Monday, March 19, 2018

Choose The Right Mailer

There are many shipping options out there, and mailers are no exception. How do you pick the right mailer for your product? We’re breaking it down for you today.

Corrugated mailers are made from the strong material you’re used to from boxes, but are smaller and lightweight to help you save on shipping. Choose corrugated mailers for lightweight items. You can buy corrugated mailers for specific products such as literary mailers or audio mailers. These could cost you a bit more in terms of shipping than some of our other mailers, but they do offer a lot of protection for your products.

Bubble mailers combine a simple mailer with bubble technology to cushion your products during shipment. These are perfect for a range of semi-fragile objects. Use bubble mailers for small electronics, jewelry, DVDs, and other similar items. They come in a variety of sizes, though you usually use bubble mailers for smaller items. Bubble mailers are going to be a little bit more rigid than poly mailers, so that can make a difference when choosing which to use.

Poly mailers are strong, though they provide very little cushioning for your product. This makes them ideal for items that require protection but aren’t very fragile. They’re great for clothes, literature, and media products. Poly mailers are difficult to puncture or tear, and they’re ideal for keeping out moisture. Poly mailers are also a more eco-friendly option, as they’re easy to recycle. Poly mailers will reduce freight costs as they take up less space than some of the other mailer options.

Padded mailers use expandable fiber padding to keep products safe from damage due to punctures, moisture, and tears. The padding expands as the package is handled to absorb shock. You won’t need any additional padding when using a mailer like this. Padded mailers are more Earth friendly than some of the other options.

Use Kraft flat mailers for photos and documents. You won’t need any additional stiffeners when you use these, just slip your product in, seal it, and send it. The mailers are flat and rigid, keeping products from bending during transit. These are the easiest way to mail documents or photos out there, so we highly recommend them.

Use these mailers for additional corner and edge protection. The laminated fiberboard construction stops your products from moving around and also resists bending and folding. You won’t need additional stiffeners with this mailer, though we still recommend using flat mailers for photos and paper documents.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Getting Discovered As A New Business

Whether you’ve started a website, began to sell on Amazon, or just opened an Etsy shop, one of the toughest parts of starting a new business venture is getting found by your target audience. Plus once you are found by your audience, you need to get them to stick around long enough to learn more about you.

A lot of this work begins before you even launch your business, though it is never too late to go back and make changes. Today we’ll cover some of the basics of getting discovered as a new business.

1.      Focus On SEO

Search engine optimization is extremely important when it comes to getting your online business found. Most of the time when any of us are searching for a product or service, we’re heading to a search engine, not a specific website.

This is why organic search is so important, and luckily you don’t have to be a big business with a big budget to get your website noticed.

You want to focus on creating unique content through your product titles and descriptions. Craft an interesting About Page that tells your unique story. Use internal links on your website and blog (but don’t go overboard). Do keyword research, not only into what your customers are searching for, but into what sort of keywords your competitors are using.

Be patient, because SEO is a constantly evolving process and it can take time for you to see the results. The more you work at it, the better at it you’ll get.

2.      Build Trust

When you’re first starting out you don’t have a reputation yet, which means customers may be wary of trusting you. It’s your job to show them that you are a trustworthy business.

You’ll want to make sure your shop is well stocked with plenty of quality products. You’re not likely to buy from a shop only selling  a handful of products, are you? If you’re still working on adding more products consider listing item variations as separate products for the time being.

You’ll also want your company policies, including information on privacy and returns, to be easy to find and easy to understand. This is very important for a new business without a reputation. Not having clear policies is a great way for customers to leave your site.

And, this is important, always reply to your customers and do so quickly. It builds additional trust and your new customers will be impressed at your turnaround time.

3.      Make Sure Your Products Look Professional

No one is going to pay for a product that looks like it has been poorly made, and if your product pages aren’t up to snuff that’s exactly what your customers will think.

The last thing you want is for a customer to make it to a product page only to turn away because you didn’t put the work in to make it look great.

This starts with excellent product photography. Images should be clear, crisp, and show exactly what the product is. It’s even better if you have multiple shots of the item including it assembled and photographed from different angles.

It’s also important that you present your customer with excellent item descriptions. Your words are what will lead the customer to make a final purchase. You should always present the most important information about your item in the first couple lines. Use bullet points and make it easy to find key information throughout the description.

4.      Market, Market, Market

Like it or not, marketing is a huge part of any business, and yours isn’t the exception. There’s no way to go into great detail about marketing in a couple of paragraphs, but we’ll give you a snapshot.

Use word of mouth. Tell your friends and family about your new business and ask them to tell the people they know. Your loved ones want you to succeed so this is a great place to start.

