Packing up

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Packing up your items is the inevitable consequence of your sales - and most of us don't look forward to it.
However it is a vitally important part of the process, and should not be neglected. Poor packing looks awful to your customer, and gives a bad impression of your business - and you do want repeat custom! There is also the danger with poor packing leading to damage in the post, or delay and postal loss.

How you pack depends upon what you are selling obviously. The more delicate your objects, the more care and packing they will take. Always remember that they will not be treated gently in the post - they are often thrown and crushed on their way through the system! Use an appropriate amount of packing around the item - bubble wrap and tissue paper are the staple packaging. Jiffy bags are lightly padded and are suitable for stronger items if separetely bubble wrapped, and of course non-crushable items such as clothes or linens.

However for anything more fragile a good strong boxes will be required. Having your own bought in boxes is ideal - they can be flatpacked to take up less room, you can get exactly the right sizes for your goods, and they look good to the buyer. You can have them customized very cheaply for an even more professional look. However many people rely on used boxes that they re-use - although this does not look so good, it saves on costs, and is better for the environment. Hovever they are not usually flatpacked, and finding the right size is a lottery.

I am lucky. My biggest seller is my range of Doggie People. These come ready packed in polystyrene inside a custom made cardboard box. This has the advantage of being excellent packaging, looking good and all it requires is a brown paper wrapping. Job done. The Witches of Pendle on the other hand are a logistical nightmare. They are all different shapes and sizes, and finding suitable boxes is really difficult. I am going to have to compromize my ideals on recycling/re-using a bit and buy some pre-sized flatpacked boxes for them. They require very delicate packing in bubblewrap and plenty of padding in the box. If you have lots of empty space in the box (as I often do), then the ideal filler is polystyrene chips (again re-used!) Re-used airbags are also ideal for this, as are broken down polystyrene chunks. Crumpled or shredded paper are also good, but look less professional and beware - they can add significantly to your postage costs as they are much heavier than polystyrene!

Use enough tape to secure the package safely, especially watching any areas that may be vulnerable to postal machinery - however do not go too far, wrapping your package like a mummy! - this will look awful to the buyer, and they will not thank you for making their purchase impossible to access! Also excessive packaging is expensive of your time, and even more expensive of materials.

Finally the important bit of addressing the parcel. It is a good idea to put a return address label on the back - it is easy to pre-print them on ready-made labels. It makes it more likely that an errant parcel will be returned to you, and looks more professional. For the senders' address the easiest and most professional way is to print off an address invoice from eBay and insert this in a window envelope. It also saves a lot of time. If you do hand-write your addresses make sure they are legible, especially the post-code, and neatness is paramount.

Lastly the feed-back. It is always nice to read positive feedback, and if you get it for your packaging you know you are getting it right. On the other hand, if there are complaints or comments, then it is always prudent to review your system in the light of these.  You can always look forward to the day when your business is strong enough for you to employ a packer, or be able to out-source that whole side to a dedicated company!

Happy packing!
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