Packaging and postage

Packaging and postage can be a real pain point for a lot of creative people when they first start selling their wares. Shipping things internationally seems like an even harder task (which it actually isn’t), and many Felt sellers are missing out on international sales by not adding international payment and shipping options. In fact, 22% of traffic to Felt is from outside of New Zealand, but only 8% of sales. That means that you should add international payment and shipping options right now, and this blog post is here to help you find out how.

PayPal is currently the best option for accepting international and credit card payments on Felt, so be sure to set that up.

To make shipping easy, let’s split up packaging from postage and shipping providers.

Packaging

Typically you will either be sending something small and flat like an envelope or A4-sized item (up to 2cm thick and less than 1kg), or a parcel like a box or cardboard tube. If you are sending items over 30kg then you need to look at at freight options rather than postage.

When packaging any item, you want to prepare it for a bit of rough treatment. Assume that the parcel will vibrate and bounce around in the back of a delivery vehicle, and that it might have other packages stacked on top of it. A good test is to picture your parcel being dropped from 1.2m to the ground – will it be ok? Fragile items especially should be individually wrapped inside any packaging, and surrounded by padding inside to add extra protection.

Many (actually most) sellers on Felt are eco-friendly and waste-aware, so wrapping things in plastic doesn’t always feel great. Consider how you can add to your customer’s great shopping experience through your packaging and padding. For instance, consider some of these as a few possible options that might be helpful for packaging and padding:

  • Balled up newspaper
  • Recycled off cuts of materials or card
  • Scrunched up shopping bags
  • Egg cartons
  • Partially inflated balloons or air-filled water balloons
  • Shredded paper

While the fastest and easiest option is often to buy a postage-paid bag or box from the post shop, not all of us want to do that. Depending on your carrier (see below), you can use your own packaging. Some ideas:

  • Blank envelopes or boxes that you customise with stamps, stencils, or hand-drawn features
  • r3pack Compostable bags and packaging
  • The Better Packaging Co (also compostable)
  • Home-made boxes or envelopes made with sturdy cardboard and packaging tape (make sure they are robust, properly sealed, and provide adequate protection for your item when dropped)
  • Unexpected shapes like sending a tea-towel in the cardboard tube from the centre of your paper towel roll

Reusing and recycling packaging doesn’t have to compromise your brand identity. Stickers and stamps are a great way of customising recycled or repurposed packaging. Whatever you go with, be sure that your item is guaranteed to survive the trip, acceptable by your chosen carrier, and gives your customer a pleasant experience on arrival.

Postage and shipping providers

Every seller will have different needs depending on where you happen to be in the country, what types of items you are sending, how frequently you are posting, and whether you are set up as a formal business or not. In terms of international shipping, you typically want to look at options for Australia, USA, and UK for a starter. Don’t be afraid of making a conservative ball-park estimate – international customers understand that international shipping can add significant cost.

There are a range of providers for sending flat items or parcels around New Zealand and internationally. It’s really really worth doing your own research to find the best option for you, and being open to the fact that these options will change and shift over time.

As a general rule, there will be surcharges of a few dollars for rural addresses in NZ so you might want to consider that when pricing your items. To give you a starting point, here are some common providers:

 

Each of these providers have terms of use and restrictions for what can and can’t be shipped, as well as policies for what happens in the event of loss or damage. Be sensible about choosing options to minimise risks to you and costs to your customer. There is no right answer to how to do this, but putting in the effort increases your chances of international customers snapping up your items.

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