I love getting packages in the mail, especially from companies like Ralph Lauren where they send you a sleek white box, filled with fancy wrappings, and extras that make you feel like a million dollars!
Well, this past week I received a couple of packages in the mail; one box contained some cookies that I won from a contest on Twitter, and the other was a bag of office supplies from a large company that wanted me to test out their home office products.
I must say that I was totally disappointed with both.
This cookie company has a great concept; you choose your flavor of cookie dough and then pick out all the different candies, nuts, and fruits that you would like them to mix in. They then mail you twelve enormous custom-baked cookies. When I opened the box that the cookies came in, I pulled out an adorable purple bucket with the company’s logo.
The cookies were just a tad smaller than the diameter of the bucket, but a dozen cookies didn’t fit into the shallow bucket, only about seven cookies fit. So the other cookies were shoved in on the sides, which in turn made them crumble into a million pieces. No biggie, I got them for free … but when I went to taste one, they weren’t even the correct flavor I ordered, and there wasn't an invoice to show what I had ordered or any contact info. Had I paid for these cookies or sent them as a gift, I would have been upset.
The other package I received, had beautiful inner wrappings with a nice letter, a list of products, and a business card. But when I started going through the box it only contained two of the fifteen or so items that were supposed to be in there. I promptly notified the company about the oversight and a few days later I received an apology saying that they would resend the products. It’s been eight days since the correspondence and still no package.
How can you avoid packaging pitfalls?
Follow these six simple packaging guidelines:
1. Right-size box for the product.
As seen in the example above when you don’t package your product in the right size box, it can either get broken or wrinkled. Also packaging a small product in an oversized package or vice versa just looks silly and amateurish; make sure the box fits the product.
2. Right product, the right customer.
Nothing is worse than ordering something, and it’s the wrong size, color, product or cookie flavor! Use a check and balance system to ensure that you are shipping the correct product to the correct customer. If an error is made, apologize and promptly resend the correct order (of course, at no cost to the customer). As an added bonus for the error, you can extend a coupon for free shipping or 10% off their next order.
3. Proper padding.
If your product is breakable or delicate, make sure to pack it in foam peanuts, bubble wrap or another applicable wrapping. Not only will this save you from dealing with an unhappy customer when they receive damaged goods, but you will save money by not having to ship a new product to them.
4. Make sure to include an invoice.
Having an invoice will help protect you and it can serve as a final check to ensure that you are sending the correct product. Also if your package happens to lose its address label or needs to be opened by the post office, they will look inside for an invoice for contact and shipping information. Not only is it a safety precaution, but an invoice is used as an informational tool, that should include your terms and conditions, return policies, date, price, quantity, and description of the product sold. It’s also nice to add a thank you for your business note.
5. Damaged goods.
If for some reason the product is damaged, it’s the wrong item or the customer is unhappy with their purchase, follow up with prompt and courteous customer service. People will return for good customer service, even if there was a problem with the initial product.
6. Add extras.
Make your customer feel like a million dollars by adding those extra special touches to your packing, beautiful tissue paper; a thank you card, ribbons, and adhesive emblems. Remember, this is a good time to send product catalogs and information about specials and discounts.
Here is a short list of some companies that know how to package their products right: W by Worth, Ralph Lauren, Sephora, Cole Haan, and Tiffany’s.
Of course, packaging your products is just one part of the equation. If you need help keeping shipping costs down — check out this post for some great tips!
Have you had an experience with a poorly packaged product? Or do you have a tip for product packaging? Please share your thought and comments below.
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Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she's been able to figure out how to find a career path that you're truly passionate about. Holly's had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.