or information about other brands they might be interested in too. If you team up with another brand, you can distribute their flyers, and they can do the same for you.
You Have Included a Gift or Free Sample
Another great thing that you might consider slipping into each order is a gift or a free sample. These could include a range of items, depending on what you think is most suitable. You might have some small samples of products if you sell something like cosmetics or food and drinks. If you don’t have anything that’s suitable to send as a sample, you might want to include a nice little gift. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or expensive and doesn’t even really need to relate to your products. But it should be suitable for your brand. For example, some brands put in a small bag of candy or something similar. It’s just about giving your orders something extra that anyone can appreciate.
You Have Included Helpful Tips
You might also want to consider including some material in your orders that help customers make the most of your product. Some products need to come with instructions so that people can use them correctly. However, others don’t require instructions, but it can still benefit the customer if you include some useful tips. You could put in a small leaflet that suggests a few ideas for how to use your products. Or perhaps you can have a short flyer that tells them how best to care for the product they have ordered. These tips can be useful and give your orders more of a personal touch. You can also show them how to access more information – for example, give them a link to your YouTube channel or blog.
Your Order Is Insured If Necessary
Sometimes, you might need to think about insurance before you ship a product. You don’t have to offer insurance to your customers, but many companies do choose to do it. It gives your customers a greater sense of security and shows that you want to make sure that their order arrives at its destination in one piece. Of course, whether you feel that offering shipping insurance is worth it can depend on what you sell and its value. If it’s something particularly valuable, you’re unlikely to want to send another one to your customer for free, so insurance can benefit both you and your customer.
Your Package Is Securely Sealed
Once everything is ready to go, make sure you do one last check to see if your order is sealed and ready to go. There are various ways you might seal up an order, from adhesives to tape and even staples or nails (for wooden boxes and crates). The package needs to be able to survive its journey, whether it’s traveling by road, air or even across water.
Before you send off any orders, check that you’ve done all of the above tasks. They might not all be applicable to your business, but many of them will be.
*This is a contributed post.