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Shipping Essentials.

Selling on the world-wide-web and especially on Etsy means you are about to accept orders from all around the world. I’m not sure about you but the idea of having our own work sent out to another corner of the world never fail to excite me. :)

This week, I’ve compiled my little shipping essentials to share with you. Some of you might have different experiences and methods, so do share in the comment for us to learn from each other.

I never really like our local post office because they always have different standards and procedures, and it all depends on which post office you go to. I can go on and on complaining how I was pushed to different post offices just to file a report of a lost package but let’s skip that one for next time. Preparing order for shipping is always fun for me, and I always find it helpful to have all the essentials ready before I hit the post office, so I don’t need to queue up and wait. (Note: I wonder if they sell that scaling machine from the post office so I can scale and paste the stamps on my own. Hmm…)

For international order, I always ship via International Registered Air Mail. To save time, I stock up the International Registered Mail label and fill it up prior to hitting the post office. Each label costs RM3.90.

I’ve once experienced a staff at a post office who insisted that I should fill up the recipient’s name in front of the label. I find this awkward, because what if the recipient is not at home and his/her family member receives the package? Anyway since so far only one staff has asked me to do so, I’ve stopped doing it. However, I strongly recommend filling up the recipient’s name and address at the back of the label (see the red arrow). This part should be kept by you (the sender) and it’s extremely helpful when it comes to tracing back whose package was attached with a particular tracking number. Imagine when you have a stack of labels, and a customer contact you because he/she hasn’t received his package yet (touch wood!). I certainly DO NOT want to go through each and every one of the label trying to recall which one is whose or comparing the tracking number one by one. You should also consider filing up the labels because if anything happen to the package, this is one of the most important documents that you’ll need in order to file a report.

Tips: If you are sending via Registered Mail, the post office of many countries offer tracking of international package. You can track your package on their website when they arrive in the country. I’ve tried on USPS, Hongkong Pos, Luxembourg, and a few others.

I’ve also requested a stack of custom forms from the staffs at the post office so I can fill up and attach to the package prior to shipping. I know some sellers who would mark a package as ‘Gift’ if a customer requests but this is actually illegal. If you sell it, you should mark it as ‘Others’. This is the closest we can have as it’s ‘Merchandise’ that we are selling. I also include description of the item and quantity (1), together with the value (2). I used to write the value in RM, but was told that I should instead write the value in the currency sold, which in this case in USD if it’s sold on Etsy. And lastly, sign and write down the date (3).

Last but not least, if you are sending via Air Mail, you can ask for some of these stickers to put on your package. Some post offices don’t use this anymore, and instead stamp on each package. Some don’t even stamp them. Being a paranoid like me, I always remind the staff to remember to stamp or put this sticker.

Do you have any shipping experiences to share? Comment below and let us learn from each other!

22 Responses

  1. As a seller I’ve always keep the tracking label in a safe place. Nothing scares me more than an undelivered package so this labels/receipts are our only proof that we have done our job. So far my packages arrive safely to their destinations ( touch wood ). But what I’m disappointed in the most is our local post office, where they have lost my packages twice! And both contains very expensive gemstones. I’ve check through the overseas post office and yes…the package have been delivered! When I filed a complaint they said nothing much they can do… :( I’m so frustrated, I just don’t know what to do. If I opt for insurance included, that would be so pricey. I wish they could have more specific system in order to track these packages as they do have tracking numbers.

    • Wow. That’s really bad. Did you file complaint to overseas PO or the local PO? The last time we had a lost package (we were the sender), we filed it locally and guess what? A package that was supposed to go to Luxembourg went to U.K. @.@

    • Ugh, that’s a suck-a-doodle-doo situation. Was that package sent by registered mail or just normal mail? Actually it makes me wonder why we pay more for registered parcels if there’s nothing that the post office can do to trace its location and retrieve it. Or am I missing something?

  2. I would always print a copy of the Etsy invoice and attach (staple) the registered mail label on it. With this, it is so much easier for me to follow up on the shipment (if needed). At the same time, I would also request for a receipt from the post office for the postage. With this I can keep a better record ;-D

    • Interesting! I didn’t know can ask for receipt from the post office!

