Congratulations, your item sold!
It’s now time to move onto the shipping process, the final step to completing a hopefully very profitable online sale! Remember, a buyer expects to receive his/her item safely and in a timely manner.
Fulfilling these expectations ensures customer satisfaction and leads to a rewarding shopping experience. More importantly, a satisfied customer is more likely to buy from you again or refer you to a friend for a future purchase. However, if not done properly, shipping has the potential to be an expensive part of your business.
Depending on the items to be shipped, you will most likely need to buy (or find) things like boxes, poly-bags, tape, void filler, and/or bubble wrap. You will need to purchase postage and you might sometimes have to also buy shipping insurance and signature confirmation to protect those more expensive and fragile items. Altogether, these expenses can quickly add up and eat away at your profit margins.
Here are a couple of locations where you can find cheap shipping materials in order to help you maximize your profits.
Big Box Stores – Bog box stores like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Office Depot/OfficeMax, etc. are all legitimate places to buy shipping supplies. Buying supplies from these stores is convenient and fast, but not always cheap.
Check your local newspaper or mail-in ads for in-store coupons that can be used to buy common shipping supplies like tape and bubble wrap. Otherwise, stick to online platforms in order to get the best bang for your buck on these items! Big box stores, however, are great places for finding cardboard boxes.
Ask for a manager at these stores and see if they have any extra empty boxes that they would be willing to give away. Usually the employees are very receptive and willing to help and will offer to give away boxes from the stock room or from the recycling dumpsters behind the stores. Free boxes? You can’t beat that.
Online – Buying online is probably the most convenient way to shop and save money! Check out eBay and Amazon for great deals on common supplies like poly bags, tape, bubble wrap, void filler and most importantly adhesive shipping labels. Tip:
The best way to save is by buying in bulk! Buying with Amazon Prime or from “free shipping” listings on eBay also help save a little more money on your purchase. However newbie sellers should try to avoid buying boxes online. You might be able to get a good price if you buy in bulk or if you need multiples of a specific size, but all those savings will be applied towards paying for the postage to ship that heavy cardboard.
USPS – The United States Postal Service (USPS) is another fantastic place to find shipping supplies. USPS locations sell everything from boxes, tape, postage and void filler. However, a little known secret is that the USPS also offers free shipping supplies; however, these supplies must be used with one of the many services provided by the USPS. Flat rate services, like priority and express, come with free boxes or bubble wrap mailers that can be picked up on site or online at:
Search the above listings for all types of boxes and padded mailers, which will be sent to you quickly and free of charge! Boxes typically come in quantities of 10 and 25, while padded mailers typically come in quantities of 10 or 15. Stock up now and you will never have to worry about running out of boxes again!
Just remember, these boxes are only approved for use with USPS services! Any other use could be punishable by law so think twice about using these boxes for other services.