Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tip 4 l The Lesson in the Cracker Jack Box

by guest blogger, Shirley of ::Wild Blueberry Ink::

As a little girl I would anxiously await the mail, fingers crossed, hoping for just one letter or unexpected gift. Do we greet the mailbox with this enthusiasm anymore? Most of us reach in fearing what we will bring out. That’s why, when you ship your item out to your new (or existing) customer… you want to make it count.

One of my favorite sites to purchase from is etsy. The packaging itself is usually a gift. Artists turn unwanted magazines into bows, wrap recycled boxes in vintage lace, shred sheet music to cushion fragile pieces, place jewelry on a nest of linen… and almost always, there is a gift. As if this beautiful piece of handmade art, packaged so thoughtfully wasn’t already enough. There’s a gift. Maybe a cute trinket the seller thought I might like. Perhaps an extra pendant for my necklace. Just a little something extra to say how much they truly appreciate my business. Honestly, it makes me feel good and I make a mental note of that… I will remember them the next time I want to treat myself to something nice.
So how does your customer feel when they open a package from you?

You want your packages to arrive in one piece. Otherwise, it will cost you money and a potential customer.
I once ordered a glass pendant I was really excited about. I was going to use it to create my own piece of jewelry. I opened the plain manilla, bubble lined, shipping envelope and found three tiny individually bubble wrapped packages. In the first was a smaller version of the pendant I ordered… but it had a tiny crack in it. The second was a different shape…. but one side of it was completely broken off. The third I opened with fear… eyes squinting at the sight I was about to reveal… the pendant I ordered was in hundreds of little glass pieces. The artist was kind enough to include not one, but two gifts… but failed to consider the long journey they had to travel just to get to me.

When it comes to cushiness, try to recycle. Shred magazines, news paper, old wrapping paper… you can’t go wrong with this. It looks nice, it’s recycled, and you spent zero dollars!

Get creative with bubble wrap, ribbon, stickers, whatever you have laying around. Think about it this way. Each item you send out is a gift from you to a friend (the buyer). Package it as such and always check to be sure the item arrived safely. This shows the customer you care and allows you to receive constructive feedback.

You can use packaging to help brand yourself. Find a theme and use it on business cards, boxes, personalized stickers and ribbon. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as wrapping each box with newspaper comics and yellow twine. Keep it cohesive. The buyer will remember your attractive packaging and think of you when the holiday season rolls around.

Don’t forget the gift. Maybe you have some free samples of your other products you can include, or a gift certificate to use towards their next purchase. If they bought your felt birdie, you could possibly throw in a felt worm for free. They purchased three pink glittered eggs, but you include a bonus blue glittered egg. This could spark them to now order more blue ones and possible a green one as well.

Create a unique gift and they may just buy from you to get the cracker jack prize at the bottom of the box. I mean really, how much did we all love that carmel coated pop corn??? It was really the tattoo we licked and stuck onto our foreheads once the popcorn was all gone that we really enjoyed… and you know it! So make each package a treat for it’s recipient. They will begin to associate that warm cracker jack prize feeling with your items and they’ll continue to come back for more! Find some packaging ideas, keep it eco if at all possible, and make it your own. If you need a little help getting started, well, there just happens to be a flickr group for that. * tip *… once you decide on your packaging, take a picture and submit it to groups like this… it may just drum up a little business for you.

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