Selling Successfully (Your One-Stop Resource for Setting Up, Managing and Marketing)

Packing With Pride:Sourcing Materials

During the recent Holiday season, a Ruby Lane staff member who purchased some items from a Ruby Lane shop, received a rather surprising package. When the items arrived, the packing and shipping materials consisted of a recycled egg carton and some old newspapers. Another Ruby Lane staff member purchased an item which arrived in a recycled box of Cascade dish washing powder. The following is an excerpt from a note we received from a shop owner who purchased some glass items from another Ruby Lane shop:

"I had ordered a couple of items including a few pieces of glassware. I received the package with the glassware inside very poorly wrapped: One thin piece of bubble wrap around each of the two glass items and then the cushioning provided was newspaper. It was not a wonder that one piece of glass was broken – more surprising – is that one made it – so now I have a sugar for a gift without a creamer. I was saddened to see such poorly wrapped items from a Ruby Lane shop."

Presentation And A Safe Arrival Is Everything

We'd like to take this opportunity to stress to all shops the importance of packing your items using sturdy, attractive, professional materials. We know that the majority of our shops carefully pack and ship, but we hope those who have been "cutting corners" in the packing process will take the time to read on. Shipping items in a piece of used cardboard you found around the house shows a lack of respect for the item you're sending, and for your customer, not to mention what it says about you and your shop.

Professional packing and shipping materials convey that you are a serious, successful business, and do not have to be expensive or difficult to source. In fact, they should be considered part of the cost of doing business and should be factored in when you calculate the pricing of items and shipping costs within your shop. Ruby Lane offers shipping products in the Official Ruby Lane Logo store on Zazzle that make it easy to offer a beautiful, professional presentation. We realize that not everyone has worked in the Gift Wrapping Department of Neiman Marcus, but with a little planning and effort, you can still pack an item as if you did.

Saving the Earth Is Important Too

While we certainly understand the desire to reuse and recycle materials, they must look nice so that your item's presentation maintains a professional appearance. Everyone needs to recycle more, but there is a difference between recycled and "salvaged" looking. Alternatively, shop owners can also search for packing materials made from earth friendly materials or items like boxes made from 100% recycled content.

The Cost of Poor Packing

Scrimping on packing and shipping materials is "penny-wise and pound-foolish". The shop owner above who shipped the glassware saved a couple of bucks by using minimal bubble wrap, but it cost them much more in the end when they had to take the damaged item back, process the insurance claim, and refund the buyer their money. And since the item was not repairable, it could not be put back into inventory. The shop also lost its most precious commodity: a satisfied customer.

It's The Wave of the Future

Have you ordered something from J. Crew lately? If you had, you would have received an elegant package with color-coordinated tissue, ribbon, and labels, along with a personal note from the person who packed the item. This is a trend that will continue, and we recommend that as professional online sellers, you consider joining this important bandwagon if you haven't already. If you're not sure where to find attractive, quality packing and shipping materials that suit the type of items in your shop, we suggest that you start with the list below:

The Official Logo Store on Zazzle:
Shipping Labels, Business Cards, Custom Postage Stamps, Customizable Note Cards, Stickers, Promotional Items - T-shirts, Embroidered Hats, iPhone and Blackberry covers and iPad covers, Key Chains and more

White Shipping Boxes:

Tall Boxes:

Long Boxes:

Jewelry and Gift Boxes:

Choice of Colored Tissue Paper:

Bubble Wrap:

Regular and Biodegradable Packing Peanuts:

Soft Foam:

Carton Sealing Tape:

Jewelry Pouches:

Packing Tips:

The following link offers tips for packing items correctly for shipping:

And we recommend that you read Packing With Pride: Tips From Shop Owners
on Ruby Lane's Selling Successfully page and the Secret Shopper articles listed in the Shop Owner Forums.