Parcel Delivery, choosing a courier service and eco friendly packaging

In our last post, we looked an order we received from Classic Hand Tools.

In this post, we get an order from one of their competitors: Axminster. In this review, we learn about the importance of choosing the right parcel delivery company, environmental packaging and jazzing up the humble packing slip.

Watch the video

Make sure you watch this video of me opening this order.

The key lessons learned

Having opened this order, here's a summary of the top eCommerce tips I took away:

  1. Choose a great Parcel Delivery Courier as a partner.
  2. Use eco-friendly packaging.
  3. Don't neglect the packing slip, it's full of opportunity.

So let's go through these in a bit more detail:

1. Choose a great Parcel Delivery Courier as a partner

Who you partner with for shipping is really, really critical. Like or not, your customer sees them as an extension of your service and company. They are representing you, so choose carefully.

The cheapest shipping company isn't always the best choice

It's tempting to choose the cheapest company or service when you look at shipping your parcels to your customers. This is because we often view shipping as a cost centre in our company - and we have to fight to keep costs down.

Having tried a lot of delivery companies over the years, I can tell you the cheapest is often not the best and it can cost you more in the long run, especially if you start loosing customers as a result of your shipping company.

That said, the most expensive delivery service won't necessarily give you the best service for your customers either and you can spend a lot of extra money for no real gain.

The bottom line, you are going to have to test different suppliers. Get feedback from your customers about the service. Monitor shipping errors and lost parcels. Work with them to ensure that you are sending out parcels in the best possible way.

Send parcels to yourself on a regular basis, you want to see how they turn up and how your courier handles them.

2. Use eco-friendly packaging

In the video, you notice that the box comes with white plastic straps around the box. This adds a little 'je ne sais quoi' to the box that's for sure, it makes it look more secure and the white is a nice contrast to the very boring plain brown box.

However, we've all seen the images on TV or YouTube of animals caught in these plastic straps. To be fair, it's usually the smaller types (such as the plastic that holds beer cans together), but never-the-less we have a responsibility with our packaging and we are not convinced you need these anymore. You certainly don't need them on the order that we received.

And whilst we are talking about environmental issues, let's think about the plastic bubbles that Axminster used to protect the goods inside the box.

We used these a lot at Jersey but have moved away from using them in recent times. They were great in the sense that they are lightweight, easy to handle and protect product really well. But the reason we moved from them is that they are pretty boring and they are not that great for the environment if I am honest.

So what did we use?

Popcorn! It's a bit more fun, a bit more Jersey.

Check out this video:

Use the right sized box

There are pictures all over the web of customers receiving their order in a box that is way too big for the products sent. We've fallen foul of this ourselves in the past. The trouble is, customers find it annoying.

This particular Axminster order in the video is borderline. Sending it in a smaller box means fewer bubbles and happier customers.

3. Don't neglect the packing slip, it's full of opportunity

The final lesson we can learn from this video is that Packing Slips are important. Sure, they are a humble piece of paper that is put in the box but don't make them an afterthought. Really think through what you can do with your packing slip to better engage your customers.

We just assume that most people throw them away, so don't really give much thought to them but you'll be surprised how many of your customers will actually read them.

So be creative with your packing slip. Make sure it looks good, and include an offer on there or a way to connect with you on social media.

Whilst the printing and design of the Axminster packing slip wasn't great, they did think to include the address of my nearest store which is great, but they could have gone further to increase my engagement with that slip.