Offering the best to my customers was at the core when I started my business. To offer the best experience I had to not only give the best product but also the best delivery options. This was my first and biggest roadblock, Logistics.
By logistics, I mean everything from packing or shipping supplies, courier partners,shipment tracking and shipping the products safely and ensuring the package reached the customer without delays.
Pointers from my personal notes for you to ace in packing & shipping your goods to your customers.
You can choose from a list based on the type of products you ship.
The shipment has to withstand tossing and throwing at the parcel delivery center, post office and the ever so famous bouncy Indian roads. It also calls for special packing materials for rainy days.
The wooden toys I handled was prone to heavy damages. I packed with extra layer of bubble wrap and did my favorite drop test before it found its way inside the courier cover.
The books however didn’t warrant heavy layered packing, a simple cling wrap with my business card inside worked just fine. It was as minimal as it could get.
Make an exception for sound books and ‘touch n feel’ books with a quick single bubble wrap layer. Needless to say you just need a polythene wrap/bag for clothes’ shipment.
To avoid breakage, you can invest in carton boxes. You may have to increase your shipping price or product cost without affecting your business for that extra investment. That part will be covered in a separate post :-)
Always buy your bubble wrap material in bulk/wholesale. I used to buy 100 metres which costs me only Rs. 1200. Alternatively you can invest in bubble wrap filled courier cover, think wise, keep in mind the price. It usually works well for jewelry business and for arts and crafts business.
For Monsoons,use the plastic courier bags instead of the green cloth ones.
For Chennai natives, Maruthi Plastics is the best place to shop for your packing needs.
Post my research, can assure you these guys have hands down price when it comes to all packaging supplies from bubble wraps, big size courier covers, cello tapes, cling wrap, Polythene covers, zip-lock bags, brown paper covers, scissors. Every package item in your list will be supplied by them.
India Post– After using so many shipment services I settled for India post services. They are the most reliable and cost-efficient shipping you can come across.
Their parcels do not get lost and they deliver to any nook and corner of our country. Clearly old ways work best in some cases, true when it comes to postal service. Take a bow guys.
Yes there are bad days there as well, but surely far and few in between. Unlike other shipment partners, they make sure to reach out again if the customer is not available at their address during their first delivery attempt.
Plus, their unbeatable tracking system makes it easier to share delivery status with your customer.
They have flat shipment rates of Rs.52 per kg anywhere in India and Rs. 16 for every additional half kgs. Beat that price I say!!!
It is only smart to cost cut every way possible and shipment charges should be your first place to start with.
Now about their cons- they do not do home pickups which did not matter to me because I dropped them off in person.
On Mondays, they have long queues. I skipped dropping shipments on Mondays for this only reason.
And if you are a newbie who has fewer shipments to make on an everyday basis, then you may try shipdesk.
They have a tie-up with major shipment companies like Fed-ex ,bluedart and Delhivery.
You can create invoices at the convenience of your laptop and have them pick shipments from your doorstep. They also have express shipping options and schedule pickups to make it easier for us.
Shipment Tracking :
If you are using any of the shipment partners mentioned above, then you can use aftership application to track your parcels.
You may also integrate them with your website for your customers to have them easily access the information.
You can also download the app onto your phone and share tracking links over WhatsApp or Facebook messenger if needed. This works well if you do not have a website yet.
And the best part of using aftership is that you get to send out emails and phone SMS during every stage of shipment.
This is a paid feature, but it saves you a lot of time from sending details to each customer and also gives your customer a rich shopping experience. It is very easy to setup the hooks, you may have to play around their website a bit.
There is more to it when it comes to logistics which is difficult to cover in a single blog post. I will cover them in detail as we progress.
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