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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Packaging and Parcels - Oh My!

I sent out orders on Thursday, April 1st and after the long weekend, I had 36 packages to ship off! Check out my overflowing outbox:

Speaking of packaging, it is a critical part of any online business, and packaging and postage are of critical importance to an online Canadian business. It can, in fact, make or break you.

It costs me $2.27 to ship a package as shown in the photo to the US. I use really tiny charm boxes (1.75 x 1.18 by 5/8" high). The last number - 5/8" high is the critical one for little boxes. You see, it must fit through a small slot to be eligible for the $2.27 shipping rate. Sometimes I use a larger jewellery box, but I cut the box down so that the height will fit through the slot, which is clearly not all that attractive. The $2.27 covers only the shipping cost; not the envelope, nor the box, nor the gas to get to the post office, nor the time it takes me to get there, or the time standing in line to send my items. These are also all part of the very real costs of shipping.

I have searched for other dimensions of boxes that will meet the 5/8" high criteria; without success. Anything higher than that costs $4 + for US and would you believe, more than $9 to ship within Canada! I can ship cheaper to the US from my Canadian home than I can within my own country for the same size item. This I truly do not understand.

If anyone is thinking about selling online, I recommend pricing out your shipping costs before you take the final plunge. Do your research and be sure you know what that item costs you before you put it up for sale with a 'guesstimate' shipping rate. This goes for both Canadian and US sellers alike. Know what kind of package it should ship in too. I used to use bubble wrap and bubble mailers, and while it appeared to be cheaper, I had items arrived broken beyond repair in more than one instance. I replaced them - that's the kind of business I operate, but I had to ask myself - "is it cheaper?" A little box provides a lot of protection and peace of mind and I'm pleased to have a shipping standard - a way that I ship that provides security and protection for the lovely items I painstakingly make. I want them to arrive pristine and take every precaution to ensure they do.

Shipping - one of the critical considerations in the world of handmade sales.

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