So you've made a plan, now let's get everything ready...
1. Stock levels
How frequently will you reorder stock? What are your reorder levels? What quantities will you keep in stock?
Finding a balance between tying up your money in stock and running out of stock is hard. This is going to evolve as your business grows.
Set targets for the number of units sold per month and make sure you have enough in stock to meet the demand.
2. Packaging material
Don't leave this until the last minute, or you'll have orders ready for dispatch and nothing to put them in! Get your packaging material ready for your first order. Print your packing inserts, discount codes or compliments slips and have them ready in advance.
3. Testing your packaging
We already talked about first impressions in the last chapter, and we want to wow our customers with a fantastic unboxing experience. Did you know that YouTube is filled with videos on people unboxing products?
It is vital that the experience your customer has is the best it can be. If you make this experience great, then those customers will become advocates for your brand!
Why not make up a package for one of your products and give it away to test the unboxing process. Ask the person for feedback about the unboxing experience and use that to refine your process.
4. Shipping labels
You've got your package, but it still needs to be posted. Before you go any further, let's ask a question...
Hand written or printed shipping labels?
Hand written can be quirky and fun (if you have excellent hand-writing) but can also feel cheap or like you've just bought something off eBay!
Printed shipping labels look professional and will seem more formal.
We personally recommend using printed shipping labels because it streamlines your order fulfilment process. If you are using a shipping company that allow you to print multiple labels to a page, then why not try these labels - you can print 4 to a sheet and there is plenty of room for barcodes! They are compatible with both MyHermes and Royal Mail's online postage software.
5. Order fulfilment
Who will fulfil your orders? To begin with, this may be a job you do yourself, but you may also need to invest time into training a member of staff to complete the order fulfilment process. Now is a good time to document your processes as this will aid your training process later on. You will want to include the following information in your documentation...
- Days orders are dispatched
- Time orders are dispatched
- What packaging is used for each product category
- Which shipping companies you use
- How to handle express delivery
- What to include in your packaging
- How to print your packaging labels
- Where do you keep parcels ready for dispatch?
- Who collects the parcels or do you drop them off at a depot/post office?