Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

hello love birds!  first off, what do you think of the new shop help banner? i think it makes the etsy business page prettier, ha!  today’s post is going to be more about generating a discussion, rather than full of information.  it’s something i’ve been thinking about a lot lately: outgoing packages.

pretty package

{fabric thank you note}

i’m always trying to find new ways of sprucing up my outgoing packages. one of my favorite things about buying on etsy is to see how the seller dolled up my goods!  when it comes to shipping packages, there are a few things i feel are essential, and a few things i think can be optional- so today i want to hear what you think!  this post was inspired by an article i ran across recently over on smallerbox about the things your outgoing packages should always include.

smallerbox’s list of essentials:

 
 
1. branded invoice: don’t simply print a receipt from etsy or paypal.

2. return information: included on your invoice or elsewhere.

3. contact information: your website, email and, if possible, a customer service phone number.

4. swag: a little something extra that will surprise your customer.

what do you think?  her post received quite a few comments and a bit of controversy as well.  some thought invoices were a total waste of paper while others felt they were absolutely necessary.  i’ve never even thought of including an invoice (oops?) which is why this post interested me so much!

my list of essentials:

 
 
1. the cuteness factor: fluffy yarn, colorful tissue paper and maybe even a little japanese washi tape.

2. business cards (doi)

3. handwritten thank you note (admittedly i occasionally run out of time, which is why i’m working on my time management skills. so sorry if i missed this in your package!)

4. a discount coupon for a return visit. even though not many people have ‘cashed’ them in, i think it leaves them excited to visit again in the future.

now it’s your turn. what do you think about these essentials? what does your list include?

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30 comments

comments

  • I always include a business card and handwritten thank you (often on the back of the card). I also want my jewelry to arrive looking pretty {because jewelry is often a gift we give ourselves}, so I use blue gift boxes and satin ribbon or little plastic jars with a pretty branded sticker.

    I don’t include invoices unless I’m sending product to a business.

  • great post! as a new seller on etsy, this is something that I am still working on. I love getting pretty packages, it feels like your getting a present even if I bought it myself! Etsy sellers are great at it and really show you they care.
    I never thought of including my returns policy and will from now on, as well as an invoice!
    My essentials are:
    – nicely wrapped package (usually tissue paper and ribbon or cute string)
    – business card/thank you note
    – freebie for orders over $50

  • I also don’t think an invoice is necessary as a seller AND as a buyer. I have an invoice on Etsy and one in PayPal that I can refer to.

    I always include my business card, a thank you note and (when available) a coupon, which reminds me I need to print some more. Sometimes I try to throw in an extra little gift.

  • great post! as always your posts are so helpful!

    what I put in my packaging is the following
    – an anti tarnish pouch (I sell sterling silver and gold jewelry)
    – a small gift box wrapped in tissue with a sticker with my logo on it
    – at least 3 business cards so my customer could always pass on my info to a friend that may like the necklace/ring/etc
    – a handwritten thank you note

  • Woww I love your Etsy post soo much!

    For me it is key that all my packaging as well as my handmade items are eco-friendly. So my packaging includes:
    -Handmade Kraft Mailer with color thread for that woww factor!
    -1 business card
    -1 postcard with images of my best seller items
    -1 philosophy card (where I describe what I sell and my boutique philosophy)
    -1 hand written thank you note
    -1 coupon (sometimes free shipping on next purchase, 10% discount or buy 2 get the erd free)
    -the item hand wrapped in graph paper and with a jute ribbon.

    …but i’m always looking for creative ways to better my packaging so I will keep and eye for great tips and ideas :)

  • I include:
    * an invoice with my email, website, and logo – this
    is also where I write a personal note and attach
    my business card
    * special info. when needed – like cleaning info. for my
    buckets
    what I don’t do:
    * include a free gift…and I don’t expect that from other
    sellers either
    * include coupons for future purchase…though, I think I
    might like to “steal” that idea! :)
    recently I’ve started to:
    * doll up the envelope…just the simple addition of some
    pretty tape

  • I use:
    -sticker with my logo on the box
    -cute ribbon to tie the box
    -business card with a discount code
    -a “surprise” with my logo…matchbook size pad of paper, magnet, key chain, or mirror
    -a notecard with a handwritten note

  • I phased out invoices – my buyers didn’t really want them, and I can save on the paper (and ink!). I also don’t include coupons anymore, only because no one was using them.

