There's no better time to solidify a customer relationship than when a purchase is made, especially in the eCommerce world when you don't have the face-time of a brick-and-mortar shop. To give you an extra edge, we've rounded up five easy ways your shipments can do more for you with online order fulfillment extras.
1. Thank you notes:
Take a cue from your mother—always send a thank you note. Etsy sellers are the most gracious community of business owners out there in this respect. In fact, we don't think we've ever received an order from Etsy that wasn't nicely packaged—complete with a personal note. If your volume is too high to send every customer a handwritten note, have some kindly worded cards printed up to include with your packing slips. These should always include your social media accounts for easily tweetable pictures of their order. If you keep records of past purchases, you could even ask a customer how they liked their last order, which shows them you care!
2. Custom packaging and shipping materials:
Make sure your branding runs throughout your packaging and shipping materials. This can be as simple and affordable or as luxurious and high-end as your business allows. Here are just a couple of ideas for branded packaging materials: a branded self-inking stamp, custom packaging tape (a la Amazon), logo stickers, custom shipping boxes, branded tissue paper, screen-printed cloth dust bags, etc. Not everything has to (or should have) your logo on it, but well-rounded branding shows your customers your attention to detail and helps them remember you as a high-quality business.
3. Free samples:
Have a new product that complements a particular customer's order? Use that opportunity to surprise them with a free sample. Your wholesale suppliers will typically be thrilled to provide you with samples if it means you'll sell more of their products. This is also an effective way to rid yourself of slow-moving inventory, though we suggest making sure the products match well with a customer's order. The last thing you want to do is put someone off by throwing a bottle of wrinkle cream in with an order of baby shampoo.
4. Information about complementary businesses you support:
Say you own a fair-trade jewelry boutique and your friend owns an organic apothecary—and you both make close to the same number of online sales each month. Your target customer base heavily overlaps, but you don't compete with each other so it is a match made in marketing heaven. Capitalize on this by trading cards, so to speak. You include a postcard about their business in all shipped orders and she includes one about your business in hers.
5. Informative literature:
The tea company pictured above includes a cute little booklet with background on all seven types of tea they carry, along with space to journal while you enjoy a cup at home. This is an excellent example of informing your customers about your other products in a non-salesy way.
6. Discounts or other deal-sweeteners for future purchases:
Be judicious about when and where you approach discounts by using your customer profiles. You might try offering a free or upgraded shipping code for their next purchase. Or use the opportunity to let customers know if you have a sale or event coming up. Or perhaps you send every customer a loyalty discount shipped with their third order. You know what's best for your business.
Anything else that's worked wonders for you? Let us know in the comments!