Social media is essential in this growing digital age, so start building your brand by getting company profiles on a couple social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We go into greater detail about social media in our social media strategies post, so check that out for more detailed information.

If you have some money to spend, consider online advertising. This could be through social media ads, Google Adwords, and a whole host of other options.

5.      Use Analytics

The only way to improve is to study the results. Whether you’re using Google Analytics or whatever statistics tool is available to you, make sure you check it often.

You can use analytics tools to track sales, keyword performance, what products your customers are most interested in, how your website is being found, and so much more. You should also do this across your social media channels. Pay attention to what posts have greater engagement and pay attention to what times of the day is getting your largest social reach.

Use these analytics to make changes to your website and SEO. It is helpful to generate reports and keep track of the changes in your stats. This can also be helpful for discovering what times of year you are busier and when business is slow.

Growing your business is a long, ongoing process. It is important that you don’t let yourself get discouraged if the growth is slower than you’d like. Keep working hard to build your business one step at a time.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Your Guide To Shipping Perishables

Food is a big business, and it has only gotten bigger as meal delivery kits surged in popularity. If your business works with perishable items or you’re thinking about expanding to include perishables, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Keep this guide handy so you can pack perishables like a pro!

Types Of Food

The way you ship perishables, and if you can even ship them at all, really depends on the type of food you want to send.

If you want to ship:

Baked Goods are probably the easiest perishable item to ship. You won’t have to be as careful with temperature regulation for these items. You will have to consider how to ensure the baked goods keep their shape and how to stop icing from smearing or melting.

Meat can be a challenge to ship but luckily as long as your product meets USDA regulations you will be permitted to ship it. Meat is one perishable you will likely overnight every time.

Produce may be the trickiest of all. You are allowed to ship it, but condensation will likely spoil your produce before it arrives, so you have to be careful and make sure it ships dry.

The Packaging

  • Choose the right insulation. There’s a lot of options for keeping temperature sensitive items safe from heat. Insulated shipping containers include a box for shipping, foam for temperature control, and a tight fitting lid. Thicker walls means you’ll need less ice packs or dry ice.
  •  Cool shield bubble mailers and insulated mailers are also a good option for shipping perishables. As they aren’t protected by the sturdy walls of a box you’ll want to use these for less sensitive food products.
  •  Keep your packaging as small as possible. Not only will this help you save on shipping costs, but it makes a big difference when it comes to the amount of cooling products you will have to use for the package.
  •  Make sure your packaging comes stamped, or stamp it yourself with the word “Perishable”. The last thing you want is for your product to spoil because it is mishandled during shipping.

Staying Cool

  • Ice packs are the standard when it comes to shipping perishables. They are made with non-toxic materials and some are even designed to reduce condensation. You can buy reusable ice packs, but one-use styles are the most popular.
  •  Dry ice is considered a hazardous material, which adds added complications to your packaging and shipping. It offers extra climate control, but also extra planning. We recommend sticking with ice packs when possible.
  •  Do your research about how many ice packs you will need and how long they will keep your perishables cool. Some last only a day, some can last two weeks. Pay close attention to this when doing your packaging.

Shipping Logistics
  • Rules will vary depending on what carrier you ship with, so it is best to do your research ahead of time and choose one to stick with.
  • You don’t have to overnight your perishable shipments, but it is best not to let them linger in transit for days, either. Two day shipping is much more affordable than overnight shipping, so try to make that your target.
  • When researching carriers don’t forget to look into specifics. What are the prices of 2 day ground VS air shipping? What about overnight shipping? Are there service guarantees? This all becomes very important once you start shipping products out.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. Winter shipping presents different challenges than summer shipping, and inclement weather can lead to delays. Make sure customers know that shipping times may vary due to weather conditions. If mail service may be cancelled, wait to ship the product.


  • Shipping perishables is expensive. Instead of displaying a lump sum shipping charge, add some of it to the price of the product. Customers may turn away from high shipping costs, but they are less likely to do that when it comes to the product price.
  • Analyze your orders and shipping costs. Make changes as needed. Remember that you will probably have to re-work the pricing as you go.
  • Estimate how much air mail you will have to use. Keep track of where most of your orders are coming from so you can adjust your marketing accordingly.
  •  Buy your insulated shipping supplies in bulk. You’ll often receive a quantity discount, decreasing your overall shipping expenses.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

5 Social Media Strategies For Small Businesses

There’s no denying that good marketing is the key to business success, but many small businesses struggle with marketing simply due to a lack of budget. But even without a lot of money to pour into marketing, there is a lot you can do to help your small business grow.

Social media is an excellent low-cost option when it comes to marketing. It allows you to spend as much or as little as you like while still giving you access to millions of potential customers.