    I DO:
    * wrap each item in it’s own little box, with a little paper wrapper to hold it closed (and provide a punch of color)

    * put each sterling silver item in its own little bag with an anti-tarnish strip and care instructions

    * include a biz card

    * include a thank you note – I had some printed on 4×9 rack cards, then I cut them down to size so they fit nicely in each package.

  • Beth P | June 23, 2010

    I don’t have an etsy shop but I think your ideas are adorable and would be well appreciated! It’s always a pleasure to find some little surprise like a thank you note or something tucked inside, the coupon is a great idea!

  • Oooh – a couple things on here I hadn’t thought about… great list!

  • I sell prints of my original art, and here’s what I include:

    – My Print, with a sturdy cardboard backing in a cello sleeve.
    – I throw 3/4 ACEOs of other prints in there, usually depending on the print they purchased.
    – A little card about recycling and green practicing (please recycle all of the waste,etc.) – all of my packaging, paper, etc. is all eco-friendly!
    -On the bottom of the little card (about 3’x4′) I write a little personalized note thanking them.
    -Wrap the whole thing up with some pretty colored twine and close the cello sleeve with some bright washi tape.
    – Stick a business card in there.
    – I’ve got personalized ‘fragile:handle with care’ and ‘do not bend’ stamps that I put on the outside of the package, and I’ve made personalized return address labels and mailing labels that are cute and fun. So even before they open their package, they know it’s gonna be awesome! :)

    I agree that invoices aren’t really needed. If anyone ever stated I sent the wrong item I would trust their honesty and send them what is in etsy as sold.
    I have often thought about using coupons but really don’t think they will get used – it seems like other comments confirm this.

  • My personalized books are white gift boxed,tissued and ribboned in eco-materials. other things are just tissue wrapped or clear bagged.If it is a birth gift, I include a card that matches the item ordered plus 1 business card with handwritten note and an extra for sharing.I add a little strip of paper with my logo and a note saying I value their feedback and invite the customer to join me on facebook for updates. I often send a separate mailed thank you note with discount to a previous customer who I learn has referred a a new one! ( Word of mouth is precious to me.) Think I’ll drop the invoice since may of mine are gift addressees anyway. Thanks all!!

  • I totally go the eco method – my journals and minibooks are made with recycled materials, so it makes sense to limit the extras for me. My materials are either repurposed or easily repurposed by the recipient. I never started doing invoices, and I don’t think I’ve ever received an etsy order with one, either. Interesting!
    Doesn’t sound like coupons have been too helpful based on what everyone has said. But what doesn’t work for one person might just be the ticket for someone else. Love these posts, Bonnie.
    Katie

  • Katie and Mayi – all of my packaging and shipping material is eco friendly too! love having company in that department!

    interesting that so many folks are anti-invoice! the business geek in me loves them! :)

  • hi everyone! wow, such good comments here, thank you so much for all of your invaluable input!

    @luisa: i like the idea of including a freebie with purchases over a given amount. night thought!

    @amie: do you recommend any places to get custom stamps and or return addy labels made? great ideas!

  • for my packaging, i wrap the item with colorful tissue paper, tie it up with some big fuzzy yarn, and place a little colorful coin envelope that holds my biz cards behind the yarn- attaching it with some colorful washi tape. my tissue paper, biz cards, coin envelope and mailing envelope are all made out of recycled materials as well!

    so my conclusion from all of you is that maybe invoices are a bit of a waste and maybe it’s time to phase out the discount coupons.

    new ideas i love are personalized return addy stamps and little freebies.

