last year i wrote a post about something that dramatically increased my efficiency as a handmade business owner. last night as i was working late, i thought about how much i love paypal’s shipping system and how in love i am with the fact that my mailman picks up packages at my door so that i don’t have to spend every waking moment at the post office. the thought occurred to me that some of you new readers may have never seen it, so let’s revisit, shall we?!
if you own a handmade shop, you may know that shipping, while part of the big puzzle, can be a major pain! i know i experienced a huge learning curve when i first started, and i sooo wish i would have known more. there just seemed to be no good resources to draw from (or maybe i didn’t know where to look!) and i fumbled my way around trying to figure out the best solution. i made several mistakes and missteps before finally coming to a solution that works for me. please keep in mind, this may not be right for YOU or your customers, but it has been lifesaving for my business. so, i would love to breakdown my shipping processes step by step for you. are you ok with that? hope so, ’cause here it comes! first, a glimpse into packaging. i won’t spend too much time on this because that’s a whole ‘nother post for another time, but here’s a peek at my packaging process:
1. when the products are finally finished (yay!) they are attached to a hangtag with my logo and website on it.
2. the item is then wrapped up in a simple clear flat bag. i have used several types of packaging in the past, but i love the clean simplicity of this style and that it shows off the product. those rosies are the star of the show after all!
3. i insert anywhere from 2-5 business cards in the bag, depending on my mood i suppose.
4. so this is what it looks like from the back – taped with regular old scotch tape.
5. & 6. all piled up and ready to be divvied up into their proper packages! now, once that is all ready to go, i am ready to fire up the shipping assembly line.
first, let’s meet my good friend, mr. flatrate box (small) .oh boy, we’ve had some fun times together.
now, i must admit something. when i first heard about flat rate boxes, i literally said out loud: what idiot would pay $5 to ship something when it would only cost $3 normally? well, this idiot would. and here’s why: i ship anywhere from 20 to 120 packages a week. flat rate boxes have made my life sooooo much easier. no weighing, no trips to the post office, no questions about whether or not it got delivered, no hassles! and that is one simplification in my life that i can not live without! so, that’s that. and most customers don’t bat an eyelash at $5 for shipping if they know it will be sent via priority mail. no-brainer for me.
POST EDIT – thanks to becca for asking! i have my flatrate boxes shipped directly to my house through usps.com. the local post office normally doesn’t have a ton in stock, so I order them in bulk and have them ready and waiting for me! p.s. they’re FREE!
So, now that we have that out of the way… my shipping steps:
first i write the names of my lovely customers on the boxes and folding them this way and that to finally make a magical little box. I then take my queue and check off each item for each customer and stuff those little boxes full of rosy yummy goodness. I like having the name on the outside of the box as a double check. Before a label goes on, I want to know that each customer has what they have ordered according to their paypal printout.
next i open up paypal. i used to use usps for shipping because i *thought* it was easier and less complicated. boy was i wrong! paypal multi-order shipping is the fastest and easiest way to ship that i’ve found, by far! it does take some getting used to though, so let me see if i can take out some of the heartache for you.
1. login to paypal. make sure you are using a browser that supports the multi-order shipping tool. here are the requirements:
- Pop-up blocker must be disabled
- Supports Browsers Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, Mozilla FireFox 3.0 or higher, Safari 3.0 or higher
so, i normally browse in google chrome, but i switch over to firefox when i ship since it doesn’t support chrome.
2. once you are logged in, look at the top right hand side of your account page for the multi-order shipping tool and click on it:
that will take you to the shipping tool, where all of your orders that have been received through paypal will populate automatically. the first time you log in, you may have to import orders (see the little “import” button right above “orders to ship”?), but after that they will just be there each time you login to the shipping tool. #awesomesauce
so, you can see here that there are 66 orders ready to be shipped. as i get through my queue, i print out the orders that are complete and ready to ship. here’s how that works:
3. use ctrl or shift to highlight all of the orders you want to ship on that day. once they are highlighted, you can either select from a preset like i have below (small flat rate box) or select “edit”on the right side where it says “shipping details”. this will allow you to apply the same method of shipping for every single package going out that day – i.e. small flat rate box at $5.
4. once you apply a method of shipping to each package, the shipping tool will begin to work it’s magic and highlight everything in green that is ready to go. once all of your orders to be shipped are green in that far left column, you are ready for the next step.
5. here is where you are ready to pay and print! simply select the “pay & print” button and then go down to the blue highlighted part that shows how many labels you will be printing and click on that. here i have (10) orders ready to print.
6. a new window will pop up and you are almost there! you will see a sample of what your label will look like, and you can print that off if you need to, or you can just hit “print labels (10 pages)” like i always do.
7. your printer menu will pop up. here is where you will want to select a tray if you have labels in a different place than regular printer paper. if everything is all good and ready to go, hit “ok” and start printing!
8. once all of your labels are printed, you can schedule a carrier pickup and never make another trip to the post office again!! can i get a hallelujah!?! you will have to schedule the pickup the day (or night) before you want them to be picked up, and you will need to know how many packages you will be shipping. just click on the “schedule” button on the right side under “carrier pickup” and your postman will be happy to take those lovelies off your hands.
9. a few more notes: i order labels from label universe.com. they are easy to use and have really fast shipping. again, labels aren’t necessary, but it is one more way to simplify the process. much faster than cutting out a label from a piece of paper and gluing or taping it on.
10. if you accept international orders, the process is different. you will need to print labels out individually from your main paypal account page after clicking “details” next to the order. (then go down to the bottom and click “print label” international orders require a customs form (like the picture above on the bottom right) and this will print out when you have followed all the procedures from that screen.
and that’s it! match up labels to names on boxes, stick those labels on and send them off with a kiss. the end.
some reasons i love using paypal multi-order ship:
- all of your packages will have a free tracking number, and your customers will be notified when the label is printed with the tracking information. sooo helpful.
- you can easily see in paypal which orders have been shipped and which ones have not.
- you pay for your shipping directly from your paypal balance
- addresses and customer information are already there
just to name a few!
again, this may not be the perfect solution for you, but it sure has helped me to simplify getting all those rosies out the door and to your house!
as always, let me know if you have any questions!
what about you? how do you prefer to ship?
i was not compensated in anyway for this post. i really just love using paypal multi-order shipping and wish someone would have told me sooner!