      • Yup. But I don’t know about the other post offices, cuz my usual one basically just writes down the amount paid for the package on a slip of photocopied paper that’s torn to size. Very unprofessional. :p

  3. About the weighing scale, you can get electronic weighing scales from the kitchen section of bigger departmental stores, or from bakery supply stores. I use mine both for weighing out my oils for soapmaking, as well as for estimating postage costs (I don’t have to affix stamps most of the time, since I usually send stuff via PosLaju).

    So far, I must say that I’d depend on PosLaju for delivering my goods. Twice I sent soap through normal parcel mail and they both didn’t reach their destinations (once was to our own address as a test on our local mail service, and the other was to a customer).

    Sometimes I do wonder if there are postal workers who steal stuff regularly from the mail. Sigh. Hence my preference for PosLaju where everything is tracked.

    • I’d be happy if we can weigh and affix stamps on our own. But I don’t think that’s going to be possible. I’ve heard in some countries, they do that. It’s going to save a lot of trouble!

      And that part about receipt, haha really unprofessional. :P

  4. Oh, I never thought of filling up the custom form first and pasting it to package before going to post office. This would save a lot of time. Next time I should get a stack of custom form and air mail stickers from the post office.

    I usually follow up with customers whether they have receive the package after 15days. If they say yes, I will get excited and ask them to fill up feedback. So far, only 1 got lost.

    I only go to the same post office near my office during lunch hour and I find that the service is faster than the smaller post office near my house.

    I heard from news that the postage rate will be increased in July. This gonna cost our shipping rate to increase as well.

  5. I always fill it for my record and to update customers

  6. Hey,
    this is an old post but i have some questions if you don’t mind. do you use Pos Malaysia for shipping int. registered mails for goods sold? Or is there a better option to ship from Msia?

    I am very worried about losing parcels since my items are only 1 of each and pretty unique.

    also, great advice on stocking up on the labels. i know the int registered label now costs 4.10. do the customer form and the air mail stickers cost anything or are they free?

    do appreciate your advice.

    much thanks!

    • Hi Jane.

      Sorry for the late reply.

      Different sellers will use different service. For me myself, I’m using International Registered Air Mail. The service has been great so far. We’ve only encountered one missing package, which was found a few months later and delivered to the buyer.

      Custom forms and Air Mail stickers shouldn’t cost anything. The officer at the post office normally pass some to me – of course I believe it’s because they often see me there, so to help save my trouble (and theirs too), they pass some to me so I can fill up at home. :)

      Hope this helps.

  7. Hi,
    I’m a newbie, and there is a lot of shipping question trouble me ><

  8. (continue)
    hope anyone can help me solve the problem…..
    Today i went to post office, to sent a package to the United States, i’m using International Posdaftar. Is it International Posdaftar and International Registered Air Mail are the same??
    Usually takes how many days will it arrive US?
    After i give my customer the tracking number, where should I tell my customers to check it?
    And the post office kakak din’t ask me to fill in any form, just ask me what is inside, then fill in at the green color paper(custom declaration) and sign it, but din’t ask me to fill in the value.
    After tat she give me some stamps to stamp on my package and that it……..
    Is this correct? I really scared if my package got any problem and did not deliver to my customer…
    Next time if i post again, without the receiver name and address i fill at outside the package, do i have to make another one copy to put inside the package, in case the packaging is torn or what??
    Thank you so much for your advice, and forgive my poor English…><

  9. Hi Everyone,

    I’m new here and about to start our 1st venture with Etsy.

    However, I would like to find out about how do you guys quote the shipping charges at your Etsy shop pages.

    Afterall, every item has a different weight and most likely be send to various locations around the world.

    Do you quote a general/an average/highest pricing for International shipping? We can’t be listing every possible location for the shipping charges..that will be a very long list!

    Thanks for reading and I hope to get some idea/clarification on this.

    Have a great day ahead!

  10. Very helpful but i’m wondering how you sellers set price since selling to each country price differs. i see that most malaysian seller just put one price for “everywhere else”. for say RM28.90 but can that cover all the fee?

  11. Hi everyone, i found this DHL eCommerce also provide the registered mail service and its reasonaly good

    Very relevant to our nature of business as their weight break start from 10gm

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