This article will deal with shipping supplies for your products – where to get them and what to get.
Your first decision is an easy one. It is based solely on what you are selling. Look at your products and determine what size they are, what their fragile rating might be. A fragile rating is something you decide. Is your product a book that won’t break, but might get wet? Is it jewelry that might break or get lost because of its size? Is it glassware that needs special boxes and padding? Is it CD’s? Trust your own judgment in this. Most people can look at an item and decide if the shipping company can break it easily if it’s not packaged well. Once you determine how you need to package an item, create a list of shipping supplies that you will need to ship it to ensure it gets to your customer in perfect condition.
Your list will include such items as tape, boxes (various sizes) stickers, labels to print on, shipping peanuts or bubble warp, padded and bubble mailers among others. But where can you get these items at a reasonable cost?
Your first place to search for shipping materials is your own home. Everyone has boxes from that product you bought last year as well as the boxes that brought the items you previously bought on eBay! This is a great place to begin your search, some of your supplies are already in your house and free!
Next, look at your list and determine what you still need that you don’t already have. The discount stores are a great source for inexpensive tape but don’t buy a single roll, look for 6 or more to a package; this is your most economical bet. You will want to get some type of dispenser too if you don’t have one already. The tape guns used by commercial shippers is the best choice but can be pricy, expect to pay $10-$15 for a good one. Some tape comes with its own dispenser but after taping 10 or more boxes, you will be happy to buy the tape gun.
The next place you should look for supplies you do not already have is online. There are several box companies selling a huge variety of boxes in every size imaginable, and they sell mailers and peanuts too.
If you purchase your products wholesale, don’t throw away any packaging that came with it - RECYCLE! I have yet to buy any shipping peanuts – all my peanuts came free! I also look around my day job. Boxes and packing materials tend to be thrown out the door with reckless abandon. I go over them with a fine tooth comb looking for anything that might be useful and that I don’t have to pay for. I recycle whenever I can, it’s good for the environment and it’s good on your wallet. Why waste free materials? Make sure your materials are clean and odor free and the boxes or bags are strong and present a great image. Next, put a small label on the outside stating it is a ‘recycled box - please be kind and reuse it again and again’. You look good and your customers will recognize that fact.
Now that you are online and searching for boxes, take a moment to revisit your product line. If you sell one product only, get a box that will fit that product and buy in bulk to save your customers money. Box companies will ship your boxes or mailers to your door. Stay away from local stores to buy boxes, they are far too expensive. The US Postal Service offers FREE Priority Mail shipping boxes and bags – use them whenever possible, especially the ones with the eBay logo on them. Just remember that you must follow their directions when using them. Don’t use them for anything but Priority Mail.
TIP- Look at the boxes you receive from your own purchases. Chances are you will find the name of a box vendor on them. Look at their website for pricing. Also go on eBay and visit the Shipping Center under Sellers Central to find a link for FREE eBay logo boxes that can be used for Priority Mail with the USPS.
If your products are various sizes, try to find a single box or 2 that will fit the bulk of your products. By using 1 or 2 box sizes, you can save storage space, money and time. If the boxes are big for some of your products, use your free peanuts you saved to fill the gaps. Buying 1 or 2 box sizes can save you a bundle in costs and standardize your shipping.
TIP- Do not over stuff your boxes; make sure your products fit into the boxes you buy. If the box is a bit large, use filler, just don’t cram your great products into a too small box and ruin your sale when the customer opens it.
You are trying to make your products do 3 things. One - get there in the best condition possible. Two – look good to your customers. Three – Save yourself and your customers money on shipping. Follow the suggestions detailed above and you should make all three goals.
Visit us anytime at our eBay store RocketScales4Me.