1.      Decide What Social Media Channels Are Right For You

Different social channels provide different benefits, but trying to work with all of them as a small business will likely leave you with lackluster content. Instead it is better to choose several social media channels that will resonate most with your business practices and reach your target audience.

Facebook certainly has the largest reach and is excellent for sharing news, blog posts, and reaching a large audience. Facebook also allows for remarkable customer targeting that is easy to use.

Instagram is becoming increasingly popular with younger social media users. Sticking to specific filters can make it easier to keep your brand image consistent, and hashtag campaigns can be very effective.

Twitter is still a relevant platform with plenty of active users. It is a great way to share concise information about your brand and an excellent place to engage with your customers.

Pinterest is all about saving content for the future. Use it to create boards that your customers may be interested in. Pin some of your own content but also make sure to pin plenty of other people’s content as well.

Youtube can be a great option for businesses as well, especially if you sell products that would benefit from how-to and installation videos.

2.      Create A Schedule

Creating a social media schedule seems overwhelming, but it will actually save you a lot of time in the end. How detailed it is will be up to you. Start by brainstorming ideas of the content you want to share on your social media pages.

You can then schedule your social media posts using free tools like Hootsuite. This will take the pressure off posting to social media manually and can make it much less overwhelming.

Don’t forget to take some time to use social media impulsively. You don’t want to let a schedule stop you from jumping in to relevant conversations.

3.      Vary Your Content

Make sure the content you are sharing across social media isn’t only promotional. Not only will algorithms penalize this, but your followers aren’t using social media to see photos of your products, they’re using it to be entertained.

Use social media to engage with your customers. Give them a taste of the work you do behind the scenes. Link them to guides that will help them with their problems. Of course don’t forget to promote yourself, but that shouldn’t be the bulk of your posts.

Sharing relevant content, even if it is from a competitor, isn’t a bad idea either. It will show that you are committed to giving your followers the best information out there.

4.      Respond To Comments

Yes, replying to comments does take time, but comments mean audience engagement, and the more engagement your posts have on social media, the more people will see them.

Posts with a lot of likes and comments show that the content has value. Communicating with customers using the comments is an excellent way to build conversation and drum up interest in your brand and products.

Remember, social media isn’t about selling, it is about being social. Connecting with your audience builds trust in your brand which should bring about increased sales.

5.      Repurpose Your Content

If you need to sit down to create brand new content for every single social media platform, you’ll never get anything done. Learning how to repurpose your content multiple times and across multiple channels is essential.

For example, if you’ve created a “How-To” guide, you may start by linking to it on your various platforms. You can also create an infographic based on this information that can be shared on Facebook and Pinterest. Then, make a video that goes into further details that you link to via Twitter and Facebook.

This cuts down on the amount of original content you need to create from scratch.

Of course these are only a few basic tips to get you started. There’s a lot to learn about using social media for business, but trial and error is all part of the process.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Time-Saving Inventory Tips

No one enjoys taking inventory. It’s a time-consuming process that is an unfortunate necessity when you have physical product to sell. While our inventory tips certainly aren’t going to make taking inventory fun, they will help you save time so you can get back to other tasks more quickly.

Tip 1: Put everything in a specific location. This adds to prep time but makes counting go much faster. Make sure all your products are marked and labeled so that when you begin counting the process can move smoothly. Hunting around your warehouse for stray items is not what you want to be doing at the end of an already long day of inventory.

Tip 2: Mark everything as you count it. A lot of people are going to be counting a lot of items, and without proper labeling employees may waste time counting products that are already accounted for. Invest in brightly colored tags or labels that you don’t use in your facility for anything except inventory. By having labeling supplies exclusively for inventory, you alleviate confusion and waste less time.

Tip 3: Consider who will do the counting carefully. Taking an accurate count of your inventory is extremely important. This is why you want experienced employees who know your products to be the ones doing the counting. This is also important because employees who are not familiar with a product may not know what unit of measure they should be using. If nothing else, you want at least a few experienced employees helping those employees with less experience.

Tip 4: Create a map of your facility. Once everything is laced in marked sections, create a visual so that it is easy to find each of these marked locations. Ideally you would sketch out all of your shelves and racks. This makes it easier to assign people to different sections, and can also act as a checklist. Sections of the map can be marked the day of inventory as each section is completed.

Tip 5: When it comes to small supplies, weigh them, don’t count them. No one has time to sit down and count every single piece of loose fill, individual poly bags, or hooks. For items like this, use a scale and weigh them instead. It’s not worth the time to count all these items, unless you already have a system in place.

Do you have any time-saving inventory tips to share? Let us know in the comments!