E-commerce has meant that today, more than ever we are selling our goods and service over the internet. A study by HL shows us that internet sales accounted for 15.5% of all consumer purchases in 2015? Compared to a tiny 3% in 2006! With amazing opportunities available thanks to the internet, including brand visibility, and global connectivity it’s no wonder artists are taking to the world wide web in order to grow their customer-base. Thanks to websites like Ebay and Etsy, selling your prints online is now standard practice, but are you doing everything you can to ensure your hard work arrives safely?
Sadly, we do judge books by their covers, not only does shipping your art correctly ensure the time and effort you put into the piece remains intact, but you also owe it to your customer who has invested their money in your piece. Never underestimate the power of packaging, investing in the proper packaging will instil trust in your brand and has the power to turn would be one-time customers into loyal ambassadors. Did you know that 52% of consumers would be more likely to make repeat purchases from an online distributer that delivered their product premium packaging? So, what materials should you invest in and what best practices should you follow to ensure the safe arrival of your prints to your customers?
Use a Private Courier Service
It’s unlikely you can afford to splurge on re-prints of damaged goods and it’s a daunting experience sending your work away, not knowing if it will arrive safely or not. This anxiety can be reduced by investing in a reliable courier service. Traditional mail services have a huge volume of mail each day, whereas a courier service is far more specialised.
Of course there is no guarantee your prints will arrive unscathed, but the chances of this are diminished when using a certified and recognised courier service. It’s best practice to give your customer the choice of whether they want to spend on a courier or not, though if you can include the cost of the courier in your shipping price then this is a great way to maximise the chances of safe delivery.
What Packaging Materials should I use?
Many artists lack knowledge about how properly protect their prints, and for those who are just beginning their e-commerce career it can be a confusing place to be, with so many options available the wrong choice can be easily made. So, what components can you not afford to miss out of your packaging strategy?
The first impression
Using a cardboard envelope or box is the best way to protect your prints, a tube may lead to curling or creasing, which makes the pieces hard to frame. Cardboard envelopes can typically fit more than one print at a time, which is a great money saving tip if sending multiple pieces at once. Invest in double walled cardboard, rather than single walled to ensure an extra layer of protection, this is preferable to disgruntled customers and costly refunds should your prints be damaged.
Think inside the box
If you’re sending an item that’s more fragile, consider some extra protection such as a layer of bubble wrap, not only does this act as a protective cushioning layer, it’s also an insulator, and waterproof too! Your prints may be travelling overseas and be subjected to severe temperature drops or unexpected conditions. Don’t risk compromising your work by using one layer of packaging alone.
Is your item being sent in a frame? A wonderful packaging product is loosefill chips, which are extremely lightweight and can be bought in bulk. The chips settle around the frame and ensure it won’t move if shaken during delivery. Today most wholesale packaging peanuts are 100% biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
Avoid sticky situations
Ensure you buy a high quality tape when packaging your prints, the brand you use to wrap your Christmas gifts may not suffice in transit. Though it doesn’t have to be clear, today there are dozens of eye-catching printed packing tape options you can invest in that will mirror your brands personality. This will excite your customers and give them a memorable experience when receiving their print, so much so they may be inclined to order again. Ensure any seals are secured with tape, not only to protect your item from slipping out a rogue opening, but it will also act as a barrier from rain. A seller’s worst nightmare is having their good ruined in ways which could be avoided.
E-commerce is an exciting and scary time for all emerging artists. By ensuring your products are packaged securely you will be able to enjoy peace of mind when you begin to ship your work off to their new homes. After spending so much time working on your prints, they deserve a final flourish as they begin their journey. These simple tips will not only keep your good safe and sound, but will leave your customers wanting more.
Suzanne Vallance is a writer for Ferrari Packaging from Glasgow, Scotland. Her educational roots are in fashion marketing and branding and she now uses her knowledge to assist small businesses enjoy success through packaging and branding solutions.