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!