It’s no secret that online shopping is continuing to dominate the retail landscape.
 
Whilst shopping in-store is still a popular pastime, there is now an expectation that you will sell your products online as well (whether that be through your own website or a selling platform like eBay or Amazon).
 
However, providing an online store means that in most cases, you’ll have to deliver said products to your customers.

This can be fraught with potential issues: damaged goods, incorrect orders, or even just the sheer time commitment of picking and packing.
 
That’s why we created this checklist for mailing products to customers. We want to help you combat these issues, minimise returns and speed up your picking and packing.

You can download a printout of the checklist here, or read on for a bit more detail!


 

ITEM 1: Have at least two people checking the order.


Don’t mess up the order! Seems pretty obvious, right? But it’s one of the easiest mistakes to make, especially if you are overrun with orders… and it can have huge impacts on your business.
 
If you do get a customer’s order wrong, chances are they won’t be too thrilled.
 
Even if you’re able to rectify the situation, you still risk them not shopping with you again.

Worse still: they might leave a negative review on Facebook or Google, which will discourage other potential customers from shopping with you in the future.

The best way to overcome order mistakes is to implement a system where, if you have the resources, multiple people are checking over the order. At QIS Packaging, we use the following process.
 
  1. Someone places an order on our website.
  2. A picking slip is sent through to the warehouse team.
  3. A member of the warehouse team retrieves the stock listed on the picking slip.
  4. Before the order is packed, another team member double checks that the right stock has been retrieved.
  5. The order is packed and then another team member double checks the picking slip (for example, correct address).
  6. The invoice is sent and is placed in the dispatch area.
  7. Our freight partners pick up the order from the dispatch area.

 Using this procedure, we’ve had very few issues (just check out some of our reviews if you don’t believe us 😉)

ITEM 2: Use protective packaging.


If you are delivering any kind of fragile goods to your customers, you must make sure that you are taking the right precautions to protect the items in transit. This is definitely not an area where you can cut corners!
 
Using protective packaging such as:
   ...is an absolute no-brainer.
 
Man wrapping timber climbing tool in bubble wrap
Ross Ferguson from Awesome Woody's uses QIS bubble wrap and courier bags
to mail his timber climbing tools across the globe.

Additionally, if you are shipping textiles, clothing or antiques, you’ll want to use some acid-free tissue paper to prevent damage to the materials.

ITEM 3: Use shipping labels and stickers.


Shipping labels and stickers are your friend - use them liberally.
 
Sending out fragile goods? Protective packaging is great (see above), but you’ll also want to let your courier know that the products need to be handled with extra care.

A clear, bright sticker that says “fragile” or “handle with care” is the perfect way to do this.
 
Fragile label
 
“This way up” and “top load only” stickers are also good for fragile items, letting couriers and warehouse staff know exactly which way your shipment should be packed and stored.

On the flip side, make sure you’re taking care of your courier too! If your shipment is heavy, make sure you use a label that says just that.

ITEM 4: Make sure your shipment is tamper-evident.


Unfortunately, we live in a world where not everyone is good and honest.

There is always a risk (especially with smaller items) that someone might tamper with or steal the contents.
 
You can’t stop thieves from being thieves, but what you can do is use packaging that is impossible to open without physical evidence.

Courier bags are perfect for this - they feature a chemical bonding seal, so they can only be opened by ripping or cutting the bag.
 
Courier bag with pencil case inside
Courier bags are the #1 option when it comes to tamper-evident mailing.
 
This is a huge detractor for potential thieves when compared to standard mailers that use an envelope-style seal, making them easy to open and remove the contents.
 
NOTE: If you are using courier bags, make sure you firmly press down the seal for at least 15 seconds, then leave the bag for five minutes. This will allow the chemical bond to take full effect.

ITEM 5: Make sure your team is packing efficiently.


You’ll want to make sure your warehouse team is being as efficient as possible… after all, time is money, right?
 
We’ve actually written a whole separate article with some great warehouse shortcuts - you can check it out here. But in a nutshell:
 
  1. Cut down boxes that aren’t completely full to save on cubed volume
  2. Use branded tape to easily differentiate from stock and fulfilled orders
  3. Use courier bags, and press the air out to save on cubed volume
  4. For oddly shaped goods, use plastic tubing
  5. Don’t be afraid to step back and look around for more efficient methods in your warehouse
  6. Recycle materials you receive from suppliers
  7. When using kraft roll to wrap products, use a dispenser to speed up the process.

Aside from that, one more important thing to consider: are you using any unnecessary packaging?
 
Fragile goods may need a great deal of protection, for sure.
 
Conversely, if you’re sending out books or plush toys you don’t really need a giant box with heaps of voidfill. You’ll just be using up valuable freight space, as well as annoying your customers.
 
Courier bags are great for cutting down on excess packaging: just one bag with a tamper-evident seal, and you’re good to go!

ITEM 6: Give your customers the best post purchase experience.


Up until now we’ve just looked at precautionary measures and boosting efficiency.
 
But one last thing to consider: how are you going to really “wow” your customer so they keep coming back (and tell their friends about you too)?
 
There are lots of little things you can do.
 
Maybe you could include a handwritten thank you note with the product?
 
Or how about some freebies, like a discount voucher or even some sweets (it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, EVERYONE loves surprise lollies)
 
You also have a good opportunity to reinforce your brand: use branded packaging with your socials and website to encourage your customers to engage with you after the purchase.
 
Finally, if you have a product that is a little complicated to use, you could include some instructions to help your customers out.
 
These little gestures might not seem like much, but they can go a long way in getting repeat purchases and even get new buyers from word-of-mouth.

Conclusion


We really hope you found this mailing checklist helpful - make sure you download the A4 printout if you haven’t already.
 
All the best in sending out products - if you have any questions about packaging for online sellers, you can give us a ring on 1800 555 343 or email [email protected].