Venturing into Ecommerce The Creative Packaging Process
I have been shipping for nearly 10 years now and learned a lot about shipping economically via using tools like Save On Shipping Mailing Sizers to reduce the size of my stamps for thickness and weight as well as improving my shipping time to help with cost savings.
But for a period of a few years, I noticed there were a decreasing number of returned customers, especially on Etsy. And I found this was due to packaging!
So what is it about packaging that can help keep your customers coming back?
Here's a quick video I did about the Creative Process: (opens in Youtube).
Finding my Own Packaging Story
When I first started selling on Etsy, my main items I sold were in the Yoga line. Thinking about my brand, it meant I wanted to use the least amount of packaging that was bad for the environment as possible.
I tried to eliminate packaging materials like business cards - they know where to find me right?
Eliminate extra papers and pretty stuff? Hmm.. they'll just throw it in the garbage anyways... and I still wasn't sure about the cost if I put more inside my packaging. Afterall, I was getting new customers all the time.
I was really really busy during the beginning of 2013 and 2014. I was shipping 90+ packages / week with custom orders being a huge part of my business. I didn't have time to create packaging and we had just moved from the mainland to the island so we didn't know if hiring was an option for us.
I didn't have anyone to goto to ask for help and in fact, I was asked by Etsy to teach SEO back then.. whoa, so I just thought I must be doing a great job right? Not a chance.
Anyone who has done custom orders before would relate how difficult it is to keep up and manage deadlines while promoting your own business and creating new packaging ideas.
So my packaging became a low priority for uniqueness and I began to feel more like a robot when it came time to package my pre-made stamps for my Etsy clients. I even delegated that task to my neighbour whom I hired at different times in my Etsy days.
Needless to say, I didn't keep too many returned clients on Etsy. I've let them down and let them go.
That's one of my fails... and oh I have many fails. Luckily, I still have lots of great clients, most of them local, small business owners just like me. Working to uniquely bring the best of ourselves to our products, packaging and the world.
Things You can do to Create Unique Packaging for your Business
Add a Note/ Message to all your packages
Handmade items are created to be enjoyed by the receiver. Whether it is a hand written message or a stamped thank you note, anything that says you're the last maker who touched it makes it that much more special. (At least that has been my experience)
** Don't forget to request for our "words of encouragement stamps" with your order. These are awesome for stamping on envelopes and hang tags!
** Photo provided by Little Thao Studio
Spend a bit more time on packaging
than you would normally at least in the beginning because each receiver is unique and may require a bit more attention to detail than the last.
Even if the item are pre-made instead of custom, I like to tinker just a bit more, and love taking tons of photos before sending it off to the receiver.
I make it an energetic ritual now and of the ones I do put a bit more care, I am rewarded with an abundance of love from the receiver - social posts, engaging reviews and returned business.
Seal it with a tag, or stamp on all your products
I now stamp all my wooden blocks with my website URL and add tags /branding to my products so my clients can easily find me or snap a photo with my work on their social media.
It makes for a more professional look and I am reassured that even if my clients lose all my contact information, they can find me by looking on one of my products.
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I have also added clothespin stamps to my collection as a custom text item or a fun collection that you can use when you're packaging your products. Send me an email/ PM. I'd love to work on a wholesale order with you.
Until next time my hard working ladies and gents, stay perfectly imperfect!