Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Heidi's Tips & Tricks for 6/27/12

This post, I'm going to talk a little bit about PACKAGING and how it can enhance your store and product.  When you put a little extra thought and effort into this final stage, it can make a big impact!

We all put a lot of work into our items.  From the initial design to the sourcing of quality supplies to the creation of the product to the photographs and listings themselves.  When those sales come in, it gives us a sense of accomplishment and pride that all of our hard work has been seen and appreciated.  How you proceed with the next and final step, the packing and shipping of your creation, is an opportunity to both thank your customer for supporting you and show them that you put just as much care into every stage of the process, even after the money has come in.

What sorts of things can you do to make your packaging special, without adding too much to your costs?  Here are some suggestions of what I've seen or heard people use:

- Wrap item in tissue paper.  Economy tissue can often be bought at a packaging store for a very low price and in colors that match your brand.
- Once wrapped, tie the item with twine, scrap strips of fabric, or yarn... perhaps something you already use for the product itself!
- Protect fragile items with clean packing paper.  You can get it from moving supply companies, or go to a local newspaper office and ask if they have any roll ends they don't need and are willing to sell or give you!
- Get thin organza gift bags for small items.  Ebay is a great source for stuff like this at very low cost!
- Muslin is a lovely material that you can purchase in a couple different "weights" suitable for your items.  Muslin bags are stronger and a natural material that can be great for small toys, anything with multiple parts, teas, jewelry, soaps... all kinds of things! 
- Even clean, white paper folded neatly and professionally and with an attractive sticker can be a simple packaging that just shows a little bit of extra care.

Other ways you can use packaging to make your store and products stand out including tying your brand into the "extras" you send along.  For example, your business card should go with every package to remind your customer of who you are.  You might consider including a hand-written note on the back or possibly a coupon code for future purchases.  In any case, a quick hand-written thank you note is always something that is appreciated to show that you are a real person!  Return address labels are another thing that you can use your brand image to "fancy up" your packaging a little bit.  Also, make nice, professional-looking product cards if applicable.  If you need or want to include information like washing instructions, how-to's, or other information, make sure you do it on quality paper with a font or colors that match your brand... don't just print it out on 8.5x11paper in boring old Times New Roman and stuff it in the box.  Use card stock or heavier weight paper, consider color, and perhaps invest in a pair of fancy-edging scissors or a shaped hole-punch.  Use stickers with your brand image on them.  There are LOTS of ideas you can use to make your packaging special, show you put thought into it, AND showcase your image so you are remembered.  

And finally, use quality shipping materials.  Consider how you package is going to look when your customer receives it.  While there is of course nothing wrong with reusing packaging materials, make sure they are clean and rip-free.  Ensure they are strong enough to protect your products.  Make sure address labels are legible and affixed properly.  Consider the safety of the items inside the parcel should it get wet or be handled roughly.  Use packaging the appropriate size.

Remember, the packaging is the last thing that you will see of your item... but it is the first thing that your customer sees.
~ Heidi

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