When you’re a retailer (online or not), packing and shipping customer purchases can be a tall order. With all the information you need and all the shipping decisions in front of you, it’s not hard to make a simple mistake or two. That’s why it helps to find ways to keep your business organized, like a shipping checklist that’ll keep you on-track to successfully shipping out all those customer orders.
We’ve put together these 10 helpful pointers for keeping your shipments on track—from making sure your product is packaged up right, to being ready for customs requirements in other countries. Don’t forget to download your FREE complete shipping checklist for e-commerce businesses near the end of this blog.
1. Pack your products up
Make sure your items are packed up securely, using an appropriate void fill—like bubble cushion, packing paper or packing peanuts. Check the box to make sure there aren’t any dents or damage, and use quality packing tape to seal it up. Ensure that you have all the forms and paperwork your shipment needs, like shipping manifests, bills or thank you cards.
2. Fill out the required labels
Collect all the stickers, tags or labels your shipment needs. Write legibly and cleanly, preferably with a marker or dark pen. Ensure that everything is filled out completely, and then double check to make sure you haven’t forgotten any important details.
3. Choose your shipping method
If you have the option, do you prefer by air, land or sea? Be aware that some options take longer or can cost more. Once again, fill out everything as completely as you can and double check to make sure all your information is correct.
4. Know where you’re shipping it
Do you have the correct delivery address? Is it going to a rainy part of the world? Will it be at a heightened risk of theft? Knowing those answers will help you avoid issues during shipping.
5. Figure out your costs as best you can
Knowing what your potential costs are will prevent you from being taken by surprise. Weigh your shipment and measure its dimensions, as dim weight (dimensional weight) is how shipping costs are often calculated these days. Check if there are any special fees you’ll have to pay for your package.
6. Insure your shipment if it’s expensive
Consider what you’re shipping and where it’s going. If it’s jewelry, money, sensitive paperwork, or at a higher risk of theft, consider insuring your shipment. Like they say, better safe than sorry, right?
7. Choose your shipping speed
Will your package be sent by regular shipment? Does it positively, absolutely have to be there overnight? Make sure that you’re aware of costs and estimated shipping times for whatever method you choose.
8. Track your package
Keep your tracking numbers written down and easily accessible. You’ll be able to see where your shipment is, if there’s any transit issues, and give delivery updates to its recipient if necessary.
9. Be prepared for Customs
Are you shipping internationally? Be aware of any regulations and extra costs associated with that specific country, and make sure you’ve filled out any needed paperwork correctly. Customs can slow down delivery of an item, and you don’t want anything unforeseen delaying your shipment.
10. Follow up with your customer
Once you know delivery is complete, it’s always a good idea to follow up with your customer. Are they happy with their purchase? Did it arrive on time? Is there any part of the process they feel you could improve on? Contact with a customer can improve their impression of you, and make them more likely to deal with you in the future.
There’s so much to consider and do when it comes to shipping customer orders. But with this handy (and printable!) complete shipping checklist for e-commerce businesses in hand—and shipping supplies from The Packaging Company—we know you’re going to do great.