    any more lasting thoughts? xoxo! bonnie

    fyi:
    my coin envelopes: http://www.envelopemall.com/detail.aspx?ID=302

    my mailing envelopes: http://www.envelopemall.com/detail.aspx?ID=355

  • Great post! I never though to include an invoice (probably because I usually disregard the ones I get in packages). I…
    -tag each product with the product name and washing instructions
    -wrap my products in yellow tissue paper with a Curry Kay Designs Sticker, wrapped in a plastic bag (you never know if it’s going to be left in the rain.)
    -Throw in (2) business cards (in case they want to share!)
    -Include a hand written thank you note on the back of CKD recipe card (I keep track to make sure that customers don’t get the same recipe twice). If the buyer mentions it’s a gift I’ll throw in an extra recipe.
    -Wrap it all up in a grey envelope in keeping with my yellow and grey colors!

    Will have to implement some other things mentioned here!

    Thanks!

  • I completely agree about the cuteness factor! I’ve had comments from customers that say it makes them feel like receiving an order is like Christmas or a birthday when it’s wrapped up nice. Thank you notes are always a must for me, too.

  • hey great ideas! i’m just starting my shop, so it’s still being molded into something neat :)

    any ideas for packaging when your inventory is varying in size? i sell vintage, so i have all kinds.

    thanks!
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/vintagesouthern/

  • hi erin! thank you! oof, since i just started selling vintage goods i have been struggling with this as well. i tend to just sell smaller things that i know i can ship somewhat easily. i have been just trying to pack well (so no breaks or scratches along the way) and doll it up any way i can. cute tissue paper, personalized cards, and stamps on the outside. so sorry i don’t have better advice!

  • These are all such helpful tips! Has anyone invested in buying a scale from the post office so they can weigh and stamp their own packages? I keep thinking about doing this because a visit to the post office with two babies under two years old is no fun!!!

  • Thank you for your post and all these comments! I really need to improve my packaging. I ship from Mexico, and to keep it cheap for customer I use a bubble enveloppe. I guess I could add a nice sticker on it, plus the traditional business card and thank you notes. It’s quick, doesn’t add much weight but sure looks prettier!

  • Im a new seller on Etsy. I love all these great tips on packaging. I had never thought to try to pretty up my packages. Thanks for the great blog!

  • Know that this is a slightly old thread, but there are so many great suggestions.

    However, even though I toss ‘em when I receive them, I always use a packing slip. It’s only a half a piece of an 8 by 10″ paper; I print the shipping info on the other half. And that way my return address is on the ~inside~ of the package. It’s a good thing to do with overseas orders (and I live in the UK).

  • great point, juliane! thanks for adding to the conversation! :)

  • Hey there! I’m very new to selling on Etsy. But I have bought from there for awhile and I LOVE getting packages with cute little additions to my purchase. Anything from tissue paper, stamps, notes, gifts, pretty much anything that makes it handmade and personal.
    I have been making little packaging envelopes for my bracelets out of Anthropology magazines that I get in the mail. I love their photos, very high fashion and the colors and textures are awesome. Plus, it’s reusing something that would normally just get thrown out.
    My shipping envelopes I make out of cereal boxes turned inside out. I’m still trying to decide if this seems too cheap to my customers or if it would be appreciated since it’s recycling. I think I’m going to put a cute paper under the flap so that they don’t see the cereal info. What do you think?
    I also include a cute note just thanking them. No invoice, didn’t even think about it until now. oops.

  • oh i think those are great ideas, stacy! you could say in your policies that you use recycled materials, and if that’s not ok to please contact you before their purchase, however i think most people would absolutely love your recycling (i know i would)!. i little piece of paper is a great idea as well. :)

  • This post is perfect for a newbie trying her lucky on Etsy for the first time. Prior to this post I was planning on shipping my handmade soap in plastic Ziploc bags (I know gasp) but this gave me great ideas. I just ordered a bunch of kraft boxes and I plan on tying them with a Tiffany blue wrappia ribbon as well. I think this will be a nice girly twist on my kraft boxes. What do you think here is the boxes I bought?? http://www.jampaper.com/Boxes/BrownKraftGiftBoxes/5x5x3OpenLidKraftGiftBox

  • So happy I found your blog. Will be spending some time with you reading up on all your helpful tips and articles.

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