I have been selling almost exclusively online for the last year, so let me share some of the tips and tricks of the trade.
I highly recommend purchasing a Dymo 4XL thermal printer. It’s an investment to start up, but that baby pays for itself in time and postage saved. You can order replacement labels easily on Amazon, and it just hooks up to your computer. Being able to print labels at home allows you to simply drop off at the Post Office, and most online shipping programs offer a discount.
To ship from home, you will also need a scale as almost everything is priced by weight. This is a pretty easy purchase.
A shipping program! I have tried Stamps.com, ZenSales (when I was with my last company), PayPal, and now ShippingEasy. There are definitely pros and cons to all of these, but my favorite has to be ShippingEasy. It integrates with PayPal (which is what I use for invoicing) so it auto imports my orders. The interface took a little time for me to learn, but once I did it became very easy to use.
The best part about ShippingEasy, though, is the email capability. I love that I can custom design the emails that go to my customers when their purchase ships and is delivered. I am also able to create customer lists for follow up and newsletters. Want to give it a try? Use this link for your first month free!
I strongly suggest bagging all your clothes in a clear plastic bag before putting them in the mailer or box. This protects your inventory in the event that something happens to the exterior packaging.
You will want both polymailers (10×13 and can be found on Amazon) and USPS flat rate supplies. I recommend the padded flat rate envelope and the medium flat rate boxes (the long narrow ones are my favorite because they have their own adhesive–I don’t need to tape them!).
Daunted by trying to source all these items? Never fear! I have created this handy kit that links everything you will need to get started with your own in home boutique.
For me, the shipping process is kicked off when someone pays their invoice. Because I use ShippingEasy and it’s integrated with my invoicing program (PayPal), the order automatically appears on my dashboard to ship.
I package the clothes in the clear plastic bag, add a personal thank you note, and weigh it. If it is under one pound, I can enclose it in a polymailer and purchase a First Class label. First Class shipping is not insured and takes a few days longer than Priority, but it is cheaper! If my package weighs over a pound but still fits in a 10×13, I can pack it in a USPS Padded Flat Rate envelope and buy the custom postage for that packaging. If it won’t fit in the envelope, I generally move up to a medium flat rate box. Priority shipping generally only takes 2-3 days and offers insurance, which is a nice benefit!
All options have tracking numbers, which is very reassuring for the customers. With ShippingEasy, I am able to set up an automatic email containing tracking information that goes out when I have printed a label. I also have a delivery email that goes out when tracking shows the order as delivered–this lets me know when to follow up with the customer!
I hope this information helps you in your shipping process!
Want more information on what to do after you onboard? Check out my article on what comes next!